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Author Topic: Highly-saturated, ultra-glossy landscapes - Metal prints vs Fujiflex  (Read 5708 times)
shadowblade
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« on: June 03, 2013, 12:27:53 AM »
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I currently sell all my large landscape prints on coated aluminium (Bay Photo's Metalprints or Image Wizards) but have recently also considered using Fujiflex mounted on Dibond or aluminium panels, as it was suggested to me that this may give a wider colour gamut and slightly increased sharpness over the metal prints. I also noted that many top-end landscape photographers now seem to be selling their work on Fujiflex mounted in such a manner.

Does anyone have experience with both? Any thoughts? No doubt the metal prints would be more durable against physical impacts and abrasion.
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BillK
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« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2013, 10:47:49 AM »
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Yes I have sold both.  You have hit the nail on the head.

Fujiflex on dibond is usually face mounted to acrylic or some other plastic and is very easily scratched.
While disub metal prints are fairly scratch resistant in comparison.

I sell my work at art shows, and after a season or so it became obvious that fujiflex on dibond would not
stand up to all the transportation as careful as I could be with it.
For some reason, people feel the need to touch these type of prints, even with signs asking them not to.
Had more than one scratched that way.

I only do metal now for those reasons.

As far as better sharpness and gamut, only another photographer looking closely would tell the difference.
I constantly have people remark how sharp my metal prints are. They would be sharper on fujiflex,
but not enough to matter to the majority of people. The major issues for most people are: do the colors work in their home,
and does the image have impact to them. Other technical things fall far down the list of concerns.

The photographers you are referring to sell mostly  from galleries, so transportation damage is not as big an issue.
I still have the vision of the customer or their maid trying to clean a multi thousand $$ fujiflex print with a paper towel and windex
and destroying it in the process.

 
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shadowblade
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« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2013, 07:02:16 PM »
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Do you seal the Fujiflex print onto the aluminium with a laminate, as such: http://www.scottleggoimages.com/print-info/fujiflex-crystal-archive-print-mounted-sealed-on-aluminium/

If so, how susceptible to fingerprints, moisture, etc. is the print?

I think the sharpness issue is mainly relevant at smaller print sizes, where the limiting factor is the maximum resolution of the print medium (e.g. Fujiflex is capable of greater resolution than metalprints, which are capable of greater resolution than canvas); at larger print sizes, it would hardly be relevant that Fujiflex can manage 360dpi as opposed to 250dpi for Metalprints (I'm just making these numbers up, by the way) if the limiting factor is that the original image is only 150dpi when printed at that size.

Colour gamut is highly relevant, though - I find that many of my prints look much better in Adobe RGB as compared to sRGB, which tends to make them look washed-out.

Any idea if Bay Photo  uses the full Adobe RGB gamut in their metalprints, or if they convert to sRGB and print from that? Imagewizards claims to print directly from Adobe RGB.
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hugowolf
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« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2013, 07:12:32 PM »
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Colour gamut is highly relevant, though - I find that many of my prints look much better in Adobe RGB as compared to sRGB, which tends to make them look washed-out.

Any idea if Bay Photo  uses the full Adobe RGB gamut in their metalprints, or if they convert to sRGB and print from that? Imagewizards claims to print directly from Adobe RGB.
If you are worried about gamut and are outsourcing your printing, then you should get profiles from whoever is doing the printing and check to see if you are getting any out of gamut colors. Even a half decent lab should supply profiles.

I have yet to find a printing machine that encompasses all of sRBG, but that does not mean that there are colors in the ProPhotoRGB space that aren't in sRGB and are reproducible.

Brain A
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BillK
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« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2013, 08:08:23 PM »
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Regarding the link you supplied, They don't say what they are using but the process  I have used is
is basically the same. Using a roll type press the fujiflex print is laminated to the dibond with an adhesive layer.
Then an optically clear UV protective layer is laminated on top of the print, encapsulating the print between the
UV layer and the dibond. The problem is, the UV laminate or acrylic layer people are using for this
scratches way too easy to be practical for my method of sales. The print is safe, the surface is not and you can't
remove the surface laminate without destroying the print. If you have the right tools and knowledge you may be
able to buff out minor scratches in acrylic, doubtful on the thinner UV laminates.

Dealing with labs, I never allow them to convert or adjust anything color related. I tell them to print it exactly like I sent it.
I order small proofs and make all adjustments to color ect.. on my end until I am happy with the result. When you find a good lab
you will usually be good to go with the first proof as long as you are properly calibrated on your end. If your lab refuses to not monkey with your files, you need to find another lab.
If they require Adobe RGB or sRGB then I convert and make adjustments on my end. I agree with Brian that there aren't many ,if any, printers out there that can print more
than sRGB so I believe you have another issue going on.

Regarding resolution, for best quality I res my files up to the native resolution of the printer they will be printed on using the guidelines mentioned on this forum by Jeff Schewe.

Only used Bay Photo for metal once a couple years ago. Their color was good but stopped using them for other reasons.
No experience with Imagewizards.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2013, 08:39:22 PM by BillK » Logged
shadowblade
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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2013, 10:27:09 PM »
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Regarding the link you supplied, They don't say what they are using but the process  I have used is
is basically the same. Using a roll type press the fujiflex print is laminated to the dibond with an adhesive layer.
Then an optically clear UV protective layer is laminated on top of the print, encapsulating the print between the
UV layer and the dibond. The problem is, the UV laminate or acrylic layer people are using for this
scratches way too easy to be practical for my method of sales. The print is safe, the surface is not and you can't
remove the surface laminate without destroying the print. If you have the right tools and knowledge you may be
able to buff out minor scratches in acrylic, doubtful on the thinner UV laminates.

So it's more about scratches on the laminate? What about fingerprints, dust, water, etc.? Can these be easily cleaned off the laminate without damaging the print?

Quote
I agree with Brian that there aren't many ,if any, printers out there that can print more
than sRGB so I believe you have another issue going on.

The colour gamut of printers is oriented completely differently to that of monitors. While a printer may fit comfortably within sRGB in some hues, it may exceed even Adobe RGB in others (most notably in pure cyans, yellows or magentas, or other hues represented by whatever inks the printer happens to use).

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Only used Bay Photo for metal once a couple years ago. Their color was good but stopped using them for other reasons.
No experience with Imagewizards.

Which company do you use for metal prints? What was the issue with Bay Photo?
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BillK
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« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2013, 12:07:52 AM »
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You are not going to damage the "print" once the UV  laminate is applied unless you take power tools to it.
As I have already said, the "laminate" scratches extremely easily. And you have to look through the laminate to see the print.
You can clean finger prints ect.... off the laminate successfully if you are very careful. First you need to blow off any dust or grit with air only.
If you don't, any dust or grit will scratch the laminate as you push it around while cleaning. You need to use a special plastic
polish that has no abrasives in it like rubbing compound or many plastic polishes have. "Meguiars" makes one. You need to use a high quality microfiber cloth
and use very light pressure. Its just way too delicate for my needs. Yours may be different.

Bottom line on the conversion to sRGB causing a "major" difference in the look of your prints. I personally have never seen the difference you
describe, so I can only guess there is some other issue or variable going on.

Not trying to be smart, but for several reasons I can't tell you who prints my metal. My second choice, before Bay would be "Full Color" in Texas. Bay does decent work, bottom line
I found a better deal somewhere else.
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shadowblade
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« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2013, 12:27:03 AM »
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You are not going to damage the "print" once the UV  laminate is applied unless you take power tools to it.
As I have already said, the "laminate" scratches extremely easily. And you have to look through the laminate to see the print.
You can clean finger prints ect.... off the laminate successfully if you are very careful. First you need to blow off any dust or grit with air only.
If you don't, any dust or grit will scratch the laminate as you push it around while cleaning. You need to use a special plastic
polish that has no abrasives in it like rubbing compound or many plastic polishes have. "Meguiars" makes one. You need to use a high quality microfiber cloth
and use very light pressure. Its just way too delicate for my needs. Yours may be different.

Fair enough - I think continuing with metal prints sounds good for the large images, but Fujiflex seems promising if I decide to sell prints in smaller sizes.

Quote
Bottom line on the conversion to sRGB causing a "major" difference in the look of your prints. I personally have never seen the difference you
describe, so I can only guess there is some other issue or variable going on.

I suspect what is happening is that, when I submit work in aRGB and they convert it to sRGB prior to printing, using the 'relative colorimetric' method (even though they had asked for aRGB in the first place), everything gets proportionally compressed into the sRGB gamut, making all colours - even those that fell within the sRGB gamut in the firs place - look less saturated.

Quote
Not trying to be smart, but for several reasons I can't tell you who prints my metal. My second choice, before Bay would be "Full Color" in Texas. Bay does decent work, bottom line
I found a better deal somewhere else.


Fair enough.

The main reason I use Imagewizards and Bay Photo is that I mostly sell large prints - 90"x30", 96"x32" and so on. There aren't too many labs able to make metal prints in such sizes.
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BillK
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« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2013, 12:54:54 AM »
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The main reason I use Imagewizards and Bay Photo is that I mostly sell large prints - 90"x30", 96"x32" and so on. There aren't too many labs able to make metal prints in such sizes.

I understand that, my sources don't print that large.  For prints that large, I break the image into a triptych, and print three smaller panels. Usually 3 24x36 panels with a 1 inch gap between for a total size of 36x74. Much cheaper to print and ship. Much easier to transport, and since my cost is much less I can sell them for less and still make a decent profit. Lower price equals easier to sell. Thats what works for me. I understand some images can't be split like that due to compositional issues.
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hugowolf
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« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2013, 10:20:03 AM »
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I suspect what is happening is that, when I submit work in aRGB and they convert it to sRGB prior to printing, using the 'relative colorimetric' method (even though they had asked for aRGB in the first place), everything gets proportionally compressed into the sRGB gamut, making all colours - even those that fell within the sRGB gamut in the firs place - look less saturated.
Relative colorimetric does not shift in gamut colors to make way for out of gamut colors; that would be the perceptual rendering intent. And even in perceptual, everything isn't shifted proportoinally or otherwise.

Even if the images are not being converted from AdobeRGB to sRGB, at some point in the printing process the image colors have to be rendered to the output gamut of the printer. Even soft proofing with an alien profile would allow you to find potential problems. For example, using a profile for a wide gamut printer, such as the Epson 7900 or 9900, for a wide gamut paper like a high gloss RC paper from Canson, to check to see if there are likely to be out of gamut colors.

Brian A
« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 10:23:15 AM by hugowolf » Logged
shadowblade
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« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2013, 07:02:25 PM »
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I'm just surprised no-one's suggested using a thin layer of Gorilla Glass as a face-mount material instead of acrylic, with the print sandwiched between aluminium panel and UV-protective Gorilla Glass. That would certainly solve the abrasion problem, as well as enhance the gloss even more...
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BrianWJH
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« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2013, 07:46:33 PM »
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I'm just surprised no-one's suggested using a thin layer of Gorilla Glass as a face-mount material instead of acrylic,

Interesting, not sure how expensive the gorilla glass would be also what method of face mount adhesion would you use?

Would you use a hot vacuum press adhesive layer to bond the print to the glass or a heated roller, how strong is the glass in relation to either method?

Cheers,

Brian.
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hugowolf
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« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2013, 07:53:18 PM »
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I'm just surprised no-one's suggested using a thin layer of Gorilla Glass as a face-mount material instead of acrylic, with the print sandwiched between aluminium panel and UV-protective Gorilla Glass. That would certainly solve the abrasion problem, as well as enhance the gloss even more...
Yep, right. What planet are you from, the one with kryptonite? At current wholesale prices, Gorilla Glass costs about US$140 per square foot. And that isn't small lot wholesale.

Why not go the full hog and use saphire, it is only 10x the price of Gorilla.

Brian A
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shadowblade
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« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2013, 08:11:31 AM »
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Yep, right. What planet are you from, the one with kryptonite? At current wholesale prices, Gorilla Glass costs about US$140 per square foot. And that isn't small lot wholesale.

Why not go the full hog and use saphire, it is only 10x the price of Gorilla.

Brian A

Didn't realise it was so expensive! Makes sense, then...

Maybe for ultra-high-end custom installations.
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shadowblade
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« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2013, 08:14:49 AM »
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You are not going to damage the "print" once the UV  laminate is applied unless you take power tools to it.
As I have already said, the "laminate" scratches extremely easily. And you have to look through the laminate to see the print.
You can clean finger prints ect.... off the laminate successfully if you are very careful. First you need to blow off any dust or grit with air only.
If you don't, any dust or grit will scratch the laminate as you push it around while cleaning. You need to use a special plastic
polish that has no abrasives in it like rubbing compound or many plastic polishes have. "Meguiars" makes one. You need to use a high quality microfiber cloth
and use very light pressure. Its just way too delicate for my needs. Yours may be different.

Just a thought - why would this laminate be any more fragile than a laminated matte, glossy or metallic paper print? Some of the laminates available are fairly scratch-resistant. Or is it just the ultra-glossy laminate that's easily scratched?
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Gavin Hardcastle
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« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2013, 12:58:01 PM »
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I'm interested in learning of any DIY methods of displaying high quality archival prints. I think the Aluminium prints are a great idea because it looks great and also negates any mounting/framing costs. I didn't realize there was a loss of sharpness when compared to paper prints but it makes sense.

Has anyone got some top tips on the best displaying options with cost vs final appearance? I love the look of the paper prints sandwiched in between acrylic sheets but I expect it would have to done by a specialist. Perhaps a new thread for that one?
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