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Matte Black vs Photo Black for printing on plain paper w/ Epson 2200

Margaret S. , Jul 11, 2003; 04:55 p.m.

I'm trying to print a cartoon design (mostly B&W with a few fills of solid color - no gradients) on a CD jewel case insert with my Epson 2200. I currently have the Photo Black ink installed but I'm getting a very "washed-out" black as opposed to a solid DARK black. As a matter of fact, the colors are also kind of dull! I noticed that when I tried printing on business-card paper stock (which is heavier and thicker than CD jewel case insert paper stock) the black was darker (and the colors also more vivid).

Would the Matte Black ink cartridge solve my problem by producing a darker "pitch-black" black or does the problem lie elsewhere with the paper absorbency level? Unfortunately, the paper stock for CD Jewel cases and labels is standard so I can't change that. I need to produce professional looking results as this is not for personal use. The other alternative I thought of is using glossy paper for the inserts but this paper is not Epson-brand so who knows what kind of color reproduction I would get. Has anyone had any experience with this?

Any suggestions would be greatly helpful. Thank you!

Responses

Jorge M. Treviño , Jul 11, 2003; 09:00 p.m.

Margaret, I have used with fair success a type of business card stock (known as "Opalina" in Mexico, where I live) with the 2200. It's a coated paper of very smooth surface. I use the Epson Matte Black ink and ajust the printer settings as follows: Media Type: Enhanced Matte. Quality: Photo 1440 dpi. Ink Config: Color Density +10%. Color Controls: Saturation +20%. Magenta +5%. Yellow +10%. The colors still come out fairly muted but it's the closest I've got to my monitor display. I use the Printer Test target available from Diigital Dog to adjust my paper profiles by trial and error. http://digitaldog.imagingrevue.com/files/PrinterTestfile.jpg.hqx

Jorge M. Treviño , Jul 11, 2003; 09:11 p.m.

Forgot to mention that these very settings and paper is what I use for the CD case inserts. I also print the CD labels -Avery 8931- with those settings and get decent results. The Matte Black does make a big difference on the D-Max that you get on all kinds of matte papers. Stick to glossies with the Photo Black ink. BTW, I have tried several types of non-Epson glossy and semi-glossy papers (HP, Konica and a generic brand purchased at Office Depot) with good results. You will want to slightly adjust your color controls but all are capable of good results. The recommended printer target -or even the "Carmen Miranda" that Adobe supplies with Photoshop and Elements are big helpers to the correct calibration. Don't dispair, the 2200 is an able printer, just probably not the most intuitive of them all.

hiflex | , Jul 13, 2003; 09:52 a.m.

Short answer is yes, Matte Black will increase the Dmax, color saturation and will improve print quality on matte paper stock. Using non-Epson glossy paper with the 2200 may require custom paper ICC profiling. Switching to Matte Black ink is the simpler solution.

Kevin Connery , Jul 13, 2003; 05:10 p.m.

The Matte Black CAN give a 'darker' black when used on non-glossy paper.

However, even Photo Black should give acceptable results (for different values of "acceptable"), IF the right printer settings are used.

What paper did you tell the printer driver was being used, what profile did you specify, and what printer settings? (And if you're using a RIP, which one?)

I have noticed that the 2200 is less prone to getting lighter when way too much ink is used, but it still can happen. Try printing a black-to-white step wedge with blacks going from 0% to 25% or so, and see when you stop seeing any difference on the paper you're using. Then adjust the image to take that into account. (For example, if a brightness of 15 on screen can't be distinguished from 14 or 13 or 12..., you can get better results by adjusting the darkest points to that range--it'll keep the dark areas from blocking up and looking muddy.)

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