Sunday, 17 February 2008

How To Make Black & White Prints On An Inkjet Printer

The below is based on my first year Tafe, Sydney where we had to hand in B&W prints produced on our own equipment. Hope this will spare you some of the horrors and wasted time I enjoyed ;-) Have Fun! Thorsten

Printing black & white images on a colour inkjet printer is not straightforward. Normally the colour ink cartridges create an ugly colour cast. Below are a few tips on digital B&W printing. Of cause all of that is without any guarantee and at your own risk! The below worked for me.

Buy a printer. You need one for BW printing only. Cheap Epson will do it (about 100AU$). If you do not have a scanner yet, consider buying an all-in-one. I am using an Epson CX7300 (120A$ online).

Most cheap Epson printers have the “pizza-wheel issue”.
Check this: Its hardly visible, but was annoying me a lot. However, I am not sure if other brands have similar issues?!

Buy a set of EMPTY re-fill cartridges for your printer here:

Read the online instructions first. Some models (for older printers) require a chip re-setter. The new models re-set themselves, works ok for my CX7300 printer.

Buy special B&W ink from the US here: ( I recommend the 4oz refill ink for US$66 (EZPKN4-4-SET, neutral tone for glossy paper). Shipping time is about 2 weeks to Australia.

When filling the ink cartridges: Make sure to have paper/ tissues around. Wear old clothes. Protect your carpet. You will get dirty!

If you what to optimise/ experiment with your prints, I recommend to also order an additional bottle of warm ink. Preferable for the yellow position (item EZWRM-4-Y). You can mix the tones (warm/ neutral) between the cyan, magenta, yellow positions. But you do need the PHOTO BLACK for glossy paper!

Buy quality paper. Paper makes a big difference how your print will look like and how much you need to adjust your print setting!!! I use PermaJet Glossy. The surface coating is much more white than the Epson paper. But that paper is only available at Photo Riesel in Kent St @CBD, Sydney close to QVB. Currently it’s 20% off (02/2008). You will need about 50 sheets to get you through year one.

Once you decided on a paper type, stick with it!!! If you change, you will need to re-adjust your print settings/ adjustments in Photoshop.

Optimise your print settings in Photoshop. Download the BW test image from here: (scroll down to “You can download a (zipped) TIFF version.”)

You will have to modify you print / profile settings in Photoshop. It is a bit “try and error”. Re-size the test image to a smaller size for printing to get multiple prints on the same sheet. Otherwise you waste too much paper.

Read the details in the article and/ or from here: (this is good on printer driver and colour settings (quite technical), but you might want to read this first:

At the end of this post are the Photoshop CS2 settings that work for my printer/ink/paper combination. The settings alone deliver a pretty good result. I am also adding a small curve adjustment to make the dark tones darker. If you don’t like the result, just modify the curve adjustment.

An other issue you might encounter is the “pizza wheel effect”. If you look very very closely at your print you might notice (a) very fine white dotted horizontal line(s). Its barely visible, normally only in dark areas of the print. This is a typical Epson printer issue. Read all about it here:

You can try to avoid it by de-activating “High Speed” and selecting “Photo RPM” in the Epson printer driver settings (Advanced tab). However, one 10x8 print will take about 20min then!

My PS CS2 settings for BW prints

Printer Driver Settings (high speed on/off made no difference in print quality for me)

Curve adjustment (pulled the curve down a bit on the lower-left side)