Not Your Everyday Banana

by Bart Arondson

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I'm using Lightroom 2 and have an Epson Artisan 730. I'm trying to print this one photo, but the weird part is that I've made it black and white in Lightroom, but when I print it, it comes out with some greens and purples...

I've tried using the "Grayscale" checkbox in the print driver, but for whatever reason, it is still spitting out color...

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1 Answer 1

That model of printer has only one shade of black. In order to print at "photo" or "best photo" quality, it needs to mix colours to achieve intermediate tones (grey values) without introducing considerable graininess to the image. Darker midtones will use the normal cyan, magenta and yellow to create what painters call a "neutral grey" (which is actually a bit of a muddy mess, but is less blue than a black-and-white mixture), and will substitute the light cyan and light magenta in the lighter tones (both are in addition to a screening of black).

You can print at a lower quality, like "text" or "text and photo", or you can move up to a printer that offers at least one "light black" (it's sometimes labelled "grey", but it's actually just a more dilute black) if you want a pure black-and-white. Or you can choose a warmer- or cooler-toned image—that will control the colour bias and reduce either the cyan or the magenta, making the image look a lot more consistent.

I'm not a Lightroom user, so I don't know what kind of toning options it offers. In Photoshop (or an equivalent editor), you would convert the image to greyscale, then set the mode back to RGB and use a Hue & Saturation adjustment (with the "colorize" option turned on) to introduce a slight blue- or red-biased tone with very slight saturation. Several plugins handle this as well, and can produce very realistic-looking warm- or cold-toned black and white pictures. Some of them will work from Lightroom as well as from within Photoshop—Topaz Black & White Effects certainly will, and I'm pretty sure that Nik Silver Efex Pro will too.

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I would add: Are your devices (camera, computer and printer) calibrated. Is your monitor color corrected? What you are seeing on screen might not be the actual color that’s there. Is your monitor displaying sRGB or Adobe RGB colors? What is the color profile of the file? ProPhoto? sRGB? Make sure that all the devices from capture to print are speaking the same lingo. The choice of paper also has a great impact on how the final print looks like. –  Alen Feb 28 '12 at 1:47
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Calibration shouldn't matter if the image has been converted to greyscale in the editor and the "greyscale" option is selected in the printer driver. There won't be a conflict between colour spaces (aRGB vs sRGB vs ProPhoto, etc.) either, since the image is not in an RGB colour space at that point. –  user2719 Feb 28 '12 at 2:24
    
Somehow, I've missed the '"Grayscale" checkbox in the print driver' part! I stand corrected. However, it’s still possible that printer is not working correctly. –  Alen Feb 28 '12 at 3:06
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The greyscale option on the printer won't make much of a difference since the image will be an 8-bit greyscale on the way to the printer anyway (not a 24-bit colour image). Again, calibration won't matter unless the image is in an RGB colour space. If there's something wrong with the printer, it will be a nozzle alignment causing defined fringing—the printer is supposed to use colours while creating a black-and-white photo image at its highest quality settings. You need multiple black tones to avoid screening without using secondary colours. –  user2719 Feb 28 '12 at 4:20
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