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Epson Print Academy - A Brief Report


nicholas_wybolt
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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

 

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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."
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  • 11 months later...

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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