July is here. The weather is hot. Development time for all new Piezography products is at hand. While the Piezography for Canon project requires new ink formulation and testing (a long process), prior to installing in the big 8300, new EPSON projects can move forward using the existing ink K7 formulations. We’ve had a Canon 8300 waiting patiently, but unless the formulation is perfect – it will ruin the heads. So little baby Canons will be tested (slaughtered) until the formula is ready to go on the brand spanking new Canon 8300. Life on a farm can be cruel.
Last week, we received a brand new EPSON 9900 printer seedling. We picked it off the back of our favorite Conway delivery truck (the one that delivers us new printers). Moving it into the building is a typical farm chore. Cathy Cone and Dana Ceccarelli did most the heavy work, while I relied on the mighty Kubota to do my lifting. Life on an inkjet farm is hard. Cathy and Dana cleaned and stripped it of its tough cardboard skin to reveal the metallic flesh beneath. It’s on cardboard curing – not that different than digging up potatoes to dry. But, what we have planned for it is going to be very cool.
Currently, the 9900 is still sitting on the floor of Jon and Cathy Cone’s Cone Editions printmaking studio where all Piezography products have initially been born and raised. Curiously, it is facing the Canon ipf8300 at this point. They remind me of calves.
SO WHAT I’M RAISING UP THIS SUMMER IS TWO-FOLD.
I will be doing my first major revamp of Piezography for most of the supported printers which are matte only or gloss only. Currently, the only printers which can be used to simultaneously print matte and glossy prints are the Epson 2880 and the Epson Pro 3800/3880. These printers have enough ink cartridge slots to fit six shades of ink, two blacks (MK & PK) and the Gloss Overprint.
In a nutshell, Piezography2 is going to bring simultaneous matte/glossy capability to the following supported printers: EPSON R1400, 2400, R1800, R1900, Pro 4800, Pro 4480, Pro 7800/9800, Pro 7880/9880. Sorry! but we no longer have R&D 2200, 4000, 7600/9600 printers.
Piezography2 will use the same existing ink sets minus the lightest shade to allow glossy printing across the board. For example on Epson R1800/R1900/R2400 we will feature a K6 ink set with both matte black, photo black and the Gloss Overprint. A new curves architecture and profile library will be available that allows the user to choose between matte and glossy printing.
The 1400 printer will become a K5 printer dropping shade 6 so that Piezography Gloss Overprint can be installed. Because this printer is so easy to operate with refillable cartridges, a user can move between K6 matte and K5 glossy quite easily by swapping out just two cartridges.
The upgrade path to Piezography2 on the above desktop printers will require only one or two bottles of ink that the user does not already have (MPS shade 1 black and Piezography Gloss Overprint) and fresh cartridges with which to put these two inks into.
We have a lot of profiling to do and hope to release this system late Summer or early Fall, during the typical harvest.
We will be introducing an all new Piezography product on the 3800/3880, 7900/9900 printer platforms: Piezography Pro2.
Now this gets interesting… QuadTone RIP has a feature called curve blending in which 2 or 3 curves can be used simultaneously to blend. The blending is very sophisticated in that the user can select to blend across the entire tonal range or selectively (and simultaneously) in highlights, midtowns and shadows. The net effect is that I want to take advantage of this feature for our customers. I already use this in a personal system I made for myself. It allows the inks installed in a printer to have tens of thousands of different identities.
We plan to offer two K4 ink groups and one K3 ink group in the Epson 7900/9900 printers. Besides having Gloss Overprint and both matte and photo blacks installed, the printer would have a total of four shades black in Warm Neutral and four shades black in Selenium and three shades black in Neutral.
Three curves would be made for each of the three installed ink groups for every supported media..
With three curves for JonCone Studio Type2 (by example), the user could print it as a Selenium print, or a Warm Neutral print, or a Neutral print. The printer essentially could be used as three printers.
But, the user could blend two or three of the installed ink groups together to form subsets. For example, a 70%-30% blend of Warm Neutral / Selenium. The combinations are numbing.
Finally, a split tone print in which any of these three ink groups are selected for blending equally or in varying proportions. The blending might be to have nearly Neutral highlights made of 92% Neutral tempered with 8% Selenium; the midtones comprised of 60% Selenium and 40% Warm Neutral; with the shadows comprised of 93% Warm Neutral tempered with 7% Selenium. As you can imagine, it is possible to make some pre-sets that are very autographical.
Yes, it is possible to forgo the glossy option and choose matte inks as well – so that Carbon and Neutral become options in the above scenarios…. There can be some extensive customization possible as long as the shades are installed in the correct positions.
Piezography Pro2 on the Epson 3800/3880 will be a double blending system with two ink groups installed.
I’m opting for more flexibility than while at the same time still exceeding the capabilities of Epson ABW both in resolution and fidelity. That’s a lot to claim in one sentence… While K7 remains a viable option for those who wish to run it on the new printers, Piezography2 and Piezography Pro2 become creative power platforms. The original Piezography systems and curves will continue to be supported!