Macintosh Printer Drivers
To get started with setting printer options for your Mac, open your image file from within your imaging applications, such as Photoshop or iPhoto, and choose Print (Figure 4.32).
Figure 4.32 The Print dialog box in Macintosh OS X is the entry point for all printer settings. The available options will change depending on which printer is selected.
In the resulting dialog box, you can select the printer you want to use and any saved settings for that printer from the Presets list. All options for printer settings on the Mac are accessed through the pop-up menu below Presets. The first set of options is Copies & Pages, which controls how many copies to print, and what page range to print if multiple pages are present.
Selecting Layout (Figure 4.33) from the pop-up menu gives you options to set how many pages are on a single sheet of paper, what direction the pages flow onto the paper, and whether to use borders.
Figure 4.33 The Layout options let you select how many pages are printed to a physical sheet of paper and in what order to print them.
Scheduler allows you to set when the print will be done, and what priority to give the job. If you have several prints to do, this is a great way to have them print at a time when you're not using the computer for other things.
Choose Paper Handling from the pop-up menu for options to set page order, page size, and scaling, as well as to print all, odd-numbered only, or even-numbered only pages.
When you select the pop-up menu's ColorSync, you can then set Color Conversion to Standard or In Printer and turn on Quartz Filter. The default settings here are normally the best choice—Color Conversion left at Standard, and Quartz Filter left at None, especially if you're printing from Photoshop or any other application that supports color management. If you want to apply special effects to your prints without using an application that includes that support, the Quartz Filters have several tone controls for black-and-white or other monochrome prints and an overall way to increase and decrease image brightness.
The settings associated with the Cover Page choice probably won't be of interest to photographers unless you share a printer in a network environment and want to have an identifying sheet between print jobs.
Below Cover Page are the specific choices your printer adds to the pop-up menu list. In the next sections, I'll cover the options added by two popular brands of printers: Canon and Epson.
Canon printer options
Choosing Quality & Media (Figure 4.34), the first Canon-specific choice in the Print dialog box's pop-up menu, takes you to the important settings for photographic prints. Be careful to select the proper media type to avoid problems with print quality. The paper type you select will control how much ink the printer places on the page, and a wrong selection can, and likely will, lead to a wasted print. Paper Source lets you select which paper path to use if your printer supports multiple paths, and Print Mode sets the quality of print. For photos, you'll want to select Printing a Top-Quality Photo (kind of obvious, isn't it?). Finally, Grayscale Printing forces the printer to use only black ink. Although this does remove problems with color casts, black-only prints have less tonal range and usually result in lower-quality prints.
Figure 4.34 Quality & Media contains the all-important options for selecting the proper paper type as well as what quality level you want your print to be.
The next choice in the Print dialog box's pop-up is Color Options (Figure 4.35). The other critical set of controls, Color Options settings determine the type of color management used by the printer. Color Correction gives you the choice of using the printer's color management, ColorSync, or None. When printing from Photoshop you'll want to select None to avoid having profiles applied to your print twice when using Photoshop to manage color. I'll cover the proper print settings in Photoshop in Chapter 7. If you select None as the Color Correction method, the Print Type and Brightness controls will be disabled and you should leave the Color Balance and Intensity sliders at their midpoint default values, unless you need to correct a color cast problem. When using printer color management, the try setting Print Type to Photo and Brightness to Normal.
Figure 4.35 Color Options contains the settings for color management. If you print from Photoshop, select None for the best results.
Next on the Print dialog's pop-up menu list is Special Effects (Figure 4.36). You can set such monochrome effects as sepia and have the printer driver boost color saturation and reduce noise. The Simulate Illustration control turns your photo into line art. All settings are shown in the preview to give you a better idea of what the changes will look like.
Figure 4.36 Special Effects has controls for printing toned images and automatic color correction and enhancement.
Borderless Printing is a puzzle to me. I have yet to figure out why you have an option to set how much of an extension there is to a border that doesn't exist. And, to make things even more confusing, the control is always disabled! If you figure this one out, please e-mail me and explain it!
Duplex Printing & Margin controls the print area used and how double-sided prints are laid out.
Epson printer options
The Epson-specific settings in the Print dialog box's pop-up menu start out with the Print Settings group. Because the newest Epsons that use the UltraChrome II K3 inks are significantly different in a couple of areas, I'll show you the controls for the R2400 and the standard UltraChrome Stylus Pro 4000.
R2400 pop-up menu choices
With the R2400 (Figure 4.37), the Print Settings control group starts with Page Setup options for either standard or roll paper. The options available under Media Type change depending on your Page Setup choice. Some papers, such as Velvet Fine Art and UltraSmooth Fine Art, can't use the sheet feeder and must be manually fed. For Color, you can choose Color, Advanced B&W Photo, and Black. Color produces the obvious results, and Black prints using only the black ink. This reduces the tonal range in your images and isn't a good choice, especially now that Epson has added the incredible Advanced B&W Photo mode. This setting uses the three shades of black ink to produce amazing black-and-white prints. Mode is disabled when Advanced B&W Photo is selected, but for Color or Black settings you use the Mode slider to specify whether speed or quality is your top priority. Clicking Advanced enables the Print Quality settings. I recommend using Best Photo for most prints, and for those really critical print jobs, I select Photo RPM, which uses the highest resolution. It slows the print time drastically, but does produce a higher-quality print.
Figure 4.37 The Print Settings control group for the R2400 and other Epson UltraChrome K3 printers contains the options for selecting media type and print quality.
When Advanced B&W Photo is selected, the Mac displays an additional pop-up menu: Color Toning. From this you can choose Neutral, Cool, Warm, and Sepia.
The Color Management control group looks very different based on your Color setting. If you chose Advanced B&W Photo in Print Settings, Color Management will contain controls for toning your black-and-white prints, including Brightness, Contrast, Shadow and Highlight Tonality, and Optical Density settings (Figure 4.38). An image preview area displays any changes made, and if you don't like what you've done, a quick click on Defaults restores the original settings. You can fine-tune color toning options by dragging the pointer around the color wheel for exactly the look you want.
Figure 4.38 Advanced B&W Photo offers you amazing quality and control over black-and-white and toned prints.
When you specify Color as the output type, the Color Management controls switch to radio buttons that let you specify the type of color management you want to use (Figure 4.39). Select Color Controls to make adjustments to Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, and colors. Selecting ColorSync lets the printer handle all color translation, while selecting Off (No Color Adjustment) gives all color control to your application. If you use Photoshop, this is the choice you'll want to make.
Figure 4.39 Selecting Color as the output type gives you access to color management settings that will determine how your prints are handled. If you print from Photoshop, however, select Off (No Color Adjustment) instead for best results.
Ink Configuration and Extension Settings control groups enable you to adjust the density of ink, the ink's drying time, and the paper thickness. Under most circumstances you won't need to make adjustments to these settings. When using special fine art papers from other manufacturers, you might need to experiment a bit if print quality isn't what you expect.
4000 pop-up menu choices
The Epson 4000 Print Settings (Figure 4.40) control group includes pop-up menus for the paper source (Paper Tray or Manual Feed) and the media type. Depending on the paper source you specified, some paper options may not be available because certain papers are too thick to use in the paper tray and must be fed using the manual feed slot or by roll paper. Media types with (250) in the name indicate roll papers.
Figure 4.40 The Epson 4000 Print Settings control group contains the media type options and quality settings. For general printing, I suggest using Fine.
For Ink, you can choose Color/B&W Photo or Black. Because using black only results in lower-quality photos, I suggest leaving Ink set for Color/B&W Photo.
Set Mode to Advanced Settings for the best control over your prints. For Print Quality, I suggest using SuperFine – 1440dpi for most prints. The SuperPhoto – 2880dpi setting doesn't really improve quality but does slow things down and uses more ink.
Printer Color Management (Figure 4.41) is, along with setting the proper media, the most important setting you'll make before printing. When using Photoshop, the best choice is Off (No Color Adjustment), which lets Photoshop handle all color management. I'll discuss how to do this in Chapter 7. The other settings groups, Color Controls and ColorSync, let you make adjustments to printer settings, or give color management to the printer driver.
Figure 4.41 Printer Color Management options will make or break the quality of your prints. Along with selecting the proper media type, nothing in the printer driver is more critical to successful prints.
The Paper Configuration (Figure 4.42) controls fine-tune ink density and dry times, along with paper thickness and handling options. Unless you're using fine art papers or other specialty media that doesn't work well with the default settings, you most likely won't need to make any changes here.
Figure 4.42 The Paper Configuration controls will be useful if you have problems with specialty papers that don't print well with the default settings.