Printing – Proofing

September 15, 2008 | 2 Comments |


Proofing is an essential part of making the finest prints possible.

While color management and softproofing get you 90% of the way there, there are all kinds of things you still need to check in hardcopy – materials, ink limit, sharpening to name a few. Every time I print an image, I create a BAT (a final proof) that I archive for future reference. The next time I print the same image the BAT tells me how I got the best results the last time it was printed. That then becomes a starting point for future improvements. Combine advancing technology (printers, ink, substrates) and good color management / proofing practices and you’ll find your print quality will constantly evolve.

Do you proof? What kinds of things do you routinely proof?

Check out my DVD 6 Simple Steps to Good Color Management here.

Check out my DVD The Art of Proofing here.

Check out my Proofing downloads here.

Find out about my digital printing workshop series The Fine Digital Print here.

It can be helpful to see what presentation behind glass / plexiglass will do to print quality. The appearance of prints can shift slightly; darker and/or towards blue or green.

You can preview this before framing by keeping a sheet of glass/plexi-glass in your printing area and looking at final proofs and finished prints under glass / plexiglass to see the impact it will have on print quality. On occasion you may want to make small adjustments to a final print based on what you see. But remember, glass is often replaced. If you compensate for glass and the glass is replaced, make sure the new glass matches the old glass.

What kind of glass do you use for presentation? Do you use it? Comment here!

Check out my Printing downloads here.

Check out my DVD The Art of Proofing here.

Find out about my The Fine Digital Print Workshop Series here.

What’s the big deal about dot structure? Fine detail. Smooth gradients.

It’s more than small dots (picoliters). It’s also how the dots are placed (screening algorithms). And, how precisely the dots are placed (piezo-electric or heat-based). And, what shape they are. And, which colors are used with other colors. It’s complex! Thankfully, inkjet printers are easy to use.

I print a lot of smooth gradients. Gradation is a key component to the way I use color. All my exhibition prints are made on an Epson 11880. The dot structure and gradation generated by the latest generation print heads and screening algorithms from Epson are simply the best on the planet.

Dots structure has advanced so far, so fast it’s dizzying. A decade ago inkjet printers produced prints that looked like Roy Lichtenstein paintings. Now you have to look very carefully to see the dots. Sometimes you may be tempted to confuse grain or noise with dot structure, but if you look more closely you’ll see the difference; grain/noise is usually larger, softer, sometimes more random, and sometimes it collects in distracting clumps. Pretty soon, you won’t be able to see the dots in inkjet prints with the naked eye.

Find Epson printers here.

Check out the Epson Professional Imaging website here.

Check out my Printing downloads here.

Find out about my digital printing workshop series The Fine Digital Print here.

Scale changes ideal viewing distance.

To see a 4×5” print you have to get close to it. You can’t see anything but its shape and color from the end of a long hall. To see a 6×10’ print in its entirety you have to stand well away from it. If you stand very close to it, you won’t be able to see the whole image, much less anything else.

The rule of thumb for determining ideal viewing distance is to stand at three times a print’s diagonal dimension. This tends to place the entire image well within a viewer’s field of vision in such a way that overall general detail can be resolved at once, minimizing panning and scanning.
Of course, zooming happens. Both artists and viewers tend to view works of art from many different distances; examining details closely and evaluating a total composition distantly. Viewing distance changes perceived scale. Viewing distance subtly changes the quality of the viewing experience. So viewers tend to compare a variety experiences, dynamically forming a total impression of a work of art.

What do you think the ideal viewing distance for prints is? Comment here!

Check out my Printing downloads here.

Check out my DVD The Art of Proofing here.

Find out about my The Fine Digital Print Workshop Series here.

Printing – Test Scale

September 10, 2008 | Leave a Comment |

When it comes to scale, there are many factors involved – aesthetic, practical, commercial. To determine what scale(s) is most appropriate for your work, you need to weigh all of these factors and their importance to you. Only you can determine this. My recommendation is to test scale with your work. View your work (projected and/or printed) at many different scales. If possible, make side-by-side comparisons. Do this and you and your work benefit in many ways. There’s no substitute for actually experiencing what scale can do to or for your work.

Do you have to settle on one size? Certainly not. If you choose to present your work in multiple scales, that is a statement in itself. An artist makes many choices in order to craft a total statement with his or her work. Your choices determine what your work becomes. Make your work even better. Make conscious informed choices.

Do you have a favorite scale for photographs? Comment here!

Check out my Printing downloads here.

Check out my DVD The Art of Proofing here.

Find out about my The Fine Digital Print Workshop Series here.

Now, for a limited time only, you can get cash back when you purchase select Epson printers.

Get …
$200 back when you buy an Epson Stylus Pro 4880
$300 back when you buy an Epson Stylus Pro 7880
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It takes 4 easy steps.
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Claims must be postmarked 30 days from purchase date.

Get more information in PDF format here.

Find Epson printers here.

Check out the Epson Professional Imaging website here.

Check out my Printing downloads here.

Find out about my digital printing workshop series The Fine Digital Print here.


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