Traditionally, printing quality black and white images using an inkjet printer was an almost impossible task. Key differences between traditional silver halide reproductions and inkjet prints were the materials used and the method of reproduction.
Inkjet printers would attempt to print a black and white in one of two ways:
Printed with composite (CMYK Grey) / Printed with black ink only.
In 2005, Epson launched a revolutionary new ink set - Epson UltraChrome K3 . This new ink technology was specifically designed to create black and white images to a professional standard.
The fundamental feature of the Epson UltraChrome K3 ink set is the utilization of three different blacks .
Advantages of using three different blacks
Epson UltraChrome K3 Ink Combination: Three blacks can be used simultaneously. Photo or Matte Black, Light black and Light .light black.
Advanced B&W Photo Mode features in the print software of all Epson UltraChrome K3 supporting printers. This mode focuses the printers operations on monochrome reproduction by maximising the use of the three black inks and minimising the use of any color cartridges.
To print with Advanced B&W Photo Mode:
Select the Advanced… button (2, above) in Windows or select Printer Colour Management from the Apple OSX driver to access a range of advanced settings, such as Color Toning and Shadow Tonality .
Color Toning allows you to apply a color based tint to your image by either selecting one of the predefined settings (1) or by using the color wheel to specify a custom tint (2).
Appling a color tone in this way has multiple benefits:
In many ways, the Highlight and Shadow Tonality adjustments work in the same way as curve adjustments in Adobe Photoshop. The concept is, by adjusting the slider bars all areas identified as highlight areas can be adjusted independently from the rest of the image. The slider bar will either increase or decrease the lightness of the tonal range.
Using the preview image (1) feature, you can view the immediate effects of your Highlight Tonality adjustments. As the image (2) shows, the highlighted areas show a greater tonal contrast.
You would use the same technique when adjusting the Shadow Tonality , in which case only the shadow areas are affected.
NOTE: Using Adobe Photoshop, together with a calibrated monitor, is an effective way of making professional tonal adjustments. For further information on monitor calibration please refer to the support pages on the Epson website.
Highlight Point Shift(3, above and below) can be used to increase homogeny between image areas and non-image areas by making a minor shift to the tonal range (from 0% to 1%).
Using UltraChrome K3 ink in conjunction with Advanced B&W Photo Mode has the benefit of creating incredibly smooth tonal graduations and excellent tonal density. There are other methodologies that you can use in your quest to create black and white prints, but none provide such simple ‘out the box’ results.