Digital fine art giclee workflow, for individuals, ateliers, photo labs, artists, investors Print

To become a success (personal success and financial success) you need to learn about each step in the production process. Your printer is only one step in your workflow.

FLAAR is a non-profit institute with 12 years experience in fine art and giclee and a previous several decades experience in outdoor fine art photography. We offer tips, suggestions, help, and documentation to artists, photographers, photo studios and printshop owners.

If you wish to do limited editions, exhibit, publish, or sell giclee, we welcome you to our lode of information. You are equally welcome if an individual, an entire company, and at all levels: intermediate, beginning, or advanced.

Giclee Workflow means the step-by-step procedures.

Workflow means the sequence of step-by-step procedures that you (and your painting and print) pass through from an original painting to an award-winning giclee print. Workflow is the production process from beginning to end.

Our Giclee Workflow Diagram is intended to show an organized step-by-step concept. In reality there are additional steps that we have added on the present page (below).

FLAAR Fine Art Giclee Workflow.


Preparation stage: Step 1, Calibrate your monitor.

Input stage: Step 2, Image capture (digitization): scanning or direct digital photography. This is an entire book in itself. I just saw the web site of a top professional giclee company. They had probably $72,000 worth of equipment to handle the workflow. Their digitization equipment included one of the top potential options (BetterLight scanning back).

But they had one weak point; a single weak link in the chain. This one piece of inappropriate equipment effectively negated and ruined all the benefits of the entire remainder of their digitization process.

I learned from experience about the inappropriate equipment, since as a student, without money, 40 years ago I started with a comparable camera as that giclee atelier has today. But I got rid of that inappropriate camera and now have two significantly better 4x5 cameras (two different models). Indeed to provide the tips so our readers can learn from my decades of trial and error we have an entire separate web site of studio camera equipment,

Image digitalization
Image digitalization,direct digital photography

Input stage: Step 3, process the digital image in appropriate software. Although most people use Adobe Photoshop, there are several other add-on software Plug-ins that we recommend, such as from Nik (Nik Multimedia).

Process the digital image in appropriate software
Nicholas Hellmuth, processing the digital image.

OUTPUT stage: Step 4, select your preferred media.

Select your preferred media

Step 5: Profile your printer, ink, and media.

Step 6: Print a proof.

Step 7: Color Matching, which is totally different than Color Balance or Color Management.

Step 8: Embellishing by hand, if desired (most artists skip this).

Step 9: Finishing, part I: top-coating (you top coat a canvas or watercolor; you laminate photo paper (liquid or film).

Step 10: Finishing, part II: trimming, deckle the edges if desired, etc.

Step 11, usually called “curating”.

Step 12: Pack and Ship.

Step 13, Receive a well-deserved check from a satisfied client.

Additional aspects of workflow: exhibit, display, publications, art festivals, art galleries, art shows, to achieve prominenance.

Should you exhibit nationally? Or should you stick with local exhibits in your home town?

What about art galleries? Your local library?

And trade magazines?

FLAAR is adding and expanding coverage of all these aspects of public relations for the emerging artist (as well as for the publisher who manages an artist who has made their breakthrough).

Preliminary steps before the giclee workflow even begins: Business Plan

A bank will require a Business Plan before loaning you money for a new giclee atelier or fine art photography studio. So FLAAR provides diverse assistance for this crucial Business Planning stage.

But some people spend their entire life making Business Plans, yet never actually do much business: they simply plan. I experienced Business Plan fixation at universities, where some staff spent their entire time making a business plan.

But they never learned how to implement anything successfully.

And they could not change their PLAN to suit rapidly changing tastes, preferences, and the real world outside the academic campus.

Nonetheless, some kind of Business Plan is essential, so FLAAR will be updating this aspect of our digital fine art giclee web site during 2009.

The above digital fine art giclee workflow covers most forms of giclee.

Watercolor paintings, acrylic, oil, painting on silk, pastels, pen and ink drawings plus etchings can all be reproduced with the digital fine art giclee workflow described by FLAAR.

The full workflow is described in the Learning Unit that is part of Nicholas Hellmuth’s upcoming course on giclee production and giclee workflow. There is not enough space on a single web page to discuss the details of a digital fine art giclee workflow. The diagram page is to indicate that it is a sequence of steps. This text page is to provide a fuller list of the steps. The full-color FLAAR PDF is the complete documentation of everything in a giclee workflow.


First posted January 2, 2009.

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