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Profiling Printer with OCP Ink

Discussion in 'Everything Else InkJet Printer Related' started by wcandrews@sccoast.net, Feb 7, 2011.

  1. Feb 7, 2011
    wcandrews@sccoast.net

    wcandrews@sccoast.net Getting Fingers Dirty

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    I have been making printer/paper/ink profiles for a few years with few surprises, but I got a very large surprise with OCP ink and Red River Arctic Satin paper.

    As most know, one makes a test print for the profiling hardware to read. Because an ink jet print seems to cure for a while after being printed, I have always let these text prints cure for 24 hours before making the profile. This work was done exactly like that.

    After the profile was finished, I made a text print of a real scene to check against that same scene using OEM ink with the same paper, printer, and processing. I have reported before that I am very well pleased with the outcome, and I thought results with the OCP ink was as good as with OEM ink.

    The profile test print was made on 02/03/2011. The profile and real scene test print was made the next day -- 02/04/2011. I keep both the OEM ink print and the OCP ink print on my desk and examine them two or three times a day most days. Yesterday was big non-photo day (big basketball game and Super Bowl), and I didn't examine the prints yesterday.

    Today, 02/07/2011, I was stunned when I examined the prints. The OEM ink print was still there in all its original glory. The OCP print had cured to be among the best prints I have ever seen. The captures were made with a good camera (Canon 5DII), good lens (Canon 24-105L IS), and shot in RAW. The files were processed and printed in Lightroom 3.3 with the same settings. I expect and get outstanding results from this combination.

    I was not prepared to see how the quality of the Print with the OCP ink had improved. It has taken on a three-D quality. The colors are more vivid and deep. The detail is unbelievable. The sharpness is such that you get the feeling you could touch the flowers.

    The print was good as it came from the printer, but no way near as good as three days later. It is noticeable better than the print with OEM ink. To say that I am pleased with OCP ink is an understatement.

    The lesson to be learned here is that when making a profile test print with OCP ink, the profile should only be made about three days after the profile test print is make. I have not seen such a dramatic result with other inks.

    Good luck!
    Wil
     
  2. Feb 7, 2011
    l_d_allan

    l_d_allan Fan of Printing

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    Very interesting and this OCP newbie appreciates the post. Some questions ...

    * Do you have experience with CostCo Kirkland 8.5x11" paper ... specifically if a three day cured print is different and/or better than after 24 hours?

    I'm a printing newbie on a budget, and want to go through several boxes of Kirkland before printing on bigger and/or more expensive paper. Longevity isn't much of a concern, at least for now.

    IIRC, a profile guru I was corresponding with rated OPC ink on either Canon OEM paper or Kirland as having a bigger gamut than Canon OEM ink. I'll try to track down the specifics since there were several "degrees of freedom" involved.

    * Any thoughts/evidence on OCP longevity? Wilhelm numbers? Eventually that may be something I'm concerned about.

    * Do you have a test print you use that could be shared? I generally use an expanded Kodak-like one from the author of "Fine Art Printing for Photographers" by Uwe Steinmueller, but I do want to build a larger selection.
     
  3. Feb 8, 2011
    wcandrews@sccoast.net

    wcandrews@sccoast.net Getting Fingers Dirty

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    As it turns out, I have just bought a box of Kirkland paper and printed the profile test prints. I will wait three days to make the profile and do the same real scene test print at that time.

    I'll report the results as they become available.

    As for as price advantage for the Kirkland paper is concerned, it seems to me that there is a large cost advantage with the 8.5 x 11 paper, but not much in larger sizes. The Red River paper is so good that I'll likely stick with that in the 13 x 19 sheet sizes.


    Good luck!
    Wil
     
  4. Feb 10, 2011
    wcandrews@sccoast.net

    wcandrews@sccoast.net Getting Fingers Dirty

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    Canon 9000Pro II. OCP Ink, Kirkland Signature Glossy Paper

    The profile making print was made three days ago. After observing the curing process with OCP ink, I decided to wait three days to make the actual profile.

    After completing the profile, I made a test print of the same scene I have used for all these tests:
    1. OEM ink, Red River Arctic Polar Satin paper
    2. OCP ink, Red River Arctic Polar Satin paper
    3. OCP ink, CostCo Kirkland Signature Glossy paper

    Of course, 1 and 2 are fully cured and 2 is with out doubt the best.

    3 has just come off the printer, so has not had time to cure. In this early state, it is difficult to see a difference between 3 and 1. I'll report how it looks after it has cured for three days.

    Hold the Press! The Kirkland print discussed above was made with the OCP/Red River Arctic Polar Satin profile, not the Kirkland Profile. First Mistake I ever made.:)

    The print with the proper profile has just come off the printer. There are some subtle differences in the two prints, but the prints must be viewed side by side to see them at this early stage of their curing phase. Both Kirkland/OCP prints would be judged to equal the Red River OEM ink print.

    We don't know how the longevity of the Kirkland and OCP ink combination will be, but initially it looks like the Kirkland paper is doing just fine.

    We also don't know about the longevity of the OCP ink itself, but at this moment, it all looks promising.

    Good Luck!
    Wil
     
  5. Feb 10, 2011
    l_d_allan

    l_d_allan Fan of Printing

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    Any chance you would be willing to share a link to the file from which you made the test print? Or is that something you sell?

    I'd like to build up a series of test prints of real scenes known to "challenge" the capabilities of a paper+ink combinations. Kind of like the old days when my hearing was better ... of having certain music to test your home-built speakers.
    * This musical section will challenge your woofer and here is what to look for
    * .... your cross-over
    * ... your tweeter
     
  6. Feb 10, 2011
    ghwellsjr

    ghwellsjr Printer Master Platinum Printer Member

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    I created this test image because it has well-defined colors:

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Feb 10, 2011
    wcandrews@sccoast.net

    wcandrews@sccoast.net Getting Fingers Dirty

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    I'd be happy to share these prints with anyone, but there are a few complications.

    I use lightroom, and the real scenes (2) are .dng RAW files. They are 24.88 and 20.70 MB file sizes. While in Lightroom, they are in an extended ProPhoto RGB color space and are close to 16 bit deep files. When exported to 8-bit .tif files they grow to 60.2 and 44.1 MB files. Their gamut is much greater than the sRGB you get most likely get on your monitor. If you are not using Lightroom or Photoshop, they should be in Adobe Color space to keep from banding, but to get enough gamut to see the results from your prints -- for example the Canon 9000Pro II printer has a much larger gamut than sRGB with OEM ink. We have seen that with OCP ink it has an even greater gamut than the OEM ink.

    The test print from Adobe (Colorfile.tif) does not seem to have any copyright restrictions, and I'll be happy to send it to anyone wanting it. It is the best test print for its purpose I have ever seen. It exercises everything you can think of. Here is the web copy of what it shows:

    [​IMG]

    The original is 12.1 MB. Notice all the shades of gray behind the model. That's where the devil hides most of the time.

    You can see that we have some issues with file sizes. The original file sizes are necessary if you want top quality results.

    I'm open to any suggestions!

    Good Luck!
    Wil
     
  8. Feb 10, 2011
    l_d_allan

    l_d_allan Fan of Printing

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    Wil,

    Thanks for bringing the Adobe test image to my attention. I hadn't been aware of it, but it looks good.

    I'd be ok with uploading several of your test images to my hosted website, even the full-sized .dng's. I used to do a lot of freeware and/or open source software development on projects that are now relatively inactive, and don't come close to using up my bandwidth.

    Then you or I or whoever could provide a link. It would end up being something like:
    http://www.lasofstuf.org/photos/100602b_083766_FrontRangeFromCshp.zip
    which would unzip to the .dng

    I wouldn't think that many people would be interested in unzipping a file to get to a .dng, but if it became a problem about exceeding my monthly bandwidth quota, I would remove. BTW, I use ProPhoto as my default working space.

    I'd prefer to check on the Adobe ColorFile.tif before making it available, however, rather than assuming it is public domain. Seems like would be ok.

    FWIW, I have PhotoShop CS5 with much improved sharpening and noise reduction compared to CS4, and my preferred printing is straight from ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) to PS and then printing. I'd like to be able to print straight from ACR/Bridge, but I don't think this can be done.

    More and more of my images can be handled fine with ACR, so my workflow is therefore somewhat equivalent to using LightRoom-3. My goal is to improve my technique over time enough so that I use PS less and less unless there is no way to get the job done in ACR .. to make myself be a better photographer. I consider it flawed to have a cavalier attitude of "what the heck, I can fix that in photoshop".
     
  9. Feb 22, 2011
    wcandrews@sccoast.net

    wcandrews@sccoast.net Getting Fingers Dirty

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    Profiling OCP Ink

    After discovering that the OCP/Red River combo went through a curing process of about three days, I recommended that the profiling test print cure for three days before making the profile. Further considerations have made me change that recommendation. In my effort to get to the bottom of this, I called xRite Technical support and discussed this issue with them. They also recommended to let the test profile print cure until the print stopped changing. As I thought more about it, I came to conclusions as described below.

    1. The OCP curing process improves the print. After curing, the gamut is greater, the whole intensity of the print improves, and the results are visible.

    2. The objective of the profiling process is to get the best quality print from the particular ink/paper/printer combo.

    3. If we make a profile with the profile test that has cured for three days, that profile will try to make a print that comes off the printer with the three day cure properties. That real print will then go through its own three day cure process and the result is a different print than expected.

    4. The obvious workflow should be to make the profile very soon after the profile test print has been printed and before its curing cycle starts.

    5. To test this conclusion, I made profiles from profile test prints at 3-day cure time and 4-hour cure time, and then printed the real files from each of these profiles and compared the results.

    6. The profiling and real test prints were made on both Red River Arctic Polar Satin and Kirkland Signature Gloss. In all cases, the profiles produced with a four hour cure time for the profile test print produced better quality prints after the real prints had cured for three days. The differences were not much, but could be seen.

    Kirkland Signature Paper
    Kirkland paper was included in this test to determine its quality, and if OCP ink went though the same curing cycle with this paper as with Red River paper.

    1. This paper produces outstanding results with OPC ink. There are some visual differences in the gray area, but not enough to be of concern.

    2. I was able to return to the place where one of the test prints was made, and I was able to compare the prints to the original scene.

    3. In all but the gray areas, I couldnt make any distinction between the two papers. The gray areas in the Kirkland print were a little to the magenta side of the Red River paper.

    4. Before I compared the prints with the original scene, I would have said that the Red River paper was the most correct. After comparing the prints with the original scene, the Kirkland paper prints were the most accurate in the gray area.

    5. Red River papers are great, and I love them. But, if you look at the price difference, Kirkland Signature paper is a winner in 8.5 x 11 size, not so much in 13 x 19 size.

    6. I have Red River prints hanging in my home several years old without any fading. I really like Red River paper, but this Kirkland stuff needs to be tested. If it holds up, it is a winner.

    Disclosure:
    When I got my first OCP ink, Red and Green were not available. All the info and conclusions in these reports are from six OCP inks and Canon Red and Green ink. Since such little red and green ink is used, I doubt that the use of Canon red and green have much effect on the results. OCP Red and Green have now become available, and I have ordered a supply of those. When they arrive, new profiles and new tests will be performed.

    If the final tests with OCP ink and the Red River Arctic Polar Satin, and the Kirkland Signature papers are as successful as the current results, Ill publish the them and make those profiles available to members of this forum. Good Luck!
    Wil
     
  10. Feb 22, 2011
    pharmacist

    pharmacist Printer Master Platinum Printer Member

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    Can someone tell me why all this fuzz about OCP ink is good for ? Why not a same story about Hobbicolors or Image Specialists. One could make a very similar story about curing, profiling and tips about other refill inks. I hope this is not another form of this time organized spam attempt using several "members" creating an artificial hype over OCP ink, having several new members who surprisingly all seems to mention OCP in one way or another in their posts. Am I the only one who has noticed the suddenly rise of OCP posters on the nifty-stuff forum ???

    Maybe I'm getting paranoia...

    Can someone do a gamut test, fading test of several types of refill inks: Image Specialists, Hobbicolors UW-8, Inktec CLI-8, OCP for the 4 dye colours: cyan, magenta, yellow and photo black on one type of standard microporous paper and then report back. I am willing to redo the tests, if someone is willing to provide the ink to me, so I can recheck the fading tests.
     

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