Printer test or evaluation images are specifically designed for use in evaluating the capabilites of printers with various paper and ink combinations. They are designed to be particularly challenging to print due to their saturated colors and steep gradients yet represent real world scenarios. They also may include synthetic constructs like color or grayscale ramps, color patches, etc. The goal is to make it easy to visually evaluate the capabilities of a printer/paper/ink combination.
Examples can be found all over the internet with a simple search, but one that seems to be particularly useful and well regarded is from Digital Outback Photo. The link to download the image on that page is broken, however it can be downloaded from the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.
I like the image for several reasons:
- High resolution (3600x2700) tiff format
- ProPhoto RGB colorspace: This allows it to include colors that are even outside the Adobe RGB (1998) colorspace which is useful because many printers can print colors that are outside the Adobe RGB (1998) colorspace.
- A large gray ramp
- Black and white patch ramps to visually quantitatively evaluate the deepest black and whitest white that can be discerned
- Last but not least, there is an excellent guide to using the image at http://www.outbackphoto.com/printinginsights/pi049/essay.html.
Another image specifically for black and white that I like is from Keith Cooper at Northlight Images.
These images are also useful for evaluating displays. I use them whenever I calibrate my display and create a new ICC profile to make sure there aren’t any problems with the profile.