Epson ABW Grey Curves

Black & White Grey Curves

For all my black and white printing on my Epson printer, I prefer to use the Advanced Black and White mode (ABW) mode instead of the Colour mode for the following reasons.

  • Deeper Blacks
  • The ABW driver is more linear
  • ABW driver has less bronzing.
  • ABW driver has superior longevity.

When we print black and white images through the Advanced Black and White ABW driver, we have to tell Photoshop to let the printer manage the colours which in turn disables the option to select any RGB profiles. 

By going down this route it means that the RGB values in your image are passed directly to the ABW driver without any alteration.

For example
If you place Photoshop’s eye dropper over a pixel and find that it has RGB values (118,118,118), then (118,118,118) is exactly what Photoshop will send to the ABW driver.

Having said all that, there are a few anomalies which we need to be aware of.

  1. We can’t soft proof the image, even if our display is properly calibrated
  2. The same image will print differently on different papers
  3. Final reesults will depend on our choice of RGB working space
ProPhotoRGB And AdobeRGB1998

Take the two images above for example. One is is in the AdobeRGB 1998 Colour Space and the other is in the ProPhotoRGB Colour Space. Both images were filled with 50% Grey and on screen they both look identical.

However, if we look at the numbers more closely, we see that they are different. The AdobeRGB 1998 colour space shows us a value of 118 and the ProPhotoRGB colour space shows us a value of 100.

If we were to print them both out, the one in ProPhotoRGB would print darker because the value of 100 is lower than the value of 118 from the AdobeRGB 1998.

This isn’t really what we want.

All of these problems can be solved using a custom grey curve which maps the RGB working space values to the required output space values.

Introducing Paper Grey Curves

Epson ABW Black And White Printing Grey Curves

The Paper Grey Curves program is a lightweight application that is run from within Photoshop.

It will automatically generate the paper correction curve which can then be added in Photoshop just before the photograph is printed.

This will ensure that the vales we see on screen are mapped to the values the printer actually prints.


Epson ABW Gray Curve

Paper Grey Curve Calculations

All the calculations for producing the mapped output values are automatically worked out for you by the use of the included Excel and Apple Numbers Spreadsheet and the measurement values you obtained from the printed step wedge.

The included spreadsheet is extremely easy to use with only 3 required steps for the user to take. Also included in the spreadsheet is an “Online Help” button which allows you to watch a series of online Video Tutorials.

Paper Grey Curve Excel Calculations

Paper Grey Curve Apple Numbers Calculations

Full Version

Paper Grey Curves
  • Excel Spreadsheet Included
  • Apple Numbers Spreadsheet Included
  • Main Photoshop Script
  • Automatically Create Curve
  • Manually Create Curve
  • Online Video Tutorials
Best Value


Paper Grey Curves
  • Excel Spreadsheet or
  • Apple Numbers Spreadsheet
  • Photoshop CC and Above or
  • Photoshop CS6
  • Device For Measuring Print Values
  • Windows or Mac Operating System

Introduction To The Paper Grey Curves Program

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5 thoughts on “Epson ABW Grey Curves”

  1. Sounds very useful for my printing. But I’m on CS6 and don’t want to move over to a subscription service that may not be reliable long term.

  2. Having installed and started to use the plug in I realise that a whole new level of control over my b&w world is now at my finger tips. It has renewed love of the genre. Given me quite a buzz.

    Thanks for this Ian.

    1. Hi
      Because Lightroom does now allow the use of custom curves, the program will only work with Photoshop

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