We are nearly ready to roll out the release version of Piezography®2. The pre-release versions have been out in the hands of photographers and printmakers for months now. We’ve been customizing solutions on a for ask basis. But, now we are compiling all the curves and making ready the installation packages for QuadTone RIP.

What is Piezography2?

Since 2005, Piezography systems have been based upon using all of the available ink slots in a printer in order to maximize the fidelity. Most of the printers we support have eight or more ink slots. Some have only six (such as the R1400 and R1430), and some of the older printers have only seven. While Epson uses only three shades of black in order to render a black & white print, the philosophy behind Piezography has been to use more shades of black ink in order to render tens of thousands of gray levels in the final print in order to maximize fidelity and resolution.

Piezography K7 inks use up seven slots and this has traditionally left one additional cartridge slot with nothing to put in it but PiezoFlush to keep the unused print head from drying out.

This eighth slot could be used with Piezography Gloss Overprint and the matte black can be switched to Piezography photo black for glossy printing. We’ve been supporting that solution already for several years. However, it is often inconvenient to switch from matte black to photo black and back and forth during a printing session. It can also waste a lot of expensive ink.

Learn more about matte and glossy compatibility of all existing Piezography inks

In 2011, all Piezography inks became both matte and glossy compatible. Each of the ink shades of all five of our ink sets (Carbon, Neutral, Selenium, Special Edition, Warm Neutral) from shade 2 through shade 7 can be printed on matte paper or glossy paper (including satin and baryta).

For matte printing, a matte black must be used in order to produce the darkest dMax – that black is universal and we call it Piezography Neutral K7 shade 1.

For non-matte printing, the matte black can not be used. Instead, a Piezography photo black must be used in addition to overprinting with Piezography Gloss Overprint (GO). We have two photo blacks. The most widely used is the Selenium MPS Shade 1 black which is our neutral photo black and can be used with all ink sets. Warm Neutral MPS Shade 1 black is a much denser (opaque on film) black that is also warmer – and we suggest its use with Carbon, Special Edition, and Warm Neutral inks when making glossy prints.

The Piezography Gloss Overprint can not make matte paper glossy, nor will it work over the matte black Neutral shade 1 ink. Its purpose is to remove all gloss differential between the inks and the paper so that a Piezography Glossy print looks just like its darkroom counterpart. Even at an angle you can not see where ink ends and paper begins. It also eliminates bronzing. When used as directed it does not make the glossiness of a paper more glossy.

When we released the Piezography MPS (Master Piezography System) for the Epson 3800 and 3880 printers, these printers had enough ink slots to have both matte and photo black, six additional shades of black,  as well as the Piezography GO installed all at the same time. With an Epson R3000 or the Pro 3800/3880, 4900, 7890/9890, 7900/9900 printers we have that luxury, too. This gave us the idea to make a system for older generation printers and new printers with fewer ink slots that could function in the same way as the MPS systems.

So, for the Epson 2400, 2880, 4800, 4880, 7800, 7880, 9800, 9880 and printers we have made a solution that will allow both matte and glossy printing in one system and does not require black ink changes. That solution is Piezography2. The basics are that we are dropping the shade 7 in favor of running PiezographyK6 with both matte and photo blacks and the GO installed. In order to do this, we had to develop new master curves and to produce new curves libraries for these supported printers. You only have to choose the correct QTR curve to change between the matte and the photo black. And that has taken us some time! Those who have already been running Piezography2 received custom curves for their setup. The release is planned for April 28.

Piezography2 Inks layout in an Epson 7880

What about the R1400 and the new R1430?

This is an extraordinary printer family with such a tiny drop size that we have run Piezography K6 on these systems which are comparable with K7 running on a $5,000 Epson PRO 9900 printer! So, it is easy to convert these to a K5 system with GO installed in the sixth slot. The matte and photo black cartridges are easily swapped out to make a Piezography2 system.

Piezography 2 allows users of all these supported printers to have the same freedom of matte/glossy use as do our customers on the Epson R3000, Epson Pro 3800/3880, Epson Pro 4900, Epson Pro 7890/9890, and Epson Pro 7900/9900 printers.

So, is it good enough?

It’s way better than good enough! The six shades are still twice as many than Epson’s three black system. Piezography2 adds two additional shades for the shadow end and one additional shade in the highlights in direct comparison to ABW.  But, Piezography is so much more than Epson’s ABW. ABW is really good inkjet. Piezography is photographic printmaking, and it does not have any of the tell-tale signs of inkjet. Piezography2 is about producing a higher standard than the OEM, but with more flexibility and ease of use.

Upgrade Paths

The upgrade is actually quite easy. You would need only to replace the inks in two cartridge positions. You could chase out the old ink with a special Calibration target in calibration mode in QTR, or you could Power Clean the printer to introduce the new inks. It isn’t difficult. You will need new carts and new inks for these two positions. We will give you the full details when we release.

Get the Curves

You can download and install the curves by simply downloading and installing The Piezography Community Edition available right here.

Ink Placement Chart