Things to Know About Digital Fine Art Printing

As fine art printers we think it is important to help develop industry standards. Digital printing is a fast growing and constantly evolving print method revolutionizing the art world. Quality, accurate and archival art reproduction takes knowledgeable professionals who specialize specifically in reproducing fine art using the most up-to-date equipment and methods. Here is some information to consider when choosing a fine art giclée printmaker.

Fine art scanning is specialized.

Drum scans require that paintings are removed from their stretchers so the canvas can be wrapped around a drum for scanning. This is not good for any form of artwork and is not a recommended practice for obvious reasons. Flat bed scanners also have limitations including size and are not safe for works such as pastels. Note, images should never be copied while framed (shadows are cast) nor should they ever be copied under glass!

Go digital all the way.

Fine art reproduction should not begin with film or digital scans made from film. Specialized digital capture equipment is best used for creating a digital file for reproduction. This equipment provides extremely high resolution files (300 mega pixels) and eliminates the need for any intermediate steps which compromise the final print quality. Even an SLR digital camera with the largest mega-pixel capacity does not equal the resolution of fine art capture devices that digitally record images one pixel at a time.

Proper lighting techniques matter.

The correct lighting equipment eliminates highlights and uneven lighting while capturing every nuance (even brushstrokes) of a painting. Spectral highlights should never be a problem or appear in a finished print.

Printers and materials specific to fine art digital printing are essential.

The Epson 11880 printer with vivid magenta Ultrachrome K3 ink and Epson's 9800 printers with Ultrachrome K3 ink provide the most archival and largest gamut in the industry today. Not all paper and canvas have the same archival properties. Quality fine art reproduction media when combined with the correct inks and coatings are stable for over 125 years without color shifting or fading. “Solvent Inks” are not necessary or environmentally friendly.

Other things to think about...

  • Select a printer who can protect your art while in their care. Are they insured or have an alarm system? Do they have proper art storage?
  • Is all the work done in one location or are other outside providers being used?
  • Will you get a CD of your final file? In what format, at what size and resolution?