3accomplished by raising or lowering the ink limits of the dark inks until ink density in thedarkest patch of the step wedge negativeis just sufficient to print as pure white in the finalprint.
Linearization of print midtones.
All digital negative systems except QTRlinearize print midtones by applying a Photoshop correction curve to the digital imagefile. This is not optimal since such correction curves invariably result in more or lessimage degradation. In addition, these correction curves are often rather severe and thusare difficult to fine tune (small changes to the curve result in large changes in the finalprint). With QTR, print midtones are brought roughly into linearity by raising orlowering ink limits in the printer driver and without touching the digital image file. Finallinearization is done with a Photoshop correction curve. But, in QTR this curve isapplied to the ink curves, not to the image file. In addition, the correction curve isusually rather mild and is accessible for fairly intuitive tweaking if needed.
Balancing inks for maximum tonal smoothness.
All printers print all of theirinks as dots of close to equal size. For the smoothest possible print tones, it is importantthat all of the printer’s inks are utilized, and it would be nice if they could be balanced sothat they filled in the holes around each other’s dots as completely as possible. In actualfact it is not possible to achieve this ideal with normal Epson inks because they vary sowildly in their ability to block various wavelengths of light. In this Manual I advisetreating all the dark inks as if they had equal blocking power by assigning the same inklimit to each dark ink (and doing the same for the light inks). I know this is not true, butin practice it results in very good negatives and simplifies writing QTR profiles.If you are interested, I have described a more rational approach to balancing theEpson inks in an article elsewhere on this website titled “Making a digital negative forprinting on variable contrast silver gelatin paper”. The ability to balance inks formaximum tonal smoothness is unique to the QTR approach.I have seen excellent prints made using nearly every available digital negativeapproach. However, QTR clearly offers the most control for making the optimalnegative. It is worth the extra effort required to master its somewhat steep learningcurve.