Interested in printing on exotic substrates? Consider InkAID (inkaid.com). InkAID is a liquid coating that prepares surfaces for inkjet printing. Coating an exotic substrate’s surface will do several things. It will reduce dot gain, allowing the print to hold more detail. It will increase gamut, providing greater saturation. It will increase dmax, yielding a better black.
Artists are experimenting with many types of exotic substrates from aluminum, to acrylic sheets, to wood, to uncoated fine art and handmade papers. Basically, if you can get it through the printer and you can get the ink to stick you can print on it. InkAID helps the ink stick.
InkAid is easy to use. Stir it. Brush it on. Let it dry. Print.
There are currently five InkAid products. White Matte Precoat creates a white matte coat on any surface. Clear Semi-Gloss Precoat creates a transparent semi-gloss finish on any surface. InkAID Adhesive and Clear Gloss Precoat create a transparent glossy surface with two coats. Clear Gloss Precoat II creates a transparent glossy surface with one coat. When using clear coats, you can choose to let the coloration of the base surface show through (the material itself or a surface with an image) or you can coat it first with White Matte Precoat.
ping and handling.
Surfaces are water resistant and can be reworked with subsequent printings, over painting, or distressing.
You may be able to use ICC profiles for similar inkjet surfaces (if you get lucky), but it’s more likely that you will have to create new ICC profiles specifically for this surface to achieve the optimum results, especially if the final state of the coated substrate is not white.
InkAID is acid free and contains no optical brighteners. Nonstandard tests (hang samples in a window in direct sunlight next to other prints and compare) indicate longevity is roughly on par with similar inkjet prints. Longevity ratings obtained from standardized tests are not available as the variety of substrates being used today is so vast.
A liter costs $25. A gallon costs $65. A sample set (5 ounces of five products) is available for $21 plus ship
InkAID.com has a useful FAQ section answering many common questions about it’s use. The book Digital Art Studio: Techniques for Combining Inkjet Printing with Traditional Art Materials by Bonnie Lhotka, Karen Schminke, and Dorothy Simpson Krause is another source of useful information.
Find InkAid here.
Read more about the tools I use here.
Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops here.
Black and white printing presents several significant challenges; the ability to produce a neutral color, the ability to maintain that neutral appearance under different light sources (reduced metamerism), the ability to attain graybalance (consistent color throughout the entire tonal scale); the ability to achieve a very dark black (high Dmax) without sacrificing shadow detail (low dot gain), and longevity. All of these things are now easily attainable.
Black and white inkjet printing has come of age. In past years, there have been many compelling solutions for making black and white prints with inkjet technology; some have been fraught with problems (third party quadtone ink sets clog easily) and others have been expensive (ColorByte's ImagePrint RIP). Today, superior quality inkjet printing is both affordable and easily achieved.
Successfully managing color for digital printing requires that the color in an image file be converted from its device-neutral color space to a device-specific color space. (Typically this occurs by converting from Adobe RGB 1998 or Pro Photo RGB to a device-specific color space defined by an ICC profile characterizing a specific combination of printer, ink, paper, and driver.)
Using Photoshop, you can either convert color in an image before you send it to a printer driver or after you send it to a printer driver.
Choose one method of color management – not two. Easily made, a classic mistake is using both. Double color management typically results in a print that is too light and magenta.
The Epson printer driver provides many ways to manage color conversions and get reasonably good color. Two methods offer the best results; the Photoshop route and the Epson route.
How do you choose either of these methods?
Let Photoshop’s Print window (under Color Handling) guide you – Let Photoshop Determine Colors and Let Printer Determine Colors. (While the principle is the same for most printers, interfaces will vary. Here’s information for the most current Epson interface.)
If you choose Let Photoshop Determine Colors under Color Handling, select a profile for Photoshop to make the conversion with (a paper/ink/driver specific profile not the interface default of Working RGB) under Printer Profile, choose a Rendering Intent of either Relative Colorimetric or Perceptual, and then click Print Settings. In the Print window choose the correct Printer and then change Copies and Pages to Print Settings. Select the correct Media Type, uncheck High Speed, and choose the highest printer resolution available. Finally, change Print Settings to Color Management and select Off (No Color Adjustment). The Photoshop route turns Photoshop’s color conversion on and turns the printer’s color conversion off.
The Photoshop route tends to hold slightly more saturation but it’s rendition of neutral colors and gray balance is usually not as good as the Epson route. The Photoshop route is the route to take when you want to use a custom profile. Use it if you are printing with either third-party inks or papers which require the use a custom profile to accurately describe the behavior of the alternate media.
If you choose Let Printer Determine Colors under Color Handling, choose a Rendering Intent of either Relative Colorimetric or Perceptual, and then click Print Settings. In the Print window choose the correct Printer. Change Copies and Pages to Print Settings to select the correct Media Type, uncheck High Speed, and choose the highest printer resolution available. Finally, change Print Settings to Color Management, choose EPSON Standard (sRGB) under Mode, and select Color Controls. The Epson route turns Photoshop’s color conversion off and turns the printer’s color conversion on.
The Epson route tends to deliver a significantly improved rendition of neutral colors and gray balance with slightly less saturation. Try it when printing neutral colors. Use the Epson driver’s Advanced B&W Photo feature for black and white images.
Each route works well. Each route yields slightly different results. Test them to see the differences. (Note that you cannot see the differences between printing routes when softproofing; you have to make physical proofs to see these differences. They can significant.)
Get This – Correct Color Management
Avoid This Double Color Managed
Is your print too light and magenta? Double color management. It’s a classic mistake. I sometimes make it myself when I’m working too fast. So that you know what to look for, I recommend that you make the mistake deliberately, once, and only once, if possible.
Don’t do this …
And this …
What’s the right solution?
Check your software (Photoshop or Lightroom) and printer software (Epson driver) settings, reset them, and print again. Choose one method of color management – not two.
Read more in my online resources.
Learn more in my digital printing workshops.
300 million are photos taken each day generating over 100 billion a year. While 20 years ago 10% of photographs made were printed, today less than 1/10 of 1% are ever printed! Historically, what’s printed lasts; what’s not, doesn’t. Has this changed?
Find out about my digital prints here.
Find out more about printing in my free Digital Printing Lessons.
Learn more about printing in my Digital Printing Workshops.
Blurb recently announced it’s new online bookmaking tool Bookify.
“Some projects are simpler, just begging for a streamlined solution. If what you want to create is a beautiful photo book – tonight – then you really should give our new online bookmaking tool, Bookify, a spin. It’s a fantastic new way to make books at Blurb.
Bookify features a specially curated set of our most popular layouts – or you can just drag and drop your photos and the page will design itself. Amazing. Plus, the whole thing is online so you can make a book from wherever you are.
So while PDF to Book is great for more involved projects, Bookify is ideal for simpler work.”
• It’s streamlined. Curated layouts and our most popular fonts.
• It’s convenient. No download necessary. Simply import your photos from Flickr® or your computer, and start making your book instantly. You can even work on your book from more than one computer.
• It offers all the Blurb goodness – professional quality, stellar image printing, great paper choices, hardcover or softcover, and five of our book sizes – and all at affordable prices.
Make a book with Bookify by November 2 (11:59 p.m. PDT) and save 25%.*
Just type in the appropriate promo code at checkout and you’re set:
• USD $ coupon code: BOOKIFY
• GBP £ coupon code: BOOKIFY1
• EUR € coupon code: BOOKIFY2
• CAD $ coupon code: BOOKIFY3
• AUD $ coupon code: BOOKIFY4.
Find more resources in my Bookmaking lessons.
Learn more in my bookmaking workshops.
Thought you knew what a hickey was? Never knew paper had a tooth? Had no idea it out gasses? Learn these terms and you’ll not only be able to speak more knowledgeably about printing, you’ll also know what to look for in prints and how to get the best results in your prints.
Epson’s Dan Steinhardt assembled a great Glossary of Fine Art Related Terms.
It’s not published; it’s a useful resource that’s circulated around the web.
Dano generously shares it with us here!
Find out more about Dan Steinhardt here.
Bookmark this post and you’ll be able to quickly find terms anytime anywhere.
Dano’s Glossary of Fine Art Related Terms
The resistance to scratching of a surface of paper by other paper surfaces or other materials.
The ability of a material to take up moisture.
(Neutral pH of 7.0) During paper production, treatment employed with a mild base is employed to neutralize the natural acids occurring in wood pulp. Buffering may also be used to prevent the formation of additional acids. If prepared properly, papers made from any fiber can be acid free. Read More
Do you need to make your own printer profiles?
Probably not, if you’re using a printer manufacturer’s standard papers.
Yes, if you’re using 3rd party or exotic substrates or inks.
Is it hard?
No! This video highlights several easy solutions.
Learn more on my DVD Fine Art Digital Printing.
Learn even more in my Fine Art Digital Printing Workshops series.