A transparent hardcopy device is exemplified by a laser printer (including processor) which prints (exposes and processes) one or more images on a sheet of transparent film (typically a 14” x 17” film). This film is eventually placed over a high Luminance light-box in a darkened room for viewing.
The Characteristic Curve for such a transparent hardcopy device is obtained by printing a test image consisting of a pattern of n bars, each bar having a specific numeric value (DDL). The optical density of each printed bar is then measured, using a transmission densitometer, for each of the printed bars.
To accurately define a printer’s Characteristic Curve, it is desirable that n be as large as possible (to capture as many points as possible on the Characteristic Curve). However, the limitations on absolute quantitative repeatability imposed by the printer, processor, or media technologies may dictate that a much smaller value of n be used (to prevent a conformance metric which is sensitive to differences from becoming unstable and meaningless, as the density differences between adjacent bars become “in the noise” as the number of bars becomes large).
One example of a test image is a pattern of 32 approximately equal-height bars, spanning the usable printable region of the film, having 32 approximately equi-spaced DDLs as follows:
Figure D.2-1. Layout of a Test Pattern for Transparent Hardcopy Media
To define a test pattern with n DDLs for a printer with an N-bit input, the DDL of step # i can be set to
DDLi = (2 N -1) (D.2-1)
rounded to the nearest integer.
The tabulated values of DDLi and the corresponding measured optical densities ODi constitute a Characteristic Curve of the printer.