Epson US seems to have dug its heels in regarding the non-availability of the Gray Blancer software. I have tried, without success, to get it included. Perhaps Epson US might have a change of mind, or at least post the software on their web site. This last option is exactly what the French have done. For the time being you can download the software from the French Epson site at:
Choose the 2100 in box number 1
The only problem is that the downloads are in French. This tutorial will show you how to use the software by showing you screen shots in English. You can view the full resolution shot by clicking on the various pictures. In order to use the GB software you should ideally have an Epson Gray Balancer Reference Chart. Donít worry if you havenít got one, I will walk you through the whole process using a standard Kodak Gray Scale (CAT 152 7654), which you can obtain through most good photographic stores.
Update on 16 September 2002
Patch available now (only PC not Mac), by courtesy of Thomas Fors.
What is the Gray Balancer?
The GB is a utility for adjusting the gray balance on an inkjet printer, in other words it will help you to achieve a neutral Gray in your monochrome prints. B&W prints on an inkjet printer are made up from a composite of all the colors - look at any b/w print using a loupe and you will see the coloured dots.† The Black setting on the printer interface is just for text printing. The GB can also be used to adjust the color of gray tones in your color printing, thereby eliminating any cast that the printer may have.
So why not create a custom profile?
Creating a profile using dedicated profiling software and hardware is, of course, the most accurate method, but hardware and software can each cost considerably more than the printer. You could purchase custom profiles at various prices ranging from £100 - £500, but these are generally for one paper type only and costs can soon add up if you intend using a variety of surfaces.
Will the Gray Balancer replace a custom profile?
No, the GB is an adjustment that is applied to the printer driver. It will give you the ability to adjust your monochrome tones to your preferred taste, but it is not a profile. Any file/image/document that is printed whilst the GB is turned on will have the adjustment applied, regardless of the application being used.
Do I need to create a new adjustment for every paper type?
In an ideal world, yes, you should create a new adjustment set for each paper type and if you want to be a real perfectionist, for each resolution too.
Why not adjust the image in Photoshop rather than use the GB software?
When you make an adjustment in Photoshop or other application, you alter the image data. GB applies an adjustment to the file when it is sent to the printer, the image data is never altered. If you used Photoshop to adjust the colors, you would have to apply your settings to each image in turn, with the GB software it's a background operation.
Is it complicated to use?
No, but like anything else in digital imaging there is a learning curve. You should be able to produce an adjusted print within 30 minutes (not including the print drying time). The software has a 122 page PDF manual, which for obvious reasons I canít publish, but with a few experiments you should be able to grasp the workings of the GB.† (Please do not email me asking for a copy of the manual it is the Copyright of Epson).
What values should I use if I am using the Kodak Gray Scale?
Read the step by step, but for reference here are the values:
Launch the GB software, you donít have to have Photoshop or any other application running for this part. Make sure that both the Set Adjustment and Create Adjustment are set to ***No Adjustment***. Load a sheet of your chosen media, A4 size is ideal. Click the bottom right Print button to create a test print - this will be a printed version of the image you see on the left side. Leave the print to stand for approx 30 minutes, once dry look for any color cast in the Gray Bars. If you are happy with the tonal quality then donít proceed any further, your printer should give you satisfactory results. If you have got a color cast in the gray bars then move on to the next step. Click screen shot to view full resolution version.
Click on the Create Adjustment > Start button. On the next screen, in the top 4 point Gray Adjustment set your media type in the drop down list and then click the Next button. On the next screen click the Print button to print out the four Tortoise shell targets. Let this print dry for at least 30 minutes. Click the Next button. Click screen shot to view full resolution version.