Epson Print Academy - A Brief Report

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by nicholas_wybolt, Apr 23, 2003.


  1. Epson ran their "Epson Print Academy" (www.epsonprintacademy.com) in
    the Chicago area recently, which I attended. For folks who might be
    considering taking the seminar, I thought some notes on it would be
    of interest.

    The seminar is a half-day in length, running from 9am to 1pm
    (registration started at 8:30am). The session that I attended ran
    until a bit past 2pm due to audience questions. There were about
    400 folks in attendance. I suspect that crowd size and running time
    are pretty typical. Attendees included amateur and professional
    photographers. The session was led by left coast photographer
    Vincent Versace (www.versacephotography.com), who was quite good.

    You can take a look at the session subject matter at
    www.epsonprintacademy.com/overview.shtml. The program is a mix of
    live presentations and videos. Versace was the only “live”
    presenter. Everyone else presented via a high-quality DVD-based
    video. A number of the videos were a bit of an Epson sales pitch or
    a digital photography sales pitch. When you brush aside the "film
    is dead" rubric of the latter videos, the content is actually pretty
    interesting as well as valuable. It's sufficiently inspirational,
    IMHO, that you want to go out to do some snapping and make some
    prints.

    About one-third of the videos were extremely educational and the
    content for each of these is provided on one of two CDs found in
    the "Epson Goodie Bag." For example, George Lepp presented a
    detailed digital workflow, from capturing an image through the final
    print. Step-by-step notes on his workflow are included on one of
    the CDs as a PDF. There are also a number of QuickTime videos
    included for various Photoshop / printing workflows and tips that I
    found to be very valuable and which I've referred to many times
    since the seminar.

    Fun facts to know and tell:

    1) The program is really a 1/2-day Photoshop tutorial; which makes
    sense as you're only going to get as good a print as the file that
    you send to the printer. The emphasis was on making a good print.
    Cute Photoshop techniques and effects (other than the Liquefy tool)
    were not discussed.

    2) While scanners were discussed briefly, the program assumes that
    you're shooting in the digital domain. In fact, the presenters
    foment the "film is dead" rubric, which gets a bit tedious after a
    while.

    3) The program assumes that you're printing on an inkjet printer.
    All examples utilize Epson printers; primarily the 2200 or the wide
    format printers (e.g., 7600). With the exception of utilizing Epson
    paper profiles, the course content struck me as being transferable
    to most any inkjet printer. I don't know how relevant the printing
    tips would be to say, a dye sublimation printer.

    4) Both color and black & white photography / printing were
    discussed, with most of the time spent on color. There was a
    session on Greg Gorman’s “celebrity” black and white portraits that
    was just beautiful.

    5) Every presenter who spoke specifically about printing or any kind
    of Photoshop workflow emphasized the need to have a properly
    calibrated monitor.

    6) Photoshop was the platform of choice. There was no discussion of
    Photoshop Elements, which was a bit disappointing as that's what I
    use. Most of the techniques, however, are readily transferable to
    Elements. Interestingly, the presenters from Adobe and Epson who
    demonstrated Photoshop or printing techniques all used Windows XP,
    not Macintosh. Vincent Versace ran the program and his Photoshop
    demonstrations from a Mac notebook computer.

    7) The "Epson Goodie Bag" contained two CDs (course content and
    Epson product overviews), a notepad and pen, and a cool baseball
    cap.

    8) Espon had most of their inkjet printers on display as well as a
    few flatbed scanners. There were Epson folks hanging around for
    product discussions / Q&A. They did not have an active role in the
    seminar.

    9) There were a few giveaways, including one Epson 2200 printer, a
    few Pantone Spyders for monitor calibration, and a few copies of the
    Epson Complete Guide to Digital Printing by Rob Sheppard.

    Bottom line - The seminar cost $49 ($39 because I registered
    early). From a "being digital" perspective, this was probably the
    best way to invest $39 and a half-day to improve my digital output.
    I suspect that I’ve already recouped the price of the seminar in
    terms of paper and ink NOT wasted trying to get a satisfactory
    print.


    That's about it. Thanks for the eyeballs.


    -Nick
     
  2. Ray House

    Ray House Ray House

    I plan on attending in San Diego, and this answered most of my questions! Thanks, Ray
     
  3. wonderful review... thank you!
     
  4. Nicholas - excellent report. I also attended the Epson Print Academy in the Washington, DC area. Your observations are spot on and I can add only a few additional observations. The seminar in the DC area appeared to be oversold as all the "goodie bags" were gone by the time I was admitted, only spare boxes of disks and notepads were available with no one telling any of the attendees that they were to take two disks. I pointed this out to one of the Epson demonstrators who was kind enough to take a business card and low and behold a week after the seminar the disks, notepad and baseball cap were delived to my home. This was not the first instance of Epson's excellent customer service. As far as planning goes this may or may not have been foreseeable but the seminar was crowded and don't plan on getting much of the "continental breakfast" if you show up 1/2 hour before the seminar (on a Saturday morning nonetheless!). I also agree that Versace was a good presenter, some may say almost too good because he at times seemed more like an infomercial than a photographer but then maybe I've attended to many conferences where the presenter is ultimately a spokesmodel for a product. He does describe some useful photoshop techniques that I did wish were included on the CD's but were not - something Epson could strive for in the future. I was also a bit disappointed that there were no discounts available at the seminar on Epson printers, with such a captive audience Epson might have offered 10-20% off on printers, papers, inks etc. But in spite of these short comings, I'd say it was a well spent $39 (I had registered early as well)and particularly if you have some photoshop, digital imaging experience. I might caution some experienced people that for the most part you may not learn anything new (but reinforcement never hurts!), its a bit rah, rah Epson and digital capture, think Canon Photo Safari by Epson but you will see first hand prints made from the 2200, 7600 and 9600 plus get to here and see notable photographer's opinions about digital image making - say "Jay Maisel."
     
  5. Paul,

    Thanks for the follow-up and additional commentary. And thanks to everyone else for their kind words.

    -Nick
     
  6. I will also be attending in San Diego. Thank you for the excellent
    overview. I'm looking forward to it more than ever!

    Mark
     
  7. Nick: Thanks for taking the time to write such a thorough review.
    I'm planning to attend the Epson workshop in Pittsburgh in May,
    and your comments (and those of the other fellow) convinced me
    that it's probably worthwhile for me. I'm still clinging to film for at
    least a few more years (medium format & 35mm mostly), & I'm
    thinking of getting a high-end film scanner & printer very soon, so
    this information is timely for me. Thanks again! - John Baltzer
     

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