Listen Up: Before & After Acoustic Sound Panels + EnduraFab

In October, we announced the new acoustic rating for EnduraFab textiles for sound absorption and noise reduction when used with an acoustic board or foam. So Ryan Moore, Vice President of DFMGraphics in Newnan, Ga., decided to put EnduraFab™ Frontlit Premier to the test.

DFMGraphics uses an HP Latex 335 for printing EnduraFab panels.

Moore’s operation includes office space, printing facilities and a recording studio. “Everything in here is a hard edge, and sound is bouncing back and forth,” he says. “When you’re on the phone, you can hear people talking in the background.” Worse, when recording music, sounds would reverberate, echo and distort the clean sound he was looking for.

“I looked into buying panels, but the cost was too much, and I knew there’s got to be something I could print on,” he says. His LexJet representative mentioned EnduraFab, which, when mounted on an acoustic board, would trap the extraneous sounds in the panel. He paired EnduraFab™ Frontlit Premier with Rockboards from Rockwool. In his 855 square-foot room, he constructed three acoustic panels using 3/4-inch flooring plywood, 4 pieces of RockBoard 4’x2’x2” glued to the wood, then wrapped the whole thing with printed EnduraFab.

Moore installed three of the panels in the room, and immediately noticed a significant noise reduction, both when someone was speaking or when playing an instrument. “You can really hear it,” he says. “You can immediately hear my voice without any echo.”

He used fun music-related graphics for the panels, including a photo from a Nirvana concert, installed over his HP Latex 335 printer; an abstract grouping of speakers with the musical instruments and a collection of retro mix tapes in a utility area.

“The EnduraFab prints great — the color is perfect,” he says, noting some trial-and-error with profile settings. After installing the panels, he quickly received a new order from a customer for printed acoustic panels to be used in a small room to record YouTube videos.

For an ultimate test, he recorded himself speaking and playing a snare drum to illustrate the reverb and echo reduction. Take a listen below:

BEFORE Acoustic panels were installed:

 

AFTER Acoustic panels were installed:

 

If you have questions about using EnduraFab for acoustic panels, give a LexJet print specialist a call at 800-453-9538.

Prints That Win: From the Ashes

The portrayal of a Phoenix rising from the ashes is not only a Sunset Print Award winner for Enid, Okla., photographer Dawn Muncy, it’s also an indication of the state of her career: on fire. A member of the high school yearbook staff, Muncy says that’s where the decision was made to work in photography. “I got to see life differently, looking through the lens. Not to mention, the darkroom was an escape for me,” she says.

Out of high school, Muncy attended the Colorado Institute of Art for a year, but she didn’t feel at home. “Initially I wanted to be a commercial photographer, and they did allow me to focus on that,” she says. “However, after I photographed the same cereal box for weeks, I realized I needed people. I needed conversation. Commercial photography wasn’t for me.”

After leaving the art institute, Muncy decided she was going to take it upon herself to learn about photographing people, so she started doing photography on the side. She says it was her marriage that really moved things forward. “When I first started, it was before digital cameras, then my husband and I got married,” she says. “He knew I had the bug and it wasn’t going away. I finally got my first digital camera in 2001.”

As she delved deeper into her craft, Muncy says she found inspiration everywhere, especially from local photographers. She remembers walking by one studio with a picture of a beautiful brunette in a red sweater and the photographer used a red gel for lighting. “It was very striking and all I could think about is one day, I want to create something as striking as that.”

With the support of photographers like Karen Moore, Jackie Patterson, and Dwaine Horton, who helped her with technique, she became involved with the Professional Photographers of Oklahoma and then PPA where she then found inspiration in photographers like Tony Corbell and Kristi Elias. “Once the floodgates open and you meet that kind of talent, you realize there’s so much more out there that you need to learn,” Muncy says.

HP Adhesive Vinyl Case Studies: ‘The Best We’ve Ever Used’

Last month, the launch of the new HP Adhesive Vinyl products had everyone talking at SGIA. By the sound of it, they’re still talking! For the print service providers who work with calendared vinyl every day, the new line has proven to be an easy and profitable alternative to other major brands.

Whether applying to rigid substrates, wall graphics, outdoor signs or die-cutting for stickers, LexJet’s customers are excited about a versatile product that reproduces images well, is easy to install and is cost-effective:

Sara Smith with Goodyear, Ariz., based Needle Supply Printing, recently purchased the HP Prime Gloss CP to print custom stickers. “The print was very fluid and made the colors pop,” she says. “There is very little deviation from the colors printed to the proof PDFs and the cuts are nice and crisp.” When compared to working with other brands available, she says, “the colors are truer than with my previous material and the gloss is more vibrant.”

William Roll of Signarama in Dothan, Ala., used the HP Prime Matte Air GP, laminated with the HP Matte Polymeric Overlaminate to create outdoor signage. For Roll and his team, the HP products are preferred over other options that are in the print shop. “My guys love the HP,” he says. “They grab it for every application they can use it on, and they tell me that the air-release component is the best they’ve ever used.”

Tyler Birch of Atchley Signs & Graphics in Columbus, Ohio, used HP Prime Gloss Air GP for an indoor application at a local gym. “We did an install onto a gym wall mat and it went on without a hitch! The rigidity of the material and the strength of the backer lead to a smooth installation,” Birch says.

Rounding out the first wave of customer reviews is Mason Ross of AlphaGraphics in Rexburg, Idaho. To create an in-house wall graphic, pictured at top, Ross chose the HP Prime Gloss Air GP and the Polymeric Matte Overlaminate to create a wall mural that was full of detailed text, spot-on colors, and multiple image depths. “The printing quality is just as good, if not better than other products I’ve used,” he says. “Since (LexJet sales specialist) Vince told me about the new HP products, I’ve switched completely from other brands.”

Due to the enormity of the project, with the various relief aspects, Ross estimated the whole install took about six hours; however, he said, “the vinyl installed very smooth and then when it came time to put the vinyl on the wall, that took the least amount of time for the whole project.”

These examples showcase the versatility of the new product line, giving PSPs the ability to condense the number of items kept on hand, freeing up space and reducing costs. If you are interested in trying one of the new HP Adhesive Vinyls, contact your LexJet sales representative at 800-453-9538 or visit us online at LexJet.com.

Prints That Win: Leaving with Dignity

For Muskogee, Okla. Photographer Kimberly Smith, 2017 was a brilliant year. Not only did she win the PPA SW Sunset Print Award, but she also won First Place in the 2017 National Sunset Print Awards for “The Beauty of Innocence.” For this Master Artist, 2018 looks to be just as strong: Her 2018 submission “Leaving with Dignity” won the Sunset Print Award for Portraiture in the PPA SW District competition.

Reflecting on her back-to-back wins, Smith says she’s very excited that her work speaks to the judges. “Impact is so important. I put a lot of emotion behind the story in my images and the judges can tell,” she says. “It’s not just another pretty picture. When they see the title [of the image], I want them to brace for impact, I want them to feel something, and apparently, they did.”

The inspiration for “Leaving with Dignity” struck when Smith saw a black and white image of an older woman with a disheveled crown.  She initially envisioned a queen leaving her throne for the last time. However, as she started working in postproduction, Smith says, “I noticed she had a peaceful look on her face, and I added a cloudy feel with rays of light. I felt like she was making her way into Heaven, with God saying, ‘well done, my good and faithful servant.’  I felt like she was leaving this world with dignity rather than leaving the throne. I chose to name “Leaving with Dignity” so people could form their own story.”

During the time between her “innocent” 2017 and her “dignified” 2018 PPA SW wins, Smith decided to step out of her comfort zone and teach an intermediate/advanced level course at the Texas School, which maxed out at 30 students – a rare feat for a first-time teacher. “I wanted to show the students how I create an image from start to finish,” she says.

For Smith, it isn’t just capturing an image that’s important, it’s telling the story. To pass along the techniques and methods to future generations is exciting. “One of my favorite projects for the class was when I printed about 30 copies of one of my photos to teach the students some of the ways I finish a print: enhancing the image with colored pencils, hand tearing the edges, matting, etc.”

Smith chose LexJet Sunset Bright Velvet Rag to use as a teaching tool because “I love the way it tears and the way it feels. It prints really nice.”

Prints That Win: Winter Pastel and Dressed to Impress

For Dorr, Mich. photographer – and recent double Sunset Print Award winner –  Kari Douma, photography has always been a part of her life. From darkroom classes in middle school and yearbook photographer in high school to recently completing the judging class to become an affiliated juror, photography is no longer just a part of her life, it’s intertwined in everything she does.

She initially started taking pictures to capture her children in special moments, but soon, family and friends were asking her to photograph them. “Eventually, I had to do a mental check. I wondered if I could really do this and make it a business, or continue as a hobby, where I might eventually have to turn people down,” Douma says of her decision to go pro. “I decided to go the business route and joined professional organizations so that I could learn more about the business.”

The first professional association Douma joined was Professional Photographers of West Michigan. It was the members of that local group who encouraged Douma to start competing. Before jumping straight in, she observed. “The first competition I attended, I just watched and hung on every word spoken. I had a notebook and wrote down everything the judges were saying. Every critique, every compliment. It’s all feedback.”

The notes and observing paid off. As a first-time competitor, she scored somewhere around 77-79, which is considered “above average.” As her experience and talent has grown, so have her scores. Competitions, by definition, are tough, but one of the biggest lessons that Douma has learned is that a score is simply the opinion of five judges on any given day. “It’s fun to create an image and match up to the Twelve Elements of Merit, but you can’t get caught up thinking about what five people are going to think about it.” She realizes the judges are there to help, “they are giving you feedback – good and bad – because they are there to help you grow as a photographer.” For Douma, the PPA – Northeast competition was successful, with wins in Landscape with “Winter Pastel” (pictured above) and Portrait with “Dressed to Impress” (pictured below).

In “Winter Pastel,” Douma was able to capture the beautiful pink sky, just as the sun was rising over an early-season Michigan snowfall. For the print competition, she used LexJet Premium Archival Matte with a torn edge and a traditional mat, which helped extend the texture of the clouds and snow beyond the edges of the image.

Douma’s second winning image, “Dressed to Impress,” was a photo that happened because of her husband’s morning trip to a local McDonald’s. While waiting in line, her husband spotted this gentleman saunter into the restaurant dressed to the nines: fire-engine red 3-piece suit, wing-tipped shoes, hat, pocket square, the works. She said, “he just walked right up to the man and said ‘my wife would love to photograph you.’ So, we set up a session, and the rest is history.”

When it was time to print “Dressed” for competition, Douma chose LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper 300g to add an authentic photographic feel to the black and white image.

For Douma, what started off as a hobby to take beautiful images of her children has led to an opportunity to provide feedback and guidance, enabling photographers to grow. One day, there will be a photographer observing her first competition, and with notebook in hand, she will be hanging on every word Kari Douma says.

Prints That Win: The Gentle Giant

When it comes to capturing the personality of pets, Wyoming photographer Jen Hargrove has it down to a science. In fact, fellow photographer Dan McClanahan calls her the “Dog Whisperer” and has told her she should embrace this rare talent. That’s just what she did for her Sunset Print Award-winning photo “The Gentle Giant.”

For Fynn, a big, lovable English Mastiff – which Hargrove calls her “non-human muse” – the young chick was almost too much to handle. He’s so big in comparison, but the chick had him on edge. “Next year, I think we’ll try baby ducks. They aren’t quite as small and don’t seem to intimidate him as much,” she said of her very patient muse. “In fact, I would like to do an entire series with Fynn and other farm animals: cows, ducks, turkeys.”

When it’s photo shoot time, Hargrove doesn’t scold or discipline the dogs and she doesn’t want the owners doing so either. She gives them about 15 minutes to get acclimated to the set and then she starts shooting.