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A good way to learn how to produce giclee is to study a successful giclee studio Print E-mail

An example of a successful giclee studio.

Ten years ago there were only a few high quality giclee ateliers, mostly descendants of the original giclee pioneers of the late 1990’s. Almost all of them use Iris printers. Most were in California.

Today a new generation of high quality giclee producers has arrived on the scene. Andy Wood is an example. He is still in California, but that’s about all that is similar to the older giclee pioneers. Today there are no more Iris printers; that technology is dying (or rather fading, since the inks are dye). Today it’s all pigmented ink. Most of the sophistication is in software, especially highly erudite use of color management.

But not the ICC profiles you are thinking of. Today’s new profiles don’t use a Macbeth chart or any standards: the profiles are made from the original painting at the moment of capture. The color palette used by the original artist is the test chart of colors.

Who invented this? Iris printers? Roland printers? Epson? GretagMacbeth?

No, this innovative color management workflow is entirely a development by HP labs.

So if you are on a User Group or forum, and still discussing the minutiae of ICC color profiles, there are new printers and new software that are coming that will leave all that in the dust of the last century. We discuss the new color managed workflow in the new updated FLAAR Reports on giclee workflow.

If you had attended the Art Expo/DécorExpo in Atlanta last year or even better, Art Expo New York and its parallel exhibit DecorExpo, 2006, you would have seen the largest trade show booth dedicated to giclee ever staged. It was larger than Epson’s and Canon’s booth put together. Roland was not even present. Actually the entire Epson booth could have fit into the entrance foyer of the HP exhibit.

In the rush to smaller picoliter sizes, people forgot that size is not everything. The HP Designjet 5500 has a 17 or 18 picoliter drop size. But it can produce gorgeous output on canvas and watercolor paper because small picoliter drops and high dpi are totally lost on the rough surface of artist’s canvas and watercolor paper. Besides, the true dpi of an Epson printer is 360 dpi, not 2880, not 1440, and not even 720. It’s a mere 360.

As an aside, Epson printers are great for fine art photography. We have an Epson 7500, Epson 7600, and a newly arrived 7800, plus an Epson 5500, as well as a venerable Epson 9000. So we know Epson printers inside out. We use our Epson 7600 every day and find that the 7800 has a few extra benefits and improvements. But one by one, professional giclee producers are learning that picoliter drop size is not the complete measure of quality by itself.

Besides, the 8-color HP B9180 printer is here already at desktop size. Other HP printers are already using 9 colors. So when these desktop printers are available at wider sizes, that’s when the world of giclee production will be redefined.


First posted August 08, 2006.

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