By Olivia Cahoon
Part 2 of 2
Print shops traditionally produced fine art reproductions by photographing artwork and creating a transparency that was later printed. This process is now simplified with the use of scanning equipment, capable of capturing artwork and sending it directly to digital presses for printing.
Located in Norwell, MA, Image Resolutions provides digital and traditional four- and two-color printing services, including fine art giclée reproduction prints, large format printing, and mailing services. In 1990, it started as a home-based linotronic output service bureau, eventually moving into its current space in 1999.
“Initially, our concentration was purely image setting,” says Bill Wenzel, owner, Image Resolutions. “First only to RC paper, then to film.” As imagesetters improved, the shop added scanning services with a Leaf 45 followed by an Optronics Color Getter.
With six full-time employees, Image Resolutions’ services primarily benefit graphic designers, artists, advertising agencies, and corporate marketing communications departments throughout the South Shore, Cape Cod, and Boston areas. Products include banners, brochures, business cards, envelopes, invitations, letterheads, newsletters, notepads, large format posters, and retail signs.
Scanning Fine Art
Image Resolutions entered the wide format printing space with a 36-inch LaserMaster Big Color inkjet printer. It also employed an Iris inkjet printer and built device link profiles for exact matches.
“The quality was superb, but the prints lacked permanence,” admits Wenzel.
Feeling limited by the LaserMaster’s 36-inch width, the company invested in a ColorSpan 54-inch printer. Clients then started to request fine art work. However, Wenzel says the Iris lacked print permanence and the ColorSpan was not fine art quality.
As a result, Image Resolutions purchased a Roland DGA Corporation Hi Fi Pro FJ 500 for fine art reproductions. “It had the permanence we needed, a hexachrome ink set that gave us a gamut, and print quality that worked well for fine art reproductions,” explains Wenzel.
Traditionally, scanning large artwork required photographing the piece and producing a 4×5- or 8×10-inch transparency. The next step was to scan the transparency, which meant if it was inaccurate, the scan would not match the original artwork. “The accuracy varied greatly, but our drum scanner produced exquisite files for us to print from,” offers Wenzel.
After purchasing a Better Light 4×5 scan back, the print shop’s fine art reproduction further improved. Better Light scan backs gather the image’s information in one continuous scan as the light is collected by three, individually filtered rows of pixels. Image Resolutions uses this device with a Cambo 4×5 camera, Kaiser rePro copy stand, North Light HID copy lights, vacuum table, and Rodenstock lenses.
Although single-shot cameras continue to improve, Wenzel believes the Better Light system’s workflow is the ideal solution for fine art reproduction. “And because the Better Light is a scan back, the resolution is still the best I’ve found.”
Its system scans fine art from 30×40-inch stretched oil paintings to 8×10-inch pastel pieces. When Image Resolution receives larger work, especially reproduced at size, it creates multiple exposures and stitches them together. To make up for slight differences in illumination, the shop uses Robin Myers Imaging EquaLight 3 lighting falloff software. It also uses X-Rite, Incorporated i1Profiler and i1iSis scanning spectrophotometer to build all of its input and output profiles.
After performing a digital capture, the print shop provides customers with up to three proofs to check for color fidelity and cropping. Once the customer approves the piece, Image Resolutions maintains the file for printing editions. Editions can be either printed immediately or on an as-needed basis.
Image Resolutions’ digital capture system allows it to digitize artwork without touching the art’s surface. Although its system is used primarily for fine art reproduction, it can also scan architectural renderings, large photographs, and other flat objects up to 48×96 inches at any thickness.
Image Resolutions occasionally uses the Roland Hi Fi Pro FJ 500 for legacy prints but now employs the Epson SureColor P20000 for fine art work.
The Epson SureColor P20000 is a 64-inch printer designed for photo labs and high-street photo and copy shops. With this device, the shop also uses Epson branded ink.
Image Resolutions produces reproductions for original art on a variety of fine art papers and canvases, including oil, watercolor, pastel, mixed media, and acrylic artwork—carrying a range of brands like Breathing Color, Canson Infinity, Epson, Hahnemühle, IJ Technologies, Moab by Legion Paper, and Museo from Dietzgen Corporation.
According to Wenzel, canvas prints are growing in popularity. However, they do require added durability and protection against cracking during stretching. To ensure its prints are produced durably, Image Resolutions coats almost all of its canvas prints with Marabu North America ClearShield Canvas Guard—offering a range of finishes from matte to gloss.
Scanned for Perfection
Image Resolutions’ digital printers and scanning system allows it to create fine art reproductions for a variety of clients. Its experience in wide format scanning technology empowers the print shop to stay ahead of the competition and keep fine art clients satisfied.
Feb2019, Digital Output