Parrot Digigraphic Inkjet Paper Testing, Part One

From time to time, I get samples of paper to try in my studio. John and Mark Lorusso of Parrot Digigraphics were kind enough to send me samples of a number of media types, all branded as in-house Parrot products. I’m going to report on my experiences with these papers.

I’ll write this up in two blog posts, one tonight, and another within 48 hours (things are really busy right now – we have print competition tonight, among other things.)

Moving along: in some cases, one finds that these papers cost less, but don’t deliver the quality. In the case of Parrot, that’s just dead wrong: the Parrot papers are very high quality, render images well in color and black and white, have a nice “hand”, and last but not least, in many instances cost less than the average for high quality goods in this category.

I’ve been working with these papers over the last week or so:

Parrot Ultra Lustre Photo, 10 mil
Ultrawhite Matte Canvas, 21 mil
Angelica Bright White Smooth, 315 gsm
Angelica Natural White Textured, 315 gsm

I may have left one name out, but I’ll get it straight soon enough.

I’ve been printing these papers using the HP Designjet Z3200. I like the Z because it has a built-in spectrophotometer, and with just a few mouse clicks, I can profile a paper, print an image, and voila! Great color!

So far, my favorites are the Angelica Bright White Smooth, and Natural White Textured. They seem to fill a gap in products offered by other companies. In particular, the Natural White Textured seems to step in between other papers – for example, Hahnemuhle Photo Rag – the paper has a pleasing base color and texture, but not so much texture that it overwhelms the image, or starts to look like a canvas print.

That’s all for today, more to follow. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, here’s a link to the Parrot Digigraphic web site.

New Testing, Inkjet Media From Parrot Digigraphic Scheduled July 2010

Those of us who make our own prints are, in many cases, constantly looking for that ideal combination of quality, price, and appearance in our inkjet papers. We’re lucky, in that our options increase daily, and competition keeps prices in check – if not driving them down at times!

My good friends and colleagues John and Mark Lorusso, and Ted Dillard of Parrot Digigraphic (Parrotcolor.com) offer an interesting line of private-label inkjet papers. They’ve printed a number of my images for me on these papers – in color and Black and White – and the results have been impressive – so much so that I want to try them in my own shop.

The line includes (not in any particular order): Angelica Bright White Smooth, Angelica Universal Photomatte, Angelica Bright White Matte Canvas, Angelica Universal Photo Matte, and Parrot Ultra Lustre. It’s quite a lineup.

I’ll be getting a box of samples to try, and I intend to start printing next week.

I’m planning to produce a range of color and Black and White prints. Parrot offers a set of ICC paper profiles (http://www.parrotcolor.com/store/pages.php?pageid=8), and there is also a video provided with instructions on installing the profiles correctly. I’ll be trying a few of their profiles, and I’ll also make my own profiles in-house using the built-in spectro on the HP Z3200.

So, some new printing experiences coming, and I’ll follow up here with a brief report the week after next. My thanks to John, Ted, and Mark!

More here: http://parrotcolor.com/

Sedona PhotoFest Conference-Speaking Engagements and Events

I will be speaking at the Sedona PhotoFest event. My topics will be: “Monochrome In The Digital Age”, and “Printing Tips and Techniques for Photographers: Getting the Most Out Of Your Inkjet Printer”. (NEW) I will also participate in a panel discussion on “Making the Web Work for You”

The event will be held July 18-25, 2010.

Sedona PhotoFest 2010 brings together Pulitzer-winning photographer Jack Dykinga, “Sedona Masters” and six competing “Apprentice Photographers” juried from Arizona high schools for three days of photography in Sedona’s stunning red rock country.

"Determination" © D Saffir

Keynote talks, symposium presentations and panel discussions, and gala evening events make this week ideal for photographers, educators, students, families and art buyers worldwide to celebrate Southwest photography’s contribution to the fine arts.

Mastering Black and White Printing Workshop April 10

Reminder! Mastering Black and White Printing Workshop
David Saffir instructor

Take your fine art printing skills to a new level! Join us for a workshop focused  on creating and printing Black & White images. You’ll learn how to manage your color,
and really dig into your Black and White techniques so your  images sparkle!

Topics include:

Manage digital capture (in color) with black and white printing in mind

The process used in Photoshop to convert digitally captured color images to black & white, and custom edit as needed.

Learn in detail the use of Photoshop filters, presets, and adjustment layers. Customize tonal values, image density, highlight and shadow details, etc. Demonstrate using three examples: still life, landscape, and portrait images.

Understand using color management system to ensure color control, neutrality in black & white printing, and consistent print quality.

Evaluate edited images on screen (soft proofing using custom ICC profiles) for final output. Use custom adjustments and print variations facilitated by accurate soft proofing.

Understand the complete process needed to make fine art prints from a correctly prepared image file. This includes methods for creating proof prints that facilitate successful final prints, the use of paper/printer profiles, and using the Photoshop printer dialog and the printer driver.

Create prints and evaluate. Learn troubleshooting and problem solving techniques.

Learn methods of print finishing and coatings for photographic style, fine art, and canvas media.

Bring a file or two – we’ll be making sample prints from selected student’s images on our wide-format printer.

black and white image of antique railroad hand truck © d saffir

Hand Truck, Old Saugus Railroad Station

Cost is $109 for students who pre-register.

Call (661)904-2092 to register (preferred) or:
Click here to register online for a workshop.

Jim Hull’s Watercolor Work Helps Illuminate Photography

One of my customers is a watercolor painter named Jim Hull. He recently asked me to photograph two of his paintings, which I’ve posted here. Fact is, I’ve photographed quite a bit of Jim’s work, and enjoyed it all.

Jim is one of those people who have an amazing range of interests – these go beyond painting to astronomy, space travel, the history of ancient cultures, and golf. He’s also reading modern studies regarding how the brain processes information and feelings, and how we think.

Jim recently decided to work with his media in new ways – in these paintings, his treatment of light inspires me as a photographer. To my eye, his paintings show dimensionality and depth not often seen in the work of other watercolorists. The technique is subtle but effective. (I find that the computer screen gives a reasonable view, but you still can't beat real-life impact).

Take a look at Jim Hull’s web site to see more of his work.

Jim Hull Watercolorist Golf Scene

Jim Hull © Golf Scene #1

Jim Hull Watercolor Painting Golf Scene #2

Jim Hull © Golf Scene #2

New Post about ARTtrust on the Pro Photo Blog

By Eileen Fritsch

At the PMA 2010 Show in Anaheim this week, the DIMA Innovative Digital Product Award was presented to HP ARTtrust for a joint development between HP and Prooftag that helps photographers and artists maintain the authenticity of their work.

What makes the ARTtrust system so innovative is the ARTtrust Bubble Tag™, in which a random set of air bubbles is encapsulated in a translucent polymer film. There is no technical way to reproduce each Bubble Tag’s tridimensional code, and the tag cannot be removed without altering the visual appearance of the film layer. When an art print is produced for sale, the photographer or artist applies a silver Bubble Tag to the back of the print, a gold Bubble Tag to the customer’s certificate of authenticity, and a blue Bubble Tag to their own copy of the certification document. The photographer or artist then registers the tag number on the print to his or her personal space on ARTtrust Online. more…..

ARTtrust: A Hi-Tech Solution That Can Protect Fine Art and Photographic Prints

Artists and photographers have always had concerns about unauthorized, or even fraudulent use of their work. And digital technology has improved enough that it is not a big problem to make a very high quality printed copy of an original piece.

We can all breathe a bit easier. HP, in collaboration with ProofTag, have developed a high-tech, effective solution to these issues, called ARTtrust. (ProofTag is a French company that has already helped many protect their luxury goods and valuable documents against fraud and counterfeiting.)

The ARTtrust solution includes high-tech, unique identification tags, a highly secure online registration system, and verification via a secure Internet connection.

Other companies that support and promote ARTtrust include Canson INFINITY, Hahnemühle FineArt, ILFORD Imaging and Innova Art.

I have been using the ARTtrust system in beta testing. In my view it is likely to become the security standard of practice in the global art community.

The ARTtrust solution provides:

• Unique print identity

• Traceability

• Proof of authenticity

• Certified information about the pigment print’s longevity

• Confidentiality in all transactions

Details

The ARTtrust solution is made up of a number of resources and components. The core component is the ARTtrust Bubble Tag™, which looks like a label, but is much more.

The ARTtrust Bubble Tag™ contains a translucent polymer film – a set of air bubbles are embedded in the film in a random pattern. They form a unique pattern that cannot be duplicated, according to the company. (see image)

There are three tags in each Bubble Tag set. One for the art work, one for the certificate of authenticity (COA), and a third for the reference or file copy of the print. Once a print is ready for sale, the photographer, artist, or printmaker tags the print, the Certificate of Authenticity (COA), and the file/reference print.

A set of ARTtrust BubbleTags(tm)

Once the tag is affixed to the art work, it cannot be removed without altering the appearance of its metallic film layer. The tag may be applied wherever needed – on the back, the side of a mounted canvas piece, etc.

Attaching a BubbleTag(tm)

Next, the user goes to the ARTtrust web site, and enters the tag number into the secure system. Additional information is also entered, including which HP printer was used, the paper used, and an image of the art work. Here’s an example of the first screen of mine on the ARTtrust web site:

ARTtrust Page for David Saffir

Secure records are available online, making it fast and easy to verify the source and authenticity of a print. The site also provides information about the predicted longevity of the print.

Note that the unique bubble pattern on the tag is connected in the ARTtrust records to the ID number on the tag. One can easily compare the bubble pattern in the tag affixed to the artwork, to the bubble pattern image in the secure online record.

Here’s an example:

Now the artist or photographer, reseller, printmaker, buyer, and collector can have more confidence in the value of the item. One can verify:

• The name of the artist or photographer, and the origin of the item

• See an online image of the artwork, print, or photograph

• Verify the ARTtrust Bubble Tag™ ID number

• Compare the bubble pattern in the tag on the artwork to the bubble tag pattern image shown on the ARTtrust web site.

This last step is quite straightforward, and can be accomplished without using a magnifier, electronic reader, or similar tool. Quite simple, actually.

The ARTtrust site also provides for printing a Certificate of Authenticity (COA), which includes relevant details about the print, its edition status, etc.

The ARTtrust Certificate of Authenticity

Summary and Wrap-Up (quoting in part from the press release) :

For photographers and artists:

• Easy to register, purchase, and use

• Full control over individually identified pigment prints ensures authenticity

• Long term artwork traceability while guaranteeing confidentiality of transactions

• Promotion on ARTtrustonline website

For external service providers and professional labs:

• Higher perceived value for Pigment Prints

• Incremental demand for large format prints from HP designjet Z series printers

• Promotion on arttrustonline website

For artwork owners, galleries and auction houses:

• Artwork proof of authenticity

• Artwork best available longevity ratings (for HP Professional Photo Printers)

The ARTtrust system has already been adopted by world-famous photographers and artists, including Joel Meyerowitz, Thomas Hoepker, Martin Parr, Douglas Kirkland, and Digital Atelier artists Dorothy Krause, Bonny Lhotka, and Karin Schminke.

ARTtrust is endorsed by Wilhelm Imaging Research (WIR), the world’s leading authority for photography and digital printing permanence testing and preservation. At present, ARTtrust provides an individual identity to any Digital Fine Art Collection Pigment Print produced on an HP Professional Photo Printer using HP Vivera pigment inks on any compatible media. WIR site: http://www.wilhelm-research.com

Photographers and artists will be able to purchase the ARTtrust solution directly through ARTtrust Online or from printmakers, print-service providers, galleries, or resellers of HP professional photo printers and compatible media. This solution gives photographers and artists a method of individually identifying any Pigment Print produced on an HP designjet Z Photo Printer Series using HP Vivera Pigment inks on compatible media.

Individual artists and photographers who want to create a personal space on the ARTtrust website can do so for a modest fee. The kit includes the items mentioned above, plus a unique ID card for the buyer, which has its own BubbleTag Id as well.

For more information, go to: http://www.arttrustonline.com

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