Epson SureColor

nidur

New member
Anyone else trying or using this type of printer?

Are you using rip/software?

What types of prints are you using it for.
 

ogetsu

Member
We just bought one, but we're still testing various substrates and building profiles. We have the S70670, the one with metallic silver and white inks. We have yet to use the metallic or white, but soon…

We drive it with EFI Fiery XF v5.2. So far so good, but like I said, we have yet to use the metallic or white ink with it. Not sure how that's going to work.

It came with onyx, but we used onyx for years and got rid of it in favor of efi, so no one here wants to revisit onyx. We haven't installed it yet.

It'll mostly be used for adhesive vinyl, outdoor banners, floor graphics, vehicle "wraps" (just decals really), and hopefully fabric, but we haven't found one yet with good color density, and that doesn't bunch up and cause head strikes. If anyone here can suggest a fabric for eco-solvent printers with sharp text/images, soft enough to fold without creasing, good color density, and "stiff" enough not to bunch up in the rollers, I'd love to hear about it!
 

nidur

New member
I saw the S70670 in action and it looked good, to bad my company is not into outdoor printing yet.
I have the t-series model testing it out for posters and technical drawings.
Very fast at those A1 drawings and they get stacked very nicely, not such luck with most other sizes.

I've been testing Onyx11 and Mirage for printing on it and they both work well.
I'm used to Onyx 10.1 with the other large format printers, perhaps I should try the EFI Fiery.
 

Correct Color

Well-known member
ogetsu,

Lots of things come down to personal preference of course, but I'm wondering about your issues with Onyx.

I do admit that some of it is personal bias on my part -- from way back I've never been mush of a Fiery fan --but I do build large format color printing workflows for a living, and in a print-for-pay situation, with just about any machine I'd just about always recommend Onyx over Fiery.

And with the SureColor in particular, I've profiled several of those machines now, and to get all they've got to give out of them, it's pretty essential to have control of both the ink splits, and the multi-dot configurations...

Options available in Onyx but not in EFI.

Mind if I ask the issues you had with Onyx?


Mike Adams
Correct Color
 

Correct Color

Well-known member
nidur,

The thing about the SureColor name is that Epson has hung it on just about every large-format printer they make now, so people print just about anything on one. Anything from architectural drawings to proofs to fine art to vehicle wraps to ... whatever.

If you use yours for hard contract proofing, you might want to consider EFI as a RIP. It has hard-proofing capabilities that Onyx does not.

Otherewise, if you need a RIP -- and depending on what you print, you may or may not -- I'd recommend either Onyx, or Caldera.


Mike Adams
Correct Color
 

nidur

New member
Mike,

Thanks for the advice, I use Onyx every day and I love it.

One question, do you see a difference in reliability between printers with HDD's used by RIP's?
 

ogetsu

Member
ogetsu,
Lots of things come down to personal preference of course, but I'm wondering about your issues with Onyx.

Mind if I ask the issues you had with Onyx?

Correct Color
Not at all. (Sorry, this is long)

We used Onyx ProductionHouse for years. From around 2004 - 2009. Around 2006 we began going to conferences and classes around the country to get a grip on color management. Mostly out of curiosity, but also because we'd had some complaints about various images not "matching" the designers screen. We started profiling our substrates, and everything was great, but our design team was still getting less than expected results. There was a lot of finger pointing for a good year or so, so we then began to look into print production standards. We adopted a PDF/X3 workflow, locked down the color settings on everyone's workstations, profiled media and monitors, etc. We did it all by the numbers, but still color still was off, and we had horrible artifacting in at least half of our prints. Onyx's tech support told us we were doing everything right, and that it must be the designers, but we were all following standard practices. We then bought the Altona test suite, and it became apparent that it was the Onyx that was failing. With the Altona test suite as well as our own in house work we found that it couldn't handle more than one rendering intent per file, transparency over spot colors would draw bounding boxes around text and shift color, composites would show stitching, LAB conversions would fail, swatch tests (read by spectro) would fail, RGB to CMYK color conversions were off, solid grays would drift between green and magenta throughout the solid, it didn't recognize output intents...it was all bad. We tried for a month or so working with onyx to get their rip to properly print the Altona files, but it was no use.

We didn't want to throw away our investment in the Onyx platform, so we really tried to make it work. It eventually became apparent that we had no choice. We started testing other RIPs. Caldera, Wasatch, colorburst, etc until we arrived at EFI Fiery XF. It not only passed the Altona test, but it was standards based, used the Adobe PDF Print Engine, and it allowed our entire staff to have a UI to interact with the RIP rather than having to use hot folders. Our designers could all access one central server with the client app, so as far as they were concerned they were running a local app, and we could do the same in the print shop. It would allow us to convert PDF/X3 into a tif for our lambda when it's own rip was no longer supported, we could make contract proofs, color was consistent across all devices, etc.. Everything just worked, and it was as if we had limitless copies since we could all have it on our desktop.

So, we went with EFI.

As it would turn out, the EFI was the only one at the time with the Adobe PDF Print Engine, at least as far as I know. It was the interpreter that all the other rips were built around that was the problem. At the time, I think Onyx used the Jaws interpreter. Anyway, I'm sure a lot of those problems are worked out now (seems like everyone has since adopted the APPE), but we've invested in EFI. Bought updates, service contracts, driver licenses…so there's no reason to switch back. It does everything we expect of it (and the UI is straightforward and clean to boot)

Seeing as we have a free copy of the onyx that came with the S70670, we'll probably use it for that printer alone, but only if the EFI can't access the metallic and white inks. However, last I looked, those inks were available from the menu when building profiles, so I'll have to see in a week or so when I get around to testing that.
 
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ogetsu

Member
Oh, one more thing came to mind. It's been years, so maybe my memory is a bit fuzzy, but I recall that the onyx would rip a file when it was imported. Another reason we liked the Fiery XF was it would import a job, and before it would process the file it would allow us to manipulate it. Then, once we hit print, it would raster and print the file(s).

Maybe I'm wrong there. I just remember at the time of testing, the efi felt more flexible when importing and manipulating files before actually printing them. Cropping, resizing, tiling, etc was really fast because we were only working with previews of the file, and it wasn't until we hit print that the actual file was altered.
 

Correct Color

Well-known member
ogetsu,

Oh, one more thing came to mind. It's been years, so maybe my memory is a bit fuzzy, but I recall that the onyx would rip a file when it was imported. Another reason we liked the Fiery XF was it would import a job, and before it would process the file it would allow us to manipulate it. Then, once we hit print, it would raster and print the file(s).
Well, that part at least you can do in Onyx, in what back then was called 'Preflight' and what is now called 'Job Editor.' You do have to specify to open the file that way, however. Not that that's any big deal, but you do have to know to do it.

As for the rest of it, that's all pretty interesting.

I am curious on a couple points:

Personally, I'm something of an agnostic on any supposed benefits of APPE. I've heard them touted and trumpeted, but I've never been able to actually duplicate any of them myself.

And of course you are right in that all RIP's are basically dashboards, that it's the RIP engine underneath that does the actual work, and that several competing RIP's can actually use the same RIP engine.

Nowadays, Caldera still incorporates Ghostscript, but you have to ask it to use it. It defaults to APPE. And Onyx still sells its Jaws versions, but also sells Thrive, which is its APPE version. (And interestingly, profiles made using Jaws can port directly into Thrive and print identically, so...what that tells me is that at least as far as producing printing dots, Jaws and APPE are identical.)

With the Altona test suite as well as our own in house work we found that it couldn't handle more than one rendering intent per file, transparency over spot colors would draw bounding boxes around text and shift color...
This is one of the things I'm curious about. For years, it was pretty common practice when setting up RIP's to set the vector rendering intent to Relative Colorimetric, and the raster rendering intent to Perceptual.

Of course that was back in the days before PDF workflows. And when people would see the artifact you just described in an EPS file, they'd usually just scratch their heads, rasterize the file in Photoshop, and then print it.

But with the advent of PDDF workflows, and as this became more and more common, there became more of a hue and cry about it, and about that time APPE came out with a great blaring of fanfare that they had "SOLVED THIS PROBLEM."

Except that what I found when I opened the hood and looked was that every single RIP that was running APPE had the image and vector rendering intents set the same. Usually to Perceptual. But it worked if they were RelCol too. I assume it would work as well at Saturation or AbsCol, although I've never actually tried.

So I tried that on other than APPE RIP's, and lo and behold, it solved the problem on them as well. So, since, I've been setting all RIP's with matching rendering intents. And, I give all my clients free lifetime tech support, so if they have issues, I hear about them. Of course, many of them use PDF workflows, and I never hear of this problem anymore.

Are you saying that you can set differing rendering intents for vector and raster elements of an image and not get this? If so, that would be a handy tool to have back.

I'm also curious what you mean by "standards based." To what standards are you referring, and at what point in the process?

As far as all the other issues you had, well, I wasn't there so of course I can't know. I've never had any of them come up with any RIP, to be honest. Set up properly, Fiery works okay, and it does have a leg up on Onyx, and Caldera, and anybody save maybe GMG when it comes to proofing. But set up properly, I'd expect any RIP to be able to process the workflow you describe. (Although I do agree the remote stations is a nice feature.)

Interestingly, while you obviously had Onyx tech support fall down for you, and I've heard others tell of them falling down as well, my personal experience with them has been not all bad, while EFI tech support has been gawd-awful. For my money, they're not even worth calling.

In one instance, they cost me a client by stiff-arming me for two weeks, and flat-out lying to my client.

Obviously an experience like that has left me no doubt biased, but my personal reason to this day for preferring Onyx is that to me, the main purpose of a RIP is to gain control of the printer; to gain control of the printer so as to get maximum use of every bit of machine capability out of each and every print, on each and every print, each and every time.

Now you have to look for those tools in Onyx, and then once you find them, you have to know how to use them, but they are there. Second to Onyx, I would put Caldera. And any biases I may have aside, in Fiery, those tools are simply are not available.


Mike Adams
Correct Color
 
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ogetsu

Member
Are you saying that you can set differing rendering intents for vector and raster elements of an image and not get this? If so, that would be a handy tool to have back.
In a PDF/X3 file that has various elements, each graphic within can have it's own rendering intent. I don't know the science behind all of this, all I know is when it comes to PDF/X files, the efi can do what the onyx couldn't. I suggest you look into the Altona Test Suite. It's built to show you what your rip can handle.

Seriously, it's worth messing with.

Altona Test Suite 2.0

As far as all the other issues you had, well, I wasn't there so of course I can't know. I've never had any of them come up with any RIP, to be honest. Set up properly, Fiery works okay, and it does have a leg up on Onyx, and Caldera, and anybody save maybe GMG when it comes to proofing. But set up properly, I'd expect any RIP to be able to process the workflow you describe. (Although I do agree the remote stations is a nice feature.)
We use a strict PDF/X workflow. Regular images and PDF's will print just fine. Not to sound like a broken record, but the Altona test will show you everything I'm talking about.

Interestingly, while you obviously had Onyx tech support fall down for you, and I've heard others tell of them falling down as well, my personal experience with them has been not all bad, while EFI tech support has been gawd-awful. For my money, they're not even worth calling.
I'm not sure what you mean by "fall down", but they were helpful. They did everything they could, the rip just couldn't digest PDF/X files. They broke every time, and it was because Jaws couldn't deal with it. We got our fiery support from chromaticity. They were incredibly helpful. No bad words for them at all. I've had good experiences with both onyx and efi. It's just that onyx couldn't fix what was wrong with their product at the time without a big update. I wasn't upset with them, we just had to find a rip that could do what we needed. But aside from PDF/X, the Fiery can also print just about anything we throw at it. The greatest relief from the switch is that there are no unexplainable anomalies we have to waste time trying to figure out, and our clients trust us again.

Obviously an experience like that has left me no doubt biased, but my personal reason to this day for preferring Onyx is that to me, the main purpose of a RIP is to gain control of the printer; to gain control of the printer so as to get maximum use of every bit of machine capability out of each and every print, on each and every print, each and every time.
You should run the Altona test files then, and see if everything works. I'd say we got everything we need with the Fiery.

Now you have to look for those tools in Onyx, and then once you find them, you have to know how to use them, but they are there. Second to Onyx, I would put Caldera. And any biases I may have aside, in Fiery, those tools are simply are not available.
What tools again? For what it's worth, I haven't found it to lack anything we've needed so far. I am curious though about the tools you say it is missing.

Thanks.

jesse
 
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Correct Color

Well-known member
Jesse,

What tools again? For what it's worth, I haven't found it to lack anything we've needed so far. I am curious though about the tools you say it is missing.
Specifically the ability to have full control of ink splits, and multi-dot generation -- both of which can be pretty important on the SureColor.

Also, Onyx has a more robust linearization routine that Fiery.


Mike
 

ogetsu

Member
So I finally got around to it. Looks like I can take advantage of the metallic and white inks. I just need to define which spots to mix them with. I imagine we'd only use a select few colors, but either way, hopefully I can just build a library and reference it when we get files that call for metallics or white.

"If your printer supports white ink, clear ink, or metallic inks, you can assign any of these additional printer inks in addition to the original spot color definition. The additional inks are printed either behind or on top of the original spot color."

So, the only feature I wasn't sure of is actually in there.

I see I have a module in Fiery XF called "Dot Creator". What exactly is dot generation and ink splitting? I've never had to deal with any of that. Not yet anyway.
 

ogetsu

Member
Well, that part at least you can do in Onyx, in what back then was called 'Preflight' and what is now called 'Job Editor.' You do have to specify to open the file that way, however. Not that that's any big deal, but you do have to know to do it.
Actually, I recall using this (preflight), but the only part that was a bummer was having to open it in a separate "app", manipulate, then send it to the queue, and then back to preflight for any more edits, etc. We did know it was there (used for tiling, etc), but all the round trips and layers made it cumbersome. So with the EFI, jobs were queued as usual, but if you needed to edit them, you could do so instantly since it wouldn't process the file until the moment you hit print. Huge time saver.

I meant to address that in a previous reply, but overlooked it.

So, the "ink splits", is that what I'm doing with the metallic silver (or any special ink), and I'm just not realizing it for it's proper name?

I'm curious now about those two features. I'd like to look into them further with the Fiery and make sure they're there, for future sake.

Thanks for the "back and forth" in this thread. I've uncovered capabilities in the Fiery that I otherwise hadn't bothered to look into. It always helps to dig deeper, and it's especially satisfying to find gold when I do.

jesse
 
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ogetsu

Member
Mike,

Thanks for the advice, I use Onyx every day and I love it.

One question, do you see a difference in reliability between printers with HDD's used by RIP's?
I'm not Mike, but I've never noticed a difference. It seems that the rip always just streams data to the printer regardless. We've had HP DesignJets with onboard PS rips, and without, and there was no difference between them performance wise that I could tell. We've used various quantities of the HP 5000, HP 5500, HP Z6100, HP Z6200, Epson 11880, Epson 4900, Epson 9900, Epson S70670, FujiFilm Frontier DL600, FujiFilm Acuity Advance Select, and Durst Lambda76. All seemed to operate equally well in regards to being driven by the rip.

One thing I've noticed, if we cancel a job on the rip, the HP's would always spit out the remainder of media for the job. We had to cancel a print on the printer itself, and then on the rip. With the Epson's, we can cancel in the rip and it just stops and trims. I always thought the rip was the problem, but I guess it's the printer. I'm not sure if the 9900's have HDD's (I don't think they do), but the 6100's did, so maybe they were caching the job on the drive as it was streaming? Maybe Mike knows for sure.

The HP's with onboard PS rips would occasionally freak out and demand you run a FSCK thingy, which could take anywhere from 1 hour to 6+.

Sorry I overlooked your original question. This thread turned into quest of rip-discovery. I was able to build out the onyx metallic reference guide that came with the S70670 in the Fiery XF rip, so now the metallic color swatches (.ase) that were bundled for the creative suite print properly through the EFI.
 

Correct Color

Well-known member
Jesse,

Sorry to take so long. I got pretty busy there for awhile, then went on vacation, and forgot all about this.

But anyway...

I did look into the Altona Suite, and as soon as I did, it dawned on me that all this time you were saying PDF/X, but I was just seeing PDF.

And, honestly, I looked at PDF/X years ago and decided it really didn't much apply to large format, for a variety of reasons. So I'll admit I'm not much up to date on it and I'll simply take your word about Fiery handling PDF/X files better than Onyx or anyone else. (It might be interesting to see how Onyx and Caldera would work with APPE... but then again, I don't have any clients with a PDF/X workflow, I can't see any advantages for them, so I suppose I'll leave that to someone else.)

As far as ink splits and multi-dot generation, I also went back and looked through a few Fiery XF manuals I've got, and XF is kind of weird and haphazard in how it handles allowing a profiler to have control of ink splits. There was actually an old, old, Vutek-specific XF package that I really liked, that had a very nice ink-split building regimen, but they scrapped it several years back.

Nowadays, I'm actually not entirely sure what you get with what package. Some versions do appear to give you some control of the ink splits, but I think they come with an added module. However I could be mistaken on that. What I do know is that non of them -- even the old Vutek one -- give the absolute and precise level of control that Onyx does.

What ink splits are are the splits between light and dark inks in a particular channel. Your SureColor has cyan and light cyan, magenta and light magenta, and black and light black. Somehow, the transitions between the lights and darks have to be made. And they can either be baked in, or the profiler can take control of them.

And taking control of them can be very, very, helpful in many situations.

Likewise, your SureColor is what's known as a "multi-dot" machine, meaning that has has three available dot sizes. And just like light and dark ink, the dot sizes all have to start and stop at a certain point, have ramps as to how they do, or in some cases some dot sizes might not be used at all.

Bottom line is that multi-dot is a great way to get full gamut from some machines at lower resolutions, however -- as always -- there are tradeoffs. And also -- as always -- the tradeoffs baked in may not be the ones you want. Sometimes, they might even work very specifically against what you're trying to achieve.

Over the years I've had many many materials that just flat would not run on certain machines prior that I've been able to get to run by creating custom multi-dot configurations in a profile; just recently such a case was a SureColor running 3M IJ480.

As far as I know, there is no mechanism in any version of any XF profiling suite or linearization package to alter the multi-dot at all.

And no, "Dot Creator" isn't it. That's a proofing function. If you're making proofs for some other device, like a Litho or Flexo press using Fiery, you can use that tool to sort of mimic the destination machine's dot pattern. That's what that's for.



Mike Adams
Correct Color
 

ogetsu

Member
We use PDF/X for consistency across devices when a job has multiple parts. The banners at an event "match" the handouts, which "match" the signage they rest on (so long as the output device has an equal or larger gamut than gracol, and if not, it's still close). All of our staff's color settings (.csf) are the same, and all of our PDF's are created equal. All use predefined PDF/X .joboptions files, with a gracol output intent specified. This way, we're able to "match" work previously printed when new pieces are going to go up alongside something printed months to years previous. Everything is aimed at that target. Most importantly, our designers know what to expect, and are never surprised by wonky results. They can send us a file, and we can determine which machine(s) to send it to. They'll always get a consistent result.

This wasn't possible for us until we switched to EFI. Not everyone needs a workflow like this, but it was necessary for us.

Onyx's solutions can probably do this now. They just couldn't back in 2008-9 when we started trying to wrangle our workflow into one that would allow us to do what I listed above.

Thanks for the discussion!
 

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