Fine dots and subtle linear texture in skies. Epson 9900 PPE all ink channels

My original film negatives or digital images have virtually no grain or texture in skies, however when printed to negative and then to silver photo paper the skies pick up a very fine dot texture as well as a subtle linear texture. The subtle texture in some places seems to run in the direction of the print head but in other places perpendicular to the print head and in some places it’s both. Now it is subtle, but there’s clearly a difference between my enlarged silver print, that is film neg to photo paper via an enlarger, and the digital contact prints.

Epson 9900 PPE using all ink channels

I have absolutely no idea how walker was using the silver starting curve he had. It is so wildly dense beyond what any regular silver negative would be in the darkroom, so I never understood that.

When you print most alt pro, the matte paper hides the noise that quad tone rip unfortunately inherantly introduces noise to the negatives… it’s a known flaw in how the ink is laid down in dense areas. But when you start printing on glossy substrates like silver, you really see any flaw in the negs.

HOWEVER! I for silver negs, I have switched over to Epson Display Trans II (though not for alt pro, sadly, as the white base absorbs too much UV light). Display Trans has amongst the tightest dither of any substrate I’ve seen. The linearization process is pretty dramatic, and may take several linearizations to get perfect, as the curve will be so drastically different than the original starting curve. I would say right off the bat, limit the entire master curve to like 50% across the board, though after you linearize, you may find benefit in changing the first value of the K Curve in a text editor to about 17000… Sometimes you need this to keep the whites white when you limit this much and don’t want to screw up the rest of the curve.

1 Like

Yeah, it’s way dense. No darkroom for validation but it can be tuned easily with PPEv2. It was a density to density curve translation from a silver curve built at UVM in 2016 (00 filter, Bessy enlarger, Ilf. Mult IV paper, 18 sec, sprint chem) when we came out with Selenium PiezoDN. It was translated to Pro with a densitometer (film to film) and was just rushed and not perfect. — since then CEP (Cone Editions Press) built some much better pro silver curves for customers but as Xander says, it’s even more better on the opaque white surfaces like Display Trans or equiv. — I recommend a post on the curve exchange.

Also lines in skies means you need to calibrate your print feed speed.


– this is me replying in personal capacity btw. Not as an employee. I will probably not frequent this place much as it makes me too sad –

Thanks for replying. You’re saying that the Epson Display Trans II media will produce less textures in sky areas on silver prints? Currently i’m getting fine dots and and a texture. When I look at the digital negs with a mild loupe the grain (dots) of ink are very apparent. What should I use as the starting curve? Piezp Pro 9900.

Hi Walker, glad to see you. and Thanks for replying. You mention that CEP built better silver curves? Who is CEP? Regarding calibrating my paper feed, I’ve read about printing a meter of material and then measuring it, but is that done with the service mode on the printer’s panel, (Hold LEFT, Right And OK and start?) or do I need some other software? I’ve seen the service maintenance manual mentioned but can’t find it any where. I also have read that there’s external software that you run through a PC.

CEP = Cone Editions Press

Thanks for the reply.

Walker, are those CEP improved silver curves downloadable somewhere?

You will have to request this of Jon. It’s entirely up to him if he wants to continue supporting PiezoDN and the Community Edition. He has all the development package source code (I have nothing) but I had no time to train anyone on how to properly update and security sign these distributions.

Also the curves at CEP are very specialized with inking methods not always set up in other people’s studios so it may not be viable to share specific curves. Methinks you should limit and calibrate in your studio yourself with the tools you have access to.

warmest regards

I created my curves based on the selenium ink set so I’d think they will work at all for pro, but I am planning on making some for that pretty soon (had to rebuild my Darkroom from scratch finally done now). As far as I have ever seen the Epson display, trans the only thing worth using for silver, and it is a fraction of the price. I will stick on the curve exchange when I make it in the coming weeks. I have seen your situation on this forum with Piezography in general, so just know that you will need to apply the contrast curve in PPE2 that Walker mentioned in one of your other posts. You will need linearize first, and then throw the linearize curve back into PPE to and then apply the contrast adjustment. It will not look good unless you do this(or softproof)


We only offer “canned” or “generic” profiles for Piezography inks on inkjet paper which is part of the free Piezography download. Most EPSON printers and most packs & rolls of inkjet paper are relatively the same or the same enough. Our inks are close enough from batch to batch. Therefore, these downloadable curves work for nearly every user out there as long as their printers are within spec or the heads have not aged terribly.

There are some starting base curves for alt process in our PiezoDN and Pro downloads, but they are un-calibrated. They are there for the users of PiezoDN or PPET to start with a base to calibrate their own darkrooms. Xander just mentioned he is re-calibrating his darkroom and perhaps will share something to the community but you would be expected to use this only as a base in PPET to calibrate your darkroom with. There simply is no generic with Pro curves derived from PPET in alt-process.

The reason we do not offer canned or generic alternative process curves for PRO is because PPET (our profiler) is so specific (meaning exact). With alt-process there are many intermediaries such as the negative/positive/environment/chemistry/practices/source-light, etc. Therefore, each of these become specific factors built-in to the actual curve produced by PPET. When one variable is off the curve is off.

Having said that, I have started development on canned curves for photogravure. Photogravure is a photomechanical process rather than a chemical process. As long as the practitioner has our light source, our plates, and Piezography Pro inks they can use our exposure time and curves. A printmaker can more than compensate on press for intaglio ink mixtures or printmaking papers that veer off the canned curves menu.

Obviously, I am a bit busy right now until we hire replacement staff, but I do hope to put Piezography Photogravure out in time for Christmas! The direct-to-plate photogravure community is growing and it is something that my partner Cathy and I love practicing ourselves. It is especially non-toxic in our studio at CEP. :slight_smile: I believe Photogravure is one of the more satisfying ways to practice Piezography. On the other hand, I suppose had I a sewer hook-up I would also be silver printing. It was something I cared deeply about practicing myself. For me now it is platinum printing that I can safely practice and still look forward to pure well-derived drinking water. Country plumbing……