December 17, 2007
Author: Tom Hogarty
Source: Lightroom Journal
One of the most common issues Lightroom users have been having is print output. Particularly those mac users who have recently ugraded to the latest Leopard Max OS X 10.5 operating system. In this blog post, Tom Hogarty outlines some of the reasons why this can be so and points out the need to update the print drivers for your printers. If you are experiencing print output problems from Mac OS X 10.5, do read this post and use the Comments section to cross check with other users and their shared findings.
There are several comments on this blog that describe printing issues with Lightroom 1.3.1 on Leopard. For many these problems may not have existed before or perhaps the result is different from the current output of Photoshop CS3. Before I dive into the details lets clear up a few definitions:
- Application Managed Printing – this is when you set the printer profile in the application prior to printing. Typically the profiles provided by printer manufacturers are designated by printer type and paper type. You also have the ability to create custom profiles using a third party hardware device. The most common error in Application Managed printing is forgetting to turn off the color management options in the settings available in the print dialog box. I recommend this workflow to professional photographers.
- Printer Managed Printing – this is when you tell Lightroom or Photoshop that the colors and conversion will be managed by the printer. Adobe applications will send the printer a tagged file the printer will then convert to an internal specification.
- Tioga – Legacy printer driver technology introduced with Mac OS X 10.0
- CUPS – Leopard’s current printer driver technology introduced with Mac OS X 10.2
The root of the discrepancy between Pre-Leopard and Post-Leopard printing results is the behavior of the underlying printer driver technology. Prior to Leopard, printer drivers could use either the Tioga printer driver technology or the CUPS technology. With the introduction of Leopard, CUPS is required and Tioga is no longer a valid option. There was a large ecosystem of Tioga-based printer drivers available prior to the Leopard release. Leopard has been released with some CUPS-based printer drivers included and printer manufacturers are working to provide updated drivers based on the newer technology.(Epson has posted beta print drivers for its professional line here: Epson Beta Drivers) But clearly, the support for the newer printer technology is nowhere near as widespread as the previous technology. One point of frustration is that while older or partially compliant drivers can generate a print the results are less then stellar. It may be fine for anyone printing out an invoice on their black and white laser printer but for photographers who have grown accustom to extracting the highest fidelity out of their software and printer, it’s unacceptable. This is particularly true for those who use an Application Managed print workflow. Printer Managed workflows may generate ‘ok’ results but I don’t know many photographers who are satisfied with ‘ok.’