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The Black Ink Update 5/31/2007 -

We have now discontinued prodution of all Quadtone inks (VM, VMS, FS, FSN, QUAD, HEX) and are suggesting that all users move to the Ultratone equivalent. Virtually every printer that had a Quadtone inkset has a similar more stable Ultratone inkset that will offer more stability in the print tone as well as faster dry times.

This page and others linked here, is being left live on our web site for reference purposes.

Ultratone inks are the newest development in black and white printing. Anchored by the longevity and stablility of the Eboni black, the other shades are manufactured in a similar fashion using the new co-solvent. Please visit this link for more information on Ultratone inks and their unique capabilities...learn more.

Quadtone inks -

The photos below show the 4 different tones that can be achieved with the MIS VM Quadtone Inks. These were all printed with the same inkjet cartridge on an Epson 1160 printer. The only thing that was changed was the Roark workflow.



Warm                                         Medium Warm

Neutral                                              Cool
Quadtone Menu
Quadtone Inksets Quadtone Bulk Inks Quadtone Ink Cartridges Workflow Quadtone Refill Kits Refill Instructions Paper Products Virgin Empty Cartridges Frequently Asked Questions Fade Test Results Purging Tinting Archival Products

MIS Black & White Inksets
Specially formulated archival inks have been developed by MIS for printing black and white images. The quality of the images is far superior to using the Epson color inks. The black to white range is increased and the visible dots are greatly reduced, if not eliminated. The printer thinks it is printing color images, but all it has in the cartridge are shades of black.

A Photoshop workflow on a Mac or PC, is required to print these Quadtones. To learn how to produce a Quadtone print using Photoshop and an Epson printer, see our workflow page. We have a number of donated workflows from distinguished artists and photographers.

MIS Quadtone inks are for Epson printers. There are four shade inksets (quadtones) and sixshade (hextone) inksets. They are all archival inks made with micro size carbon particles or pigment. The pigment is carefully suspended in the ink and will not settle to the bottom during the life of the ink (2 yr +). The estimated archival life will exceed the Epson inks by many times when used with archival paper. They have been tested by the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and rated to last 49 years under display conditions. Click here to see the RIT test results.

Ultra-Tone B&W Inks -

See BW Products Page. . . .

The Original MIS Quadtones -
We have not changed our original product, the MIS Archival Quadtone Inks. We have thousands of satisfied users of these inks. We will maintain this product as long as there are customers buying it. It has not been changed since it was introduced in 1998. The original inks are created by blending our black archival ink with clear Epson base stock. There is absolutely no color added to the inks, they are neutral. They print on the warm side, due to the reaction with the paper and the natural warmness of the pigment. They are very stable and have excellent permanence. Some customers have requested that we offer a more dense black. So now we offer a double density archival black (ESCARC-4-DD) as an option. (See bulk ink page).

MIS Full Spectrum Quadtones -
The Full Spectrum Quadtones are an improvement over the original Quadtone inks described above. They are made with a new co-solvent based archival black ink. The co-solvent based black has a higher density and dries faster than the original black. An excellent workflow for a 4 color printer has been developed by John Woolf in Boston. John says, "These inks when used with the Epson 4 color driver, produce the finest black and white prints I have ever seen". This inkset has passed our internal permanence testing and is equivalent to the original MIS Quadtones in terms of longevity. It does not have the capability of making variable-tone prints. Most prints with this ink will produce a warmtone print. There are only 4 shades in the inkset. To use these inks in a 6 color printer requires a non-Epson driver. In a 4 color printer the Epson driver will work fine.

As you may have guessed, some customers have purchased the FS inks for use in their 6 color printers, but they did not realize that they needed the non Epson driver. So when they tried to make a print, it did not come out right. So, for those that want to use the Epson driver on a 6 color printer with the MIS FS inkset, we created the 2 missing shades. You will notice in our bulk ink listing that we have given these part numbers and E suffix, E for Epson driver. This really can be confusing, but it does work well in the 6 color printers. Of course, if you are using the non Epson driver, you don't need these extra shades.

The next innovation in the FS inks came when we received requests for a more neutral ink that would work with the non Epson driver. So we created the FS Neutral inkset (FSN). These inks will work fine on a 4 color printer with the non Epson driver or the Epson driver. The John Woolf workflow works well for both the FS and FSN inks, same curve. For the 6 color printers, the FSN will work with the non Epson driver, but the extra 2 shades are needed to make it work with the Epson driver.

MIS Variable Mix Quadtones - (see photos at top of page)
We have had many requests for a more neutral or cool looking ink for making black and white prints. Paul Roark, one of our expert customers, has developed a system for making a cool print by using a blue shaded ink in one of the chambers of a quadtone system. He uses a Photoshop curve to mix this blue shade (toner) in on a variable basis. We like to call this ink the Variable Mix Quadtone Inkset. He did the design work and we made the inks with the densities and shades he specified. The Variable Mix inks are the best of both worlds. If none of the blue shade is used, the print will be warm. If some of it is used, it will be neutral, and of all of it is used then the print will be cool. By varying the curve that is applied, virtually any degree of coolness can be achieved from 0% to 100%. Paul's workflow and curves can be found on our workflow page. This inkset has passed our internal permanence testing and is equivalent to the original MIS Quadtones in terms of longevity.

As soon as the VM inks were finished, we began getting requests for an inkset that would print sepia tones. So, Paul went to work and created another variable tone inkset. This one we call the VMS (variable mix sepia) inkset. It uses the exact same workflow curves that the VM inkset uses. Instead of putting a blue-gray ink in one of the chambers, we have put in a sepia tone. So the curves will take you from neutral, to medium warm, to warm, to full sepia. This ink is available in bulk for those who want to try in virgin empty cartridges or in a Continuous Flow System. It has passed our internal permanence testing and is equivalent to the original MIS Quadtones in terms of longevity.

The Black Ink Update 5/31/2007 -

We have now discontinued prodution of all Quadtone inks (VM, VMS, FS, FSN, QUAD, HEX) and are suggesting that all users move to the Ultratone equivalent. Virtually every printer that had a Quadtone inkset has a similar more stable Ulratone inkset that will offer more stability in the print tone as well as faster dry times.

Ultratone inks are the newest development in black and white printing. Anchored by the longevity and stablility of the Eboni black, the other shades are manufactured in a similar fashion using the new co-solvent. Please visit this link for more information on Ultratone inks and their unique capabilities...learn more.

The Black Ink Update 7/1/03 -
We get a lot of phone calls asking which black is the best. In the Original Quadtone inks, the black has a density of 1.62 on Archival Matte. This is apparently fine for all of the folks that continue to use it. This ink continues to ship and has not been changed in any way since it was created.

Many customers wanted a black archival ink that was blacker, higher Dmax. We created the MIS Double Density Black, then later we used a co-solvent ink for the VM and FS blacks. All of these had about the same Dmax, 1.72 on Archival Matte. These black inks had great fade resistance, but the VM/FS black shifted slightly to the warm as it aged. Most customers did not find this objectionable.

Early this year (2003) a new blacker pigment became available, via our pigment supplier. We used it to create a new black ink to replace the Double Density and VM/FS black inks. This new ink is a pure carbon pigment ink, like the others, but it has fantastic fade resistance and will not shift. After 600 hours in the Miami Sun (our test chamber) there was no measurable change in density or and the Delta-E was zero, ie, no shifting. We code named this new black Eboni. It's estimated life in Wilhelm years is well over 100.

We have not abandon our VM/FS black ink. It is still used as the black ink in our VM, VMS, FS and FSN cartridges. We had considered using Eboni in place of the VM/FS black, but we did not do it for fear that it would cause minor changes in the appearance of the B&W images. As we gain experience with the Eboni black, we will make this move if there are no consequences to the quality or tonality of the images. We are doing some testing over the next couple of months to make a determination.

Eboin has the same Dmax, 1.72 as the other inks, but does not mix well with the other black inks. It is the best black ink we have ever made with the highest Dmax on Hahnemule Photo Rag. It is also what we use in our PG and 7600 Archival inks as the Matte Black. Do not mix Eboni with dyebase black or blended dyebase blacks, like Media Street G4 and G5. If Eboni is introduced into a cartridge or CFS that has dye black in it, the mixture will thicken and will not print properly. It does not happen inside the print head, only in the cartridge where the mixing takes place. If you wish to switch to Eboni, be sure to start with a virgin cartridge. Swapping bottles on a CFS from dye base to Eboni is going to cause problems if the cartridge is not changed.

Because of the conflict the PK (photo glossy only) and K (Eboni matte only) inks create for those who want to print both glossy prints and matte prints, we have created a third black. This third black we call Universal Black. In our prefilled T007 GP cartridges, we have filled them with Universal black. It will print on both glossy or matte finish papers. The universal black is not a pure 100% pigment ink, it has a very small amount of dye in it. The fade resistance of the Universal black is not as good as the Photo black or Eboni black.

See the B&W Page for more information on Eboni.

Custom Tinting for Quadtone Inks -
We believe the Variable Mix inkset will satisfy 90% of the requests for a tinted ink. However, due to the great creative talent and desire for uniqueness expressed by our customers, we are making our Epson clear base stock available for those who want to blend their own tinted quadtone inks. By mixing the base stock with archival black and archival color inks, all color tints are possible. The resulting blend will be archival and will work in any Epson printer. Of course these unique blends or tints will have to be installed in a Virgin Empty cartridge. A set of empty bottles, a gram scale and a little bit of trial and error will allow each artist or photographer to create his own personal inkset. We provide some tinting guidelines to get you started.

Recommended Papers -
Epson Archival Matte paper has become a standard for B & W printing. It is the basis of the Roark Workflows and it is normally used as a starting point to validate that the printer, paper, ink, and workflow are performing properly. Each paper has its own characteristics and can be profiled. For our inks, the Epson Archival Matte, and Hahanmule Photo Rag are all very close and can be used without any adjustments.

Our customers have printed on the following papers with good results; Hahanmule Photo Rag, CIP8511 (MIS), Somerset Velvet (Legion West), Somerset Enhanced (Legion West), Concord Rag (Legion West), Watercolor Text (Red River), William Turner (Atlantic), German Etching (Atlantic), Japan (Atlantic), Classic Velour(Luminos), Museum Parchment (Luminos), Flaxen Weave (Luminos), Hi Res(Weber Valentine), and Osprey (Hawk Mountain). The MIS Archival inks will work on many other types and brands of paper, there are too many to list and new ones surface everyday.

Making B & W prints on glossy, semi-gloss and luster papers is very difficult, because the pigment in the ink does not get fully absorbed by the paper coatings. Our new Eboni ink will change all of this. We are working on a new VM inkset, made with the MIS 7600 (Ultrachrome equivalent) inks. Our early look at this new ink is very positive. It will print on glossy paper or matte paper. It is highly stable and archival. It now is undergoing fade testing and should be released in May, 2003. It has been named UltraTone B&W.

B&W Cartridges -
Prefilled cartridges containing our original Quadtone inks, VM inks and FS inks are available for Epson printers. These cartridges are brand new, not made by Epson. When installed for the first time the color ink is flushed out of the printer within one or two cleaning cycles. Getting the color inks out of desktop printer is very easy and not anything to worry about. Getting the color inks out of a wide format printer is a much more difficult process, due to the large amount of ink in the lines that run between the cartridges and the print head. Use our tips on purging for the wide format printers (3000/5000/7000/7500/9000/9500).

For frequent printers, we have refill kits available for all of the Epson printers. Each kit contains the inks, an empty color and black cartridge and detailed instructions. If you print everyday, use the MIS Continuous Flow System (CFS) for Epson printers.

Gray Scale Test Image -
Here is a 21 step grayscale stepwedge for testing your curves. It is very handy to have one of these images, you can make your own our use ours. Click here to download the file. Or just right click on the image and save it to your hard drive.

Cleaning Cartridges -
MIS Archival and Quadtone inks are pH compatible with Epson inks. The use of a Cleaning Cartridge is not required for Epson desktop printers. The only time a cleaning cartridge is required on a desktop printer is when a none-compatible ink is in your printer, like Luminous, or Lyson. These inks have an acidic pH and can form sludge or particles if mixed with Epson or MIS ink, which has a basic pH. This can definitely damage your printer and cause permanent banding. A cleaning cartridge neutralizes the acidic ink so the MIS or Epson ink can be used. If you have this situation, see our purging page and use the cleaning cartridges and the images below to "print out" the previous ink.

If you have a wide format printer and want to change from color to black and white you have a couple of choices. The best, but longest, way is to use cleaning cartridges. Install the cleaning cartridges, run a transport procedure, then print our purge images until all color is gone. Keep track of how many prints it takes to get rid of the color. Then install the B&W cartridges and follow the exact same procedure again until all the cleaning fluid is gone. The use of the cleaning cartridges can be skipped, but you will not have the precision of knowing exactly when all the color is gone.

 
Download purge.zip (90kb) to get these test patterns and others.
To expand the file you will need WinZip for PC's or Stuffit for Mac's

For more information, please use the Quadtone Menu, at right or below, to navigate to related pages.


Quadtone Inksets    Cartridges    Refill Kits    Papers    Virgin Empties    Bulk Quadtone Inks
Bulk Archival Inks    Quadtone FAQ Page    Fade Data    Refill Instructions    Workflows    Purging    Tinting
 
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1735 W. Highwood
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