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Epson 3880 colour management issue: prints look like they were assigned from Prophoto to sRGB

Jan-H

New member
I have an Epson 3880 that I use much less than is probably healthy (i.e. ~10 prints every other month) - yet it hasn't had a badly clogged nozzle or any other issue so far. When I reanimated it once again last week I got strange results: the prints looked almost exactly like a Prophoto RGB image that has been assigned into sRGB space.

For reference, here's my usual printing workflow:
  • Edit in Capture One, export as 16-bit PSD in Prophoto RGB
  • Open in PS (22.4.1), make some final tweaks if necessary
  • Print from PS, with the following settings:
    • Photoshop manages colours
    • Printer profile (corresponding to paper, often Hahnemühle UltraSmooth)
    • Rendering intent: perceptual, black point compensation depending on print
    • Send 16-bit data
  • Colour management turned off in Print Settings
  • Paper in print settings according to the ICC profile's description
  • 2880 dpi, 16-bit output checked and high speed unchecked
I did run multiple manual and automatic nozzle checks (all clean), tried different rendering intents, different papers, both black inks, changed an almost-empty ink cartridge, used different source files (including ones I'd printed before), tried printing from C1, converting to AdobeRGB and sRGB before printing, ... no luck with any of those methods, the results look consistently dull and desaturated.

Do you know what might be causing this and how I might be able to troubleshoot the issue further?
 

Joe Colson

Well-known member
If you're using the same workflow as before, you may have an ink issue. Try swapping out ink cartridges to isolate the problem. How old are your inks?

Joe
 

MartinN

Active member
Before doing anything radical, try to print from some other program, Firefox, Opera browser or so, and choose let printer manage colors, no profile applied. Then you can try print from Photoshop, let printer manage colors, no profile.
 

MartinN

Active member
The worst case is that there is cyan installed in the magenta place or vice versa, but that should not be possible at all ?
 

MartinN

Active member
The nozzle check is ok ? Thats actually great, because then it is a software problem. Do you have a spare latop or so ?
 

Jan-H

New member
Thanks for the replies!

Joe, a few of my inks are expired, so this might be a plausible explanation (even if I would be astonished that some of the inks turned from alright to bad within such a short time after being just fine for years). However I'm a bit reluctant to get a full set of fresh inks because I feel like they'd sit on the shelf for so long that they, too, would eventually go bad.

Is there a reference file for the colour of the individual inks? That way I could print patches of pure ink (e.g. the ones produced by the automatic nozzle test) and compare against the reference on a calibrated screen.

Martin, I double checked and the inks are in the correct places :D. Tried printing from Firefox and that one actually seems to look fine, but not great, under my warm-white LED bulbs (meaning I'll have to check again tomorrow when there's some daylight available).
I'll try printing from another computer as well, but I'll have to set up the driver first...
 

atoledo

New member
Hi Jan-H.

Here are some things to try:
  1. If you have Illustrator or Indesign, bring your PSD file into one of these and print from there. I've been printing to large format printers since the early 90's, and Photoshop has never been as good as these other two printing. (Recent versions may have improved. I don't know for sure. Just as a rule of thumb: never print direct from Photoshop.)
  2. Switch from 16 bit to 8 bit. I know you want to maintain as much tone and values as possible, but from my experience, many RIPs choke on 16 bit color.
  3. Choose Prophoto as your profile instead of your paper.
 

John King

New member
I have an Epson 3880 that I use much less than is probably healthy (i.e. ~10 prints every other month) - yet it hasn't had a badly clogged nozzle or any other issue so far. When I reanimated it once again last week I got strange results: the prints looked almost exactly like a Prophoto RGB image that has been assigned into sRGB space.

For reference, here's my usual printing workflow:
  • Edit in Capture One, export as 16-bit PSD in Prophoto RGB
  • Open in PS (22.4.1), make some final tweaks if necessary
  • Print from PS, with the following settings:
    • Photoshop manages colours
    • Printer profile (corresponding to paper, often Hahnemühle UltraSmooth)
    • Rendering intent: perceptual, black point compensation depending on print
    • Send 16-bit data
  • Colour management turned off in Print Settings
  • Paper in print settings according to the ICC profile's description
  • 2880 dpi, 16-bit output checked and high speed unchecked
I did run multiple manual and automatic nozzle checks (all clean), tried different rendering intents, different papers, both black inks, changed an almost-empty ink cartridge, used different source files (including ones I'd printed before), tried printing from C1, converting to AdobeRGB and sRGB before printing, ... no luck with any of those methods, the results look consistently dull and desaturated.

Do you know what might be causing this and how I might be able to troubleshoot the issue further?
Jan, I've got an R3880.

My inks are years out of date, yet print perfectly.

Being pigment inks, you could try removing each tank and agitating it in accordance with Epson instructions.

If you open your raw file in ACR (ProPhotoRGB 16), then print using Photoshop, is it OK?

Due to health issues, I have left mine for up to two years without printing at all without any problems, except for (worriedly) waiting for a very extended cleaning cycle to finish.

When you say "Colour management turned off", I assume you mean that "Photoshop manages colour" is ticked in Photoshop, and colour management is turned OFF in the printer driver?

Is your overflow tank OK?

HTH. I've just woken after a rotten night's sleep, so will revisit once I'm more awake.
 

Jan-H

New member
Alright, so under daylight, the print from Firefox still looks fine, but not great (as can be expected, given the limited options).

However, I just tried printing from both Illustrator and InDesign and... wow! I'll once again have to wait for daylight to make a final judgement, but the results look promising. I still have no idea why PS started doing things spectacularly wrong all of a sudden but at least I now know I have options. Thanks a lot for the tip, atoledo!

I'm on macOS :).

I'll have to experiment with a new workflow in InDesign, but if the sun doesn't completely contradict my observations under artificial light I'll consider this issue solved.
 

John King

New member
Here is my original post:

Jan, I've got an R3880.

My inks are years out of date, yet print perfectly.

Being pigment inks, you could try removing each tank and agitating it in accordance with Epson instructions.

If you open your raw file in ACR (ProPhotoRGB 16), then print using Photoshop, is it OK?

Due to health issues, I have left mine for up to two years without printing at all without any problems, except for (worriedly) waiting for a very extended cleaning cycle to finish.

When you say "Colour management turned off", I assume you mean that "Photoshop manages colour" is ticked in Photoshop, and colour management is turned OFF in the printer driver?

Is your overflow tank OK?

HTH. I've just woken after a rotten night's sleep, so will revisit once I'm more awake. (That was yesterday morning. I'm feeling a bit better today).
 

John King

New member
I tried copying the contents of my post, and reposting. Still needs moderator approval. What is going on here?
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Alright, so under daylight, the print from Firefox still looks fine, but not great (as can be expected, given the limited options).

However, I just tried printing from both Illustrator and InDesign and... wow! I'll once again have to wait for daylight to make a final judgement, but the results look promising. I still have no idea why PS started doing things spectacularly wrong all of a sudden but at least I now know I have options. Thanks a lot for the tip, atoledo!

I'm on macOS :).

I'll have to experiment with a new workflow in InDesign, but if the sun doesn't completely contradict my observations under artificial light I'll consider this issue solved.
I have an Epson P600. I've found that the latest couple of Epson print driver packages on macOS Big Sur produce results that are way off the mark. I believe it is a problem with the EPSON Color Controls and their paper profiles. What I found is that, in LR and PS, changing my old settings to Apple's ColorSync and picking the paper profile from the ColorSync list produces the correct results. (I can only do this for my printer if I've installed the USB version of the print driver ... the default is now the AirPrint driver, which has no options in this regard.)

printer_color_matching.png

It took me a full day of banging my head into the wall to find this out, and Epson was spectacularly unhelpful.
The Epson 3880 driver may have similar issues.

G
 
Last edited:

Jan-H

New member
Sorry for the long break, had to mind some "mundane life" business and couldn't really think about the fun stuff recently.

I'm holding off on macOS 11 for a couple of reasons, but I did reinstall the driver at some point. Can't say for sure if that's the culprit, but since I have a working solution (and learned something on the way) I'll call this case closed. Thanks a lot for all your input and have an excellent weekend!
 

MartinN

Active member
Good ! Yes, I have excercised my 3880 a few times every summer month, the hotter the indoor temperature, the more often it needs printing. No clogging the last few years, with enough exercise.
 
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