QuadTone RIP Workflow

The QTR driver

The QTR driver

Roy Harrington’s QuadTone RIP (QTR) software is a remarkable collection of tools that allows for some of the highest quality black and white output available on Epson inkjet printers. If you’ve only used the Epson ABW driver, you owe it to yourself to try QTR.

QTR is capable of both very simple operation, for those who just want to press a couple of buttons, to highly advanced printer control desired by…well, you know who you are. I’ve written an in-depth tutorial that takes you step by step through the most common scenarios of QTR usage. Whether you’re completely new to QTR or have been using it for years and wondered about some of its advanced features, you’ll gain a solid understanding and workflow of one tool that should be in every black and white lover’s toolbag.

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24 Comments on “QuadTone RIP Workflow”

  1. Stephan Says:


    thank you very much for this tutorial; it’s a great help.
    There is just one thing that remains unclear to me.

    In Level 4 Step 11 three values are to be changed accordingly.
    Are the values for DEFAULT_INK_LIMIT=xx and LIMIT_K=xx the same? Step 4 determines only 1 value for the ink limit…
    However, your final screenshot shows 2 different values.
    (Boost_K is clear.)

    Thanks in advance.


    • amadou Says:

      The same value can go in both Default and K ink limits. The default value only kicks in if an individual limit is left blank. The screenshot on the last page is one of Roy’s canned curves.

  2. Robert Munoz Says:


    Thanks for this very informative tutorial. I’ve done quite a bit of B&W printing on my Epson 3800 using Eric Chan’s ABW profiles out of Lightroom, but I’m very interested in trying the Quadtone RIP. I’ve noted much discussion around CS4′s limitations with Quadtone, and I was wondering if the same limitations exist with Lightroom 2.5, if I just want to try out some of the canned profiles, i.e., your “Level 1″.

    Thanks in advance for your time,


    • amadou Says:

      The most common issue with CS4 and BW occurs when trying to print files with “No Color Management”. The 100% foolproof approach is to use CS3. But if you stick to “Level 1″ usage you should be OK with CS4.

  3. Victoria Santana Says:

    Question…do you know if Quadtone rip is available for Mac OSX 10.6.2 Snow Leopard?
    Thank you,

  4. David Mendelow Says:

    I am planning to purchase an Epson 3880. Are there any unique issues I should be aware of v a v QTR? Does the use of third party inks, eg. J. Cone create any special issues?
    Thanks for your help.

    • amadou Says:

      You’ll need to check the QTR site for printer compatibility with Cone inks or any others you’re considering using. I do know that QTR should support the Epson inks with the 3880 in a few weeks.

  5. David Mendelow Says:

    I’ve just finished reading number one of your tutorial. I suspect to do at least two more. One question jumps out; I am used to using a variety of papers ( eg. Carnson, Infinity) necessary epson’s. What must I do to take these unique papers into account in QTR
    Second, can i use the Eye One profile makes instead of the one referenced in your tutorial?

  6. Paul Kohl Says:

    I have been referred to you by John Dean who said you might be able to advise me in this project I am doing. I am taking an Epson 10600 and converting it to use Cone K6 inks. I am using John’s method for refilling the carts as there are no refillable ones on the market that I know about.
    I am going to use the Quadtone RIP but Roy has told me that there are no ink controls built for this machine. I hope you can sort of point me in the right direction as far as making this work.
    I have been printing a lot with Imageprint and a 7880 and Epson inks. This 10600 printer was given to me for this project. Any help will be most gratefully accepted.
    Paul Kohl

    • amadou Says:

      If QTR does not support the 10600, you’ll have to use a different inkset than K6, unless the current version of StudioPrint still supports 3rd party inks on that printer. Contact ErgoSoft to find out.

      • Paul Kohl Says:

        Thanks for the information. I will contact Ergosoft about their RIP. I was hoping to use a cheaper gateway but perhaps I won’t be able to. Roy mentioned I might be able to use the 9600 driver. Then he said I should contact you.
        Thanks again and I will contact Ergosoft…again, if you have any ideas about this project, please pass them on.

  7. Jon Says:

    Hi Amadou,

    I’m a long time IJC/OPM user, but I’m getting the feeling they aren’t going to be supporting future Epson printers (and I’d like to print directly from apps like InDesign). Is it reasonably easy to linearize an existing QTR profile with a densitometer? Or do I need to get a spectrophotometer?



    • amadou Says:

      Yes, you can use a densitometer but you’ll have to enter everything manually and you won’t get the benefit of averaged measurements, unless you do that by hand also.

  8. pierre Says:

    Hi, I just tried Quadtone Rip with my Epson 7600 and the prints are coming out way too light. I’m on Windows system, printing from TIFF files. Any thoughts?

  9. Scott Says:

    I recently started using an Epson 3880 and was wanting to build profiles for Epson Luster… really more as an exercise to familiarize myself with the process. I’m trying to follow the Mac oriented process outlined in the tutorial, but am running into a stumbling block printing the inkseparation8.tif file.

    With 10.6.5 & CS 5, it’s simply not possible to print with no color management. I’ve tried a work around suggested on the Luminous Landscape: assigning a color space and printing with the exact same color space (I used ProPhoto RGB), and I’ve also tried a recently released Adobe utility that is supposed to bypass the API calls that seem to make printing with no color management impossible.

    In both cases the resulting printed sheet looks nothing at all like what is printed in the tutorial. When printing via CS 5, the background is white, but most of the ink positions print nothing, and those that do (the first 2) show significant pooling of ink (to the point that it runs down the page). When printing with the Adobe utility, the results are very different – the background is magenta and most ink positions print something – but not the color expected and (again) with significant pooling.

    Not sure what I’m missing here… any suggestions on how to print the inkseparation8.tif file correctly under 10.6.5?

    I posted a few more details on the QTR user group as well.


    • tyler Says:

      do the trick you did, but use sRGB instead of ProPhoto.
      Things keep changing with each OS update and PS version, sRGB just worked for me when AdobeRGB didn’t after an OS change.

  10. Hounddog905 Says:

    Like the previous poster above, I’ve been using Eric Chan’s custom ABW profiles, but would like to experiment with QTR. Since I’m a Windows user, I’m finding there’s not a lot available regarding workflows and/or tutorials to learn the very basics. I am wonder if you could provide some additional info.
    Thank you in advanced.

  11. vbo75 Says:

    I want to create custom QTR curves following your level 3 tutorial but I have got a problem with ProfileMaker 5 because this software is no longer supported and the last version cannot be installed on a Mac with OSX Lion. So the solution is to use ColoPort that is apparently the succesor of PM5, but with this software, the file QTR-21×4-random.txt used on step 8 doesn’t work. The import methode for custom test charts seems to use another type of file.
    Please, can you help me to find a solution ?
    Thanks a lot.

  12. Ishan Says:

    Hi Amadou,

    first thank you for your tutorial. It helps me a lot to understand QTR workflows.

    Only one question is left at the moment.
    I print out the calibration chart with a Epson R3000.
    You write in your tutorial, if I want to get the ink limit, I have to measure the K steps and where L* is 1 that’s the limit point.

    But if I measure with a SpyderPrint density 1 is near 20%.
    That couldn’t be the truth or which value I need to choose?
    Or what is the mistake in my thinking?

    Thank’s for a hint

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