Jon Cone’s Black & White digital timeline

Jon Cone has been providing innovative black and white inkjet techniques and methodology since 1993. As IRIS Graphics sole development partner in Fine Arts, Jon Cone developed several innovations culminating in 1999’s prestigious award from PDN/PIX as Digital Innovator of the year. DigitalPlatinum for IRIS remains the crowning achievement of Jon Cone’s black and white technology. DigitalPlatinum was put back in development for photographer Gregory Colbert; prints from this complex monochromatic printmaking system have been seen by more than 10 million visitors to the Ashes and Snow nomadic museum.

1993 – Graytone100 for IRIS

Jon Cone writes Graytone100, first digital black and white software for IRIS Graphics 3000 series printers. Produced in DOS, this series of simple ink LUTs produces neutral grayscale prints using IRIS Industrial Design cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks without the striation and rainbowing associated with the printers.

1994 – ConeTech WGFA longevity inks for IRIS 3000 series printers

First super gamut long lasting inks designed for IRIS printers. Top ranked in 1994 for longevity, along side Lyson FA inks, but without the poor red performance associated with the Lyson inks. WGFA inks and Graytone100 become an archival platform for serious black and white photography.

1995 – ConeTech RGFA reduced gamut archival inks for IRIS 3000 series printers

ConeStudio’s ink mixing lab turns out a novel idea for generating grayscale prints in a wide variety of tones. WGFA cyan, magenta, and yellow inks are mixed with black to produce gray component inks which can be mixed via LUTs to produce effects ranging from warm tone; cool tone; neutral tone; and cold tone.

ConeTech Multitone for IRIS released – system incorporating ConeTech RGFA inks and ConeTech Multitone IRIS LUTs. First inkjet printing system devoted exclusively to the production of black and white photographic printing. Software runs under Windows 3.1.

1996 – ConeTech Unitone for IRIS released

This novel approach allows for the simultaneous printing of color and black and white prints from a single IRIS 3000 series printer. Unitone for IRIS is a software which combines ink LUTs with firmware Matrices to produce a wide variety of monochromatic effects using archival CMYK inks from ConeTech, Lyson or IRIS Graphics inks. A simple user interface allows for infinite custom ink mixing ranging from warm tone; cool tone; neutral tone; selenium tone, and cold tone. There is no perceptible evidence that individual cyan, magenta, and yellow components are used. Software runs under Windows95. Updated to Windows 98.

1997/8 DigitalPlatinum for IRIS

Jon Cone develops the most advanced monochromatic printing system ever produced for inkjet printers. DigitalPlatinum for IRIS combines a proprietary ConeTech ink system of multi-chromatic blacks and a software interface to replicate traditional palladium process. Extremely stable ConeTech IRIS inks combine with proprietary software which produces dot-less printing. Debuted at Photo Plus Expo East in NYC in 1998, this process becomes the first optical quality digital process. Produced entirely within the mixing and software lab of ConeStudio, the process gains Jon Cone the prestigious Digital Innovator of 1999 award by PDN-PIX. Jon Cone and Carl Weese combine to recreate the Ziatype Palladium process in ConeStudio as a DigitalPlatinum variation.

1999 – Jon Cone named Digital Innovator of the Year by Photo District News

2000 – Piezography®BW

ConeTech releases Piezography®BW software and inks for EPSON printers as an inexpensive desktop system, PiezographyBW is an optical quality monochromatic system. In sharp contrast to $123,000 IRIS 3047 printers, Piezography®BW works with $119 and higher EPSON printers. The Photoshop plug-in software allows for direct use from the most popular image editing software.

2002 – PiezoTone™ inks

PiezographyBW inks were introduced in March, 2000 as a carbon pigment/dye mixture in a strong co-solvent base. Although contemporary at its release, it has been replaced by a new generation of quad black inks offering significantly better technology resulting in greatly increased longevity, color stability, and printer performance. This new ink family is called ConeTech PiezoTone and replaces the now discontinued PiezographyBW inks. PiezoTone inks are a 100% pure pigment ink and are offered in 4 different hue/tone families.

2003 – Piezography®BW for Canon

Another first! PiezoTone inks formulated for Canon are the first pigment formula for Canon. PiezoTones for Canon offer the advantage of printability without dusting or bronzing on glossy. The product is released at PMA, but Canon-USA does not provide support and the product is retired. Piezography returns to private development on Epson and Roland printers.

2003 – PiezographyBW ICC

Another first! The Epson RGB printer driver is used, rather than a unique printer driver. Piezography moves from proprietary print driver architecture to using the manufacturers printer driver in order to perfectly linearize up to seven shades of black ink using an RGB workflow. A unique Piezography ICC printer profiling application is written that produces ICC profiles that are loaded by the user during printing and simultaneously used to SoftProof in Photoshop.

2004 – iQuads™

InkjetMall offers personalized monochromatic ICC profiling of user’s individual printers to achieve a higher state of perfection. iQuads allows for unique differences between the user’s printer, and the printers which were utilized in the generic profiling process. Taking it to another level, this technology permits unparalleled accuracy on an individual basis.

2005 – Piezography® Neutral K7™

A truly achromatic inkset for monochromatic printing. Designed to be L*a*b neutral to the human eye, each of the seven dilutions will not reflect color. This new formulation uses smaller pigment particles of modified carbon which have been custom ground and polished to achieve a neutral state. The vehicle in which the encapsulated pigment is suspended further enhances longevity while at the same time permits this ink to have unprecedented “slipperyness” in the tiny ink channels of the latest EPSON® printers. Piezography Neutral K7 can be used with QuadTone RIP and StudioPrint RIP. The Piezography ICC printer profiler is re-written to create proprietary QuadTone RIP “curves”.

2006 – Piezography® SplitTone™

A truly novel way to produce images which split from Neutral highlights into Sepia shadows or any combination of the new Piezography K7 inks such as the upcoming Selenium and Warm Neutral. Competing systems which do variable toning do not take advantage of the higher quality of printing with seven dilutions of ink. Instead those system utilize only three or four of the ink positions to mix inks into variable toned prints. Piezography SplitTone achieves the effect but does so by partitioning the image into seven parts to create the smoothest possible print. How? Each of the seven shades of Piezography Neutral K7 has the same precise density as its counterpart in the other versions of Sepia K7, Selenium K7 and Warm Neutral K7. You can define how the split tone is created, and still be assured of the smoothest possible print.

2006-2008 – Private inks and methodology development for photographer Gregory Colbert

With printmaking in sizes up to 8 x 14 feet, using private applications, software, and ink development I have been inventing the printing methodologies for the Ashes and Snow Exhibitions. The Mexico City exhibition of Ashes and Snow was viewed by more than 8.5 million visitors making it the most viewed exhibition in the history of the world.

2007 – Piezography® MPS

MPS is a new formulation which I have created to allow for a “universal” black. Shade 1 black prints on both matte papers as well as glossy papers. MPS Gloss Optimizer can be used by expert users. A total of seven shades and a GO makes this ink set very desirable for studios which can create their own matte and gloss workflows.

2007 – Piezography® Special Edition

Created to commemorate the complex triple split toning of the Ashes and Snow prints produced for Colbert’s Nomadic Museum, Special Edition inks are released. This is a blended ink set from Neutral, Selenium and Sepia that highlights the ability of Piezography K7 and K6 inks to be blended. Piezography K inks were designed so that each shade has consistent L values from hue to hue.

2010 – Piezography® digital film

First generation Piezography film system released for Epson 2400, 2880, 4800, 7800 and 9800 printers for the replication of continuos tone silver negatives and backlit films, and opaque film positives. Two new shades of ink (2.5 and 4.5) introduced for replacement of shades 2 and 4 in glossy compatible K7 ink sets.