Printing Success

McLovin', 8 x 11 Watercolor

In my last post I described purchasing a professional printer to make prints of my artwork and the trouble I had using the wrong paper. Well, the right paper arrived Friday, and after putting off working with what I knew would be a series of tedious and confusing dialog boxes, I tackled it today. I was not disappointed in the expected tedium, but I prevailed in the end.

I can now tell you how to make 8 x 10 fine art prints on a Canon Pixma Pro 9000 Mark II.  FYI, I have XP and am printing from a TIFF of the vivid 8 x 11 watercolor shown here.

1. Purchase Canon Fine Art Paper. I used “Museum Etching” because I do textured-paper artwork and wanted to mimic that.

2. Visit the website of the manufacturer, Hahnemuhle.  Follow the links/directions to download three files, the PK and MK installation instructions for your printer, and the ICC file for your paper and printer.  I don’t know why there are two instructions, since neither of them matches the ink in my printer.  Look them over and decide if you want to just do what I did.

3. Install the ICC file.  I got these directions from a forum, since Canon seemed unwilling to share.

Easiest way is to go to the Windows Control Panel (***), open up the Printers tab, and right-click on the icon or listing for the Pixma9000, and select Properties…

***If you’re a Mac user, I don’t know what their equivalent is called; but there will be somewhere you can access all the system basics…

That ‘should’ bring up the printer’s control panels, and you should see a ‘Colour Management’ tab. Select that and look for the ‘Colour Profiles’ tab. You should then see an option to ‘Add’ a new profile. Select that, surf to wherever you have the ICC profle stored, select, and save as the default [by clicking the Manual radio button]!

Off you go!

NOTE; For BEST results you should also set [Canon Digital Photo Professional] DPP’s colour management tab (Main menu, Tools, Preferences, Colour Management) to use that same ICC profile as well… “

I don’t have DPP, just the software that came with the printer: Canon Solutions and Photoshop Elements 8.  After trying two Canon applications to print I decided to go with Photoshop Element Organizer, since it was giving me the best layout options, and I was able to figure out how to apply the ICC.

4. I turned on the ICC through Adobe PE Organizer: File, Print, More Options, Color Management, set Print Space to the ICC you loaded in Control Panel.

5. You have to turn off color correction in the Canon driver or your prints will be ghastly. I did this thusly:  in the Canon Pixma Pro9000 II series Properties dialog box (you can get here various ways such as advanced options in a print dialog or through the Canon Solution Menu), click the “Main” tab, set “Color/Intensity” to manual, click “Set,” choose the “Matching” tab, set “Color Correction” to None, and take a well-needed rest.

For your info, with this thick paper you have to use the front loader, and maybe you are as perplexed as me about how to set that up.  The pictures in the manual and the dialog boxes were confusing to me, so I’ll try another explanation: You open the front tray in the usual way, then grab the tray on either end and lift straight up, allowing the edge towards you to tip upwards, and yet you will also lift the whole platform up about an inch and it will settle in at its new height, the height at which paper can enter straight in.  You also have to push the button at the top back right to open the rear tray, and leave extra room for the paper to poke out the back briefly without hitting your wall.  The paper won’t go in the front until the onscreen dialog box tells you – just follow the directions.

Still I had a problem: using the Hahnemuhle-recommended “Museum Rag” setting, the maximum size is 7.5 x 10, which is unacceptable, since I want customers to be able to use pre-cut 8 x 10 mats. I need at least another 1/4″ side to side for a precut to work. But this Rag setting is sure better than the Etching setting, which put even more ridiculous limitations on layout.

In working on this problem, I came up with this forum posting by another frustrated user. According to a responder, the Fine Art paper settings only set paper thickness and have nothing to do with ink or color settings. Their downside is they have the ridiculous and unnecessary margin limitations I noticed. The writer recommended using the “Matte Photo Paper” setting for all matte art paper, and relying on the ICC for ink settings.

I tried this and while I was unable to simply set the image to 8 x 10, I was now able to choose Borderless (in the Canon properties dialog), and on the Page Setup tab there I set Extension to minimum. With my art, this was just big enough to fit in a precut matt; I realize that the problem at this point is that my original is not the same format ratio as 8 x 10 and so making the print any wider will cut off even more top and bottom. So, no longer a printer issue.  If I did want it wider, I could have increased the Extension.

The prints are beautiful now, and while I can see that they are slightly more blue than the original, I’m sure I can fix that, and unless you compare them side by side it is not a problem anyway.  The colors tend towards blue only on the last print, done with the Matte Photo Paper setting, so apparently there is a color effect.  I’ll have to figure that out.

But, success!

2 responses to “Printing Success

  1. I’m porting all my images to a new computer running Windows 7.

    I use Photoshop Elements 8 and according to all the Google responses I could see, the only/best way to get all your tags and stacking, etc of images in Organizer is to back them up using PS and then restore them on the new computer. I had already simply copied all the images to the new computer, so this is a bit of a redo, but better than reentering all those tags.

    What I really wanted to update here, though, is how to install the ICC profile on Windows 7. Not that it was that hard to figure out. I went to Control Panel and chose “Color Management.” (You need to be in “View by: icons”.) I selected my device from the drop-down list, checked “Use my settings for this device” so that the “Add” button at the bottom was active, clicked it, chose “Browse” and found the profile I downloaded. I’m not sure whether I want Manual or Automatic “profile selection” but I went with automatic as recommended.

  2. I want to update how I now make “8 x 10” prints. I just wasn’t happy with how the color was coming out with the borderless setting as described in the post above.

    An aside: I have heard that the Canon drivers enforce the borderless/paper restrictions because with a thicker paper you could damage the printhead if it is printing over the thick edge: get caught coming back onto the paper I guess. Even though “borderless” in my case is not going to the edge, maybe enough of the mechanism goes over that there is a danger.

    Anyway, what I realized is that precut mats have a smaller opening than 8 x 10 and that a 7.5 x 10 print is fine. So I use these settings in Adobe PE8 and am very happy with the color:

    Printer: Pro 9000
    Paper: Fine Art Photo Rag
    Print quality: High
    Tray: Front
    Paper size: 8.5 x 11
    Advanced: Color/Intensity Manual Adjustment, Matching, Color Correction = None
    More Options: Color Mgmt, Print Space = “HFA…” etc (the IFC file)

    To print 2-up 5 x 7’s, I choose “Picture Package” and “Letter (2) 5 x 7”

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