The "Print Marks" will allow you to cut your picture nicely once it is printed. You do not have to design them yourself; you only check the desired checkboxes.
You have 7 possible checkboxes:
The "Crop marks" are thin lines, which can be added to the picture for correctly cutting the image. If a corner or the entire top of the picture is perfect white, it will not be printed and you can therefore not exactly see where the picture ends. To my opinion, the "Crop Marks" are a very handy feature which makes you save a lot of time.
- Corner Crop Marks: Add lines in the 4 corners at the outside of the photo.
- Inward Corner Crop Marks: Add lines in the 4 corners at the inside of the photo.
- Center Crop Marks: Locates the middle of each sideline as an indication.
- Outline Crop Marks: Places a dotted line around the entire picture.
- Crop Registration Marks: Places a circle with a cross in the 4 corners on the outside.
- Calibration Bars: Places a range of colors at the top and bottom and a gray gradient line at the bottom. If you print in RGB, then these will be RGB colors. If you can also print in CMYK (Epson 7600, 9600WT7900), the color bars will be printed in CMYK.
Users of an Epson 4800, 7800 or 9800 with a Power Mac will print on CMYK. Do you already have an Intel Mac, you print in RGB.
- Label: Provides the name of the photo as well as the printing date and time of your picture in the lower left corner (on the outside of the picture).
In the last part "Color", you have two choices: "Print Color Mode" & "Rendering Intent". I would recommend leaving the default setting. The "Color Mode" option can be changed from "normal" to "gray" if you want to print black and white images. In case you want to print a mix of colored and black and white photos, leave the option to "normal".
All possibilities of the program have so far been discussed, but does everything work, as it should? Does everything works smoothly? Do you really need this tool? I would like to answer hereafter these three questions.
During the past months, I have used this program quite intensively and the program never crashed or refused to perform a task. Everything works as it has been suggested and it works amazingly fast even with very large files. The print spooler is a lot faster, so the printer is a lot quicker.
The answer to the question if you really need this program is very personal. As I mentioned in the beginning of the review, this software tool can’t do anything what a trained photographer, designer or artist can do with the familiar Adobe programs (Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign). However, if you do need to print a lot, this tool will definitively save you a lot of time. No matter how practiced you are, adding bars/marks manually to a photo is not as fast as selecting a checkbox.
Do you want to work even faster; you can make "Droplets". These droplets are icons containing print settings and they can be placed on your desktop (or the place you want). Drag your files (or entire folders) to the icon and Mirage will print the images with the saved settings of the icon.
For instance if you print regularly a grid on 6x6 photos on an A4 paper, you just create a "droplet" with these settings and you place it on your desktop. Drag the folder with the images for the grit to the droplet en Mirage will do the rest. No need to open Photoshop or reselect all Mirage settings.
At the end this review, just a quick view on the cost price of this package. The standard package costs around 399€. If you have however a new Epson R2880 or R3000, you can choose for the "Small studio" package that will cost you only 99€. Do you have an A2 printer, you can choose for the 17 "version which will cost you 249€. These two packages are cheaper and also have all functions just like the "master" package, but they only support the respective types mentioned. If you later decide to upgrade your printer to a larger size, you will however need to buy another package…
To complicate the pricing policy even more, each package has 3 versions:
- The standard version which you can download and register through a TAN code
- A version with the setup files on a CD which will be send to you in a box
- The same CD version as above, but with a "dongle”, which is pretty useful. This permits you to use Mirage on every pc you want. So, if you regularly work on multiple workstations, then this is the perfect choice for you.
(All mentioned prices are without VAT)
Mirage is a wonderful product meeting all my personal expectations. At first glance, not everybody will recognize the usefulness. However the speed and easiness to finish your print tasks are two very important topics. Which version to buy is a personal choice. You can choose for the small studio version (99€) if you own a Epson A3 + printer, but I personally would suggest to invest immediately in the full version because one day you will be faced to an upgrading of your printer.
Finally, I would like to thank the manufacturer Dinax for providing the software.