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What does a fully professional giclee production facility look like? What giclee workflow do they use? Print E-mail

Several years ago Antonios Granis wrote from Greece, saying he was a reader of the FLAAR Reports and wanted to discuss improving the print shop where he was working. So I went to Thessalonica in northern Greece. Kodak had brought over several hundred people to see their digital imaging center at the Athens Summer Olympics, so my flight and that of an assistant were covered at least as far as Athens. Unfortunately for Kodak, the prints from their Encad NovaJet 850 or whatever model it was, were terrible, with banding. And one of the student workers told me the Encad did not accept TIF files well; that it wanted another file type or the quality was poor.

Anyway, we visited Granis where he was working at a generalized printshop, everything from printing with a laser printer to basic signage with a wide format inkjet printer. They had a Roland eco-solvent printer, on which FLAAR did a site-visit case study. Then about a year or so later the three Granis brothers formed their own company, and bought a Cruse scanner. Indeed they like it so much they are now a Cruse dealer for Greece. While we were in Greece another company was already buying a Cruse scanner, which now makes two in Greece.

In May 2006 I had an extra week available after FESPA Digital trade show in Amsterdam, and flights to Thessalonica were relatively budget priced, so I went there to see how the new giclee atelier was doing. I also brought him a BetterLight Super 6K-HS so he could decide whether this might be useful for taking out on location: the Cruse remaining for the main store, a BetterLight for visiting museums and other places where art was available to be scanned.

As a result of this recent visit we will be adding a new FLAAR Report to the Giclee Series, so you can see what a full-fledged professional commercial production giclee facility looks like.

FLAAR is also a consultant for a similar new giclee facility in Istanbul, and we will at some point be checking a new installation of a Cruse scanner in Monaco. They bought a Cruse scanner a week after they took a FLAAR workshop on UV-printers. The place in Istanbul will probably opt for a BetterLight system. FLAAR is used as a resource throughout the world by people who are starting or expanding their printing services.

As you notice, we are fair both to BetterLight and Cruse: the BetterLight has advantages and disadvantages; the Cruse has its own definite advantages and its downsides too. Just like everything in life. This is why it helps to have FLAAR as a consultant. Hellmuth has both a Cruse and a BetterLight, so we are in a unique position to be able to assist you to understand the differences. In some cases you will want one of each.

It is the same with printers: no one printer can do everything. There are new printer technologies that have been under development for the last several years (quietly and not published yet). These new printers will be shown to the public either at SGIA 2006 or early in 2007. Digital fine art printing will never be the same again. We are under non-disclosure so are not at liberty to release the brand name, nor the details. But the printer is quite remarkable. Naturally we will have to test it in person to make sure it works. After all the Kodak 5260 was the most incredible new technology of 2004: but it did not function and 30-million dollars in development went down Kodak’s drain.


First posted August 08, 2006

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