I used to run a printing business, and at the time such a thing did not exist, I am looking to do some more prints for myself currently (with my Epson Pro 3880) and wondered if anyone has yet been able to produce a high gloss inkjet photo paper that doesn't end up with a gloss differential when printed on with pigment inks such as Epson Ultrachrome K3 VM (in my Pro 3880).

I have seen papers react very differently to the Epson inks: Gloss papers gain a slight matte finish where the ink is applied, and some of the luster papers i have used (Epson / Kodak) do the opposite and gain a more glossy area where the ink is!

I understand the reasons for these reactions are based on the final pigment/suspension dried on the surface, unlike dye inks which permeate deeper.

Does this holy grail exist yet that would allow good glossy prints on my current printer?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Doesn't help with your current printer, but there are high quality dye sublimation printers that use a CMYO format. O is for overcoating that is applied to make the final product glossy and waterproof. I've recently been using a Sony UP-CX1 that I believe uses this technology. \$\endgroup\$
    – Octopus
    Sep 26, 2013 at 17:46

1 Answer 1


Canon's LUCIA-12 (Pixma Pro-1 and photo wides) uses a Chroma-Optimizer ink to selectively clear coat areas to balance the gloss level. It works quite well in my opinion. The CO cartridge is also part of LUCIA-10 (Pixma Pro-10).

I've personally used it with Canon's Pro Platinum, Pro Luster, and Semi-Gloss Plus papers with great results and consistent reflectivity across the image, though I think in theory it should work well with most papers.

To discuss a little more on the problem, the issue is that the pigment causes variations in the level of the paper which cause disruptions in a smooth level of glossyness. Chroma-Optimizers fill the gaps between the pigments and thus balance the level of reflectivity to avoid issues with variable levels of reflectivity that generally make pigment inks look weird on glossy paper (due to uneven reflectivity.)

Without some kind of clear coat optimizer, there isn't really any way for the problem to be addressed by the paper itself. It would have to absorb pigments differently based on the color and amount of ink being deposited on the page and that requires a level of intelligence that paper can't have. Pretty much any other technique to deal with the problem would have to have either a printer or ink component, though post coating the image yourself may help.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your answer - however its a PAPER recommendation I'm after, not a printer. for completeness the Epson R800 (which I DON'T have) also has a "gloss optimiser" which is basically a clear ink, to do the same thing. I wont -1 you, that would be cruel :-) \$\endgroup\$ Sep 25, 2013 at 15:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DarkcatStudios - The answer is that with the ink system, just about any paper should work. I specifically listed some papers I have used successfully with it. Pro Platinum in particular is a glossy paper that works very well and maintains it's gloss. My answer focuses on the fact the solution is more in ink than paper though since it addresses your underlying issue. The solution isn't paper, it is ink system. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson
    Sep 25, 2013 at 15:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fair enough, However I am looking for an answer suited to pigment ink systems WITHOUT a gloss optimiser. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 25, 2013 at 15:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DarkcatStudios - ah, then the answer is that, no, to the best of my knowledge it does not exist. I updated my answer to indicate why it couldn't be done without some alteration to the printer or ink system and to elaborate that you could probably improve by coating yourself (as that would smooth the results, though not in quite as selective a way as a Chroma-Optimizer.) \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson
    Sep 25, 2013 at 15:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DarkcatStudios - ah, ok, I missed the implication in the original question that you want to be able to print with your current printer. (The original wording was ambiguous on this since it appeared you were just referring to your previous experience.) I made some alterations to make it more clear that this is your intent. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson
    Sep 25, 2013 at 16:01

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