Streamlining Art Reproduction with the Epson S80600

No matter what size the print facility, efficient workflow, speed and quality are always top of of mind. The same holds true for Josh King, who runs Sacramento Giclee, a five-person shop that works primarily with artists who need scanning, reproduction and custom framing of their artwork.

Sacramento Giclee reproduced an acrylic painting for a canvas wrap.

“We’re a custom print shop, and we do everything from capturing originals to printing, installing, shipping and framing,” King says. “We also do some big jobs for hospitality or healthcare where we might do 200 prints.”

As his business has grown, King has explored new ways to speed up production while maintaining quality, and last September he decided to pair an Epson SureColor S80600 64-inch solvent printer with the two aqueous printers in his operation.

Front & Back Thermal Laminates Protect Posters at the Right Price

For many of us, running to catch a plane leaves little time to stroll through airport retail outlets, but inevitably, there’s that long layover … or the delayed flight. That’s when we end up meandering over to the shops. And to entice our purchases, posters beckon us in with deals and specials.

Chances are, those posters were printed at Paradies Lagardere Travel Retail‘s busy Atlanta printing operation, where the team turns out hundreds of posters and other signage every month that’s displayed in airports all over the U.S. and Canada.

While the signs are replaced each month, they still need to get the job done, says Wade Ervin, who heads up the printing jobs. “Everything is constantly changing,” he says. “That sign goes up in front of an airport gift shop, and after the 30-day sale is over, it gets thrown away.”

3D Prints on a Wide-Format Printer? Thanks to Lumii, Now You Can

In anticipation of the impending 3D content that’s sure to hit our smart phones, cameras and web browsers in the coming years, the clever minds at the Boston-based start-up, Lumii, have developed a way to print 3D photos on films using a standard aqueous wide-format printer.

“When we look at the next generation of content, we believe it’s going to be 3D content,” says Lumii CEO and founder Tom Baran. “When we talk to printers about it, they get very excited about the prospect of using the equipment they’ve already invested in.”

Baran, along with Matt Hirsch, Lumii CTO and founder, collaborated while pursuing their Ph.D.s at MIT to develop the technology that makes the 3D prints possible. Using light field technology, Lumii creates unique patterns from 3D scans or photos and then prints those patterns on two films — one clear and one translucent — to create the 3D effect once the layers are joined. When those prints are lit from behind, the 3D image pops out even more.

The key, Hirsch and Baran say, is using very high-resolution printers and the right materials. When searching for their translucent film for the rear layer of the 3D prints, they inquired at a local print shop, which is where they discovered LexJet 8 Mil Absolute Backlit film.

“We did a very unconventional analysis in that we looked at [the backlit film] under a microscope,” Hirsh says. “We looked at: How well does it hold ink; does it have the right opacity; did it bleed, etc. We tried a variety of things, and we really like the way this backlit performs.”

Although Lumii is still in its early stages, the plan is to offer their 3D prints to customers who upload their own 3D files to an ecommerce site. Lumii will then manage the fulfillment of those orders by working with print shops that have the right type of printer and use Absolute Backlit and other qualified products.

Possible applications for the technology could be endless — bus stop signage, movie theater posters and promotional graphics, to name a few. Hirsch and Baran certainly see digital décor, interior design and art installations as big potential, as well.

“It’s interesting how there’s a lot of room to add value in the print world that’s yet to be tapped,” Baran says. “Especially when you couple that with this massive 3D content that’s going to grow exponentially over the next five years.”

Check out another recent example in this video:

Made in the Shade: Fine Art Paper Adds an Artsy Finish

Getting a glimpse into Michael Macone’s world is a crafty art-lover’s dream. Macone runs The Potter’s Shed in Shell Lake, Wis., a cool art gallery-meets cafe-meets do-it-yourself art space-meets music venue. “It’s 50,000 square feet of art fun,” he says. He also runs Macone Clay, where he creates all sorts of clay projects including lamps, bowls, cups, plaques and much more.

One of Macone’s most popular items is the artsy lamps, which are almost entirely created in-house. The wood base is made in the woodshop, the body is extruded clay that’s manipulated while it’s still wet. The shade is printed on LexJet Sunset Textured Fine Art Paper 310g.

When he first began making the lamps, he was purchasing shades from a home supply store and hand-painting each one. “That was a lot of fun for a while … but the painting was arduous and stressful,” he says. “We had to be careful not to over-saturate the paint, and eventually it turned into a big bother rather than fun.”

But the lamps, which sell for $225, were gaining popularity, and he needed a solution. That’s when he came across printed lamp shades at a wholesale event, and decided to give it a try. “It was a big learning curve getting the template in the digital realm, but we figured it out,” he says. He was working with a different brand of paper, which was fine, he says, but his LexJet rep introduced him to the Textured Fine Art Paper, and he made the switch.

“It ended up being thicker and felt better on the frame,” Macone says. “It looked noticeably better, which surprised us. When we compared it – the color just snapped more.”

Macone’s lamp shade designs start sometimes as pencil sketches or photos or paintings that he manipulates in Photoshop to get the final design that pairs best with the lamp’s body, which is painted and enhanced with melted glass that drips elegantly down the edge.

He offers four lamp base styles and 20 shade options, and sells about 500 lamps a year through YouNeedArtNow.com, in The Potter’s Shed gallery and at art fairs around the country.

A long-time LexJet customer, Macone also uses his Epson wide-format printer to create collages with sweet artwork and sayings that are adhered to wooden plaques. For those, he opts for LexJet Premium Archival Matte Paper, which he finishes with a UV coating that he also utilizes for the lamp shades.

“It’s a good quality photo paper that we’ve been using for a couple of years,” he says. “We always have lots of colors [in our designs] and just have a lot of fun with the art.”

Prints That Win: Blowing Out of a Creative Funk

A small junk store in Rio, Nevada was the last place Kelly Zimmerman expected to capture her Sunset Print Award-winning image, “Blowing Out of a Creative Funk.” However, she was instantly captivated by the old fans sitting in the store window.

“[The store] had this little display set up, and I loved the concept of all of these fans. I don’t know why, it just drew me in,” Zimmerman says. “The image alone wasn’t much to speak of, but I was just inspired by the fans with the crumpled papers.”

Prints That Win: Oriental Inspiration

On the day this Sunset Award-Winning photo was taken, photographer Steven Yahr was at a bridal portrait photoshoot. “The bride wasn’t there yet,” says Yahr, “and the image evolved from that scene.” The simple elegance of the shot is true to his signature style.

“I just did a program for a group in New York, showing some of the processing I do in photoshop to make images look different from rest,” he says, “I noticed that on almost all my images that have done well, they’re simple subjects that have an artistic flare to them.” He believes that balance of painterly backgrounds with simple subjects is ultimately what makes his images stand apart from the rest.