THE STEPS OF THE SET-UP PROCEDURE
You might wonder what we do with your artwork between the time you leave it at our studio,
and your return to proof or pick up final prints. Well, there are several steps we go through to make sure you are as proud of the prints we create as you are your originals.
We start with hardware and software designed for digital capture, color manipulation and fine art output. We are meticulous about calibrating our equipment frequently and also create our own ink + paper profiles. What this means to you is each of your prints will display the same quality of tone and color, time after time.
“When you bring your work to us, you’re entrusting it to people who genuinely
care about what happens to your art throughout the printmaking process.”
If possible, we ask that you bring original art rather than slides or transparencies*. This results in fewer generations between original and print and allows us to control the entire process, keeping your image within our color-controlled environment.
*If this isn’t possible, that’s fine, we’ll work from your slides or transparencies—but keep in mind the quality of the slide will dictate the quality of the final image.
Your artwork is evaluated for texture and color. Does it have a matte or glossy surface? Are you using pastels, watercolor, oils or acrylic? Maybe fabric or a multimedia piece? These all require different lighting solutions—something we are sensitive to and like to discuss with you. There might be certain ways you want shadows to fall on heavily textured work or you may want to emphasize critical areas of your art—we’ll take the time to find out.
TRANSPARENCIES AND NEGATIVES
If you no longer have your original we can also work from transparencies. We’ll scan your image on a high-resolution drum scanner or dedicated slide scanner and the proofing process continues as above, except we’ll match to your transparency.
To prepare your art for scanning, we illuminate your work with lights from Northlight™.
LIGHTING WITH NORTH LIGHT™ HID COPY LIGHTS
It can take up to 15 minutes to capture an image with the Better Light™ scan back so consistent lighting is critical. The heat that lighting arrays emit is also a factor since they do need to be pointed at your artwork for a short period of time. We use North Light’s™ HID copy lights. In addition to low operating temperatures these high intensity lights have low ultraviolet and infrared levels so your artwork is safe. North Light’s™ HID copy lights meet Museum Standards for Conservation.
We capture (scan) your art with a high resolution Better Light™ scanning back camera. The importance of proper image capture can’t be stressed enough. This is the raw material we start with and the beginning of the process that eventually leads to a beautiful print. So . . . what do we use to accomplish this major step? Since everything depends on the quality of the initial scan, we choose not to compromise on our tools. We use a Better Light™ scan-back camera for this purpose—a 8000 x 10600 pixel scanner capable of gathering every detail of your original art. This equipment excels at image capture and is state-of-the-art for artwork imaging.
BETTER LIGHT™ SCANNING BACK CAMERA
The technology is totally different from the single-shot digital cameras most of us are familiar with. Better Light™ scan backs utilize three individually filtered rows of pixels—a tri-linear CCD. It moves across the film plane capturing light one row at a time. Each exposure can take from five to 15 minutes and results in a huge file with true RGB color, not interpolated color by camera software. The sensor in the scan-back is nearly 3 x 4 inches, five times the physical area of most array sensors.
Your image is transferred to our workstation where tone and color are matched to your original.
We will archive all images as part of our service to our clients unless requested not to. Image creators retain all rights to their work and are free to do whatever they want with the files Carr Imaging produces.
The last step in the setup procedure is to output 8.5 x 11 inch proofs on the same media you choose to use for the final prints.
We will proof until we’re satisfied with the color, then we’ll call you back to the studio for final approval. If at this point we need to continue working on your piece, we’ll do that. As long as we’re progressing—it doesn’t matter how many proofs it takes—we’ll keep at it until you’re happy with the results.
“Our fine art printers are set up to do one thing—create beautiful and accurate prints.”
THE PRINTS, INKS AND MEDIA
What does it take to make a fine print?
It starts with an image file created from an accurate scan. The file progresses through various stages of color correction and finally ends up at one of our printers.
Our ink is pigment based and we create “profiles” that help us predetermine how colors will look on the variety of papers and canvas we use. This means the print software also knows the color capabilities of each paper+ink combination; resulting in accurate color, print after print.
Pigment inks and acid free papers and canvas also mean your reproductions will be around for a long time. Testing under accelerated conditions demonstrate a life in excess of 80 years before noticeable fading occurs