Wide Format Printers and Plotters

Wide Format Printers and Plotters

Reproduce Art on Wide-Format Printers with the Giclee Process

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The practice of giclee printing (pronounced "zhee-klay") has enabled countless artists, graphic designers, and specialty retailers to offer archival quality prints on demand for a limitless range of visual reproductions. The term was coined in the early 90s by a printmaker named Jack Duganne and originally referred to prints produced through an Iris printer, a large-format device that was one of the first to feature a pre-production preview of a finished image.

Today, giclee simply refers to high-quality reproductions produced on an inkjet printer. Typically, the process demands the use of pigment-based archival inks that provide vibrant color while remaining UV fade-resistant.

Paintings, drawings, photographs, and similar works can now be instantly reproduced in a high-quality format, and for a relatively low cost, simply by using Duganne's method of production and a decent wide-format printer - a process that remains ideal (and ever more affordable) for art reproductions.

For example, if you look closely at a painting, you'll detect raised areas where the paint is thicker and the brush strokes trailed off. With a giclee printer, you can effectively reproduce all of those fine textures, providing more real and authentic prints that are easily suitable for limited-edition numbered runs.

The secret is in the scan

With giclee prints now readily produced on machines manufactured by Canon, Epson, and HP (among others), the cost-effective component of the process is found in the scanning of the original work. High resolution scans are taken and archived then reprinted in short runs or even single pieces on a wide variety of media that includes matte photo stock, watercolor paper, fabric and t-shirts, and even textured vinyl.

The way images are captured for a giclee reproduction is also different than normal. The original will often be scanned using a drum scanner, which can scan paintings and other flat art up to 33" x 48" and then save them in resolutions of up to 14,000 dpi, in some cases. If the image is larger (up to 40" x 53") or can't be removed from the stretcher frame, it's not uncommon for an 8K digital photograph to be taken of the piece.

In addition to the quality of the scan itself, one of the real benefits is achieved through longevity. Unlike a film negative or similar hard copy of the original work, a digital archive does not deteriorate over time, making the giclee process highly cost-effective in the long term.

Plus, depending on the resolution of the scan, works can be reproduced on just about any scale simply by resizing the image to the desired media.

For information on wide-format printers commonly used in the giclee process, read our Wide Format Printers and Plotters Buyers Guide.

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