( Epson inkjet printers

Info Catalog ( Driver file ( New Printer ( Tuning Epson printers
 Epson inkjet printers
    The `model_capabilities' vector in `print-escp2.c' contains one
 entry for each defined printer model.  The `model' parameter in
 `printers.xml' is an index into this table.
    In general, the new printers have fewer eccentricities than the older
 printers.  That doesn't mean they're simpler, just that they're more
    An `escp2_printer_t' is a C struct defined as follows:
  - Data type:  escp2_printer_t
           typedef struct escp2_printer
             model_cap_t	flags;		/* Bitmask of flags, see below */
             int		nozzles;	/* Number of nozzles per color */
             int		min_nozzles;	/* Minimum number of nozzles per color */
             int		nozzle_separation; /* Separation between rows, in 1/360" */
             int		black_nozzles;	/* Number of black nozzles (may be extra) */
             int		min_black_nozzles;	/* # of black nozzles (may be extra) */
             int		black_nozzle_separation; /* Separation between rows */
             int		fast_nozzles;	/* Number of fast nozzles */
             int		min_fast_nozzles;	/* # of fast nozzles (may be extra) */
             int		fast_nozzle_separation; /* Separation between rows */
             int		xres;		/* Normal distance between dots in */
           				/* softweave mode (inverse inches) */
             int		enhanced_xres;	/* Distance between dots in highest */
           				/* quality modes */
             int		base_separation; /* Basic unit of row separation */
             int		base_resolution; /* Base hardware spacing (above this */
           				/* always requires multiple passes) */
             int		enhanced_resolution;/* Above this we use the */
           				    /* enhanced_xres rather than xres */
             int		resolution_scale;   /* Scaling factor for ESC(D command */
             int		max_black_resolution; /* Above this resolution, we */
           				      /* must use color parameters */
           				      /* rather than (faster) black */
           				      /* only parameters*/
             int		max_hres;
             int		max_vres;
             int		min_hres;
             int		min_vres;
             int		max_paper_width; /* Maximum paper width, in points */
             int		max_paper_height; /* Maximum paper height, in points */
             int		min_paper_width; /* Maximum paper width, in points */
             int		min_paper_height; /* Maximum paper height, in points */
           				/* Printer interleave: */
             int		m_left_margin;	/* Left margin, points */
             int		m_right_margin;	/* Right margin, points */
             int		m_top_margin;	/* Absolute top margin, points */
             int		m_bottom_margin;	/* Absolute bottom margin, points */
           				/* ROLL FEED: */
           				/* Softweave: */
             int		roll_left_margin;	/* Left margin, points */
             int		roll_right_margin;	/* Right margin, points */
             int		roll_top_margin;	/* Absolute top margin, points */
             int		roll_bottom_margin;	/* Absolute bottom margin, points */
           				/* Printer interleave: */
             int		m_roll_left_margin;	/* Left margin, points */
             int		m_roll_right_margin;	/* Right margin, points */
             int		m_roll_top_margin;	/* Absolute top margin, points */
             int		m_roll_bottom_margin;	/* Absolute bottom margin, points */
             int		extra_feed;	/* Extra distance the paper can be spaced */
           				/* beyond the bottom margin, in 1/360". */
           				/* (maximum useful value is */
           				/* nozzles * nozzle_separation) */
             int		separation_rows; /* Some printers require funky spacing */
           				/* arguments in interleave mode. */
             int		pseudo_separation_rows;/* Some printers require funky */
           				/* spacing arguments in softweave mode */
             int           zero_margin_offset;   /* Offset to use to achieve */
           				      /* zero-margin printing */
             int		initial_vertical_offset;
             int		black_initial_vertical_offset;
             int		extra_720dpi_separation;
             const int *dot_sizes;		/* Vector of dot sizes for resolutions */
             const double *densities;	/* List of densities for each printer */
             const escp2_variable_inklist_t *inks; /* Choices of inks for this printer */
             const paperlist_t *paperlist;
             const res_t *reslist;
             const inklist_t *inklist;
             const int *bits;
             const int *base_resolutions;
             const input_slot_list_t *input_slots;
             const init_sequence_t *preinit_sequence;
             const init_sequence_t *postinit_remote_sequence;
           } escp2_printer_t;
    The printer definition block is divided into 8 sections.  The first
 section is a set of miscellaneous printer options.  These are described
 in the code, and will not be discussed further here.
    The second section describes the number of nozzles and the separation
 between nozzles in base units.  The base unit is 1/360" for all
 currently supported printers, but future printers may support a smaller
 base unit.
    Many printers have more black nozzles than nozzles of other colors,
 and when used in black and white mode, it's possible to use these extra
 nozzles, which speeds up printing.  As an example, a printer that is
 specified to have 48 cyan, magenta, and yellow nozzles, and 144 black
 nozzles, can use all 144 black nozzles when printing black ink only.
 When printing in color, only 48 nozzles of each color (including black)
 can be used.
    Most printers can print using either the number of nozzles available
 or any smaller number.  Some printers require that all of the nozzles
 be used.  Those printers will set `min_nozzles' and/or
 `min_black_nozzles' to the same value as `nozzles' and/or
    The third section defines basic units of measure for the printer,
 including the standard separation between dots, the base nozzle
 separation, and the minimum and maximum printing resolutions the
 printer supports.  Most of these are fairly self-explanatory, but some
 are not obvious.
    Most Epson printers, other than the high-end Stylus Pro models,
 cannot print dots spaced more closely than 1/360" or 1/720" apart (this
 is the setting for `xres'.  This is true even for printers that support
 resolutions of 1440 or 2880 DPI.  In these cases, the data must be
 printed in 2, 4, or 8 passes.  While the printer can position the head
 to a resolution of 1/1440" or 1/2880", the head cannot deposit ink that
    Some printers can only print in their very best quality (using the
 smallest dots available) printing at a lower resolution.  For example,
 the Stylus Photo EX can normally print with a dot spacing of 1/720".
 The smallest dot size cannot be printed with a dot spacing of less than
 1/360", however.  In this case, we use `enhanced_xres' to specify the
 resolution to be used in this enhanced mode, and `enhanced_resolution'
 to specify the printing resolution above which we use the
    The `resolution_scale' command is used to specify scaling factors
 for the dot separation on newer printers.  It should always be 14400
 with current printers.
    The fourth section specifies the minimum and maximum paper sizes, and
 the margins.  Some printers allow use of narrower margins when
 softweave is used; both sets of margins are specified.
    There is a convenient `INCH' macro defined to make specification of
 the `max_paper_width' and `max_paper_height' more legible.  It
 multiplies 72 by the provided expression to get the appropriate number
 of points.  For example, to specify 8.5", `INCH(17/2)' expands to `(72
 * 17/2)', which is evaluated left to right, and hence generates the
 correct value.
    The fifth section specifies some miscellaneous values that are
 required for certain printers.  For most printers, the correct values
 are 1 for `separation_rows' and 0 for the others.  Very, very few
 printers require (or allow) `separation_rows' to be anything but 1 and
 `pseudo_separation_rows' other than zero.  The Stylus Color 1520,
 Stylus Color 800, Stylus Color 850, and (strangely enough to my mind,
 since it's a new printer) Stylus Color 660 seem to be the only
    The `zero_margin_offset' is used to specify an additional negative
 horizontal offset required to print to the edges of the paper on newer
 Stylus Photo printers.  These must be determined empirically; good
 starting values are 100 for 1440 DPI and 50 for 2880 DPI printers.  The
 goal is to print to the edge of the page, but not over it.
    The sixth section specifies head offsets for printers that do not
 have the color jets aligned.  Certain printers, such as the Stylus Color
 480, have an unusual head arrangement whereby instead of all of the
 colors being aligned vertically, the nozzles are configured in groups.
 These printers are easy to determine; if the normal head offset of zero
 for each color is used, the printing will be vertically out of
 alignment.  Most of these printers require specification of a negative
 offset for printing to the top edge of the paper; typically these
 printers do not require such an offset when printing black only.
    The seventh section specifies the most difficult values to tune, the
 dot sizes, printing densities, and ink values (for variable dot size
 enabled printers).  These will be described in detail below.
    The last section specifies luminosity, hue, and saturation adjustment
 vectors for the printer, and the paper definitions.  These are used to
 adjust the color in Photograph and Solid Colors output modes.  These are
 each vectors of 48 (actually 49, as the first value must be duplicated)
 doubles that remap the luminosity, hue, and saturation respectively.
 The hue is calculated, and the value used to interpolate between the two
 closest points in each vector.
    The paper definitions is a set of paper definitions.  The paper
 definition contains the name of the paper type, special settings that
 are required for printers to process the paper correctly, and a set of
 adjustment values.  These are not currently discussed here.
    The lists of dot sizes and densities contain values for 13 printing
 modes: 120/180 DPI using printer weaving (single row; referred to as
 "interleave") and "soft" weaving (the driver determines the exact
 pattern of dot layout), 360 DPI interleave and softweave, 720x360 DPI
 interleave and softweave, 720 DPI interleave and softweave, 1440x720
 interleave and softweave, 2880x720 interleave and softweave, and
 2880x1440 softweave only.
    For the dot sizes, the value for each element in the vector selects
 the dot size to be used when printing at this (or similar) resolution.
 The dot sizes are determined by consulting the programming manual for
 the printer and experimenting as described below.  Current Epson
 printers always use dot sizes less than `16', or `0x10', to indicate
 single dot size (each dot is represented by 1 bit, and it's either
 printed or not), and dot sizes of `16' or greater to indicate variable
 dot size (each dot is represented by 2 bits, and it can either be not
 printed or take on 2 or 3 values, representing the relative size of the
 printed dot).  Variable dot sizes permit the use of very small dots
 (which would be too small to fill the page and produce solid black) in
 light areas, while allowing the page to be filled with larger dots in
 darker areas.
    Even single dot size printers can usually produce dots of different
 sizes; it's just illegal to actually try to switch dot size during a
 page.  These dots are also much bigger than those used in true variable
 dot size printing.
    A dot size of `-1' indicates that this resolution is illegal for the
 printer in question.  Any resolutions that would use this dot size will
 not be presented to the user.  A dot size of `-2' indicates that this
 resolution is legal, but that the driver is not to attempt to set any
 dot size.  Some very old printers do not support the command to set the
 dot size.
    Most printers support a dot size of `0' as a mode-specific default,
 but it's often a bigger dot than necessary.  Printers usually also
 support some dot sizes between `1' and `3'.  Usually `1' is the right
 dot size for 720 and 1440 dpi printing, and `3' works best at 360 dpi.
    Variable dot size printers usually support 2 or 3 sets of variable
 dot sizes.  Older printers based on a 6 picolitre drop (the 480, 720,
 740, 750, 900, and 1200) support two: mode 16 (0x10 in hexadecimal) for
 normal variable dots at 1440 or 720 dpi, and mode 17 (0x10) for special
 larger dots at 360 dpi.  Newer printers based on 4 picolitre drops
 normally support three sizes: `0x10' for 4 pl base drops, `0x11' for 6
 pl base drops, and `0x12' for special large drops.  On these printers,
 `0x10' usually works best at 1440x720 and `0x11' works best at 720x720.
 Unfortunately, `0x10' doesn't seem to generate quite enough density at
 720x720, because if it did the output would be very smooth.  Perhaps
 it's possible to tweak things....
    The list of densities is a list of base density values for all of the
 above listed modes.  "Density" refers to the amount of ink deposited
 when a solid color (or solid black) is printed.  So if the density is
 `.5', solid black actually prints only half the possible dots.  "Base
 density" refers to the fact that the density value can be scaled in the
 GUI or on the Ghostscript command line.  The density value specified
 (which is not made visible to the user) is multiplied by the base
 density to obtain the effective density value.  All other things (such
 as ink drop size) remaining the same, doubling the resolution requires
 halving the base density.  The base density in the density vector may
 exceed `1', as many paper types require lower density than the base
 driver.  The driver ensures that the actual density never exceeds 1.
    Tuning the density should be done on high quality paper (usually
 glossy photo paper).  The goal is to find the lowest density value that
 results in solid black (no visible gaps under a fairly high power
 magnifying glass or loupe).  If an appropriate density value is found
 for 720 DPI, it could be divided by 2 for 1440x720, by 4 for 2880x720,
 and by 8 for 2880x1440.
    However, for printers that offer a choice of dot size, this may not
 be the best strategy.  The best choice for dot size is the smallest dot
 size that allows choosing a density value not greater than 1 that gives
 full coverage.  This dot size may be different for different
 resolutions.  Tuning variable dot size printers is more complicated;
 the process is described below.
    The last member is a pointer to a structure containing a list of ink
 values for variable dot size (or 6 color) inks.  We model variable dot
 size inks as producing a certain "value" of ink for each available dot
 size, where the largest dot size has a value of 1.  6-color inks are
 handled similarly; the light cyan and light magenta inks are treated as
 a fractional ink value.  The combination of variable dot size and 6
 color inks, of course, just creates that many more different ink
    This structure is actually rather complicated; it contains entries
 for each combination of physical printer resolution (180, 360, 720, and
 1440 dpi), ink colors (4, 6, and 7), and single and variable dot sizes
 (since some printer modes can't handle variable dot size inks).  Since
 there's so much data, it's actually a somewhat deeply nested structure:
    An `escp2_printer_t' contains a pointer (essentially, a reference
 rather than a copy) to an `escp2_variable_inklist_t'.
    An `escp2_variable_inklist_t' contains pointers to
 `escp2_variable_inkset_t' structures.  There is one such pointer for
 each combination of resolution, dot type, and ink colors as described
 above.  Yes, this is rather inflexible.
    An `escp2_variable_inkset_t' contains pointers to
 `escp2_variable_ink_t' structures.  There is one such pointer for each
 of the four colors (C, M, Y, and K).
    An `escp2_variable_ink_t' contains a pointer to the actual list of
 ink values (`simple_dither_range_t'), the number of ink values, and a
 density value to be used for computing the transitions.  This density
 value is actually a scaling value; it is multiplied by the effective
 density to compute the density to be used for computing the transitions.
 Normally, this value is `1', but in some cases it may be possible to
 get smoother results with a different value (in particular, the single
 dot size 6-color inks work best with the effective density scaled to
 `.75' for this purpose).  A lower density lowers the transition points,
 which results in more ink being deposited.
    A `simple_dither_range_t' is a structure containing four values:
   1. The value of the particular ink
   2. The bit pattern used to represent the ink
   3. Whether the ink is light (0) or dark (1), for inks with light and
      dark variants
   4. The relative amount of ink actually deposited by this dot (not
      currently used for much; it can be used for ink reduction
      purposes, to reduce the amount of ink deposited on the paper).
    These things are interesting as arrays.  From an array of
 `simple_dither_range_t''s, the dither code computes transition values
 that it looks up at run time to decide what ink to print, as well as
 whether to print at all.
    *Really* confused now?  Yup.  You'll probably find it easier to
 simply read the code.
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