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Piezography B&W alternative inks

Piezography is absolutely the highest standard in fine black and white printmaking. Simply put, Piezography is the bar at which all other systems (such as Epson's ABW; Canon's TrueBW, and HP's quad) have been trying to aspire to reach. Piezography set the mark in 2000 with quad black printing. Now with up to seven shades of carbon based black ink, and a proprietary media profile system - Piezography continues to push beyond the limits of what fine black and white printmaking can achieve. Museum quality from a desktop or a pro printer. 

Piezography takes baryta and glossy printing to new levels of quality with its gloss option. Six different monochromatic ink choices: Neutral, Selenium, Warm Neutral, Carbon, Special Edition, SplitTone™.

Click for an online Piezography Guide!

Choose your printer large format

First step is to choose a printer model from our supported printer list. If you don't see your printer on this list, we don't have a system for you. If you're thinking about getting into Piezography, rest assured that we can make an Epson 1400 print at the same Piezography quality as an Epson 9880. It's not the money you spend on the printer - it's the proprietary technology of Piezography that makes the black & white output so spectacular. Some printer models offer more possibilities than others because they have more available cartridge slots. If you're thinking about buying a printer for Piezography, the following chart shows what's possible and what's not with each supported printer.

Handy Printer Chart

Neutral SplitTone Carbon

Each set is made up of up to seven shades of black ink that produce a specific tone. Even though you can modulate the tone by choosing warmer or cooler papers, you will want a set that is sympathetic with your tastes in darkroom printing. Do you want a museum presentation quality Selenium toned look? Do you have a fondness for the old Agfa Portriga papers that Warm Neutral is reminiscent of? Neutral inks only imitate neutral on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag; it's an ink set that readily takes on the tone of warmer and cooler papers. If making prints that can outlast anything from Canon, Epson and HP is your mission, then tests at Aardenburg are proving that the Piezography Carbon ink set is the most fade resistant ink in the world! How about Special Edition for that platinum/palladium look? We even have SplitTone™ ink sets that combine the best of two sets into one unified look. You'll notice that we offer matte only, gloss only, or matte/glossy sets if your printer has enough cartridge slots.

All of the Piezography ink sets are comprised of extremely small pigment particles, each individually encapsulated in an acrylic co-polymer to prevent static charges from causing agglomeration (clogging). Epson and HP are the only other two companies that encapsulate pigment particles. Besides appearing to have greatly increased depth over Epson ABW and HP, Piezography inks have zero metamerism.

Warm Neutral Selenium Special Edition

Piezography does Glossy unlike any system out there. Epson and HP do a good job of glossy. Piezography does a perfect job. What we totally eliminate is bronzing and gloss differential.

Bronzing is when your glossy prints reflect back a metallic look...not always everywhere...sometimes just annoyingly in some parts of the tonal range.

Gloss differential is the difference in glossiness from the paper to the deepest blacks.

The OEMs can not get the inks to perfectly gloss equally from light to dark. Nor can they get their inks to match the glossiness of the paper. Piezography Glossy perfectly produces an image in which you can't tell where the paper gloss ends and the ink gloss begins. It's as close as you're going to come to the darkroom look. If you like F-Type glossiness. We've nailed it!

The problem with gloss differential and bronzing is that they really require an overprint of a special material to eliminate them. That's what we do! Piezography Gloss Overprint (GO)is a second pass through the printer to receive edge-to-edge overprint of a very special UV resistant material that produces a perfect result. Piezography GO is popular with some of our customers as an overprint to their Epson color Ultrachrome and HP color pigment prints. It's one of the best kept secrets of high-end color studios.

You've ordered and received your Piezography kit by now. The third step is to follow our installation instructions for your printer model. Piezography ink is compatible with the Epson ink formulation. Both are encapsulated pigment. You do not need to flush your printer, but you do need to follow our instructions. We know you're smart or you would not have bought Piezography - but Piezography is a proprietary system and our instructions for installation may not be intuitive if you're thinking we place our shades in order from left to right.

You will be using QuadToneRIP to print instead of the Epson printer driver And using QuadTone RIP with Piezography is quite different than the way it is normally used. So, read our manual on how to operate QuadTone RIP. You will have to do things differently than the manual that accompanies QuadTone RIP. You can download our installation instructions and our QuadTone RIP Quick Guide manuals here when you are ready to leave this online booklet. You can download the QuadTone RIP (and pay your $50 shareware to its author)..

All of the Piezography K7 and K6 "media profiles" are included in the download for free. We make those profiles right here on the proprietary Piezography Profiler.

Printing is actually very easy. You convert your images to Grayscale. Color toning is not achieved in Photoshop. That's produced by the combination of Piezography inks and paper. So you will not use RGB as a color space. The idea is to produce as high quality a Grayscale image that you can. Piezography can print more detail than can Epson's ABW system, so you'll want to scan your film at the highest optical resolution of your scanner and no more! If you're shooting digital, definitely shoot at the highest resolution that your camera offers. Do not be tempted to upsize or upscale the resolution in Photoshop. Piezography packs ink dots much more densely than can Epson. The results speak for themselves!

No color inks are used in the printing of Piezography. Because you are printing with six or seven shades of black ink - you will need to print with the amazing QuadTone RIP. This replaces the Epson printer driver. It individually controls each inkjet channel and allows the use of the Piezography produced K6 and K7 media profiles. The Piezography media profiles make the system turn-key. You will not have to print out calibration charts, etc... if you're tempted to do that - you read the wrong manual! The manual that downloads with QuadTone RIP is for everyone else trying to get results out of non-Piezography ink sets. We already told you where to download ours.

It's really easy to use QuadTone RIP wit Piezography. From the Mac you use the Print command from Photoshop or any other application. From Windows you launch the stand-alone QuadTone RIP. Then you simply select the correct K7 media profile for the media on which you are printing. Piezography media profiles are ingenious (if we don't say so ourselves!) Then set back and watch an amazing photograph come out of your printer.

You can adjust your display to preview at Gamma 2.2 using a display calibrator; the Grayscale settings in Photoshop's "Color Settings" should also be set to Gamma 2.2. Piezography produces prints at a designed Gamma 2.2 with open shadow and highlight details. This proprietary method of producing printed tone is one of the hallmarks of Piezography.

Keep up with Piezography news on the Piezography Blog. We're constantly developing new products. There is tons of information including details on how Piezography works and why technically, it produces smoother and more detailed output than the Epson's ABW (which our customers refer to as "Almost Black & White").

There's a users group here that is more or less quiet (Piezography works and is not difficult to master - so don't expect too much chatter).

And of course, Jon Cone makes himself available to all Piezography customers. There are links directly to his e-mail on the InkjetMall, Piezography and Cone Editions web sites. Here it is in case you already have a burning question: Jon Cone.

Cone Editions Press

Piezography is actually developed in the studio of Cone Editions Press, Earth's first digital printmaking studio (1980) where Jon and Cathy Cone have been continuously producing prints and multiples for many of the Earth's most influential artists, sculptors and photographers! They've produced projects ranging the gamut from Gregory Colbert's monumental Ashes and Snow Nomadic museum exhibitions, Gordon Parks's Half Past Autumn Corcoran Museum exhibition, Richard Avedon's last living portfolio "In Memory of the Late Mr & Mrs Comfort in 24 Fables", Jonathan Singer's "Botanica Magnifica" which was acquired into the permanent collection of the Smithsonian. They also print for many photographers and artists who produce only a few prints a year.

Cathy Cone produces and publishes her own interests at the studio, and works closely with a number of artists. Cathy produced Botanica Magnifica with photographer, Jonathan Singer...a three year labor of love...and more than 500 full sized sheets of Iris printmaking on elephant folio sized handmade Japanese paper. Her project with Annu Palakunnathu Matthew included imaginative technology, labor and craft ranging from Topsham, Vermont to India: the result a digital recreation of the banana oil goldtones of Curtis and a perfect blending of eastern and western Indian portraiture.

Jon Cone, a Master Printer in intaglio, photogravure, relief print, serigraphy, and experimental printmaking introduced digital printmaking in 1984. Cone began pioneering Iris Giclee printing in 1990 and from 1993-1997 was the Development and Marketing Partner for Fine Arts at IRIS Graphics. He produced one of the first archival IRIS dye ink sets. He installed and provided training for many of the first IRIS print studios including David Adamson Editions, Hunter Fine Arts, MuseX Editions, Donald Saff Tech, Robert Rauschenberg, The Cook Editions and many others. Cone introduced "quad black" inkjet in the early 1990s on IRIS printers. Piezography has been a constant source of his attention since 2000. He favors Roland printers which he can more readily modify to his experiments and has a studio with nearly a dozen LF Epson Pro printers. You can read more about the history of Piezography/Cone here.

Jon and Cathy Cone own and operate InkjetMall.

If you're on the fence about Piezography and want to see your own work printed in this unique system, you can either upload your images to InkjetMall's Online Printing service or contact Jon Cone at Cone Editions Press for custom printmaking services.

It is true that you should dedicate a Pro model Epson printer to the Piezography ink set. Going back and forth between color inks and Piezography inks would waste too much expensive ink - because Pro printers have long ink lines and dampers that would need to be emptied into the maintenance tank.

But, many of our desktop users routinely switch back and forth between color and Piezography. It only takes a head cleaning or two to clear out one ink in a desktop printer and allow the newly introduced ink to begin printing. Many of our customers buy multiple sets of carts so that they can use two or more different Piezography ink sets in the same printing session.

The Piezography "media profiles" that come for free with QTR are used with each of the ink sets, making it very easy and convenient. If for some reason we have not profiled your favorite media, we provide an inexpensive custom profiling service. Unfortunately, no software manufacturer has figured out how we create our profiles so that no system is available for you to make profiles with by yourself. But we do cover the most popular media.

 
 
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