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Conservation Standard Digital Printmaking

Mark Millmore reviews Iris
printing by Visualeyes

Until recently artists who wish to use the computer creatively have found it difficult to produce acceptable prints of their work. The various printers available use materials of a very poor quality. The paper is acidic causing rapid yellowing and a break down of the fibres. The inks fade quickly, lack subtly and the tactile character of the prints are cheap and gaudy. Therefore, the archival qualities of such prints are way below the standards a serious collector would expect.

Visualeyes Ltd, a company in London, have overcome these problems and it is now possible for artists and photographers to produce works of art directly from digital information on a variety of high quality hand made papers with light fast inks. They are using the Iris printer with an ink set developed by Owen Morgan a well know specialist in this field.

The way the art world determines print longevity is by the 'Blue Wool Scale'. This measures archival quality on a scale from 1 to 8. The Morgan Series 2FA ink set has a light fastness of 7/8. The standard inks are 4 or lower. Combined with paper such as Aquarelle Arches, images hung in normal lighting conditions would have a life expectancy of at least 45 years. Displayed in subdued light the quality of the ink and paper will remain unchanged for 100 years.

We sent some images in the jpeg format to Visualeyes. These were printed at 304.8 dpi but each of these dots are made of 32 smaller dots. These were printed on 280gsm Somerset water colour paper, a standard gloss coated paper and Fujix Pictography. We also used the HP DesignJet 750c as a bench mark.

The DesignJet only prints on poor quality paper, lacks definition and the colours are drab. The Fujix print possesses all the qualities of a car sticker. The standard gloss paper was similar to the Fuijix, nevertheless, the reproduction was faithful to the on screen colours but the blacks were too sharp. The images printed on water colour paper however, were exceptional. The quality of the paper and continuous tones were very beautiful.

Equestrian Wardrobe Crocodile Oasis Armchair Tiger

The above images were created, by Mark Millmore R.E., using a Pentium computer running Adobe Photoshop.
The Prints were made using the Iris printer.
The Morgan Series 2FA ink Set ( light fastness of 7/8)
Printed on Hand Mould made paper - Somerset 280gsm
They can be seen from 5th December - 22nd December 1996 at the Bankside Gallery, 48 Hopton Street, London SEI 9JH.

Visualeyes is offering a printing service for single copies and small editions.
A3 297 X 420mm £45 (additional copies £40)
A2 420 X 594mm £75 (additional copies £65)
A1 594 X 841mm £150 (additional copies £100)
A0 841 X1189mm £250 (additional copies £190)

Send any Photoshop compatable file to:-
Visualeyes, 24 West Street, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9NA.
Tel: 0171 836 3004
Visualeyes Imaging Services

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