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Author Topic: The surface of things  (Read 6543 times)
Boghb
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« on: January 02, 2007, 01:41:56 PM »
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I just had my Silver Rag 30x40 prints framed under polarized glass.  I'd have to agree with others that the surface reflections are unacceptable.

Sitting next to my frames of matt prints under glass, the new frames look like cheap posters.

So, what next?  Back to Matt Black?
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Stephen Best
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« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2007, 02:48:59 PM »
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I just had my Silver Rag 30x40 prints framed under polarized glass.  I'd have to agree with others that the surface reflections are unacceptable.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=93324\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Silver Rag is great up to about 16x20. Anything larger I print on matte rag.
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Brian Gilkes
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« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2007, 03:42:03 PM »
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I think it depends entirely on the image. In general the smoother (or glossier) a paper is , the more potential reflections it can produce under the right conditions and, as a corollary, the greater it's dynamic range and colour gamut. With very colourful images I have printed over 40" x60 " and am preparing a large exhibition of such images at present. Comparison tests on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag ,which is at least equal to any matte paper I have tested, indicate under these conditions matte papers just do not cut it. By very colourful I mean exceeding PS indicated gamut in almost all colours. On the other hand a small gamut print (less than sRGB!) intended to simulate the appearance of French wallpaper of the late 18th C, was 44" by over 6 meters long. This went on Photo Rag superbly and would have been totallyunacceptable on Silver rag or similar.
With more conventional images it's really a matter of personal preference.Art conventins seem to kick in here. Photo realist and computer graphics artists go toward glossier substrates, those from paint or printmaking backgrounds usually hate gloss and lustre  and go to matte art, usually smooth.
Handmade random textured papers are definitely preferred to machine made papers but very few people can afford this sort of quality. Even then the depth of black will still be significantly  less than a paper like Silver Rag. The answer here is for someone to come out with much better matte black inks than we are putting up with at the moment.
Back to the reflection problem, that was always with us in the old days of analogue photo papers, and the answer is still the same, i.e. attention must be made to lighting and viewing conditions.
Any photographer that has lit cars or refrigerators knows all about that.
Cheers,
Brian,
www.pharoseditions.com.au
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Pete JF
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« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2007, 03:54:53 PM »
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I prefer the surface of Innova's Fibre Gloss. Don't get me wrong, Im not satisfied with it. None of these new fiber based gloss papers have an appropriately smooth surface IMO.

Also, Innova has just produced a new paper made for PK inks. It's called something like Fibre semi matte. It's a toned down version of the F gloss (same base much more subtle sheen) and it is supposed to be nice because it draws, via a less glossy surface, attention away from the machined looking surface  that this paper has.

Silver Rag has an excellent look but that damn surface kills it. As you have noticed, When you make prints with it is really bad.

Innova's F gloss looks kind of funky with big prints as well.

I have heard from several respectable folk that the newer Innova semi matte; whatever they are calling it, is supposed to be a decent band-aid until someone figures out a way to apply these emulsions smoothly.Tired of the band-aids I am.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2007, 04:56:48 PM by Pete JF » Logged
Brian Gilkes
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« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2007, 04:47:39 PM »
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I will have a look ar the Innova offerings. Around here  optical brighteners cause a few shudders but Hahnemuhle seems to scrape through OK. The high reported DMax of Innova is certainly a drawcard.
Racking through fading memories of last century I seem to recall using various coating materials on colour prints which had differing reflective characteristics. Made by Agfa I think, with UV absorbers.
Perhaps this is the way to get over these obnoxious surfaces that get dished up to us.
I use Premier Art Print Shield for protection, but it does little to the surface. This is great for the few decent surfaces available. Has anyone experience of other products? There seem to be a lot coming out for canvas. Has anyone any experience of using them on paper?
As Print Shield seems to be the only coating product tested by Wilhelm, does anyone know of another testing body that could give us some confidence that other coatings won't yellow , peel or dissolve the print?
Cheers,
Brian,
www.pharoseditions.com.au
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Stephen Best
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« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2007, 04:53:35 PM »
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I will have a look ar the Innova offerings. Around here  optical brighteners cause a few shudders but Hahnemuhle seems to scrape through OK. The high reported DMax of Innova is certainly a drawcard.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=93354\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I have high hopes for the upcoming Photo Rag Pearl. Maybe third time lucky for Hahnemühle (after Photo Rag Satin and Fine Art Pearl).
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Pete JF
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« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2007, 05:09:19 PM »
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Brian,

When I was printing using the Cone system (piezography) I used to hit some of the prints with coat after coat of straight up  clear spray varnish...petroleum based product, stinky, non-archival..probably good for a bar top with enough coats. Yep, after a few coats you seal the surface and build to a decent gloss. I couldn't believe how beautiful it made those prints. Nice to begin with; tactile, stunning with excellent blacks after the 7th or 8th coat. Best blacks of any digi print I've made. Good old petro has it's qualities.

I'd never sell them or give to clients but several of them look fantastic around my work area in frames. In fact, they are some of my fav digi prints. They are aging nicely, I have nothing to compare them to so they look great all the time.

Not a useful story, I know, but maybe someone should make a product that's actually designed to seal and gloss an open tooth paper. Maybe it's already out there. I aboslutely hate spraying though.
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picnic
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« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2007, 05:40:49 PM »
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SNIP
Also, Innova has just produced a new paper made for PK inks. It's called something like Fibre semi matte. It's a toned down version of the F gloss (same base much more subtle sheen) and it is supposed to be nice because it draws, via a less glossy surface, attention away from the machined looking surface  that this paper has.

Silver Rag has an excellent look but that damn surface kills it. As you have noticed, When you make prints with it is really bad.

Innova's F gloss looks kind of funky with big prints as well.

I have heard from several respectable folk that the newer Innova semi matte; whatever they are calling it, is supposed to be a decent band-aid until someone figures out a way to apply these emulsions smoothly.Tired of the band-aids I am.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=93348\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I bought the 'glossy sample pack' from shadesofpaper.com and printed with the 3800 on 5 of the F type papers (Hahnemuhle Fine Art Pearl, Crane Museo Silver Rag, Innova F type WT and BW and the semi matte).  My personal preference is the semimatte by far.  I was interested primaril in a toned mono and haven't printed a color image yet.  I do plan to buy 17 x 22 sheets in this paper and cut to 11 x 17 or 8.25 x 11 as/if needed.

Diane
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Boghb
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« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2007, 12:40:18 PM »
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Of the 15 large prints that I had framed, not a single one works for me.  The darker prints show very little detail in the shadows unless you get the angle and the lighting just right.  The detail disappears in the double reflection of glass and paper.  The lighter prints lack emotional impact, looking more like posters.

Although matt prints may have lower dmax when looked at straight, they appear to have much higher dmax when placed under glass.  I would argue that in comparison with SilverRag (the only glossy paper I have used), my matt prints have richer apparent blacks.

So for me, unfortunately, another black ink change looms.  I am going back to matt paper; question is: with or without whitener!
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Brian Gilkes
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« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2007, 01:39:30 PM »
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Pete,
I think it is a useful story. There must be coatings that can be used to produce decent finishes on these papers using PhotoBlack inks.Has anyone tried the Breathing Color stuff?
An alternative, useful for some applications, such as installations,is to laminate behind very clear, approx. 2mm acrylic. This would bring out the blacks and colours. Images must be well lit of course.
Yes, spraying is no fun.One really needs a spray booth and all the protective gear to do it properly. There is a case for brushing if the viscosity is right.
Boghb,
I agree. Double reflections can be solved on gloss/luster etc with the acrylic method above, but the limited edition gallery crew may find it unappealing. Matte is the answer then, and these prints can look stunning behind glass, which is something to think about when looking at the freshly minted on the print table.

Another point I might add. With prints that are too large to frame ( as some may have noticed I have recently printed over 6meters  long) the eye seems to find its own black and white points. This results in a dynamic range of say 1.6 on a matte print looking much greater. We need a lot more work on the psychobiology of perception. Spectrophotometers don't give us all the story.
Cheers,
Brian,
www.pharoseditions.com.au
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Boghb
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« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2007, 01:41:01 AM »
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Brian

I am noticing that with very large prints the glass itself becomes a dominant vidual element because it catches more reflections, especially specular ones which draw the eye away from the photograph.  Proper lighting of course helps this but prints cannot always be displayed under gallery conditions.

How do you cope with the glass interjecting itself in such large frames?

Thanks
Babak
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Gary Brook
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« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2007, 06:22:41 AM »
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Brian,

for a long time there was an extraordinary amount of material on Stephen Livick's website regarding alternative coatings and fading properties.  He has since removed almost all of his data and confined his advice to some commentary in the 'Approach' page at www.livick.com.  This remaining material is still useful in respect to your interest here.  I always thought his test results and advice were honest and useful and reflected care and a lot of hard work on his part and that of many helpers.  I was able to recover the 'lost' material earlier last year from the web archive facility, but it was too large a data set to keep either an electronic or printed copy.  You can no doubt pursue such a search yourself.  Stephen recommended a number of different coatings, but principally specific Clearstar products, most of which left their own characteristic surface texture rather than disappearing as do Print Shield/Printguard and similar products.  Regards,

Gary
Canberra
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KeithR
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« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2007, 04:04:55 PM »
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I bought the 'glossy sample pack' from shadesofpaper.com and printed with the 3800 on 5 of the F type papers (Hahnemuhle Fine Art Pearl, Crane Museo Silver Rag, Innova F type WT and BW and the semi matte).  My personal preference is the semimatte by far.  I was interested primaril in a toned mono and haven't printed a color image yet.  I do plan to buy 17 x 22 sheets in this paper and cut to 11 x 17 or 8.25 x 11 as/if needed.

Diane
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=93375\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Stopped into the only store in town(Minneapolis) that stocks a decent variety of papers, and saw they had just gotten the Innova line in. Saw the new semmimatte and will be giving it a try. The store had the same image printed on different papers(in both color and B&W) so I put them side by side. I had put the samples they had of the Museo SR, Hahnemuhle FAP & Innova Gloss and semimatte next to one another, and I liked the Innova Semimatte more than the others. A lot less of a "gloss" look. A tad warmer than the FAP(which I have used) but not as warm as the SR. A very nice paper IMO.
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2007, 04:22:21 PM »
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Stopped into the only store in town(Minneapolis) that stocks a decent variety of papers, and saw they had just gotten the Innova line in. Saw the new semmimatte and will be giving it a try. The store had the same image printed on different papers(in both color and B&W) so I put them side by side. I had put the samples they had of the Museo SR, Hahnemuhle FAP & Innova Gloss and semimatte next to one another, and I liked the Innova Semimatte more than the others. A lot less of a "gloss" look. A tad warmer than the FAP(which I have used) but not as warm as the SR. A very nice paper IMO.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=93736\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

OT: There is a store with a decent stock of paper in Minneapolis!?!?  West Photo or somewhere else?
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Brian Gilkes
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« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2007, 06:04:26 PM »
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Brian,

for a long time there was an extraordinary amount of material on Stephen Livick's website (excerpt)
Gary
Canberra

Thanks Gary,
Very useful
Brian
www.pharoseditions.com.au
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KeithR
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« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2007, 07:09:47 PM »
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OT: There is a store with a decent stock of paper in Minneapolis!?!?  West Photo or somewhere else?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=93740\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yep, West Photo. They have a whole room just for paper and ink. Moab, Ilford Hehnemuhle, Epson, Premier Art, Arches, Legion, Innova. And I probably have left some out. And not just a few of this-n-that. Greg(it's his dept)also tries to have sample prints of everything he has on hand. I have been to the "other" big name camera store that's all over town, and West has the biggest choice around. I don't work for them(wish I did  )I'm just a very satisfied customer.
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Pete JF
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« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2007, 09:48:07 PM »
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Couple of links and wondering if anyone has used these Breathing Color products

a "semi gloss" fiber based paper called Allure Rag...supposed to be smooth

http://www.breathingcolor.com/bc/catalog/index.php?cPath=106


And, I noticed that Breathing Color makes post print coatings..

http://www.breathingcolor.com/bc/catalog/index.php?cPath=600



Has anyone used any of these products?
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Brian Gilkes
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« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2007, 12:32:16 AM »
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Pete,
Allure is not available here in Oz. Perhaps in a couple of weeks. I've ordered some of their coatings .
I suspect I
www.pharoseditions.com.au could probably make the stuff myself and save a heap.
The moral of this story is that coating is a real good idea.
Brian
Chartered Chemist (Australia)
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Pete JF
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« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2007, 11:22:39 AM »
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Last night I read through quite a bit of Steven Livick's testing observation. Harald Johnson has archived all of it here:

http://web.archive.org/web/20050305075607/.../inkjet/pg1.htm

He is a wordy guy, not much of a writer and could be taken as an eccentric. I don't take him that way at all though. I feel a definite camaraderie with the guy. He's tired of the hype that is extremely prevalent in this industry. I can see why he was taking hits from whomever was messing with him. He made cut and dried statements regarding the products he was working with. I feel that his methodology was a bit extreme in some sense but I also feel that the extreme conditions he works from is a necessary component to all the other "testing" that is going on out there. It's important to try to set up a situation where the elements are attacking these prints at an unrealistic rate. Much of his testing took place in direct sunlight. He is fully aware of that fact and acknowledges it. you have to cover the wide end in any test situation. The famous Wilhelm has, at times, been criticized for setting up wimpy conditions.

It's a bit difficult to get through Livick's writing, you have to concentrate, it's a bit like proofreading a child's writing, something I have much experience with. I'm not making fun of the guy here, ultimately, he's an artist, not a writer. Nothing wrong with that.

Anyhow, based on what i've been going through and after reading Livick's stuff, I'd have to agree with you, Brian. Coating prints seems to be lurking in my crystall ball. Damn, Im trying to shake this off.

I've tried pretty much all the new fiber gloss papers and if you don't spray them you still get both bronzing and gloss differential (it's better but it's still there). Not mention the fact that some these surfaces are extremely delicate (innova has to be handled VERY carefully, Silver Rag seems to be fairly tough) None of the surfaces I have experience with are up to par, IMO, especially when making larger prints.

These discussions about the newer gloss fine art papers always seem to spark off a lengthy thread. I think that's a testament to the fact that folks want something like this to print on. With all these companies producing papers that have pronounced surface textures, one's got to wonder why the decisions were made to incorporate these textures (Silver Rag, Hanne Fine Art Pearl...Innova, less so). I can only deduce that it's because there is some manufacturing issue, a tech issue, that makes it extremely difficult to produce with any kind of consistent quality standard. Innova seems to be struggling with their quality point. I have experience with quite few different batches of this paper and the quality variations are striking in terms texture and blemishes. I am not surprised that they released the Semi Matte version of this paper because they at this point they are aware of the problems with the straight gloss. It's like when you paint a wall with high gloss paint...if you want it to look good you have better spend more time prepping the surface underneath. The base on the Innova paper (they took a fav paper from their matte line and coated it) is what is causing the surface to have the look that it does...that's what I suspect anyway. It doesn't look like a coating issue.

I'm having a great deal of difficulty imagining myself spending time in a spray booth with a mask and sprayer. I'm also having a hard time imagining myself keeping a section of my studio set up with a roller and pan for coating my prints. Damn, should have kept my darkroom set up, right? Maybe this will lead to sparkling career in decoupage?

Too late for the darkroom because my kids love the bathroom I built in it's place. Can't get em out of there because they can steal the neighbors wireless internet signal from there and chat on the laptop while they sit on the can. humph, teenagers..whatever happened to reading sports illustrated while losing a few pounds??

I was planning to rebuild the d-room basement under my studio but then all these fiber gloss papers started to appear. Im thinking that we might have to wait a little longer and HOPING, that these companies realize that they need to keep working on this.

Apologies for the lengthy ramble.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2007, 11:42:54 AM by Pete JF » Logged
Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2007, 12:39:21 PM »
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Although matt prints may have lower dmax when looked at straight, they appear to have much higher dmax when placed under glass.

I was a beta tester for Silver Rag before it came out. I was not all that impressed with it as a thirty year silver printer, which it was trying to mimick. In the end I went back to mat, because I think ink prints are a unique medium and should not be approached as a substitute for traditional silver.

Glass is the great equalizer. Last year I had a 30 year retrospective of my work. About a third of the work were traditional silver prints pulled from the museum collection. The rest were mat archival ink. Under glass, unless you looked at a radical angle where you could see the paper texture, you could not see the difference. Many experienced fine art photographers at the opening, who did not know I was printing digitally, did not notice the difference until I told them.
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Kirk

Kirk Gittings
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