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By Tom Hauenstein
Printing from the Canon driver is rather simple, but not very efficient because the user is usually forced to print one file at a time. As I have mentioned in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this six-part series, your level of efficiency is what is going to determine your profitability.
That being said, I would strongly consider purchasing a RIP to handle your printing, specifically ImagePrint for photographic and fine art reproduction. ImagePrint for the Canon will be released very soon. Not only will it speed up your workflow, but it will also greatly enhance the quality of your output. However, if you must print through the Canon driver, you will find all the information necessary to do so accurately in the following paragraphs…
The Canon user has the choice of two different ways to send a job to print. The first is the traditional method of printing, which is very similar to the method described in the previous installment of this series.
The other method is printing through the Photoshop plug-in for the Canon. The latter method is more user-friendly, and actually prints at a higher quality (10 bit versus 8 bit). Because it is extremely important to get fantastic results in an efficient manner, this section of the series will concentrate solely on printing from the plug-in.
Also, there are hardly any differences between the Mac and PC versions of the plug-in, so the following section should apply to all users. The plug-in is available for install on the driver disk that you get with the printer, and can also be found on the Canon website. I would recommend downloading the drivers and the plug-in from the website to guarantee you are getting the most recent version.
Let’s say you have a file that is ready to be printed opened up in Photoshop. To get to the plug-in one should go to File -> Export -> iPF5000 Print Plug-In (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: Click on the image for a larger version.
Once that is done, the plug-in will appear. The main tab has a lot of important selections that we will go through one-by-one (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: Click on the image for a larger version.
Media Type: If you are printing with LexJet media then select the media type that corresponds with the profile you are using. All of the settings used to create LexJet profiles can be found on our website in the free ICC Profiles section, or you can ask your account specialist to email them to you.
Input Resolution: There are only two options here, and depending on the media, the 300 ppi option may be grayed out. This is the case with all high-quality media types, so 600 ppi will most likely be the only option for photographic or fine art output.
Input Bit to Plug-in: If you are printing an 8 bit file then select 8 bit here, and select 16 bit for a 16 bit file.
Output Resolution and Pass: I would recommend the highest for the Canon printer, which is 2400x1200 dpi, 16 pass. This is the only option when you select 16 bit, but you have two lesser options when you select 8 bit. You can perform your own tests on the lesser qualities for 8 bit rendering. If you can’t tell the difference then use the lower resolution because it will save you ink and time. I would recommend the highest, however.
Output Profile: This list is populated from your computer’s internal color folder. You will select the profile that matches the media you are printing to, and that matches all of these settings. If any of these settings are different than those used to create the profile, the profile will not be 100 percent accurate.
Matching Method: This should be determined through soft proofing in Photoshop, and your two choices should be relative or perceptual. Perceptual is a good default for photographic work. You can check the Perform Proof in Preview box instead of soft-proofing in Photoshop, but the proof is smaller than I would like to determine proper rendering intent.
Preview: There are three preview options. Print Area Layout 1 is WYSIWIG, meaning it shows exactly what will print. Print Area Layout 2 will show the full page and the full image to let you see exactly how much of your image is being clipped. I find this option extremely useful. The final option is Image and will just show you the file you are trying to print with no regard to paper size or orientation. The nice thing about the Image option is that you can crop on the fly by selecting the Print Selected Range box and zoom in to do better soft proofing.
Copies: As it says, so it is…
Close Plug-in After Printing: Check this box if you want the plug-in to close after printing. Amazing!
Set Configuration: When you click this you get another dialog box that determines how the plug-in will handle image resizing. I would keep sharpen at 0 and use the bi-linear method if you must use the plug-in to resize. I would recommend that you resize your image to its final print size using a third-party software before sending it to the plug-in.
Defaults: Hit this button to restore the plug-in defaults. This can come in handy if you have been experimenting and have forgotten exactly what you have edited.
Page Setup Tab: See Figure 3. The Page Setup Tab is pretty standard when it comes to printing. You can enlarge or reduce your print size here according to a few different parameters. You can enable or disable borderless printing (roll only). You can select your media size, but unlike the printer’s LCD readout, your media size selection must match what you are printing to or you will not be able to print. You will also find your margin and layout options here. Your media source is simply telling the printer whether the paper is roll fed, cassette fed, or manually fed. The Size Options box allows you to select pre-fabricated page sizes or create your own custom page sizes.
Figure 3: Click on the image for a larger version.
Color Settings: See Figure 4. This tab allows you to do some color adjustments on the fly. These adjustments are non-destructive, but not recommended. If you soft proof properly in Photoshop you should already have adjusted the file perfectly for the media to which you are going to print. Photoshop is the right tool for color correcting, not the plug-in.
Figure 4: Click on the image for a larger version.
Print History Tab: See Figure 5. This can be a very helpful section. By clicking on the Details section, you can see all the plug-in parameters you selected for each job. This way you can go back and replicate a past job perfectly, if the printer is linear. You can also set each job up to print annotation of this information by selecting the print information check box.
Figure 5: Click on the image for a larger version.
The plug-in offers some nice features because Canon did a decent job asking typical users what features they would like to see added to the driver. However, you will still get the most efficient workflow and the highest quality prints out of this printer by using ImagePrint, so consider it a must-have.
Tom Hauenstein is LexJet’s technical support director, and has helped hundreds of LexJet customers set up a profitable digital printing workflow. Tom will begin touring the U.S. in September, bringing his wit, wisdom, and expertise to a city near you. Contact Tom or your LexJet account specialist at (800) 453-9538 as details of the traveling seminar, Printing for Profitability in the Digital Darkroom, are finalized.