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Epson 4900 7890 7900 9890 9900 R3000 possibilities

by
Jon Cone
published on 03/15/2011 20:00:00
We were surprised to read over on the QuadTone RIP users list that a QTR user alerted Roy Harrington to the possibility that the Epson X890 and X900 printer control codes might actually be the same as the X880 control codes that are currently within existing QTR framework. Both printer families apparently use ESC/P2 ESC/P3 control codes. Apparently, this information not public in USA was published in Europe. You just never know when an inquisitive product user is going to tip you off to something that can benefit everyone else.

Roy Harrington, author of QuadTone RIP, then confirmed that he was able to use QTR to print the calibration target to the Epson 7900 printer. He said most likely that these new Epson printers, including the R3000 will be able to be run from QTR as seven ink printers and reading between the lines, perhaps he can do so without making major revisions to QTR. This is amazing news considering last year Roy felt he was at a dead end with these printers – and naturally, so did we here at Piezography.

Update! We have a way to use StudioPrint Professional RIP with this printer. If you’re interested in using the 7900 or 9900 as a dual ink system – we’re ready for you! A QTR system is in development and will release this Fall as Piezography Pro2. It will use three Piezography ink sets with unlimited blending between them. Matte and Glossy. Quite the system!
We do not know exactly what this all means or where it is all going, other than that we can produce Piezography K7 curves for these printers now using the Windows platform. It is still impossible to work from Mac without an update in QTR. But, I am hoping that Roy Harrington will fully develop a new release of QTR that will address all of the ink channels in these printers.

Yesterday, I edited the 7880.ppd making a 7900.ppd, and created a Quad-7900 to print to from the Windows version of QTR. It works! I tried to make a curve with additional channels. The presence of additional channels does not crash QTR (a good sign), but it does not result in printing through the O & G channels. That bit will take some work from Roy. But, I can print K7 curves to the Epson X900 from Windows. Mac OS will require a new release of QTR. So let’s hope that the new release will include support for all of the ink channels including O & G.

The X900 printers have 11 ink channels making them excellent candidates for dual or even triple Piezography ink systems. I created the new shades 2.5 and 4.5 (for Piezography film) that if used with shades 1 and 3, create an excellent traditional quad black ink system. Four inks are still an improvement over the three inks of Epson’s ABW. But, I was envisioning three sets of quad black inks in differing hues that can be blended with the curve sliders in QTR. This makes them deliciously complex and smooth.

QTR interface to Dual Piezography ink system

I have already made myself a dual-quad PiezoTone ink system on my R2400 printer. It is amazing. I can blend Selenium or Carbon Sepia in any proportion separately or simultaneously in the highlights, mid-tones and or shadows. I made this system to run PiezoTones on R2400, R2880, 4800, 7800 and 9800 printers. There always remains “something” about PiezoTones. They have just a little more character than K7 inks because each shade as a slightly different *ab. K7 inks are designed to have the same *ab from shade to shade for that perfect monochromatic result.

I can see building a system like this for the X900 printers that would use three quad ink sets generated from the new K7 series. Perhaps Sepia, Selenium and Warm Neutral. And with a matte and glossy potential. 4 shades, 5 shades or 6 shades? If Roy can open the X900 to all of the ink channels (right now he can not address the O & G channels), I might consider formulating Sepia and Neutral both as glossy compatible inks.

The potential for picking and choosing from a number of matte/glossy combinations would make for very intriguing monochromatic blending systems. And those who have stuck steadfast to PiezoTones could migrate to newer and complex systems as their original X600 and X800 printers begin to age.

Even perhaps, there remains the possibility I might release one or more of the JonCone Studio Spot colors (see Old Time Print Process) as toning agents for dual ink systems. These are extremely warm and cool spot grays that can be used for toning monochromatic ink sets with a short curve.

While 11 inks is not quite the 12 inks of my Roland printer, it does open up a world of possibility in new Piezography systems.