Epson Stylus Photo R3000 Review Part 2 – Your First Prints

So now that you have installed the printer according to the instructions provided you are ready for your first color print.  The steps are relatively straightforward as outlined in the below process for color prints and black and white prints.

Color Prints

Firstly select “Print” from the “File” menu and the window below should be displayed:

Let’s first concentrate on the right side of the screen “Color Management”

You will see here that the “Document” radio button is selected showing the current color profile of the file which in this case is ProPhoto RGB.  Remember to use this file format and if you are a Lightroom user it is the default format.  It is generally acknowledged that ProPhoto will give better renditions on Epson printers and K3 ink set.  “Color Handling” should be set to “Photoshop Manages Colors”.  Note the warning about disabling the printer’s color management.  “Printer Profile” should be set to SPR3000 Epson Premium Glossy or whatever media you will be printing on.

Personally I like to print out a 4R Premium Glossy print first as a work print to check for color or any other major problems.  As for “Rendering Intent” there are couple schools of thought.  If you’ve read the “New Epson Complete Guide to Digital Printing” by Rob Sheppard then you’ll know that he advocates sticking to either Relative Colorimetric or Perceptual so that you can master and start “seeing” in that intent.  Others will tell you to see whichever intent looks more right to you on a case by case basis.  For me, I will go with Relative Colorimetric as a default first and then if necessary switch to Perceptual to check if it is any better or worse.

Lastly, you want to select “Black Point Compensation” which will move the black point in your photo depending on the output gamut of the printer.  For more details on BPC please check here.  So up to this point the printing config on the R3000 is pretty much straightforward color prints.  However, for B&W prints there’s a little catch that will stump you if you are not careful so read on.

B&W Prints

Up to this point the process for color and black and white prints is the same.  To take advantage of Epson’s “Advanced Blank and White” (ABW) mode there are a couple things to note.  Firstly in the “Color Management” screen the “Color Handling” setting needs to be set to “Printer Manages Color”:

IF YOU MISS THIS STEP THE ABW MODE WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE IN THE “PRINT SETTINGS” DIALOGUE BOX.  To do the ABW fine tuning you then press the “Print Settings” button on the left side of the screen:

This will bring up the following dialogue box:

Where it says “Layout” in the above screen you want to choose “Print Settings” which will activate the following dialogue box:

Check to make sure that the “Advanced B&W Photo” option is available as a “Color” setting.  Then select the “Advanced Color Settings” as pictured above.  Which will take you to the following screen:

The only setting you want to adjust here is the “Tone”.  This will adjust how dark or light the photo is printing.  All other settings should be done in Photoshop proper and not through this panel.  Now you can go back to the previous screen to make sure that the correct “Media Type” is selected and the “Photo Quality” is set to 1440 dpi or above (1440 should be sufficient).  Also make sure that the “High Speed” setting is off for maximum print quality.  Finally hit “Save” and away you go!  Whew!

As you can see there’s a couple of steps that can be made redundant with some smarter algorithm and predictive programming.  But that’s probably a future driver update.

Epson Complete Ink Cartridge Set for Epson Stylus Photo R3000 Printer

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Sample print from Epson Stylus Photo R3000

Here’s a print using Epson A3 Semigloss Photo Paper.  The subtle texture of the photo paper really matches well with the stone work inside the photo.

Before printing out the full size A3 above I printed out two smaller work prints using the Epson 4R Premium Glossy Paper.  You can see that the second photo below has a more greenish tint whereas the first one is more natural which is the one I ended up enlarging.

Photo was taken with the Bessa III using Fuji Pro 400H film.

Epson Complete Ink Cartridge Set for Epson Stylus Photo R3000 Printer

Configuring Spyder3Elite

This is Part 3 of the Color Management series.  Please refer to the following for previous related posts:

Part 1 – Overview of Color Management

Part 2 – Selecting the Right Color Profile for Epson Scanners

Hopefully this post will help to demystify monitor calibration using a colorimeter such as Spyder3Elite from Datacolor.

Step 1

The first screen will ask you to choose which monitor you would like to calibrate for those that have two or more monitors you can select one here.  The drop down box in the window below shows a Cinema HD Display and the second option you can’t see is the LCD Display on my Macbook Pro.

Step 2

This window is as complicated as it gets so if you can understand this step then you are all set.  The “Change these settings” radio button allows you to adjust the parameters specified.  If this is your first time just follow the suggested settings.  The settings shown are typical for operating in a dimly lit room.

Step 3

Here’s where you sit back and let the colorimeter do its’ magic.  In this step it measures the ambient light in the room where your monitor is situated.

Step 4

As you can see I have chosen to accept the suggested settings which are based on the ambient light reading in the step above.  Once again, all very magical!

Step 5

Pretty simple so far.  This is the step where you actually mount the colorimeter onto the screen so it can begin the color calibration process.  It will automatically run through a series of colors starting with blacks, whites then progressing to blues, greens and reds.  The sensor is held in place by a suction cup that is easily applied and removed leaving no marks on the screen.

Step 6

This is the only part where you have to intervene in the automated process.  All you have to do is set the brightness of the screen to the specified target value which is graphically represented by the two bars.  Press the brightness control buttons on the keyboard or monitor and hit the update button shown to see if you are in range.  You may have to repeat this step a couple of times to get it between the goal posts!

Step 7

Your done!  All you have to do is give your newly created profile a name which you can identify later.  I usually use my name and date for the profile name.

Step 8

The last screen shows the before and after calibration effects on a batch of photos.  Just hit the “Switch” button to toggle back and forth between the before and after.

Here’s the Spyder 3 Elite on Amazon

Selecting the Right Color Profile for Epson Scanners

This is Part 2 of the Color Management series.  For an overview of color management covered in Part 1 please refer to this link here.

To select the right color profile for your scanner first open the application that was included with the scanner. I have the Epson V700 so the application panel looks like this:

Screen shot 2009-11-09 at 7.34.40 PM

To access the color profile settings click the “Configuration” or similar labelled button.

Screen shot 2009-11-09 at 7.34.58 PM

Last step is to select the “Adobe RGB” target profile from the drop down list. And now your scanner is correctly color profiled!

For setting up Photoshop color profiling please refer to the Computer Darkroom tutorial.

Epson Perfection V700 Photo Color Scanner on Amazon

Color Management

I once posted this image I took to a forum only to have it rendered a ghastly greenish color on the screen.  One of the fellow forum goers gave me a few tips about color management and I’ve made sure since then that my colors are synched up across my workflow.  Here’s a little diagram I made to keep it straight in my head:

Color Sync Diagram

It’s actually not as confusing as it looks.  Color management basically works like this:

  • Each input and output device has its own ICC profile for color management
  • The arrows are labelled with the ICC profile which is in use by the device or software
  • You just have to make sure that the correct or preferred profile is chosen
  • Ambient light affects the way colors are perceived on your screen
  • So it is advisable to keep your monitor calibrated for the ambient light in your room

When you’re ready you should definitely purchase a monitor calibration device to keep things sorted. Here’s the Spyder 3 Elite on Amazon

It’ll only take you about 5 minutes to map this out for yourself.  For more details check this website out which has an awesome tutorial on color management: Computer Darkroom

Part 2 – Selecting the Right Color Profile for Epson Scanners