9AO: Prints and The Pauper

Spent a fucking lot of time today trying to get my printer to behave.

Let me just be up-front and say I hate ink-jet printers. They serve a certain function, but they don't serve it all that well, and I've never had a printer that actually produced prints that I was satisfied with. I tolerate them as an occasional necessity, but I won't be sad when (I can only hope) they're made laughably obsolete by some future, superior, low-cost printing technology.

On top of that, I hate the fact that outside of SCARSE on Linux, there are no free softwares for creating/modifying ICC profiles. What I see on my monitor and what comes out of my printer couldn't be less similar unless a crafty saboteur had filled my ink cartridges with blood, cobalt, and sulfur (I could have sworn sulfur was spelled 'sulpher', but spell-check tells me I'm wrong, the bitch). Perhaps if I could do some manual calibration of my color profiles I might be able to effect a degree of WYSIWYG on my life, but that option doesn't seem to be open to me.

I did discover, on a positive note, that if I create Ben-Day screens of cyan, magenta, and yellow, and print them with the printer's color correction turned off, it will actually print them with its cyan, magenta, and yellow inks without mixing. Well, it won't if I print from Illustrator or Gimp despite all the fuckery I could manage with either app's color settings, but it will if I print from IrfanView which is better than nothing.  Of course, my printer's magenta is red, and my printer's cyan is blue, but that's actually a good thing in the application of old-style comics coloring/printing.

The problem now is, with its color correction turned completely off, I have no way of controlling ink density, and although I'm getting 100% C(B), M(R), and Y when I want, 100% happens to be too much.

So I tried putting a 25% white pixel halftone over my Ben-Day images to brute force a reduced ink density at 600dpi. It sorta works. Problem is, you can, in places, make out the halftone pattern in the print, and that's no good. The attached image is the pudding wherein lies the proof. I didn't have any blank newsprint, so I cut a Dell ad out of USA Today and printed on that. The color chart is a recreation of a color chart by Todd Klein, whose blog entry on the ins-and-outs of the old method of comic coloring has been essential to my pursuing this line of... well, this line. I don't know what to call it other than a compulsion at this point.

There's hope for the current technique though, because I have the necessary know-how to make a very short little program that will generate diffuse halftones instead of the patterned halftones, and those should be far less visible. I don't think I'll do that tomorrow, though, because I really need to get cracking on Mr. Gorsky's commission. I wasted a lot of time these past three days on a couple of drawings that aren't going to make me any money, so I should get back to concentrating on the ones that will, shouldn't I?

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