Printers and Print Processes
Canon iPF 8300 44" printer
An original piece of art work viewed with our eyes can have enormous and wonderful variations of color and densities. However in the process of making fine quality giclee prints there are some translations principally with color gamut and detail that affect the final print.
1. First origional artworks are usually scanned or photographed digitally to get an image that one can print. Yet the camera or scanner is not capable of the latitude of the human eye so the color gamut width is reduced in the process.
2. Second, when this digital image is displayed on a computer screen the visable image gamut is again reduced to fit the capability of the monitor which is by nature less wide than the digital image.
3. Third, when going from the monitor to the printer the gamut is again reduced to conform to what the printer is capable of printing.
The acronym WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) is often used to describe the match between what is shown on the monitor and what is printed. However many people doing digital printing are confounded to discover that the print they get is not as good a match as what they see on the monitor screen, and they don't know why.
But consider the differences here. On one hand a monitor needs careful hardware calibration with good calibration equipment and software but not everyone has the equipment nor is willing to do this. Also with a monitor we are looking at a screen from which light eminates and with a print we are looking at light reflecting off the media surface, which is quite different. Also given the enormous variety of media available today and different kinds of media (eg. canvas and paper) and brands of media these will not render the image the same. And finally different media require different ICC profiles (color profiles) to render correctly and if not chosen properly the colors may shift quite dramatically. Hence the bottom line is that WYSIWYG is not likely in digital ink jet printing, unless you really know what you are doing or are extremely lucky.
However what is amazing is how close a properly printed image can come to making a giclee print that almost matches the origional art work. Now likely this is the result of several factors. Overall one has used the proper equipment for the job. First one has taken an image with a good DSLR camera or used a good high end image scanner to achieve the first step of the process, getting the best possible digital image from which to work. Next one is using a quality computer and large monitor on which to view the image and make changes in the image where needed. Thirdly one is using a good quality printer, perhaps wide format, that makes superb prints. And finally there is the skill and expertise of the person who does the printing. This person needs to bring their "expert eye and extensive knowledge" to making high quality giclee prints.
Fortunately I bring to this last item my 50 plus years as an exhibiting artist and 15 years experience in giclee printing so I can really provide "perfect art prints" to my clients.
Giclee Fine Art Printing by Stan Bowman