Monitor check: Do you see a slight difference between the blackest black and the 95% black? What about between 0% and 5%?

Adjust your contast to the maximum, then adjust your brightness up or down to see both a difference in the lightest tones and the darkest tones simultaneously.

Fine Tune Inkjet Prints on Watercolor Paper

May, 2005

Arches, Fabrian, Windsor Newton and others make some of the worlds finest papers. Watercolor papers such as Arches Bright White have a high degree of internal and external sizing, helping your prints from becoming dull from the ink absorbing into the paper more than you would like.

There are however a few problems associated with using them....

- They exhibit a "classic" green bias that I have seen from the earliest days when printing on uncoated cotton paper.

- The d-max is less than a print on a paper with an ink-jet coating. In other words, blacks are not as black as they can be.

- Metamerism issues seem worse than with coated stock.

Under daylight, the green effect is strongest, under tungsten light, not so bad. So... try this...

Set your printer driver to Premium Luster Paper for a heavier ink laydown

Make a test print using a 21 step grayscale. You can see color bias more easily.

Before printing, add magenta to the image using the slider in the color balance dialog box.


Use a color adjustment layer, if you prefer. Experiment with different amounts in units of 5, between 5 and 40. Apply to mid-tones only.

Remember that you'll need one value for daylight, one for tungsten... and another one for fluorescent light.

Before printing, add a transfer curve to darken the values from 50 - 95%... FILE>PRINT WITH PREVIEW

Click on show more options, choose the transfer button.

In the tranfer curve dialog box, make the 95% value 97% and let the rest of the curve drift upward.


Compare the mid-tone gray areas of your print to a known gray source under the type of light your prints will be seen in.

To strengthen the final d-max of the blacks on your print, and to protest it from the harmful, degrading effects of exposure to air and uv light, spray it with any number of products such as Krylon Kamar Varnish, various print guard products... even polyurethane or cheap hair spray such as Aqua-Net.


HOME             TUTORIALS