|Crionna Giclee Printing Services|
As an artist creating fine art prints it is vital to me that my prints are of the highest possible quality; as a photographer I am fortunate to have acquired the skills to make that happen.
I am now offering my services to my fellow artists, photographers, painters, potters and sculptors who wish to produce fine art prints of their work but lack the necessary skills and equipment to achieve the quality they desire. After all - if you have spent years to produce your masterpiece why would you ever want to make a poor copy?
If you want to find out why you would want a professional artist and photographer to produce your prints rather than a lab technician read on.....
It may seem as if making a print is a piece of cake, after all, most people these days have a half decent point and shoot camera that will capture a decent amount of detail. Most people also have a printer and paper and may have skills to make a decent print. But artists are not most people, they are not satisfied with a mediocre attempt to make a poor quality copy and this often deters them from making prints altogether. While mass produced low quality copies of original artwork are not appealing to the artist it is clear that there is a market for them but how do you reach it? Whether you decide market your artwork in the rapidly expanding online galleries like Saatchi Online and Fine Art America or just to sell mounted prints in a local gallery it is vital to have the best possible photographic image of your work.
High quality, fine art prints, which can be limited in edition and certificated to provide a guarantee of quality offer the artist a new avenue to a wider audience. Popular original pieces can be made available to people who may not be able to afford the real thing. But to start the process you first need your image and if you have spent years acquiring the skills to make your masterpiece why would you want to make a poor copy?
There are many service companies who make prints from Boots the Chemist to local framers and printers however ask yourself who would you prefer to handle your work, a technician from Boots or someone who is an artist and professional photographer? What is the difference.....
I have invested years honing my the skills and developing the know how to capture a good image. I know how to ensure that the capture is as close to real life colour as possible. I have invested in the very best photographic and printing equipment as well as the enormous amount of time to acquire the know how to use them. While a technician in a print lab can optimise settings they may not have the artistic skills and the know how to optimise the file before printing, to select the right paper and to profile and calibrate all the equipment. In taking the process from photo capture all the way to final print every step should be linked and harmonised.
The Best Equipment
I use professional equipment at all steps. The initial capture is made using a camera mounted on my Gitzo tripod which ensure absolute stability necessary to get tack sharp prints. I use a Canon 5D Mark II Camera which is one of the best in the business; this camera captures at full frame and has been widely acclaimed by professionals.
Expertise in Photoshop and Lightroom
Many artists I speak to have the idea that working with photographic software is somehow cheating. In fact, manipulation starts with a camera capture, after all the world we see is not 3 x 2 or black and white. All digital files from a camera need to be digitally managed in order to obtain a result that is accurately representative of the original scene. Every camera manufacturer embeds a profile they have developed into the capture process and a file compression to create a jpeg file for printing. However, as a professional artist and photographer my camera is set up to capture 'RAW' files. Whether the image is a landscape, a portrait or an image of an original oil painting it . While Lightroom is a relatively intuitive software system Photoshop is not so and it takes a long time to master the skills necessary to work in both these systems as I do, to optimise your prints.
Light temperature is vital to accurate colour representation. A capture made early in the morning may have a bluish cast to it while one taken on a cloudy summer afternoon may have a warmer feel. It is vital that the light control at capture is optimised as far as possible but is then digitally fine tuned.
Exposure, contrast, light and shadow have to be perfectly balanced. No matter how well the photograph is made this aspect is best reviewed again digitally to ensure that the presence and clarity of the subject is well represented.
Resolution and Clarity
Your digital phone may have zillions of pixels and ultimately resolution and clarity will be limited on the basis of how many pixels you capture per inch, but, to ensure you match the presence of the original it is important to tweak these elements.
Hue, Saturation and Luminence
The control of hue, luminence and saturation are the elements that can easily get out of control without expertise. From rich reds to intense blues and sunny yellow it is vital that the colour is well controlled. To ensure deep black and the entire gamut of greys to white there are additional digital tools that will ensure that even the smallest area on an photograph can be isolated and brought up to perfection
There are the details you want in your image - and those you don't! If you provide the digital file it may well have minor flaws - tiny dust spots only a pixel each or subtle water spots that would go unnoticed at low resolution you are used to. However, using the full frame high resolution capability of the Canon 5D Mark II combined with expertise to capture a super sharp image is highly likely to do a better job. None the less, should you provide the image or I capture it for you it will still require a review for detail and sharpness. Using the software I can remove even the slightest flaw in the file at 8:1 resolution if necessary although 2:1 is more than enough. Apart from the skills to remove flaws there are also the skills to get sharp images. Esy I hear you say, point and shoot on autofocus will do the trick. However, if you want to blow your image up to 40 x 40" (as I do with some of my own work) you have to ensure pixel perfect resolution. To do this there are some complicated maths involved in working out the distance to object, size of lens and aperture necessary to optimise the capture.
Lenses in cameras are curved not straight and towards the outside edge of the curve they are less reliable at capturing a sharp image. In addition, every camera has a unique manufacturer profile embedded in the file. Both these aspects mean it is important to correct for any slight distortions prior to printing.
Every computer is sitting in variable lighting conditions and has a variation in how it represents colour based on the manufacturer. So, the red you see on one computer screen may not be the same hue as one you see in real life or on any other computer. The computer needs to be calibrated using software attachments, the little gadget I use calibrates my screen every ten minutes - if I sit at the window from morning to night you can imagine how the light temperature and quantity would vary and that affects how I see the image. By calibrating it ensures minimal variation between images.
Paper and Canvas Selection
The paper selection is vital to the end result. As an artist I found it was vital to me to find the best paper to print on for my images. Each paper varies in texture, colour, acidity etc and each of these factors affects how the ink is picked up. Canvas and some of the heavy fine art papers render a less sharp image but the texture, quality and colour representation make them the best option for an image of an original painting. On the other hand some of the lustre and gloss papers are better for sharp monochromatic, abstract and very contemporary work. I work with a range of papers and would be happy to provide a proofing sample of each to help you make a decision.
Proofing of the Papers
The software I use has a very useful capability and that is to provide me with a representation on the screen of how the image will look with each type of paper. This function requires me to add the profiles for each paper to my system. Every paper manufacturer provides the ICC profile for their brand which has to be downloaded then uploaded into my system. This allows me to ensure that the subtle areas are well colour controlled and that the intensity of the colours are well displayed for each paper or canvas.
Not everyone has a printer the size of a small sofa in their studio! The Epson 9890 fine art printer is the top of the range. The giclee spraying can be speeded up or slowed down and it sprays the ink in extremely small drops. This kind of printing gives a wonderful intense sharp image. As with everything else, the printer has a complex electronic system which must be calibrated to work perfectly in harmony with the computer software. They have to ;talk' to each other to get the best result.
The Epson 9890 uses a combination ....
So, once you have mastered the photo shoot, the profiling and calibration of the camera, the computer, the printer, paper and ink, once you have learned how to ensure the light, shadow, hue and saturation are controlled and accurate and after you have selected the best paper to give the result.....
you just point and shoot....
load the file....
'photoshop' it to perfection