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Playing with saturation & other musings



I had an interesting experience with my 1200 last night.  Let me preface by
saying I am *way* behind you guys in terms of using and understanding color
management; I'm pretty much still in the
just-print-it-and-see-how-it-turns-out mode.  I haven't even succeeded in
calibrating my monitor in the sense of getting what I see on the screen to
match what comes out on the paper.  (This is partly because I'm running NT,
partly for lack of time and plain laziness.)  No real problem with colors
(probably because my eye is not yet that critical), but I've been frustrated
in my inability to get the *intensity* of what I see on the screen to match
what comes out in the print; the print inevitably looks less intense, or
perhaps saturated, as compared to the screen image.

Anyway, last night I accidentally ran a print through the printer twice.
How in the world could I do something so stupid?  Well, it goes back to the
often-asked question of how do you get two 5x7's on a single sheet of
letter-sized paper out of Photoshop.  The way I do that is to choose a paper
size of half-letter, and then just put the paper in the printer sideways.
Print once, then flip it horizontally and print again.  If you choose center
in the driver, and choose flip 180 for the second print, you get two
nicely-aligned, side-by-side, right-side-up 5x7's.

So, in the process of doing just that while sleepy, I dropped the paper back
in for the second print without turning it, so the second print landed right
on top of the first.  The first thing I thought you might find interesting
is that the registration appears to be perfect.  I don't know why you'd
*want* to do this, but it's nice to know that you can.

The second thing is that I liked the way the double-printed print looked
better than the "correct" one.  Yes, it was a bit heavy on the ink, but once
it dried it looked fine.  And its "intensity" was somewhat closer to what
I'm seeing on the screen than the normal print.  It still doesn't "pop" like
the screen image does, but...

This experience rang a faint bell in the back of mind.  I remembered a
discussion I'd seen somewhere on the net (here?) that suggested goosing the
saturation levels in the Epson printer driver.  So I went back and tried
that, bumping Saturation +10 and +25 (the max), respectively.  The
differences in the prints are fairly subtle, though IMO salutary.  I haven't
tried messing with the CMY levels yet to see if more dramatic results can be
obtained that way.  All this is with the OEM cartridge on Epson Photo paper,
BTW.

Does anybody recall that discussion of increasing saturation levels in the
printer driver?  (Maybe it was on Digital Darkroom.)  Has anybody tried
fiddling with these levels to any useful effect?

Nill Toulme
Atlanta, Georgia USA

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