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Table of Contents

Piezography Manual

Advanced Techniques


Besides the extra targets and linearization/icc calibration ability found in the Piezography Professional Edition toolset, you have a ton of extra features built in. Note: Most of the sections in this article have video tutorials. We think this is the easiest way to communicate all of the intricate abilities you have with this toolset.

Dynamic L* Measurement Detection

With this tool you can simply copy and paste you exported CGATS data from whatever application you are using to measure with. The tool will find the Luminance column and read the data accordingly.  Link to full (audio+video) tutorial coming soon

Any Number of Patches from 21 to 256

This tool will look at your measurements and immediately interpolate them up to 256. That way you don’t have to worry about measurement specific grayscale targets. Have a favorite target that is 150 patches? That will work fine. We recommend 256 to maximize quality however. This allows for flatbed scans of printed targets too! Note: The video below shows “RAW” measurement numbers with the Luminance (L*) data starting in A1. This is the more common way to import measurement data rather than relying on the tool to find the luminance data automatically. Link to full (audio+video) tutorial coming soon.

Special 512 and 700 Step Averaging Support

For devices that support small patch sizes (DTP70, iSis, i1io) we are including special 512 (256x2) and 700 (100x7) averaging targets that further increase measurement accuracy. The video below shows a 700step measured target being pasted into the tool. 700 step targets are great for the FIRST calibration of a new ink on paper if you think it will be wildly out of calibration to start.  Link to full (audio+video) tutorial coming soon.

Variable Measurement Smoothing and Smooth Boosting

At the core of any good linearization solution is the ability to throw away false measurements (flickering of the spectrophotometer light) or edge-Luminance problems (where more ink is deposited at the edges of a printed target than in the middle). Over the years we have devised some incredibly unique ways of optimizing the measurement data using a method of curve smoothing more commonly used on Wall Street than in art.  Note: The very choppy example measurement data in the video below is from a Platinum/Palladium target printed in the darkroom. Darkroom targets can be messy for all kinds of reasons like the amount of coating from one side of the paper to another, light falloff, humidity differences, etc. Link to full (audio+video) tutorial coming soon.

Falses Detection & Manual Correction

No measurement is perfect. We’ve known this since we started calibrating Piezography decades ago so this is why we’ve included the required falses detector and corrector in this tool.  Note: In the video below we show a PiezoDN Platinum target that was a little bit fogged. This made the top (white-point) luminance value too dark and we need to manually change it to make a good calibration. Link to full (audio+video) tutorial coming soon.

Piezography Curve Start Points

Start points are useful for building “hard proof” curves which limit the shadows to a certain dMax that is lighter than 100% black. We build these curves to perfectly simulate Platinum or Palladium printing with a normal Piezography (ink on paper) printer. We include start point limiting on both highlight and shadow ends. This also allows for fogging of the film to equalize exposures between different media in UV alt-process work, etc. Another common use is to correct for over-inking in the shadows on glossy paper. Sometimes you can get a reversal of tone if there is too much black ink. This tool simply allows you to cut the over-inked part off. The uses are endless.  Note: The video below shows a shadow start point (limit) of 10. This can be done at the same time as the linearization process. As the video shows, there are already measurements imported into the tool while the start point is changed. Link to full (audio+video) tutorial coming soon.

Channel Curve Smoothing Tutorial

This part is really useful for optimizing curves that may have been previously linearized without properly smoothed measurements (aka, the curves are choppy). You can smooth the curve and print your target with that curve before doing a final linearization. This essentially brings a bad curve back to life without having to start from scratch. This is particularly useful for alt-process dig-neg work. 

Variable Ink Limiting

With this tool, you can limit (or increase) the amount of ink at different points from dark to light. This is an important tool for calibrating your printer for odd papers like Gampi Shi or other uncoated substrates. It’s also useful for optimizing dMax on inkjet films.  Link to full (audio+video) tutorial coming soon.

Target Luminance Calibration

Have you ever wanted to perfectly match a previous printing system? This allows you to do that. All your measurements and target measurements can also be defined as DENSITY not just LUMINANCE. That means you can put optical density measurements in both the target and measurement sections and adapt your negative densities to some other film or print type. That is truly unique, and allows for matching previous neg density ramps from other systems like PDN, etc.  Note: The video below shows a measurement from a Piezography system being imported into the Measurements section and a measurement target from an older (Advanced Black and White) system being imported into the Target Measurements section. The new curve will now match the old ABW system. Link to full (audio+video) tutorial coming soon.

Contrast Tweaking

We’ve built what is essentially a Photoshop curve system into the tool so you can make all of your curves print with a specific contrast. This can also be coupled with the target measurements to further tweak your target matching. This is really useful for building curves that are not “linear” per-say but that always match your unique workflow or artistic requirements. This is useful for consistently calibrating to match “Advanced Black and White” “Dark” mode for example. This part is also good for limiting a PiezoDN negative for a given darkroom process that requires less density in the highlights without taking any density out of the densest (100% white on the darkroom print) parts.  Link to full (audio+video) tutorial coming soon.

Channel Remapping

Now you can easily re-map any channel to any other channel if you need to change ink positions in your printer due to head-failure or any other reason.  Note: The video below shows a “K4 Cool” curve for the 9900 Pro ink system being remapped. For this particular printer and ink set the K channel on the printer is dead but the Orange channel is available. First you physically put the K ink cartridge into the Orange channel on the printer. In this example the curve data for the K channel is remapped to the Orange channel. A new remapped curve is saved and then the ENTIRE Piezography Professional tool is saved with this remap setting. Every time a K to Orange remap is needed in the future, this tool can be opened and curves can simply be run through it without setting the channel mapping again (it’s already set). Link to full (audio+video) tutorial coming soon.

Curve Blending

This part allows you to blend one curve into another in the Blacks, Shadows, Mids, Highlights, and Whites. This is useful for making special hue splits with pro inks between the Cool and Warm curves. It can be used in a LOT of creative ways. We have included curve blending for the past 2 years but this version is a slight simplification of the original.  Note: In the video below we show a simple method for making “neutral” Piezography Pro curves. A K4 Cool curve is first loaded into the “Starting Curve” sheet. A K4 Warm curve is then loaded into the “Blending Curve” sheet. Then the blending (warm) curve is added at 21% to warm up the cool curve so that the final curve is neutral. Because pro cool and warm inks are no equal in strength a 79% cool and 21% warm blend usually makes a neutral print on rag papers. Link to full (audio+video) tutorial coming soon.

Curve Inversion

This part of the tool will simply flip the ink values horizontally. This makes the curve print a negative. It’s mainly used for custom PiezoDN profiling and building Positive PiezoDN curves, etc, so it’s not really useful for other things, but most-likely someone will come up with a creative use!  Link to full (audio+video) tutorial coming soon.

Save a Copy of Your Tool with Your Settings

Because this tool is less than a megabyte you can simply save a copy of your tool with the specific contrast or smoothing or remap settings you want. This way you can have one version of the tool for remapping, one with a specific contrast tweak, another with saved blending settings, master PiezoDN curve, etc. This is a huge time saver! Note: In the example video below, one tool is saved with a specific contrast tweak. Then another tool is saved that will set the shadow start point to 3.  Link to full (audio+video) tutorial coming soon.

Physical Ink Mixing and Blending

The Piezography system has been setup so that one can mix (substitute) and / or blend (physically join together) the inks in order to produce customized output. Some Piezographers have made their own ink sets that faithfully replicate favorite darkroom paper/chemistry. Others produce elaborate split toning. 
Each of the Piezography ink sets have the same relative L value ink densities from shade to shade. This is to say that Shade 3 Neutral and Shade 3 Selenium, though different in color (*ab) have the same density (*L). Therefore, you could substitute Selenium Shade 3 in place of Neutral Shade 3 and continue to use the same Piezography curves.

And because they have the same L value, you can blend one shade with the same shade in a different ink tone. Neutral shade 3 and Selenium shade 3 could be blended together (although the effect would be subtle.) Blending Carbon shade 3 and Selenium shade 3 would produce a new tone of ink. Neutral is a poor blender - although its subtlety may be just what is desired to cut down the intensity of another ink tone.
Piezography Special Edition is an example of Ink Mixing and Blending. Here is the recipe for Piezography

Special Edition ink.
Shade 1 = Piezography K7 shade 1 black
Shade 2 = Carbon shade 2
Shade 3 = 75% Carbon Shade 3 blended with 25% Selenium Shade 3
Shade 4 = 50% Carbon Shade 4 blended with 50% Selenium Shade 4
Shade 5 = Selenium shade 5
Shade 6 = Neutral shade 6
Shade 7 = Neutral shade 7

The Special Edition inks have been mixed in shades 2, 5, 6, 7 using Carbon, Selenium and Neutral shades. They have been blended in shades 3 & 4 where some Carbon and some Selenium are combined after formulation to form new inks.

It is very easy to blend inks. Shaking for only a short time will blend the inks together.
Typically, Piezography inks have been split toned by mixing two ink sets together. The most popular are Carbon & Selenium or Warm Neutral & Selenium. The most popular split is at shade 4.

A most excellent split tone is created by using Carbon (or Warm Neutral) in shades 2, 3, 4 and Selenium in shades 5, 6, & (7). This produces warm shadows and the curves blends the two ink tones in the mid-tones before Selenium takes over.  If you prefer cool shadows and warmer highlights - you would reverse these two ink sets. If you prefer a more gradual split-tone, you could blend equal amounts of Carbon (or Warm Neutral) and Selenium shades 4 and use this as the shade 4 ink.

If you prefer the Warm Neutral inks but wish the shadows were warmer, you can substitute Carbon shade 2 and create a mixed ink set. You may wish to then blend 50/50 Shades 3 of Carbon and Warm Neutral together to allow that warmth to move up further into the 3/4 tones.

We highly recommend a small format printer such as the 1430 or P400 as a platform on which to practice mixtures and blends prior to scaling up to large format.

Repurposing an X890 or X900 Printer with Permanently Clogged Channels

This is an excellent opportunity for you to buy or get a printer that can be repurposed for Piezography. Many X890 and X900 printers are discarded or sold at low prices because of one or more permanently clogged ink channels. These channels can be mapped out by editing the Piezography curves. These printers are often found on eBay.
What it takes to repurpose these printers is not much. The heads and ink lines should be cleaned out with PiezoFlush. Often this actually unclogs the “permanently clogged” ink channel. The printer can be configured for digital negative with only five working ink channels and for Piezography printing with as few as six working ink channels. Custom curves must be edited or purchased.