Thursday, June 23, 2011

Copying Artwork - a Polarization tutorial

Photographers are often asked to digitally copy and print the artwork of other artists. Many of you are artists, who reproduce your own artwork, and would like to know the best way of copying your work.

I once ran a business doing digital copy work. Many artist would reluctantly come to me after their own copying efforts fail to accurately reproduce their artwork. Most would lean their paintings up against the wall and take a few shots with their digital camera. Although most 10MP to 12MP point-n-shoot cameras have enough resolution to make a decent 16 x 20 print (or even a 24” x 30"), megapixels are only a small part of the requirements for making a good reproduction of an original painting.

Proper lighting is the most important ingredient in good copy work. In this tutorial I will show you how to set up proper Polarized lighting and achieve a technique called, “cross Polarization”. Here’s one of the most dramatic examples I’ve seen:
Without & with Polarized lighting - painting © Golden MillwardThe image on the left is with regular lighting, and the image on the right is with cross Polarization lighting and filtration (painting by Golden Millward). Click on any image to see a larger view and additional information.

A more typical comparison is this painting by Cindy Christiansen. The Polarized copy on the right has rich colors, a high Dmax, and a full range of tones. Without & with Polarized lighting - painting © Cindy Christiansen This is because cross Polarization eliminates the reflective “haze” associated with regular lighting.

Here’s the set-up you’ll need to do Polarized lighting (click on the image for more information about each piece of equipment in the photo). Polarized lighting set-up: for a vertical copy stand The lights are regular studio strobes ("retired" Normans that are too heavy for location shooting, compared to modern, light-weight strobes). The camera and copy stand are positioned in the middle.

Polarizing filter attached to light reflector with multiclips The key elements are the Polarizing filters attached to the strobe’s reflectors via Manfrotto 375 Multiclips. The clips can be ordered as a pair through Amazon, Adorama, or B&H, and typically cost between about $15 per pair. They hold the filter away from the light so that it is not damaged by heat (and allow air to circulate). The Polarizing filters are Rosco #7300 Polarizing Filters (17” x 20"). They can be ordered through B&H, and cost about $50 each. NOTE: Each filter has an axis mark or arrow that will show you the way the filter must be positioned or rotated in order to achieve proper Polarization. It is this axis, together with the proper rotation of the circular Polarizing filter on the camera lens that cancels or filters out all stray light that causes interfering reflections on your artwork.

Your next most important ingredient is your lens. copy-camera-lens-closeup_2492c It should be a standard focal length (50mm for DSLR’s) macro lens. These lenses are made for close and medium distance work and have minimum distortion (i.e. barrel or pincushion distortion). The circular Polarizing filter attached to the lens is the final piece of the puzzle.

Proper rotation of the circular Polarizing filter will produce maximum cross polarization. Polarization test, using duct tape Here’s a quick test, using duct tape, to determine when you’re at max Polarization (click photo for details).

Finally, place reference strips like the Kodak Gray Scale and Color Patches next to your artwork before copying it. Kodak Gray Scale and Color Control Patches (Q-13) These reference strips should remain through your post-production tweaking to ensure color accuracy and the highest possible tonal range. They can be cropped out just before final printing.

Posted by Royce Bair on 06/23 at 10:55 AM
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Inkjet NEWS & Tips - June 2011

...from InkJetArt.com

TIP: COPYING ARTWORK - A POLARIZATION TUTORIAL

Photographers are often asked to digitally copy and print the artwork of other artists. Many of you are artists, who reproduce your own artwork, and would like to know the best way of copying your work.

I once ran a business doing digital copy work. Many artist would reluctantly come to me after their own copying efforts fail to accurately reproduce their artwork. Most would lean their paintings up against the wall and take a few shots with their digital camera. Although most 10MP to 12MP point-n-shoot cameras have enough resolution to make a decent 16 x 20 print (or even a 24” x 30"), megapixels are only a small part of the requirements for making a good reproduction of an original painting.

Proper lighting is the most important ingredient in good copy work. In this tutorial I will show you how to set up proper Polarized lighting and achieve a technique called, “cross Polarization”… Read more here:

http://www.inkjetbuzz.com/blog/index.php/site/2011/06/
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SALE: INSTANT REBATES ON PRO EPSON PRINTERS
(Ends June 30)

EPSON STYLUS PRO 3880 (17-inch)

• 8-channel, (9-color, Auto switching Black modes)
• Pigment-based UltaChrome K3 inks with Vivid Magenta
• 180 nozzles x 8
• 2880 x 1440 dpi maximum resolution
• Special pricing (click ‘’Buy One’’ button to see our price)
http://bit.ly/kBfg1i or call 1-800-777-2076

EPSON STYLUS PRO 7890 (24-inch)

• 8-channel, (9-color, Auto switching Black modes)
• Pigment-based UltaChrome K3 inks with Vivid Magenta
• 360 nozzles x 8
• 2880 x 1440 dpi maximum resolution
• $500 Instant Rebate (Ends June 30, 2011)
http://bit.ly/j9LHO9 or call 1-800-777-2076

EPSON STYLUS PRO 9890 (44-inch)

• 8-channel, (9-color, Auto switching Black modes)
• Pigment-based UltaChrome K3 inks with Vivid Magenta
• 360 nozzles x 8
• 2880 x 1440 dpi maximum resolution
• $1,000 Instant Rebate (Ends June 30, 2011)
http://bit.ly/lmQ87s or call 1-800-777-2076

EPSON STYLUS PRO 7700 (24-inch)

• 10-channel, (4-color, 5-cartridge, Auto sharing Black ink channel)
• Pigment-based UltaChrome K3 inks with Vivid Magenta
• Super fast printing with 720 nozzles x 5
• Perfect printer for signage & display
• 1440 x 720 dpi maximum resolution
• $750 Instant Rebate (Ends June 30, 2011)
http://bit.ly/mrSHvI or call 1-800-777-2076

EPSON STYLUS PRO 9700 (44-inch)

• 10-channel, (4-color, 5-cartridge, Auto sharing Black ink channel)
• Pigment-based UltaChrome K3 inks with Vivid Magenta
• Super fast printing with 720 nozzles x 5
• Perfect printer for signage & display
• 1440 x 720 dpi maximum resolution
• $1,250 Instant Rebate (Ends June 30, 2011)
http://bit.ly/l4Cwth or call 1-800-777-2076

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NEWS in PHOTOGRAPHY: SHOOT NOW - FOCUS LATER

An innovative Lytro camera technology due out later this year will allow the picture’s focus to be adjust AFTER it has been taken.

A person can view a picture from a Lytro camera on a computer screen and click on various parts of the image to bring those areas in sharp focus, while other parts of the image, i.e. the background or foreground fall out of focus. One picture could have dozens of variations, and a final print made of one’s preference.

The Lytro camera also offers speed. Point-n-shoot cameras have been anything but point and shoot: the lag time (the time it takes for the lens to focus before the shutter actually takes the photo) often causes missed shots. With the Lytro camera, there is no lag time.

Read more here:
http://www.lytro.com/

Play with the photos:
http://www.lytro.com/picture_gallery

See the ‘’Living Picture’’ Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7babcK2GH3I

A USA Today story about Lytro:
http://usat.ly/l8tU4o
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3 NEW EPSON EXHIBITION CANVAS PRODUCTS are ‘’SIGNATURE WORTHY’’

These new Exhibition Canvas products are part of Epson’s Signature Worthy media collection. All three are acid free, lignin free heavyweight cotton-poly blend, water-resistant, elegantly textured canvases that feature a bright white point, exceptionally high Dmax and wide color gamut. The canvas base is enhanced with elastic polymers providing high tensile strength and flexibility for gallery wrap stretching without cracking.

HIGH MARKS: These new canvas products were actually introduced in December 2010, but too late for our last newsletter. This has given us to time to evaluate the canvas and obtain feedback from our customers, who so far, have had only good comments and no complaints. They like the unique texture and feel of this canvas, the 2-4 mil greater thickness, it’s high Dmax / wide color gamut, and especially, the greater flexibility and stretching—all for nearly the same price as Epson’s Premium Canvas.

VIDEO: One of the most popular of the three is the Satin finish. You’ll want to watch this YouTube Video featuring acclaimed wedding photographer, Catherine Hall, and how she uses the Epson Exhibition Satin to enhance her image:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8mhVRsEoOI

All three products are available in 13’’, 17’’, 24’’, 36’’, 44’’ & 60’’ rolls.

Epson Exhibition Canvas Satin • 23 mil thick • 430 gsm
http://bit.ly/mLnr3s

Epson Exhibition Canvas Matte • 23 mil thick • 395 gsm
http://bit.ly/k4DsBh

Epson Exhibition Canvas Gloss • 22 mil thick • 420 gsm
http://bit.ly/lbrzOM
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INKPRESS METALLIC GLOSS

Those who have come to appreciate the Kodak Professional Endura Metallic Paper (a true ‘’wet-process’’ photographic paper) will find similarities in this ink jet paper from Inkpress. Both produce unique prints that stand out from the crowd. The whites in both papers have a metallic glow with a silvery / pearl hue that gives some images almost a three-dimensional feel. Both papers produce an amazing ‘’pop’’ that can’t be reproduced by any other glossy options. The only drawback is that like the Kodak wet-process paper, it is more expensive than regular glossy photo papers (quality and uniqueness has it’s price).

http://bit.ly/lSNZzx

Inkpress Metallic also has a ‘’Satin’’ option:
http://bit.ly/kWAcqj
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PHOTOSHOP TIP: ‘’CLARITY’’ SLIDER FOR QUICK WATERCOLOR EFFECTS

A simple technique for producing ‘’watercolor’’ effects or more ‘’dreamy’’ looks in your images comes from moving the ‘’Clarity’’ filter slider to the left (in the minus values) within Photoshop’s Camera Raw.

This has an effect similar to putting a transparent diffusion filter over your lens--causing the highlights to flare and diffuse into the darker details of the image.

Of course, to use the Camera Raw function in Photoshop, you must start with RAW digital images, then open them in Photoshop--enabling the Camera Raw plug-in. Shooting in RAW has many advantages. It’s like have a master negative that has hidden tonal values and color that can be restored and changed whenever needed… Read more here:

http://bit.ly/jLbgs7
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CANSON’s PLATINE FIBRE RAG - A fine art paper review

In our last newsletter, we wrote: ‘’Platine Fibre Rag is the combination of the premium 100% cotton Platinum paper that Canson has supplied for many years to the original Platinum and Platine photographic market, with the latest microporous coating, making the traditional darkroom paper now available for your digital printing.’’

We’d like to share a great review of this beautiful paper that was written by Miles Hecker on his WycoFOTO website. Hecker found the Platine to be the most ‘’tactilely appealing’’ of the three finalist papers he reviewed. He said something that I also noticed about this paper: ‘’...the highlights and near highlights had a very slight warmth to them’’—which he ‘’found in Goldilock’s words, [to be] ‘just right’.’’
http://wyofoto.com/Canson_Platine_review.html

You can purchase Canson Platine Fibre Rag here:
http://bit.ly/ebTYxd

FREE YELLOWSTONE NP PHOTOMAP: Be sure to check out the WyoFOTO ‘’Print of the Month’’ and Miles’ ‘’Yellowstone NP Photomap’’—all linked from their home page. A downloadable deluxe PDF version of the photomap is available that features 38 geotagged photo sites. Fourteen of these sites are freely demonstrated the online Photomap version by clicking on the locations—the other 24 sites are available only in the $9.95 Photoguide deluxe PDF version (there are also additional sections on preparation, clothing, equipment, lodging and dining). This is a great resource for anyone planning on a photo trip to Yellowstone! Miles also has a Grand Teton NP Photomap online linked from the home page.
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BARYTA PHOTOGRAPHIQUE - a ‘’photo’’ fine art paper review

In our last newsletter, we wrote: ‘’Baryta Photographique is a true Baryta paper developed for inkjet technology. It consists of an alpha-cellulose, acid-free pure white paper with the same barium sulphate coating as for traditional silver halide and a premium inkjet colour receiver layer. Baryta Photographique offers the look and aesthetic of the original darkroom baryta print and complies with the ISO 9706 standard for maximum longevity. This museum grade photo paper shows excellent black density and great image sharpness, making it ideal for black and white photography.’’

While most fine art papers require you to print with the Matte Black ink, the Baryta Photographique is an exception—you can and should use the Photo Black inks for best results. This also produce a higher Dmax than virtually any other fine art paper on the market.

This paper reminds me very much of an air-dried, double-weight, glossy photo papers (the wet-process silver-gelatin photo papers). Both have a satin-luster or micro-stipple finish that is uniquely retro and highly desirable amongst the fine art gallery crowd. Luminous-Landscape called it the ‘’most appealing paper’’ they had yet to use:
http://bit.ly/m7EX2H

You can purchase Canson Baryta Photographique here:
http://bit.ly/lLiYBn
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TONER CARTRIDGES & other OFFICE SUPPLIES - Best Prices

Inkjetart is now offering the best prices for laser printer toner cartridges and many other offices supplies!

Just click on ‘’Coatings’’ (top right), and then click on ‘’Office Supplies’’ in the drop-down menu—you’ll be redirected to BiggestBook.com (You can also go to this website directly at any time).

To search and order products, use keywords or known part numbers in the search box, or use the 4 main categories and start browsing:

• OFFICE SUPPLIES
• TECHNOLOGY
• BREAKROOM & JANITORIAL
• FURNITURE

Once you find the product(s) you are looking for, please note the product description and product number. NOTE: The prices show are only list prices—Inkjetart can offer you special pricing. To get this special pricing, just call us at 1-800-777-2076, or use the ‘’Add to My List’’ button, and then email your ‘’My List’’ to Kevin@inkjetart.com

We will call or email you a quote. Start saving now!

Posted by Royce Bair on 06/22 at 07:09 AM
Permalink

Monday, June 20, 2011

Photoshop TIP: “Clarity” slider for quick watercolor effects

Autumn Road Drive A simple technique for producing “watercolor” effects or more “dreamy” looks in your images comes from moving the Clarity filter slider to the left (in the minus values) within Photoshop’s Camera Raw. (Click for more info. Photo taken in Zion National Park, near Zion Lodge.)

Clarity slider adjustment in Photoshop's Camera Raw converter Moving the Clarity fliter slider into the negative values has an effect similar to putting a transparent diffusion filter over your lens--causing the highlights to flare and diffuse into the darker details of the image. Even with this dreamy effect, the image still retains a high degree of detail.

Autumn Road comparison - bottom image with "Clarity" adjustment Here is a before and After comparison of using the ‘’Clarity” filter slider.

Of course, to use the Camera Raw function in Photoshop, you must start with RAW digital images, then open them in Photoshop--enabling the Camera Raw plug-in. Shooting in RAW has many advantages. It’s like have a master negative that has hidden tonal values and color that can be restored and changed whenever needed.

Update: M. Denis Hill, Qualified Panoramic Photographer, commented: “it is indeed possible to process images other than raw in ACR. From Bridge, right click and choose ‘open in camera raw.’ It is even possible to make ACR the default program associated with TIFF files. (BTW, I was hoping that word would not get out about using negative clarity settings; I thought it was my secret.)”

Tropical paradise sunset - tutorial comparison I’ve mentioned other benefits of shooting in RAW, such as my ‘’Changing Moods‘’ blog post.

Posted by Royce Bair on 06/20 at 06:08 AM
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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Digital Photography Tips from a Savvy Lady

My wife is a fan of Martha Stewart. Linda subscribes to Martha’s magazine, Martha Stewart Living, follows several of her blogs, and makes many of her purchases based on Martha’s advise --as do millions of other women in America. This is one savvy woman.

So, when Linda showed me Martha’s digital photography equipment recommendations from her monthly lead article ("From My Home to Yours") in the November 2010 issue of Living, I was “forced” to take notice. But my macho skepticism turned to respect when I noticed that much of her equipment, and the reasons for using each item was similar to what I was already doing in my professional work. I concluded this woman either has good judgment or great advisers, or both; and making me want to consider the other things I was missing in my own workflow.

Cameras: Martha takes over 2,000 photos every month. Storing, keeping track, and sharing from that many images can be a daunting task without the proper equipment and software. Stewart never leaves home without a camera. She uses three cameras away from home: the cameras in her phone and BlackBerry, and a Canon PowerShot G11 (about $500). The first two are mainly for recording ideas. The PowerShot is used when the image might be published in a blog or in print. This professional camera carries a lot of resolution and punch in a small package. She always keeps it in her handbag. It is considerably smaller than the 4th camera Martha uses at home in her converted garage studio: the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, with the EF 24-105mm f/4L lens (about $3,300). This last combination gives her astonishing detail in close-ups and wide-angle shots.

I personally use the 5D Mark II as my highest quality digital camera and love it, but I have not used the PowerShot. Many professionals and serious amateurs use the it for location work because it is a compact hybrid that combines features from both the high-end professional DSLR’s and the compact point-and-shoot cameras. Similar to a DSLR. the PowerShot employs a large digital sensor that greatly reduces digital noise and increases image quality. Like point-and-shoot cameras, the PowerShot has a built in, non-interchangable lens (eliminating fumbling with lenses and dust on the image sensor). Unlike PnS cameras, the PowerShot can capture RAW image files for better post processing capabilities. When shooting in bright sun or fast action situations, you’ll also love the option of having an eye-level optical viewfinder, even though it has an amazing Vari-angle LCD.

Scanner: Stewart is currently in the process of digitizing all her print photos, many of which that cannot fit onto a standard size scanner, so she uses the large-format Epson Expression 10000XL scanner (about $2,500). This scanner will handle anything up to 12.2” x 17.2”. It is a fast scanner that produces crisp and accurate images. (As a consultant, I have recommended this scanner to many of my clients, including my neighbor, who uses it in her in-home inkjet printing business.)

Digital Storage: Like Martha, I also use Data Robotics’ Drobo to archive and backup all my digital images. Stewart uses the Drobo FS (about $700) because it allows Gigabit Ethernet network access to all her images. This hard-drive system can hold up to 10 terabytes of data. The Drobo system is extremely dependable and expandable. This is probably the best investment I ever made to protect and organize my digital images.

Image Printing: I’ve used Epson ink jet printers almost exclusively for over 15 years now. Martha currently uses the Epson Stylus Photo R2880 (about $800 --under $500 with current mail-in rebate) to make printouts for her friends and family, and to display in her company’s offices. The R2880 is a professional-quality printer that produces exhibition quality archival prints up to 13” x 19”. (Here’s a PC Magazine review on the R2880.)

Sharing and Showcasing images on the road: One of Martha’s favorite ways of showcasing her images when she’s on the road is via her Apple iPad (about $500). I bought my wife the iPad for her birthday when they first came out, and it’s been her favorite “toy”! It’s brilliant display and intuitive interface make it favorite way to show off my images to friends and clients --when I can get it away from Linda!

Posted by Royce Bair on 12/08 at 06:10 AM
Permalink

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Inkjet NEWS & Tips - December 2010

...from InkJetArt.com

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS FROM A SAVVY LADY
By Royce Bair, founder of InkJetArt.com

My wife is a fan of Martha Stewart. Linda subscribes to Martha’s magazine, Martha Stewart Living, follows several of her blogs, and makes many of her purchases based on Martha’s advise --as do millions of other women in America. This is one savvy woman.

So, when Linda showed me Martha’s digital photography equipment recommendations from her monthly lead article ("From My Home to Yours") in the November 2010 issue of Living, I was “forced” to take notice. But my macho skepticism turned to respect when I noticed that much of her equipment, and the reasons for using each item was similar to what I was already doing in my professional work. I concluded this woman either has good judgment or great advisers, or both; and making me want to consider the other things I was missing in my own workflow… Read more here:

http://www.inkjetbuzz.com/blog/index.php/site/2010/12/
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NEW INKJETART CATALOGS AVAILABLE

We’ve published a printed catalog of our products that you can now hold in your hand (it’s not just on the Web anymore). And it’s FREE!  Order online:

http://www.inkjetart.com/cart/catalog-c-1832.html
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CANSON INFINITY SALE ON 3 FEATURED PRODUCTS:

Platine Fibre Rag 310 gsm - 15% Off
http://bit.ly/ebTYxd

Rag Photographique 310 gsm - 15% Off
http://bit.ly/fD0lFY

Baryta Photographique 310 gsm - 15% Off
http://bit.ly/hybfzR

Please call (1-800-777-2076) in your order to obtain this discount.

All three papers carry on the great Canson tradition of over 500 years of paper making excellence. All are internally buffered to resist gas fading and acid-free to avoid paper degradation. Both rag papers are free of OBA’s (Optical Brightning Agents) to ensure consistency of shades for generations.

Platine Fibre Rag is the combination of the premium 100% cotton Platinum paper that Canson has supplied for many years to the original Platinum and Platine photographic market, with the latest microporous coating, making the traditional darkroom paper now available for your digital printing.

Rag Photographique offers a unique extra smooth surface with a sensual feel, due to the addition of natural minerals to the process. It also provides one of the highest achievable Dmax currently available on the market.

Baryta Photographique is a true Baryta paper developed for inkjet technology. It consists of an alpha-cellulose, acid-free pure white paper with the same barium sulphate coating as for traditional silver halide and a premium inkjet colour receiver layer. Baryta Photographique offers the look and aesthetic of the original darkroom baryta print and complies with the ISO 9706 standard for maximum longevity. This museum grade photo paper shows excellent black density and great image sharpness, making it ideal for black and white photography.
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ROLAND’S METALLIC SILVER INK WINS VISCOM BEST OF 2010 AWARD

Dec. 7, 2010 - Irvine, Calif. Roland DGA Corp. announced Tuesday that the company’s Metallic Silver ECO-SOL MAX ink received the Best of 2010 Award at Viscom Frankfurt, held recently in Germany… Read more here:

http://bit.ly/gGSGuc

Metallic Silver ECO-SOL MAX is the industry’s first metallic silver eco-solvent ink from a major inkjet printer company, formulated specifically for use with Roland’s SOLJET PRO III XC-540MT and VersaCAMM VS series of inkjet printer/cutters.

This unique ink can be used to create vibrant silver text and graphics previously impossible with any inkjet printer. Metallic Silver can also be combined with CMYK to create an entire spectrum of metallic hues including gold, bronze and a host of pearlescent colors. It is ideal for showcasing premium stickers, window decorations, labels, packaging prototypes, POP displays, signs, banners, posters, decorated apparel and more… Read more here:

http://www.rolanddga.com/products/inks/silver/
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EPSON PRINTER REBATES UNTIL DEC. 31, 2010

13” R1900 - $200 off via mail-in rebate
13” R2880 - $250 off via mail-in rebate
44” SP9890 - $890 off via mail-in rebate
64” SP11880 - $1,000 off via mail-in rebate

http://bit.ly/fMMSa2 or call: 1-800-777-2076
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CANON 12-COLOR PRINTER REBATES UNTIL DEC. 31, 2010

24” iPF6300 - $700 off via mail-in rebate
24” iPF6350 - $750 off via mail-in rebate
44” iPF8300 - $1,000 off via mail-in rebate

http://bit.ly/hnI3k3 or call: 1-800-777-2076
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BLUE HAWAII - CHANGING MOODS with ‘RAW’ FILES

Photographing in RAW can give you many future options for changing the mood of your photos, allowing you to create new markets for your prints. If you’re not shooting in RAW, you’re missing half the fun, and throwing away your DNG (Digital Negative)!
Romantic, 'Blue Hawaii'
Changing day to night: This romantic evening view of a tropical beach was originally a daytime photo… Read more here:

http://bit.ly/f1L964
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FAST DRY MATTE CANVAS: DISCONTINUED
REPLACED BY: PREMIERART GENERATIONS CANVAS

PremierArt Generations Matte Canvas is on a poly/cotton (65% Poly/35% Cotton) canvas base with a 2:1 weave for excellent stretching properties and added strength. This canvas comes with a bright white, photo grade base. It is 19 mil thick and has a weight of 350 gsm. The new coating technology yields the highest D-Max of any canvas product available in the market today.

Generations Canvases are compatible with all Epson, HP and Canon aqueous based pigment inks. They are also compatible with PremierArt’s Eco Print Shield protective coating allowing the canvas to be stretched without cracking, increasing the life of the image.

http://www.inkjetart.com/cart/index.php?cPath=1_796_813_2031
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COMPARING MOAB LASAL PHOTO MATTE & EPSON ENHANCED MATTE

One of Epson’s most popular photo matte papers has always been their Enhanced Matte, now sold as “Epson Ultra Premium Presentation Paper Matte”. It’s an inexpensive paper that produces brilliant colors and extremely rich blacks (high D-Max) --almost as well as some of the premium photo glossy papers.

The only thing this Epson paper lacks is the ability to print on both sides. This is where the Moab Lasal Photo Matte 235 gsm paper fills the bill. This paper performs much like the Epson paper (with very similar specs), and it is double-sided --all for only about 30% greater cost.

http://bit.ly/g85aAT
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MOAB’S OLDEST & MOST POPULAR FINE ART PAPER: ENTRADA RAG

If you like Epson’s Enhanced Matte and Moab’s Lasal Photo Matte, but you want just a little more “fine art” weight and “tooth”, without sacrificing image quality, then Entrada Rag is your choice.

Entrada 190 Bright is a 100% cotton rag paper (verses Lasal’s alpha-cellulose base), and it is about 50% thicker (15.5 mil, 190 gsm). It’s also available in an even thicker 300 gsm, 22.5 mil weight: Entrada 300 Bright.

If you are a conservative fine art printer, Entrada Rag also comes in a “Natural” non-brightened (no OBA’s) version.

http://www.inkjetart.com/cart/papers-moab-c-1_6_858.html
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PROTECTIVE COATINGS FOR INK JET PRINTS

InkJetArt carries five coatings for protecting your ink jet prints:

1. PremierArt Print Shield
2. Moab Desert Varnish
3. Hahnemuhle Protective Spray
4. PremierArt ECO
5. Clearstar

Items 1 through 3 are protective varnish “solvent” coatings that can be used on paper prints (matte or glossy, photo or fine art papers) and on canvases. These products do very little to change the appearance of your prints if you use only 2 to 3 light coats. All three come in 400ml aerosol spray cans (PremierArt Print Shield and Desert Varnish are also available is non-aerosol bottles). PremierArt Print Shield is the only one of the three that has certified testing behind it (improving print longevity); however, all three show the same ingredients on the label (Desert Varnish is about 3% cheaper than the other two).

Items 4 through 5 are ONLY for use with canvas prints. These coatings provide more physical protection for canvas prints than do the solvent coatings.

http://bit.ly/fSPiDu
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Inkjet NEWS & Tips; is published by
http://www.inkjetART.com/
Inkjet Art Solutions
8100 s. 1300 w., Suite A
West Jordan, UT 84088
Phone: 801-256-0360

(c) Copyright 2010 Inkjet Art Solutions, All Rights Reserved.
No portion of this publication may be reproduced or re-published
without written permission from Inkjet Art Solutions.

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Posted by Royce Bair on 12/07 at 11:35 AM
Permalink

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Free human grunt work

It’s pretty hard to sell your fine art or stock images if no one can find them. In order for Web search engines to find your images, someone has to categorize and label (keyword) them. Although computers have taken over a lot of our repetitive tasks, there are some things computers haven’t learned how to do very well, and one of these is image recognition.


At last, someone has found out how to get humans to do boring “grunt” work without paying them anything—make a game out of it! That’s genius behind the Web hit known as the ESP Game, the brain child of Luis von Ahn, a 28-year-old professor at Carnegie Mellon University.

The Strategy. The ESP Game is a two-player Web game. Each time you play you are randomly paired with another player whose identity you don’t know. You can’t communicate with your partner, and the only thing you have in common with them is that you can both see the same picture. The goal is to guess what your partner is typing on each image. Once you both type the same word(s), you get a new image. Each time you type a word or phrase, you must press enter on your keyboard to submit it to the game. You can type as many guesses as you want, and as soon as a single guess of yours is equal to a guess that your partner has made, you get a new image. You have two and a half minutes to agree on 15 images. The strategy is to type as many words as you can related to the image, hoping that your partner types one of them. Each time you and your paired partner agree on a word or phrase, that word or phase becomes part of that image’s list of “taboo words” that the next group of paired players cannot use.

The Reward. You get points each time you agree on an image with your partner. The exact number of points depends on how many taboo words the image has: the more taboos, the more points the image is worth. If you agree on 5 images you get a bonus of 350 points, if you agree on 10 images you get a bonus of 850 points, and if you agree on the 15 images you get a bonus of 2000 points. You can check how many images you have agreed on by looking at the progress meter at the bottom of the screen.

People have been known to play for hours. Professor von Ahn knew that people who play computer solitaire will happily diddle away countless hours at their machines, and by adding a scoreboard to the ESP Game he knew he could tap into the competitive juices that drive people’s addiction to all forms of gaming.

Why? What is really going on here? What’s really happening here is free labor. Tom “ESP Game” Sawyer is getting you and I to white wash his fence, and making us think it is fun. ESP Game is taking previously unlabeled image collections and giving them keywords that can be used to categorize and retrieve them via a Web search engine! And because of Professor von Ahn’s clever programming, the buyers of his service can be assured that these are very relevant keywords, thoroughly tested by the competitiveness of real humans.

And even a 3-year-old human has better image recognition skills than today’s most powerful computer—which is why Google has licensed the ESP Game and is currently using it with its Google Image Labeler to identify its huge collection of Web pictures.

Self-serving. I wonder what it would cost me to have Professor von Ahn’s ESP Game keyword my collection of 20,000 stock photos? As any stock photographer knows, this is the bottleneck that slows down most image submissions to online agencies.  And even when I get around to doing it, I’m never sure if the keywords I pick are the most relevant!

Limitations. When it comes to technical images and exotic locations, I doubt if I’m going to get quality labels (keywords) using the game approach (I doubt that few 13-year-old kids can correctly identify a ”Whorl Tooth Shark” fossil), so I guess I’m still stuck with doing much of the mundane work myself :-(

Posted by Royce Bair on 06/27 at 10:18 AM
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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Sharing images to archive them

Photo “sharing” Web sites can also be a great way to archive your images.

Although I try to back up all my digital files onto DVD-Rs (keeping one copy at the office and one at home), I must admit that I’m always several months behind in my well-intended plans. I’m also terrible about sharing my personal images with friends and family members, and slow to get my stock and fine art images online.

The idea came to me the other day that the photo sharing Web sites might be a good way to solve both problems. By putting all my images online as soon as possible, as part of my regular workflow, I’d not only get my friends and family off my back, but I’d have at least a JPEG image online if disaster struck. Sure, it wouldn’t be a camera raw image, but if my hard drive failed, I’d be very glad to have anything! (Because of storage restrictions, most photo sharing sites only allow compressed files (.jpg) to be uploaded. Even so, the better services will allow these to be at the highest quality compression, and as large as 16MB.)

When I’m shooting photos for stock, I’m always getting requests from models (and friends that I use as models) for prints. And that’s what “photo sharing” sites are all about—these sites allow you to upload your images for a fairly low fee, in hopes that your family/friends or the people at an event (such as a wedding) will want to order prints, and the site can make more money as a “photo printing lab” than as a Web hosting site.

When I’m on the road, there are always people who do favors for me, allowing access and etc., in order for me to get the perfect shot. I’m always promising to send them a picture of something I’ve featured in my photos. But doing proper print fulfillment would almost require a full-time secretary! A self-service solution is to give out pre-printed cards with your photo sharing Web site address (some sites allow custom domain names). You can also write down the gallery title (on the back of the card) that you plan to put the images from the current shoot. This will make your life easier and help keep you honest.

Options and Recommendations: When choosing a photo sharing Web site, pick one that also allows you to post images in password protected folders so you can keep more private images away from the the eyes of the general public. Check the site for reliability. Do they have their own off-site back up system? Be sure the site doesn’t have too great of a restriction on the file sizes of your image uploads—If you can’t upload a full-resolution image (in JPEG format), then you won’t have the benefit of an offline “archive”. Be sure that you can access and download your own images, and not just to order prints from those images. And of course, you’ll want a site that makes good quality prints so that you’ll look professional (most offer “gift” items like printing on mugs, T-shirts, refrigerator magnets, and some even print on canvas). Some of the photo sharing sites allow you to buy prints for yourself and family members at a wholesale price and set a higher price for everyone else—with the profits of those sales paid to you. One of the best sites I’ve found, that has all the features I’ve mentioned (and more), is SmugMug (for other choices, see my April 27th review on this subject).

SmugMug keeps 4 backup copies of each photo in 3 states. You can retrieve your images at anytime. You are allowed unlimited storage and unlimited traffic for less than $40/year. Their “professional account” version (under $150/year) not only allows you to sell prints online (you set the price), but you can also license your images as stock photos, letting clients download digital versions for the fee you set.

Inkjet Printing Fulfillment: If you like to make inkjet prints for your clients rather than have someone else make photo lab prints, then you’ll want to use a Web hosting site like PhotoReflect.com (through ExpressDigital.com). PhotoReflect charges no upfront or monthly fees, but they do take about a 15% commission on every online order. The orders are sent to by email. You print the jobs and ship them. PhotoReflect sends you a check each month, less the commission fees.  Just remember that the images you upload to PhotoReflect are only low-resolution for Web viewing (since YOU will be doing the print fulfillment), and you won’t get the benefit of the “archiving” feature offered by other services.

Posted by Royce Bair on 05/31 at 08:50 AM
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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Go ahead and bribe me

The Wall Street Journal ran a story on May 15 about “blogola” (a play on the word payola)—the gifts, trips and access some companies are giving the high-traffic bloggers in exchange for positive coverage on their sites:

Who says you can’t buy love? Trying to tap into the burgeoning power of blogs as promotional tools and fed up with the jaded attitudes of professional critics and TV feature writers, studios and networks are flooding bloggers with free stuff in hopes the flattered recipients will reward them with positive coverage. Flowing into the trough is everything from fancy gym bags and toasters to video iPods and free trips. Some networks—in the spotlight this week as they unveil their fall schedules to advertisers—have even borrowed a term from the technology industry to describe the strategy: blogola.

The newspaper reported that CBS recently flew a group of “mommy bloggers” to California to visit the set of “The New Adventures of Old Christine.” The Fox News Channel invited several New York media bloggers to an unnamed industry dinner attended by President Bush. The ABC Television Studio cast blogger Michael Ausiello in a speaking role in “Scrubs.”

This story has prompted many bloggers to blog about the ethics of taking gifts. Some have been horrified. Others, like me, just wanted to know when my blogola is going to arrive. wink

Posted by Royce Bair on 05/19 at 08:10 PM
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Friday, May 11, 2007

Inkjet printing directly onto wood

Kodak’s Continuous Inkjet Technology has opened the way for new digital printing applications in industry. Gruppo Frati is using the high-speed Kodak Versamark DS9100 Printing System to print directly onto wood.

Gruppo Frati is an Italian company that specialises in the production of hardwood-based panels, MDF and plastic laminates for a variety of applications in the furnishings sector. It has customers all over Europe, in South America and South Africa.

From printing on paper to printing on wood. The Kodak Versamark DS9100 system with a 9-inch printhead seemed ideal for printing the 20 cm BipanFlor panels but the Kodak system has always printed onto paper and other conventional printing substrates. Both companies were willing to experiment and entered into a trial period to determine if the process could be benefical to both.

From October to December 2006, the Kodak Versamark DS9100 printing system was put through its paces tackling new challenges, from ink coverage to color profiling, because the printing surface is not white. This was a period of intense activity for the Kodak technicians and of close collaboration with Maurizio Macor, the Gruppo Frati production manager, who tirelessly performed tests. In December, the system passed all the tests and the sale was made official.

Direct digital inkjet printing makes it possible to eliminate a number of steps: printing on paper, application of the paper on the panel and application of the protective film. Not only does this mean significant savings, digital printing also guarantees great printing flexibility. “If we got a request for a particular type of decoration we could only accept large orders and had to limit the range of decorations due to the constraints imposed by roto-offset printing,” says Dante Frati. “Now we can indulge ourselves in creating new decorations from wood shading and graining to other fantasy decorations.”

The Kodak Versamark DS9100 printing system can print up to 150 meters a minute with a resolution of 300 x 300 dpi and at such a high standard of quality that for this application it has won the battle against conventional panels printed using offset and laminated. In the configuration provided to Gruppo Frati there are four printheads for the four basic printing colors controlled by the Kodak Versamark CS400 system controller, which activates the printing heads. Each head has the electronics and software to regulate the pumps, valves and filters that control the ink flow.

Gruppo Frati has recently applied for a patent as a result of the experience of fine-tuning the Kodak Versamark DS9100 printing system for printing onto wood, including integration in a material transport and profiling system. This has led to a commercial agreement with Kodak to sell the system internationally.

For more information on Kodak’s graphic and industrial printing solutions, go to: http://www.graphics.kodak.com/

Posted by Royce Bair on 05/11 at 08:32 PM
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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Does D-Roller really work?

Michael Frye posted this question recently on the Yahoo “digital-fineart” discussion group:

I just saw a good review of the D-Roller on Luminous Landscape, but I want to see if any of you have used it, and if so what you think of it. For those who don’t know, the D-Roller is designed to take paper curl out of prints. I tried making my own version a couple of years ago, but ended up thinking it was more trouble than it was worth. Although it did take out paper curl, it was only temporary - the paper would gradually re-curl. I gather that the D-Roller works better with rag papers, but since I’m using mostly Epson Premium Luster, I’d like to hear from someone who’s using something similar. Also, I found that with my home-made version it was very easy to dent the paper if you weren’t careful, and if there was any dust inside the roller it got embedded into the print. Any advice would be appreciated!

We have two D-Rollers (24” and 50” models) in our Bair Art Editions studio, and wouldn’t be without them!  Like Michael mentioned, they are most effective on rag or even wood pulp papers, like Epson’s Enhanced Matte.  They are less effective on photo papers that have an “plastic” RC or polyethylene barrier layer like the Epson Premium papers, but they are still useful even here.

Most of d-rolling (reverse rolling) is done after people do their printing, but some people use use the D-Roller to uncurl sections of roll stock so they can feed longer sheets into their printers for panoramic prints. This is helpful if you have an inkjet printer like the Epson Stylus Photo 3800 that doesn’t accept roll paper, but can still print on stock up to 37 inches long.

I’ve also tried to make my own “d-roller” out of a 1.5” diameter PVC pipe, but it wasn’t as effective.  This patented product has just the
right “apron” (so as not to dent or leave a crease line on the paper) and anti-breaking strips on the sides to make it be more serviceable than my homemade contraption.

The longer you leave the paper rolled up in the D-Roller (1-60 sec.) the more curl you will take out of the sheet. Soft rag papers usually only take about 10 seconds, but smooth (more calendared) papers will take longer, because these fibers retain more or their curl memory. You can de-curl the paper too much and make it curl in the opposite direction, but this rarely lasts for very long—there is typically some latent memory in the paper, and it will often lay flat within a few minutes. In fact, with some of the more calendared papers, like Epson’s UltraSmooth and Enhanced Matte, I will often leaved them d-rolled for a few minutes—enough to make them curl the opposite direction when they are un-rolled, and they will relax to the flat position within minutes. If I don’t apply this extra d-rolling time, they come out looking flat at first, but start to take on some of their natural curl position within a few minutes.

While the D-Roller is very quick and effective, I have found that d-rolling a long production run of prints can be very labor intensive. Whenever I have a large order, and some extra time, I will just reverse-roll the whole printing job on an empty 3-inch roll paper core tube, wrap some scrap paper around the roll, tape it securely so it doesn’t unwind and leave it for several hours or overnight. Reverse-rolling this way is not as quick (as the smaller diameter D-Roller) in breaking the paper’s curl memory, but it is usually just as effective over this longer time period. (Some of the large-format printers have automatic take-up rollers that offer reverse-roll winding. Prices for these accessories start at about $1,000.)

For most jobs of one to ten prints, the D-Roller is just the ticket. For more information, you can go to the D-Roller Web site, or to one of their major online dealers, like Inkjetart.

Posted by Royce Bair on 04/26 at 06:31 AM
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Friday, April 20, 2007

Big head - amazing speed

I’m talking about a BIG inkjet print head. Really big—a nozzle array that’s a full 8 inches wide, with 70,400 ink nozzles! This microscope photo shows a tiny section of the print head, and each of the small white circles is a single ink nozzle.

The ink nozzles are arranged in lines, with 1600 nozzles per inch. These can produce more than 2.5 million ink dots per square inch of paper in a single pass. These tiny nozzles can fire out ink droplets smaller than one picoliter. With this size of a printhead, it doesn’t need to move back and forth to make passes like ordinary printheads. Instead, the paper is just transport past the stationary printhead at a speed of one letter-size (A4) page per second, or 60 pages per minute. (The video clips are so amazing, you might at first think this is a hoax, but the folks at Lyra Research assure us that it’s legitimate!)

This new Memjet inkjet printer technology, that analysts believe will revolutionize the imaging industry, was unveiled last month by Silverbrook Research, and published in an article by texyt.com. Silverbrook says some of the Memjet Technology printers should be ready for the consumer market by the end of this year, starting with a 100mm (4-inch wide) printhead that will be used for home and retail photo printing as well as label printing devices. An A4/Letter printhead should be available in 2008.

The Memjet Technology may be licensed to manufacturers such as HP, Canon and others. Silverbrook expects the printers to eventually cost $200 or less. Silverbrook has plans for a $150, desktop photo printer that can print 30 photos per minute. By comparison, a single 4x6 inkjet print takes about 30 seconds to over a minute to print on most current desktop photo inkjet printers.

The only other inkjet printer able to print anywhere close to this speed is HP’s huge new Edgeline printer, but these printers start at $16,000 and can not be purchased (instead, the company will make customers purchase printing services, rather than the product itself).

HP’s Edgeline printer has a full-width nozzle array design similar to the Memjet, but at about one-half to one-third the speed of the Memjet Technology. That’s still about as fast as a laser printer! Right now, the Edgeline technology is only available for HP’s large copy shop type printers, but this may soon become the death of the big office laser printers. The Memjet Technology could soon compete with small office and home lazer printers.

Posted by Royce Bair on 04/20 at 08:24 AM
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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Tiny URLs

How does one handle those looooong Web links?

Are you tired of posting URLs in emails and on discussion groups only to have it break when sent, which causes the recipient to have to cut and paste it back together?

Solution: My friend, Andrew Darlow, recently told me how to convert those long URLs to short ones using TinyURL.com

Example: Here’s the URL link to Epson’s Web site for the page that lists the drivers and downloads for their Epson Stylus Pro 3800:

http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/support/supDetail.jsp?BV_UseBVCookie=yes&oid=79928&prodoid=63062509&infoType=Downloads&platform=All

This URL has a length of 134 characters, but within just a few seconds the TinyURL.com Web site was able to convert that long URL to a length of only 25 characters:

http://tinyurl.com/yum43g

... a tiny URL that will not break in email postings and never expires. The service is free, and it only takes seconds.

Postscript: Here’s a 212 character Yahoo Maps URL (I’ll spare you the actual link) to a map of my office in Salt Lake City that TinyURL converted to only 25 characters: http://tinyurl.com/2hz5s6

Posted by Royce Bair on 04/18 at 09:56 AM
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Friday, April 13, 2007

Fujifilm enters industrial inkjet market

The Wall Street Journal announced on April 9th, in a one-paragraph statement, that Fujifilm was going to enter the industrial inkjet printing market this month. They will start in the U.S.A. and expand later into Europe and Japan. Fujifilm hopes to produce about $168 million in sales of new printers and ink by the business year 2009-2010. The Japanese photographic film maker will buy their printers from a division of Mutoh Holdings and the Netherlands-based Oce NV. Fuji’s ink cartrdges will be made by the U.K.-based Sericol Group Ltd., which Fuji acquired in 2005.

If I’m not mistaken, Mutoh also makes the 9800 and 7800 Stylus Pro inkjet printers for Epson. The “industrial” inkjet printers that Mutoh and Oce are going to be making for Fujifilm appear to be very large ("grand") format inkjet printers, and will probably be using outdoor solvent inks.

I couldn’t find any news releases from Fujifilm about their new venture.

Posted by Royce Bair on 04/13 at 06:57 AM
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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

HP Designjet Z6100 Specs


HP Designjet Z6100 - the 60” model is pictured on the left, and the 42” model on the right.

This is HP’s replacement for the popular Designjet 5000 and 5500. HP came out with their Designjet 5500 the same year (2001) that Epson introduced their model 10000 Stylus Pro printer. Both printers were slated as “fast”, but the HP truly was faster for most banner and sign production work—about twice as fast. Despite HP’s apparent speed, Epson was quick to point out that when the HP 5500 was printing at its best photo quality setting, the Epson 10000’s comparable quality setting was faster (and Epson was right). In fact, for professional “photo lab” quality printing, the Epson was much better, and the model 10000 still had two additional higher-quality printing settings for the really critical eye—endearing it (and the 9600 and 9800 models that followed) it to photographers and fine artists.

The HP Designjet Z2100 and HP Designjet Z3100 series printers that HP introduced last Fall were HP’s answer to Epson’s 9800 and 7800 printers, and they offer some additional features Epson doesn’t have, i.e. full-time dual-black ink (matte and photo) plumbing.

Despite HP’s impressive line-up, they still needed a “photographic” printer that was also speedy enough (and wide enough) to attract those in the banner, sign and display industry. The new Z6100 appears to meet that need with its “Double Swath” printing technology—yet it still might have the quality to satisfy the critical, photo “print sniffers” and fine artists. If this is the case, HP will have a great cross-over product with the Z6100.

Here is HP’s 4-page Data Sheet (1.7MB PDF) for the Designjet Z6100.

I do not have a manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the 60” and 42” models, but might have it later this week…

Posted by Royce Bair on 04/10 at 09:13 AM
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Monday, April 09, 2007

New HP Designjet Z6100 Printer series

I received this HP news release from Mary Poniatowski today:

On April 10, 2007, HP will announce a new family of printers for customers producing posters, banners, maps and fine art: the HP Designjet Z6100 Printer series.

This printer is fast!  It provides twice the performance of an HP Designjet 5500 printer, achieving amazing new speeds with outstanding accuracy.  This is possible due to HP technical breakthroughs such as the new HP Double Swath technology and the first ever Optical Media Advance Sensor. 

The new HP Designjet Z6100 Printer series provides exceptional color and fade resistance with eight HP Vivera pigment inks.  The printer delivers a wide color gamut with true neutral grays and produces prints that resist fading for one year in a window and 200 years or more when not placed in direct sunlight. This product will be ideal for photo and fine art customers with higher production needs.

The HP embedded spectrophotometer provides accurate color calibration to deliver unparalleled color consistency print-to-print and printer-to-printer.  The HP Easy Printer Care Tool also lets you easily navigate through color-management, printing and job-management. 

These printers are expected to begin shipping in late May and are available in both 42-inch and 60-inch models, with or without an Adobe PostScript RIP.

HP Photo and Fine Arts partners can expect to see the Designjet Z6100 added to the program as a sales based rebate.

I plan to provide more information tomorrow, as it is unveiled from HP…

Posted by Royce Bair on 04/09 at 06:43 AM
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