Glicee & other digital printers

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by tedharris, Oct 26, 2001.

  1. I am starting to experiment with glicee and other high end digital
    print processes. I have been reviewing the capabilities and
    pricing of a number of labs and have talked with several. I am
    now gettign ready to send some chromes off to a few different
    labs to see how they do. Given the price of this exercise all input
    from anyone who has any labs to recommend based on their
    experience is appreciated. Quality is my first concern but price is
    also important and I have seen wildly varying pricing.

    <p>

    Right now, based on nothing more than reading, talking and gut
    the two labs that I am inclined to try first are Glicee print Net in
    Pueblo, CO and ej Arts in Rochester, NY. All comments on
    these and all other labs are appreicated.

    <p>

    Ted
     
  2. You're talking about Giclée printing, right?

    <p>

    Try http://www.lightroom.com/lr_pages/digital_frameset.html The lab
    is in Berkeley, CA. I've handled sample prints and they look really
    good. Printing cost for the quarter sheet (17.5" X 23.4") start at
    $60.- To that you need to add the scanning and preparation of the
    digital file. That runs about $30.- per picture. That means you're
    looking at an approximate total $100.- for the first time print.

    <p>

    Hope that helps,
    Ralf
     
  3. Ted - A Giclée is an inkjet print by definition "Giclée" literally
    means "ink spray". Some will jump up and down and insist that only
    Iris prints can be called "Giclée" - but do some investigation before
    you buy. What printer, inks and paper are they going to use to print
    your photos? I believe Iris is now out of business - companies are
    using the Epson 9500 and other printers to output "Giclée" prints
    these days.
     
  4. Ted - checkout this link

    <p>


    http://www.fineartgicleeprinters.org/
     
  5. Wayne,

    <p>

    Thanks, I suppose I shouldn't have been so cryptic in my
    original post. By and large I am most interested in those labs
    taht are doing customorwk and Iris printers (or comperable).
    While Iris is out of business the basic Iris printer has, I believe,
    been updated.

    <p>

    I know enough about the technology to be dangerous but am
    learning. I am comfortable making decisions about papers
    based on the images I am considering. I will be more
    comfortable in myu final choice of a few printers to test out if I
    have some comments from the experience of others.

    <p>

    My experiences with labs over the past 30 years has been that
    you sometimes click with a printer and sometimes don't. That
    you can sometimes develop a symbiotic relationship with a
    master printer that is almost a partnership. When you are paying
    good money for drum scans and what follows I believe you
    should be able to get that kind of skill.

    <p>

    I've got a competent lab that does competent work for every day
    output ... I am looking for more.

    <p>

    Ted
     
  6. In conjunction with Wayne's suggestion check out this site,
    http://www.wide-format-printers.org/, which gives you the whole
    'Magilla' from A to Z.

    <p>

    They'll line you up with the right printer depending on the
    amount of money you've got, and your skill level.

    <p>

    $100 per print, why? Unlike getting a photomechanical print,
    the service bureau charges you for tests!? You can spend a fortune at
    a service bureau in no time, why not consider putting all that money
    together in one lump sum to buy a printer?

    <p>

    We're not talking Lightjet, we're talking inkjet. 5yrs ago you
    could argue that the Iris was all alone, but it's got a lot of company
    now.
     
  7. Ted,

    <p>

    You might want to look at Finer Images - finerimages.com While I
    have not used them personally yet, I have framed several prints from
    a couple of different artists here in my hometown and have been
    impressed wih what I have seen. I also like their pricing. They
    charge you by the sheet and they are currently having a special where
    you buy one sheet get one free. Contact them to be sure of this
    special. I like the pricing by the sheet as it allows you to make the
    most of the paper.
     
  8. Ted, some good suggestions above. I would reccomend considering
    doing your own printing in house if you do sufficient volume to
    justify the expenditure and huge learning curve. If you don't print
    large, say nor more than 13" x 19", you can buy a desktop Epson that
    will rival all the very expensive rigs a lab has. If you want to
    print larger, you can step all the way up to the 44" with an Epson
    9X00 for only $5k. Of course these are only tools, you need
    knowledge and experience to make them all work to perfection.

    <p>

    As for what to look for in a lab.... be sure they use ICC
    profiles, this will make your scans and final files universal for
    future printing on any printer. Also find out how their profiles are
    made, and how often they are uptdated. Be sure the longevity issues
    meets your needs, and be sure to ask for sample prints with the inks
    and papers they are proposing. This is truly the Achillies heel of
    digital printing. Great color gamut, it fades fast, lousy gamut,
    they last for 200 years! So be sure the paper and ink combination
    has at least been tested and will meet your requirements. Any number
    you hear, such as 30 years, divide by 2, and thats probably more
    realistic. And remember, inks and paper work together, so they must
    be tested together, not seperately. Be sure you understand the
    resolution your prints will be made at, and find out if the profiles
    were made for that specific resolution. Also be sure your final work
    has no fine banding lines in the print. This is another major
    shortcoming that can ruin a digital print.

    <p>

    The bottom line of all this ..... ink jet prints, in my
    opinion, when done right, on calibrated equipment, using excellent
    inks and supplies is the best looking print available today. This is
    specially true on the fine art papers. On Glossy papers, to match
    the Cibachrome look, the dye based images are stunning, but the
    pigmented images are still inferior to Cibas, once again, there is a
    trade off for longevity vs. gamut. To me, what makes ink jet
    printing unique is the ability to make a photographic print on fine
    art papers vs. glossy papers. Overall, what impress most people in
    the end is the ink and paper combination. Every printer I know
    constantly struggles with this issue and continues to experiment with
    every new inkset / paper to acheive the greatest degree of gamut vs.
    longevity.

    <p>

    Of course the final digital print is compilation of the quality
    of the film to start with, the enlargement factor, the quality of the
    scanner and operator, the expertise of the PS manipulations / color
    corrections / sharpening, the quality of the RIP / driver to make the
    final print, the paper and ink used, the quality of the ICC scanner &
    printer profiles and the proper selection of the working space inside
    Photoshop. A bad looking final print may NOT be the fault of the
    printer / ink / paper, but rather improper execution of any of the
    prior steps. This is almost impossible to determine by just looking
    at the final print only.

    <p>

    As for labs, I can't reccomend any in paticular, hence the
    reason I started doing all this myself. A friend of mine who has one
    of best digital set ups I have ever seen does occasionaly print for
    others, contact me off list if you are interested. Hope this helps a
    bit...
     
  9. Ted.....Bill Glickman has just written in a nutshell, a clear and
    concise synopsis of everything you should know and do when the final
    output is a digital print.

    <p>

    You ahould see the look on some the peoples faces behind the
    counter at some of these service bureaus when you start asking them
    detailed questions such as these before considering whether or not to
    have them do the job. The bottom line is nobody is going to care
    about your project like you are, and knowing exactly what you want,
    having your own printer might be the way to go.

    <p>

    In terms of lightfast these materials are, I don't believe some
    of these claims of 70-100 years, and whose going to be around to tell
    them they were wrong. The permanence issue notwithstanding, go get
    your own printer, at least with your own printer, your mistakes will
    be made for free.
     
  10. Pricing at service bureaus come in three categories....

    <p>

    1) We're pricey but we ain't trying to get rich off one Job.

    <p>

    2) Greedy and proud of it.

    <p>

    3) We're taking all your money because you were dumb enough to
    come in here.
     
  11. Silicon Gallery in Philadelphia does beautiful work and the digital
    artists around here swear by them. (Not at them.)
     
  12. It a shame all service bureaus are not like Silicon Gallery, but
    the fact is they're not. Does pointing that out upset you? Anybody
    who has eyes can go on the web and compare prices to see how greedy
    some service bureaus can be.

    <p>

    I wish they were all honest, but they're not.
     
  13. Johnathan, your right, you can get some really blank stares from
    service bureuas when you press them for this information. The tend
    to know less than actual digital printers who do nothing but make ink
    jet prints. You almost have to dedicate 18 hrs a day to this craft
    as it seems issues are changing every day... hence the reason many
    people are printing on their own now...
     
  14. When I would go to a lab for a photomechanical print, I would
    sometimes ask the individual taking my order, 'are you a
    photographer?,'when I was going to need some complex 'burning and
    dodging' and so forth. Most of the time these people would be
    forthright and suggest, 'hey..why don't I bring the printer out here',
    which all but guarenteed that there wasn't going to be any confusion
    about my print.

    <p>

    I've gone to service bureaus and asked the individual who's
    taking my order if they in fact do digital themselves, and in response
    I've many times gotten back this 'how dare you' look, and an emphatic
    No to my next question of 'then can I talk to the printer'. This
    scenario is quicksand.

    <p>

    When the above scenario happens, I just walk right out of the
    service bureau. In the past when I said ok and trusted the
    individual to interpret my instructions corredtly, the resulting
    digital print would many times be a mess and there would be a
    dispute, and they would have the nerve insist that I pay for the
    botched printed in addition to the corrected print('there was nothing
    wrong with the way the order was taken, it's your computer, and if you
    want us to fix it, you have to pay for another print.')

    <p>

    There is a 'one man shop' out here in California, the name right
    now escapes me, that does good work and there may be others that I'm
    unaware of, but many service bureaus as you say Bill, stick people on
    the front desk who have obviously been instructed to not let you talk
    to the technical people even if it will make the job go easier. I go
    less and less to service bureaus now because I'm tired of fighting
    through the maze. Hopefully Ted can find some easygoing folks who'll
    work with him.
     

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