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Author Topic: Defeating OBAs and Glass for framed prints in one go  (Read 6901 times)
Nino Loss
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« on: August 13, 2010, 08:28:14 AM »
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Before turning into practices the following, I would appreciate your comments and insights on two questions:

First the brighteners. If using a paper with brighteners, I would simply coat it well with any varnish that blocks UV, and then build a profile.   I just don't know whether the brighteners still affect the color, even when coated with UV blocking varnish. I am hoping that papers containing only a bit brighteners would also dissipate more evenly, at least apparently. If so it would maybe help to use paper with low levels of brighteners. BTW I would like to use some of the OBA papers because some of them do not have any replacement. I am thinking of most of the gloss, luster and semi-gloss surface papers.

The second part is the glass, which I do not like and which I could get rid of the same way. The varnish on the print should protected the print (on paper) as well as any classic oil painting? We are left with the problem of the mat, supposing you even want to use one. The problem with a white mat is that without glass it will get dusty etc. Any normal cleaning procedure will make the white dirty. The easy solution would be to varnished the mat too (maybe with some cheaper varnish). Print and mat should be as easily dusted and cleaned like that, shouldn't they?

cheers
nino
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jgbowerman
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« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2010, 09:09:29 AM »
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Before turning into practices the following, I would appreciate your comments and insights on two questions:

First the brighteners. If using a paper with brighteners, I would simply coat it well with any varnish that blocks UV, and then build a profile.   I just don't know whether the brighteners still affect the color, even when coated with UV blocking varnish. I am hoping that papers containing only a bit brighteners would also dissipate more evenly, at least apparently. If so it would maybe help to use paper with low levels of brighteners. BTW I would like to use some of the OBA papers because some of them do not have any replacement. I am thinking of most of the gloss, luster and semi-gloss surface papers.

The second part is the glass, which I do not like and which I could get rid of the same way. The varnish on the print should protected the print (on paper) as well as any classic oil painting? We are left with the problem of the mat, supposing you even want to use one. The problem with a white mat is that without glass it will get dusty etc. Any normal cleaning procedure will make the white dirty. The easy solution would be to varnished the mat too (maybe with some cheaper varnish). Print and mat should be as easily dusted and cleaned like that, shouldn't they?

cheers
nino

Hey nino,

I try to keep things simple. For one, I simply don't use any paper with OBAs. My understanding is OBAs are not true to "Fine Art", or something along those lines as I recall reading at one time or another. Right or wrong, it does simplify my approach in selecting paper, eliminating OBAs narrows down the playing field. I further narrow the selection down by selecting only 100% cotton rag.

Second, I agree, glass takes away from the viewing quality of a beautiful print. Using non-glare glass, and not only do the details get softer, but cleaning non-glare glass is next to impossible! UV protecting glass, and you've got glare. Try to ship a frame with glass, and you have breakage unless you shell out the big bucks for UV Plexi.

I have never used varnish, and I am new to this business, but it seems to me glass or plexi is better protection whether we like it or not. Cleaning dust off a varnished print could easily be more damaging than cleaning dust from glass? Humidity, airborne contaminants, and whatnot would have less an impact on a print sealed under glass than under varnish, don't you think?

All the best,

Greg

Edit: One thing I should clarify, for prints larger than 20" x 30", I have them mounted on Sintra and sprayed with a matte varnish offsite. I'm not going to try matting and shipping larger than a 24x36 frame, yet alone carry such behemoths from show to show. Having larger prints on Sintra is my workaround, although it is not truly archival, it does allow for nice displays in one's booth.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2010, 09:43:02 AM by jgbowerman » Logged

Nino Loss
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« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2010, 10:58:06 AM »
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I try to keep things simple. For one, I simply don't use any paper with OBAs.

Which semi-gloss paper is there without OBAs and that has a RC color gamut? Maybe the Canson Premium RCs, but is it really without OBAs?


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My understanding is OBAs are not true to "Fine Art"

I know quite some "Fine Art"ists that use such papers. How many use Exhibitoin Fiber for example. Bill Atkinson uses Epson Premium Semi-Gloss...


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I further narrow the selection down by selecting only 100% cotton rag.
There seams still to be debate about whether or not that would be more conversational. WIR test show most of the times the RC papers quite ahead. So Hahnemuhle's rRags are between 60 and 68 years, Epson RC papers like Premium Gloss 85 years...
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but it seems to me glass or plexi is better protection whether we like it or not. Cleaning dust off a varnished print could easily be more damaging than cleaning dust from glass? Humidity, airborne contaminants, and whatnot would have less an impact on a print sealed under glass than under varnish, don't you think?
I agree but don't you think they would be much more protected if they were refrigerated in a dark metal case? I think that we have a lot of old paintings around and they don't need any glass. Maybe there is a difference, I just don't now what it might be.


cheers nino
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2010, 12:20:29 PM »
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This is a decision that is fundamentally artistic or aesthetic, rather than technical per se. A lot of it hinges on how particular you are about a very specific look for your work. How devoted are you to eeking out that last 1%, when the vast majority of folks won't notice?

When it comes to OBA's, I can definitely see merit on both sides of the issue. Folks like Bill Atkinson and Joseph Holmes print on Epson Premium luster or semigloss, which definitely have OBA's, presumably because they consider the greater perceived brightness and dynamic range of resulting prints worth the possible trade-off in longevity. On the other hand, Henry Wilhelm has pointed out that OBA's definitely fade over time, which will result in a print's 'paper white' drifting toward a warmer color range, altering the overall color balance and appearance of the print. Wilhelm commented that if you went to great lengths carefully tuning the color balance of your print to perfection, the fugitive nature of precise color balance on papers using OBA's would negate your efforts down the road. Additionally, most glass used for framing, even plain window glass, substantially attentuates UV transmission. As a result, you'll lose most of the brightening effect of OBA's for prints framed behind glass.

I mostly use Hahnemuhle photo rag baryta, a 100% cotton rag paper with little or no OBA's, at least for work I care about. I'm reasonably confident that my prints will look the same at least during my lifetime. And if I'm spending the effort to make a large print, some kind of protection is mandatory. I find that the relatively minor shift in color (generally a very subtle cyan shift) with framing behind regular glass is almost unnoticeable, especially if the print is properly lit with a spot from above to avoid reflections. The various coatings and varnishes are less predictable, and at least to my eye have a greater impact on the print's appearance. I have large panoramics mounted on boards and laminated. They look great, but it definitely shifts them warmer and more saturated, to a greater extent than glass alters them.

Once you find a system that works, it makes sense to stop the perpetual experimentation and just make prints.
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Light Seeker
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2010, 02:45:56 PM »
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Which semi-gloss paper is there without OBAs and that has a RC color gamut? Maybe the Canson Premium RCs, but is it really without OBAs?

Museo Silver Rag and Jon Cone Type 5 are two semi-gloss papers without OBA's. Both are fiber based papers (cotton rag) with very large gamuts and deep blacks. They both have a warmer paper base which I like, making it easier to match them to a matte board.

Type 5 is my go-to gloss paper. It has a subtle texture that is very elegant. The gloss is "soft" and not obtrusive. It has a baryta coating so images are very sharp. In all, it's a very beautiful paper, combining the elegance of matte with the gamut and deep blacks of gloss. I also use Epson Exhibition Fiber (lots of OBA's) but Type 5 doesn't seem any less punchy than the Epson.

Terry.
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2010, 02:56:48 PM »
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If you are going to coat the print with a varnish that blocks UV, you essentially eliminate the activity of the OBA.  The OBA needs UV to fluoresce.  This might effect the profile you end up with (I think you can get UV filtered spectrophotometers that address that particular issue) and certainly would effect the final print as well (if varnished as it would be the same as putting an OBA paper print behind UV filtered plexi).  There is a lot of controversy whether OBAs are good, bad, or indifferent.  Certainly from a chemical point of view, they degrade over time and can cause a change in the paper white point (and perhaps certain colors though more testing will need to be done).  Several other posters have given you some thoughts on other papers and there are some good resources developed by forum members that have spectral data for a number of papers.  I like Museo papers as they don't have any OBAs and are made of cotton rag.  That stiffness is good for my Epson 3880 as the paper holds its flat shape very well (no head strikes).

Paper choice is individual and I doubt under proper storage and display conditions that you will see significant print deterioration even with OBA papers.  The great thing about digital is you can always reprint easily enough.

Alan
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2010, 02:58:42 PM »
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Which semi-gloss paper is there without OBAs and that has a RC color gamut? Maybe the Canson Premium RCs, but is it really without OBAs?
Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Baryta has no OBA's, and I've confirmed this by measuring with regular and uv-cut spectro's. DMax is about the same as Epson Premium Luster, color gamut is actually larger.

Interestingly, Canson Infinity says that their Baryta Photographique has no OBA's; but my measurements showed that it has a substantial UV response. Whether it's added OBA's, or something else, I don't know (the baryta coating maybe?).
« Last Edit: August 13, 2010, 03:03:51 PM by JeffKohn » Logged

Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2010, 03:20:23 PM »
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Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Baryta has no OBA's, and I've confirmed this by measuring with regular and uv-cut spectro's. DMax is about the same as Epson Premium Luster, color gamut is actually larger.

Interestingly, Canson Infinity says that their Baryta Photographique has no OBA's; but my measurements showed that it has a substantial UV response. Whether it's added OBA's, or something else, I don't know (the baryta coating maybe?).
Barya doesn't fluoresce and should not have an impact on your measurement.

Alan
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2010, 04:23:06 PM »
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Interestingly, Canson Infinity says that their Baryta Photographique has no OBA's; but my measurements showed that it has a substantial UV response. Whether it's added OBA's, or something else, I don't know (the baryta coating maybe?).

There is some OBA content in the coating but not in the paper base if I check the spectral plot I made. Canson nicely balanced the spectral reflectance so above 420Nm it has almost equal reflectance on all wavelengths. Less OBA than for example in Hahnemühle Photorag. Baryta doesn't fluorescence and doesn't absorb UV light.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst Dinkla

spectral plots of +100 inkjet papers:
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2010, 07:12:46 PM »
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Before turning into practices the following, I would appreciate your comments and insights on two questions:

First the brighteners. If using a paper with brighteners, I would simply coat it well with any varnish that blocks UV, and then build a profile.   

I see little point in trying to "defeat" OBA's with a varnish which itself may be as problematic to longevity as the OBA's are, especially if it isn't applied correctly.  Accept them for what they are (as mentioned many "OBA" papers last longer than non-OBA papers according to tests.) or find papers you like without them.  One of the reason you like the look of papers with OBA's is the OBA's ... you can't duplicate the look without them so you have to accept the compromise.  So the image looks better now (and for the next few decades), but maybe 40 or 50 years from now the non- OBA one might look better.

But it's not like an OBA paper is going to look like crap ... in fact non-oba papers can have problems yellowing if not cared for as well and can look just as bad or worse.  99.99999% of all images will die from a cause other than yellowing/fading.  (ok I made that number up, but fact is the odds of physical damage ending the life of print in the next 100 years for anything other than museum collected pieces is the real longevity problem.).
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jgbowerman
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« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2010, 09:15:19 PM »
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I see little point in trying to "defeat" OBA's with a varnish which itself may be as problematic to longevity as the OBA's are, especially if it isn't applied correctly.  Accept them for what they are (as mentioned many "OBA" papers last longer than non-OBA papers according to tests.) or find papers you like without them.  One of the reason you like the look of papers with OBA's is the OBA's ... you can't duplicate the look without them so you have to accept the compromise.  So the image looks better now (and for the next few decades), but maybe 40 or 50 years from now the non- OBA one might look better.

But it's not like an OBA paper is going to look like crap ... in fact non-oba papers can have problems yellowing if not cared for as well and can look just as bad or worse.  99.99999% of all images will die from a cause other than yellowing/fading.  (ok I made that number up, but fact is the odds of physical damage ending the life of print in the next 100 years for anything other than museum collected pieces is the real longevity problem.).


Well said, Wayne

Your take will keep me more open to the possibilities. Earlier, Light Seeker has the opinion  Jon Cone Type 5 is as nice as Epson Exhibition Fibre. I'd like to give them both a try, but I can't find where to buy the JC 5. Anyone?

Greg
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2010, 12:00:50 AM »
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There is some OBA content in the coating but not in the paper base if I check the spectral plot I made. Canson nicely balanced the spectral reflectance so above 420Nm it has almost equal reflectance on all wavelengths. Less OBA than for example in Hahnemühle Photorag. Baryta doesn't fluorescence and doesn't absorb UV light.
I didn't think Baryta would have anything to do with it, but I had thought Canson claimed no OBA's so I was a bit puzzled at the measurement. But double-checking the Canson website I see they make the OBA-free claim for most of their other papers but not the Baryta Photographique.
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2010, 04:37:52 AM »
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Varnishing FBA loaded papers to block UV light is a strange strategy if it actually will block UV. But in many cases the varnish layer thickness will be too low to block UV to a useful degree. Varnishing a print to give it better mechanical, moisture and gas protection is a sound approach and the last may extend the working life of FBA dyes. That leaves the question whether to use papers with or without FBA open.

Other strategies could be the use of alternative papers with a high paper white reflectance like Canson Rag Photographique that has no FBA. To replace for example Hahnemühle's Photorag that has some FBA content. Then there are FBA papers like Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl, an RC paper with an overload of FBA in the paper base between the RC layers, that may last a long time without any loss of the FBA effect at the print side due to the encapsulation of the FBA and the high load. Time will tell.

Jon Cone Type 5, Jon Cone's Inkjetmall?


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst Dinkla

Dinkla Gallery Canvas Wrap Actions for Photoshop
http://www.pigment-print.com/dinklacanvaswraps/index.html

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jgbowerman
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« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2010, 07:49:21 AM »
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Jon Cone Type 5, Jon Cone's Inkjetmall?


Thanks, Ernst

I got a sample pack of the Jon Cone Type 5.

Regarding your previous post, pardon my ignorance, but what does FBA stand for?

Greg

Edit: A bit off-subject, does it matter if a paper is 100% cotton as opposed to 100% alpha cellulose when it comes to longevity?
« Last Edit: August 14, 2010, 08:06:28 AM by jgbowerman » Logged

Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2010, 08:44:24 AM »
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OBA stands for Optical Brightening Agent, FWA stands for Fluorescent Whitening Agent, FBA stands for Fluorescent Brightening Agent. As the last describes the effect the best I prefer to use that one. Paper brightness is the reflectance measured at 457 Nm with a band of 10Nm, that's where FBAs excell. So brightness is measured in the blue region of the spectrum and can not be considered the same as whiteness which covers the total reflectance over the visible spectrum.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_brightener

I personally think that the rag quality is overhyped (and for a long time in the graphic arts) if the alternative is alpha cellulose that has been carefully processed to paper with the intention to create an archival quality. The Library of Congress is often a good source for answers on that subject, including fold and tear tests . And Aardenburg for the paper white changes in time.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst Dinkla

Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2010, 08:53:24 AM »
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One of the reason you like the look of papers with OBA's is the OBA's ... you can't duplicate the look without them so you have to accept the compromise.  So the image looks better now (and for the next few decades), but maybe 40 or 50 years from now the non- OBA one might look better.

I think Henry Wilhelm's take on this is correct. Most of us aren't working at a level where it would make a difference; but for photographers who 'tune' the color balance of their images to an exquisite degree, OBA's may be an issue down the road. It's not so much that saturation or color intensity will fade. Rather, the relationship between colors, or between highlights and 3/4 tones, will gradually shift as the OBA's fade. All those carefully tuned relationships fall out of balance. And as far as I'm aware, their's no good data on the rate of decay of OBA's, since it's all proprietary stuff. How quickly do OBA's decay in room light? In dark storage?  Is ozone an issue? Nobody knows. I'll just avoid papers with them as much as I can till it's all sorted out.
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robgo2
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« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2010, 11:33:06 AM »
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I didn't think Baryta would have anything to do with it, but I had thought Canson claimed no OBA's so I was a bit puzzled at the measurement. But double-checking the Canson website I see they make the OBA-free claim for most of their other papers but not the Baryta Photographique.

Canson Baryta Photographique does have a light dose of OBAs.  However, Canson Platine does not, and I actually prefer prints made on it to those made on Baryta Photographique.  Platine is definitely a paper that people should try.

Rob
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probep
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« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2010, 01:10:44 PM »
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Canson Baryta Photographique does have a light dose of OBAs.  However, Canson Platine does not, and I actually prefer prints made on it to those made on Baryta Photographique.  Platine is definitely a paper that people should try.
Canson Platine Fibre Rag is a great paper. It does not have OBAs, is acid free and have a*=0, b*=0! Moreover profiles created for this paper have wide color gamut and very large Dmax. Great paper indeed.
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2010, 02:22:04 PM »
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Canson Platine Fibre Rag is a great paper. It does not have OBAs, is acid free and have a*=0, b*=0! Moreover profiles created for this paper have wide color gamut and very large Dmax. Great paper indeed.
So what does the surface look like, can you compare it to other papers?

Thanks,
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probep
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« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2010, 02:39:19 PM »
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So what does the surface look like, can you compare it to other papers?
Canson Platine has smooth glossy and true pure white surface.
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