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Basic Printing

Photoshop 6

Epson Printers - Mac OS

 Epson

By Ian Lyons

 

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A Computer Darkroom Tutorial

 

Anyone opening the Epson printer driver for the first time can't help but ask which option is best. The documentation doesn't exactly give any clear advice on how to produce good quality prints other than to say - "choose Automatic". This short step-by-step should give the new/novice Photoshop 6 user some better guidance.

Introduction

The driver settings are not printer specific, they should be compatible with just about any Epson Inkjet printer currently available and also with some from quite a few years back. The screen captures are all based on the Epson Photo Stylus 1200, so be aware that newer models will differ very slightly.

The ColorSync profiles supplied with the Mac OS driver can be separated into media specific profiles and one called Epson Standard. This last profile simply defines the optimum colour space for the Epson printer and is associated with the Color Settings, PhotoEnhance and ColorSync modes; it's actually pretty close to ColorMatch/sRGB in colour space terms. When the driver is set for any of the 3 operating modes listed above it needs no additional media profiles. The media profiles are all named such that the user can easily recognise the specific paper with which they are associated.

For best results when using an Epson Printer with Photoshop we should really have it correctly configured and the monitor properly calibrated. Adobe provides Adobe Gamma for the purpose of calibration and I have produced a comprehensive essay describing how Photoshop 6 can be configured along with guidance on calibrating the monitor. See Photoshop 6 Colour Setup.

Getting an acceptable Print

The typical user of an Epson printer and Photoshop 6 has two BASIC print workflows (methods). Neither is complex, in fact many of the driver settings are common to both methods. The results from both may be similar. I suggest that you try both and decide which of the two suites your workflow best.

Method 1 - Let ColorSync colour engine do the colour space conversions

In Photoshop 6 Print dialog "File > Print", choose the Media Type (1) and make sure that the Source Space radio button is selected (2). We then choose the "Printer Space" Profile pop-up (3) and from it select "Printer Color Management (PCM)". Intent cannot be changed, nor does it need to be since no conversions take place inside Photoshop when using this method.

 

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Photoshop 6/Epson 1200 - Print Dialog

 

Choosing PCM embeds the "source colour space profile" within the image and so tells ColorSync and the Epson driver that it has some conversion work still to do before printing the image. The conversion process is automatic and the user has no role, so long as the Epson driver is set-up for ColorSync mode.

 

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Epson Print Driver 1200 - Advanced Settings

 

Chose the highest Print Quality (5) option compatible with the printer/media combination that you require. Color Management (6) should be set-up for ColorSync, Make sure the Profile selected is Epson Standard and the Rendering Intent Perceptual (7). Lastly, press the OK button and return to the Photoshop 6 Print dialog.

 

Method 2 - Let PS6 colour engine do the colour space conversions

In PS6 Print dialog "File > Print", choose the Media Type (1) and make sure that the Source Space (2) radio button is selected. We then choose the "Printer Space" Profile pop-up (3) and from it select the ColorSync profile for our media choice, e.g.; "Epson Stylus Photo 1200 Photo Paper". Intent should be set at Perceptual. Note that you should avoid choosing Epson Standard in this popup. Next select "Custom" mode and then choose the Advanced button (4).

 

Photoshop 6/Epson 1200 - Print Dialog

 

Chose the highest Print Quality (5) option compatible with the printer/media combination that you require. Color Management (6) should be set-up for Color Adjustment/Controls (different drivers have different labels), No Color Adjustment mode (7).  Note that this mode disables the adjustment sliders and removes most of Epson's internal colour processing. Lastly, press the OK button and return to the Photoshop 6 Print dialog.

 

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Epson 1200 Print Driver - Advanced Settings

 

Final Thoughts

Both methods are equally valid; depending upon whether the image is photographic or graphical in nature they will produce very similar, if not identical results. In theory, Method 2 should produce a marginally better result since it utilises the Adobe colour conversion engine, which is reckoned to be superior to the ColorSync engine.

There are other printer workflows available to Mac OS users, but these are generally aimed at the more advanced user. For the novice user the methods described above will ensure good quality prints with minimal scope for destroying an image because of a silly keystroke.

 

 

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