If you ordered a custom print from me and still haven’t received it, that’s because I am behind. At first, there was a delay in getting canvas, and now — thanks to Epson & Apple’s confusing relationship, there’s a hole in my workflow. I’m preoccupied with stuff that will affect every print I make from now on.

I usually order paper and canvas from a vendor in Tulsa, but they were out of stock as of May 30. They redirected the order to a branch office in Denver, but their two-day shipping turned into week-long shipping. (They didn’t actually use “Two Day” shipping, they used Ground because “it’s cheaper and usually gets there in two days.” Welp.)

My friend Dave (who owns the printer and helps with my printing and framing), had to upgrade his Mac OS from Snow Leopard (v10.6) to Lion (v10.7). It wasn’t because the previous version was slow or anything — it was just because MobileMe, which he uses for his business email, is being replace with iCloud, which only runs on Lion. (That’s a silly restriction because I can use iCloud on Windows 7, which Apple says is light years behind any Mac OS.) If he didn’t upgrade by June 30, he would lose his email account.

Things get weird when we’re under pressure.

I’m his part-time tech support guy, so I helped him with the OS upgrade. This is Ronco-easy on a Mac — “just set it and forget it!” We had Lion up and running 37 minutes later, and spent the rest of the evening making sure everything still worked. Email migrated just fine, Photoshop and Lightroom still worked, but now Epson’s printer driver is on the fritz. If the print driver doesn’t work, I don’t have prints.

It turns out that Epson hasn’t really upgraded their Mac drivers since 2007, but they kinda still do since Apple includes them in the OS, and each subsequent OS upgrade seems to fiddle with one little feature after another. We looked over the options in the print driver, and everything looked fine except we couldn’t print in black and white. Yes, the little selection box that says “Advanced Black & White” is grayed-out, and it’s not recommended to print a B&W photo in color because it will come out blue (or yellow, or green, depending on the phase of the moon.) We checked the manual, and by “manual” I mean a PDF file on epson.com dated August 2007, and it implies that feature is supposed to “just work.” Well, it did work up until this OS upgrade. Dave called Epson the next morning, and the solution they gave him was uncomfortable — they told him to enable “Color Managed by Printer” (which you should never ever EVER do, because it will do unpredictable fiddly stuff to the color after it leaves the software; I don’t even know why it’s an option), then go through a song and dance with “Epson Color Controls” to make the “Black and White” box appear. Sure enough, there it is.

He gave me the news last night over the phone, and now I am itching to run a test print. I don’t feel comfortable with the solution that Epson offered us, but even though it’s a slightly different process, I will make sure the print quality isn’t adversely affected.

If you placed a custom order, please give me a couple more days.


UPDATE: June 13, 2012

Epson’s solution actually works, but I gotta get used to it. (It feels icky.)

My big concern: With OS 10.6 I had to use a different paper profile when printing in B&W because the Moab Entrada ICC profile that I used for all my color images made my B&W images look flat and lifeless. Just for kicks I tried the Epson Enhanced Matte profile, and the B&W images came back to life.

When I found that 10.7 wouldn’t let me use a color profile when printing in B&W, I had a little panic. Epson tech support said that the “Advanced Black & White” (ABW) setting has always bypassed the ICC profile setting, and this subtle change in the interface was made to reflect that. But that doesn’t explain why my B&W photos (with 10.6) looked like crap with the Moab profile and looked great with the Epson profile.

Oh, well.. Now I have to remember to either switch back and forth between “Printer Manages Color” and “Photoshop Manages Color” when printing B&W and color (respectively), or get into the otherwise unusual habit of using “Printer Manages Color” from now on. (gah.. that just seems wrong..)

The prints look just as good as they always have, and that’s all that matters.

3 Responses

  1. My god…i just took a printing class… my photographer teen is curious to my new knowledge…thank you sir….Question…do you barter with other artist…I realize this world runs on cash..no harm in asking.

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