Image output providers continue to look for new media products that will help them provide their clients with the latest products and output solutions. Today, there's not much you can't do in digital imaging anymore, thanks to the ever-growing selection of media for use with today's digital print systems. Whether it's fine art print destined to be framed on a wall or a billboard-sized banner headed for a downtown building - or anything in between- there's a paper, film or canvas available which can render a durable image in vibrant colors. Let's take a look at some of the current crop of media products.
"We see both the photo lab and professional photographer markets increasingly adopting wide-format inkjet printing into their workflow providing them the same level of control over their output as their input. We expect this to continue at a rapid pace as image quality, color accuracy and longevity improve, and ink and media options increase," says Kevin Shimamoto, worldwide marketing manager at Encad. "We've also heard from several professional photographers who applaud Kodak for finally providing an inkjet media with the same exact surface as silver halide to enable them to match their two output technologies. The Kodak Premium Rapid-Dry Photographic Paper 260g has received great reviews from photographers using Epson printers as the best photo paper on the market."
Encad Inc. (www.kodakmedia.com) recently announced a big expansion of its Kodak Wide Format Media portfolio. Leveraging Kodak's technology and imaging expertise, the company introduces eight new media comprising its new Production line and a revolutionary new Universal Backlit Film / 8 mil. All nine new products deliver Kodak's trademark quality and consistency and are supported by the market leading Performance Guarantee, further improving Kodak's comprehensive, competitively priced line of universal wide-format inkjet media.
Universal Backlit Film/8 mil utilizes Kodak Duratrans display material style base. It is a truly universal backlit film that is compatible with thermal and piezo printers, and dye and pigment inks. This heavy 8 mil front print backlit provides exceptional color saturation and Performance Guaranteed image stability. With resistance to moisture, prints can be used within indoor and outdoor light boxes and in high humidity environments. Quick dry time allows for immediate take-up at high print speeds and instant lamination, enabling maximum productivity. This exceptional product delivers superior handling, excellent image quality, and quick dry time, making this new media the sole backlit film for any printer, ink combination or application.
"Overall, the Universal film has great new qualities, which surpass other backlits we've used," said Daniel Grevich owner of Big Ideas, in Las Vegas , which supplies casinos and ad agencies with signs, posters and banners for both indoor and outdoor use. "The images were crisp, clear, and the color was dead on. The look and feel, curl, base color, stiffness and thickness were superb as well." With over 14 years of experience in graphic design, Grevich is one of the premier backlit designers providing his clients with striking, durable prints. "The dry time was phenomenal, the overall feel was great, and the media handling was superior," Grevich explained. "There were virtually no fingerprints on the The new production line includes: Kodak Production Photographic Papers / 170g, replacing the existing Economy Photo Paper 160g. This new product is the perfect choice for low cost, short-term indoor graphics. It is available in Glossy and Satin finishes, with improved thickness, white point and color saturation for a richer look and feel.
Kodak Production Backlit Film / 7mil offers vivid colors and an exceptional white point for vibrant short-term front print backlit applications. Kodak Production Reverse Print Backlit Film / 5mil provides excellent dye image quality with stunning color saturation at the right price for any job. The high gloss base surface improves the apparent saturation of the image and provides excellent durability.
"Photographers and photo labs are increasingly realizing that their media options extend beyond traditional photo and fine art printing," says Larry Delesio Product Manager, Digital Imaging at InteliCoat Technologies. "This expansion of media options to include substrates such as lower cost photorealistic papers, printable vinyls, fabrics, pressure sensitive, glossy polypropylenes and backlit films has opened the door for photo labs to produce more creative applications than those achieved with traditional photo and fine art media options," he adds.
InteliCoat Technologies (www.magicinkjet.com) offers their Magic products designed for solvent inkjet printers. The products include GFPOLY, a 10-mil glossy polypropylene banner, and GFMP140 / GFMP212 / GFMPTRP 72-inch matte latex, wet strength papers. All products are formulated to work with the latest generation of solvent inkjet printers manufactured by Raster Arizona, Mimaki, Mutoh, Seiko, VUTEk and NUR.
Magic GFPOLY glossy polypropylene is constructed with a specialized coating that offers a high degree of whiteness and color gamut, as well as an extremely smooth surface for high photographic resolution. GFPOLY offers an excellent solution for solvent printer owners to produce high-end POP banners, roll-up displays and trade show graphics.
GFMP140, GFMP212, and GFMPTRP, the line of matte latex papers, are all available in 72-inch widths. These products are manufactured with the same base and have the same performance properties as the current Magic solvent outdoor papers. The key difference is that they have a matte finish and are 72 inches in width. All three papers offer excellent solutions for printing posters, low-cost backlit graphics, window signage and wall murals. InteliCoat also offers Magic GFPHOTO, their long-awaited introduction of a 6-mil glossy photorealistic paper, ideal for high-resolution gloss posters and displays. GFPHOTO is compatible with the latest generation of solvent ink jet printers manufactured by Raster Arizona, Mimaki, Mutoh and DGI.
GFPHOTO is one of the first solvent ink jet glossy photobase products available on the market. Its specialized coating offers a high degree of whiteness and color gamut with an extremely smooth surface for high photographic resolution.
Drytac Corporation (www.drytac.com) is now stocking two types of inkjet-printable canvas products for the wide-format, fine arts, photography and framing markets. Available in a water-resistant matte or glossy finish, both materials are compatible with most standard water-based printers from Epson, Hewlett-Packard and Roland using both dye and pigment formulations. The new 901WR Water-Resistant Matt Inkjet Canvas is a premium quality 11 oz. Polyflax/cotton canvas with water-resistant inkjet coating. The physical characteristics of the coating allow Texture Gel and aqueous acrylic paints to be applied directly to the image after printing, if desired. The matte finish is characterized by the "soft" look considered ideal for fine art reproduction. The 901 Glossy Inkjet Canvas is an 11 oz. Polyflax/cotton canvas that provides excellent color definition when printed with pigment or dye inks. It is ideal for photos, signage and fine art reproduction.
Innova Art Ltd. (www.innovaArt.com) recently introduced two new solutions that drastically reduce, and in many cases eliminate, harmful coating dust common in other digital printmaking papers. Traditionally, coating dust has been a problem for digital printers than can clog costly print heads and cause a loss of surface integrity on imaged surfaces. This destroys printed images and results in material, labor and time wastes. Other coatings also scuff, flake, fail to adhere, and destroy prints. And damaged prints have no commercial value. Opti-coat is applied on a full range of Innova's top grade photographic and watercolor papers. These offerings are noted to be best for artists, photographers and graphic artists in the fine art, professional photographic and digital printing industries. The new papers introduced at PMA 2005, are a 315 cold press alpha cellulose base material (or top grade watercolor type paper) and a 450 Smooth cotton bright white (a heavy paper perfect for photographic printing). Developed by Innova Art Ltd (UK), Innova Fine Art Papers are distributed through ANW Crestwood.
Wayne Connelly of Innova Art USA, says, "While many companies concentrate strictly on image quality, we also focus on post printing handling issues. The material quality of our proprietary coating allows the printmaker to handle, frame and ship the printed images with minimal risk of damage from abrasion. Scuffing is a major cause of rejected output after printing is complete."