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Reproducing Art & Photography to the Highest Standard.

The Centre operates a state-of-the-art Giclee printer which is able to print to paper or canvas providing artists and the public with the means to reproduce art and photography to the highest standards.

We like to think that our Giclee prices are quite competitive and have been arrived at by careful consideration of our standing regards to local competition and also the costs involved in the actual print process.

What is Giclee printing?

gicleeWell, the first thing you need to know is that it’s pronounced ‘Zhee-Clay’. The word being taken from a version of the French word ‘la giclée’ meaning, ‘that which is sprayed or squirted’. Originally, the word was used to describe digital reproductions of conventional artworks (painting or drawing) or photographs. Today, it is generally accepted that a giclee print can also be a work created entirely in a digital workflow, such as on a modern computer application using Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator for example.

As far as the printing process goes, giclee printing is a type of inkjet printing – but importantly, not all inkjet prints are giclee prints. A giclee inkjet printer is meant to produce a product at a higher quality and longer lifespan than a standard desktop inkjet printer.

Why is giclee printing considered better?

The biggest contrast between a standard inkjet print and a giclee print is that giclees are printed using pigment-based inks rather than the dye-based inks found in lower cost inkjets that don’t look as vibrant and are more susceptible to fading. Pigment-based inks have a longer life span that can last anywhere from 100 to 200 years without significant fading. The media used for giclee printing is also of a higher quality, normally being of archival quality, such as 100% cotton or rag base.

It is worth taking into consideration that due to the nature of pigment ink and archival media, a finished giclee print should be handled more delicately than a regular inkjet print. What this means is, you should treat a giclee like you would the original painting.

The advantages of Giclee printing

The advantages to artists producing their work as a giclee print is that it can be created ‘on-demand’, as the process is digital and does not require the larger numbers needed for an offset print order, or the time and cost that goes into traditional screen printing. It can also be a good way for artists to produce their own sell-able prints rather than having to part with an original painting.

What is required for a Giclee print?

In a nutshell, the image should be as large in pixels as you are able to get it so as to have an output of 300dpi at the intended print size while retaining good image quality and be saved in sRGB colour space as a .png file (saved without interlacing). If a Jpeg is the only format you have of an image, make sure the quality settings are at the highest level available and we should still be able to produce a good quality print, although, it is worth noting that with Jpegs, there is normally a slight loss of image quality. However, the resulting loss in qaulity is often negligible. The most amount of quality destruction that occurs with Jpegs is when the same file is edited and saved repeatedly.

What does it all mean?

Many printers will state that they require all images at 300dpi (or dots per inch). Infact, the dpi value of an image file is pretty meaningless really. For example, when shooting images with a digital camera, the camera’s internal EXIF setting denotes what the dpi of the file will be, but this doesn’t mean anything, it is just a value that is included with the properties of the image file. That’s all. You can change it to any number you like when editing the image properties, it doesn’t matter. It only matters if you resize the image by changing the dpi.

The most important figure is the actual pixel dimensions of a saved file. Any image that is to be printed as a giclee ideally needs to have a dpi (dots per inch) size of no less than 300dpi at the intended print size. Although, we can sometimes get away with 240dpi or lower.

To explain this a little clearer, you may of heard before that screen images need to be 72dpi and print images need to be 300dpi and that’s the way it should be…end of discussion. Well, this isn’t always the case. The value of 72dpi is commonly stated as that’s the maximum number of pixels a computer monitor could display over a square inch, so anything higher is pointless and likewise, a printer could only print to a maximum of 300 dots per square inch of paper. However, it is relative to the actual pixel dimensions and quality of the image invloved.

You’ve done this before, downloaded an image from the web, used it in a document, printed the document only to find the image is really pixelated and choppy. Images used on the web are generally (or atleast should be) only the exact size that they need to be. Why have an image that would fill the screen if it’s only to be used as a small thumbnail! It’s a drain on server space and web page loading times. This is why most web images are small (in pixel size), say, 150 x 150 pixels for example. It really doesn’t matter what dpi value the image has…it’s 150×150 pixels. It will always be 150×150 pixels. Your screen will display the image 150 pixels across and 150 pixels high. Images can be resized on screen (responsive web pages for example), but the image should never be resized larger than it actually is. This is why the image looks great on screen but has a really poor print quality when printed at a larger size, because it was only ever intended to be viewed on a screen at its exact size. This is why many online image retailers only display low res versions of an image and keep the high res images in a seperate location.

To find out what the same 150pixels sqaure image would be like when printed at 300dpi, we divide the pixel size by our required dpi. So, if we wish to have a dpi of 300, we would simply calculate 150pixels divided by 300dpi equals 0.5inches. We now know that this image will be 300dpi at a half inch. Tiny! If we ignored this and printed the same image at 30 inches square for example, we could calculate the resulting dpi by dividing the print size by the pixel size. 30inches divided by 150pixels equals 5dpi. This means that there will be only 5 dots of ink on every inch of paper. that’s a really, really bad print. It’s like spreading a small amount of butter over a huge piece of toast!

Some common printing misconceptions

Images should always be saved at 300dpi. FALSE.
The image needs to have a dpi of 300 when printed at the intended size. In printing, the file dpi value means nothing. It is only useful when displaying the images on screen.

Images should be Jpegs to make them smaller. FALSE.
Printing is quality based, so the best format is a nonlossy format such as .png. A Jpeg will however, suffice for a small print.

Images for print always need to be converted to CMYK. Often TRUE, but FALSE in our case.

Our giclee printer can produce from the sRGB colour space. If an RGB image is converted to CMYK, the colours will not be a true representation of the original image. This is why images on a screen often look different than what you get printed as screens are in RGB (Red, Green and Blue) and most printers use CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key…or Black). Our monitors are callibrated to the same colour space as our printer and we use different profiles for different media inorder to get a more accurate representation of the orignal colours as they are seen on screen. However, an image on screen may never look 100% identical to that of it’s printed version. There are many factors at play, such as viewing light conditions, individual retina fatigue and different colour profiles for that of your screen and ours.

How much does a Giclee print?

We like to think that our giclee prices are quite competitive and have been arrived at by careful consideration of our standing regards to local competition and also the costs involved in the actual print process. Pigement- based inks are of a higher quality than standard dye-based inks, but are also more expensive. The same is true for our archival quality media. The following table outlines our set prices for giclee printing at our most popular sizes. For simplicity, we no longer charge different prices for different media types. The size you want is the price you pay, regardless of media type (paper finish).

our printing processin 4 steps

we wanted to give a brief overview regarding the process of printing your artwork or image having already handed us your file via USB/ZIP

image setup

using our image software, we will let you know of any potential format or quality problems

image print

we then print directly from our calibrated monitor to our calibrated Giclee printer.

image drying

we allow the print to dry for a minimum of 48 hours before any cutting is undertaken

image ready

will then contact you to call in and collect your finished giclee print.

To discuss more details call on: 01244 313700 or contact us via our form

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