Rolling down the Runway with an Inkjet Printed Canvas Triptych

Canvas Triptych Print by Broadstreet Fine Art

Broadstreet Fine Art and Framing, based in Fairburn, Ga., recently pieced together this canvas triptych with an appropriate passenger jet image for the Atlanta Airlines Terminal Corporation (AATC).

AATC handles facility management at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and this carefully-crafted piece is part one of a two-part décor project at the company’s executive offices. Part two will be a series of vintage photos from the airport printed on Sunset Fine Art Paper that will decorate the common space between reception and the offices.

For this canvas piece, Broadstreet Fine Art owner Loran Hygema used Sunset Select Matte Canvas protected with Sunset Satin Coating. The canvas was stretched on 2″ stretcher bars using Broadstreet’s automated canvas stretching machine. Each canvas piece of the triptych is 36″ x 36″ for a total image size of 3′ x 9′.

Canvas Inkjet Print by Broadstreet Fine Art“Sunset Satin Coating is not only cost-effective, but it’s the best by far we’ve used for coating. The canvas is hands-down, head and shoulders above other canvases I’ve used. It is more like a canvas should feel: more pliable and much easier to stretch. We do a lot of big canvases 4×6, 4×7 and Sunset canvas works well for us, especially at the large sizes we often produce, because we don’t have problems with wrinkles,” says Hygema.

The airliner image is black-and-white, but the client requested a subtle sepia tone to go with it, so Hygema added a slight tint for that effect. “I prefer the image in black and white, but the customer is always right,” says Hygema.

Hygema also used Perfect Resize from OnOne Software, which was formerly known as Genuine Fractals, to create the wrap borders and to res-up the file. Hygema says Perfect Resize will create selective, mirror, museum-wrap style and other types of wrap borders.

He used the LexJet profile for printing through his Epson Stylus Pro 11880 wide format inkjet printer. “I’ve had great luck with the profiles supplied by LexJet. We have a color management system to make custom profiles, but don’t fix it if it ain’t broke,” he says.

The three printed pieces were laid out and lined up before stretching, and then hung on mirror hangers, rather than wire hangers so that all the pieces will stay in the exact same position.

“That was a bit of a challenge,” says Hygema. “You can’t really adjust the canvas on the wall like you can with wire hangers, so we had to do a little trial-and-error to get the hanging hardware in the right spot in relation to each other. They love the triptych and are excited about seeing the rest. We’ll be working with the Delta Air Museum to find the right vintage photos for the rest of the project.”

Good, Profitable Business: Custom Inkjet Wall Murals for Home Décor

Printing custom wallpaper for home and office decor

“It’s good, profitable business,” says Bill Barley, owner of Bill Barley & Associates, Lexington, S.C. That “good, profitable business” to which Barley refers is custom wall murals printed on a variety of materials for home and office décor.

In the project pictured here, Barley chose to print this original mural by David Hedges to LexJet TOUGHcoat 3R DuPont Tyvek. Barley discussed using an adhesive-backed product, like Photo Tex Repositionable Fabric, with the client, but the client was more comfortable using professional wallpaper hangers to apply the Tyvek.

“The job went really well. The LexJet Tyvek material is dimensionally stable. When you wet the back of it and put the paste on it, it doesn’t swell like a lot of wallpaper products do. The wallpaper professionals told me that they’ve had problems with similar murals on conventional wallpaper material swelling, which makes it very difficult to match up the panels,” says Barley.

The artwork was commissioned specifically for this project. Barley planned for Hedges to paint the initial artwork at one-third the size of the final mural.  Barley digitized it and Hedges finished the details using Adobe Illustrator.

The images were brought up to full size with Genuine Fractals and then cropped in Photoshop. “I did the cuts full size in Photoshop so I could get pixel-to-pixel matching with no overlap on the final panels,” says Barley.

The panels – four 34″ x 6′ vertical panels for the bar mural, one 3′ x 5′ panel for the car/theater image and three 36″ x 10′ panels that would comprise the top border – were printed through the ImagePrint RIP on Barley’s Epson Stylus Pro 9880.

“As far as the material printed, it was excellent. The material holds color well with good color matching. I printed out a sample and checked the color balance on it and then printed the job. I didn’t have to re-print anything,” says Barley. “It’s a permanent installation in an upscale home, which is one of the reasons they wanted to hang it like wallpaper. There will be cabinetry and a marble counter built around it to finish it off.”

Making a Splash with the Promotional Power of Large Format Prints

Printing storefront promotional banners

It’s almost that time of year along North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Summer vacationers will soon flock to the area for R&R. Along the way it’s likely they’ll be stopped in summertime traffic right in front of Ascension Photography.

Ascension Photography’s proprietor and award-winning PPA photographer, Gordon Kreplin, recently placed traffic-stopping banners to give beachgoers food for thought as they make their way (slowly) to their destinations.

Promotional large format bannersAs a big believer in the power of print, and printing his own work, Kreplin had limited options for showcasing his work outside his studio and toward the road. After consulting with his LexJet customer specialist, Michael Clementi, Kreplin decided on two banners – one with a single horizontal image and another with two basically square images – placed together on the railing outside the second-floor studio.

Each banner is about 50 inches long by 40 inches high and printed on LexJet 11 Mil Valeron Banner with Kreplin’s Epson Stylus Pro 9900. To secure the banners, Kreplin used LexJet Banner Ups (White) and plastic ties from the local hardware store for extra stability. Kreplin says the banners weathered the first Nor’easter they encountered, so a summertime run looks good.

“It took me awhile to figure out the best ICC profile for the banner material, but I found a LexJet canvas profile that worked well through ImagePrint. For a poster-type image it looked great. The skin tones turned out beautifully and I was able to control the final output almost as much as a more high-end print,” says Kreplin.

Kreplin shoots with a Hasselblad H4D-31 and adjusted the images a bit using onOne Software’s Genuine Fractals and nik Software tools to bring out the highlights and draw more attention to banners that will typically be seen from at least 25 yards away.

“We’re very pleased with it, and we’re going to do more. The beauty salon would like something similar on their side of the building. In fact, I may wrap the whole building,” laughs Kreplin.

Outdoor Reflections on Perforated Window Vinyl that Bring People Inside

Halsey Mckay Gallery in East Hampton, N.Y., is holding its last exhibition of the season through Oct. 3 featuring artists Glen Baldridge and Bryan Graf. Baldridge, whose work spans drawing, Window graphics using perforated vinylprintmaking, photography, installation and sculpture, also printed a sunset that covers the gallery’s windows.

Baldridge explains that the late afternoon light hints at the work inside that play on twilight and the refracted light in dense forest. “I was looking for a different effect and experience to relate to the conceptual space inside,” he says.

Baldridge purchased a sunset image from Corbis that was 50 MB, then used Genuine Fractals to optimize the image for printing. “I segmented the image in Photoshop for printing at 150 dpi. There are nine panels, so there are seams in the front windows. That’s the trickiest part, but I was able to make it line up nicely by being real careful,” says Baldridge.

Baldridge used LexJet Aqueous Perforated Vinyl so that you can’t see into the gallery, but you can see out. It adds a bit of mystery to the exhibition, which tends to draw people in as they drive or walk by. The sunset was printed on Baldridge’s 44-inch wide Epson Stylus Pro 9900 on 36-inch wide material.

Creating graphics for an art gallery
The inside of Halsey Mckay Gallery in East Hampton, N.Y., now features the work of Glen Baldridge, who printed the window graphics on LexJet Aqueous Perforated Vinyl, and Bryan Graf.

“It’s a really nice material. It’s applied to the outside of the window and seems to last in the weather. The last project I printed on LexJet Aqueous Perforated Vinyl was up for five to six weeks and I didn’t notice any fading or problems with the image,” says Baldridge.

Inkjet Printed Wall Murals Communicate and Create Ambience

Printing wallpaper with an inkjet printerUnlike signs and other forms of commercial advertising, museum exhibit graphics serve various functions beyond simple promotion and must work on multiple levels to be effective… They support the purpose of the exhibit, communicate its message, create an environment consistent with the subject and draw people in to take a closer look.

Take, for instance, two wall murals San Francisco-based The Blow Up Lab printed for the Contemporary Jewish Museum’s summer exhibition of Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories, which runs through Sept. 6 at the museum.

One mural is a reproduction of a pattern that would serve as a wallpaper-like background, while the other is an 8 ft. x 12 ft. reproduction of a photograph taken of Stein in the 1930s. The Blow Up Lab was responsible for not just simply reproducing images, but ensuring that they coalesced and conformed with the exhibit to create a cohesive whole.

Printing wall murals for exhibits with a large format inkjet printer“With the photo reproduction, Gertrude Stein was in the center with the door behind her. Off to the right, from the viewer’s perspective, the image faded out and was very distracting. We spent some time working on the detail and where we couldn’t get details where it was blown out, we cloned in details,” explains Frank McGrath, owner of The Blow Up Lab. “We basically reconstructed the picture. We lightened the center and did a vignette in that area so that your eye would not be distracted to the side, but focused on the subject. The original photo was somewhere in the 2 MB range and it was a grayscale image, so we brought the resolution up in Genuine Fractals so that the print was as sharp as possible.”

Both murals were printed on LexJet Velvet WallPro SUV on The Blow Up Lab’s 72-inch Roland SOLJET low-solvent printer. The wallpaper mural was a different story. The image was in the multi-gigabyte range and spliced it into six sections. Each section was printed separately on WallPro and installed as a 9 ft. x 20 ft. background.

“The museum was very happy with the material. It’s low glare, totally scratch resistant, and was easy for our professional paper hangers to install. The color spectrum we’re able to get out of the combination of the WallPro and our printer is fantastic,” adds McGrath.

How Art Warehouse Brought Chattanooga to Life with Inkjet Wall Art

Custom wall mural inkjet printing

Mark Lakey, owner and president of Art Warehouse in Chattanooga, Tenn., strives to be in the “top two percentile” of his trade, and judging by the quality of the photographic and graphic reproductions shown here, Art Warehouse is there.

Lakey’s work is more than simply reproduction; it’s art and science. He’s meticulous about maintaining the fidelity of the original image and enhancing subpar images so that they meet his high requirements for the printed and finished product.

Lakey had both situations in front of him recently for two separate but similar and related projects: One for the Chattanooga Visitors Bureau and its Visitors Center, and another for Rock City Gardens, a local landmark and favorite spot where visitors from all over enjoy the scenery and rock formations.

Both projects were printed with an Epson GS6000 solvent inkjet printer on Photo Tex PSA Fabric – Solvent Printers from LexJet. Printing and installing the images was a cinch. Lakey chose Photo Tex because the customers wanted something they could tear down and easily replace if they wanted to try a different wall mural or remodel in the near future.

Inkjet print custom wall mural“That’s probably the greatest advantage of the Photo Tex material. All they have to do is have the contractor clean up the wall a little bit, and it’s done. From their perspective they have the freedom to decide if they want it up to leave it up for as long as they want. They love the possibilities it opens up. Particularly in the case of the Visitors Bureau, if our skyline changes in the next couple of years they can put up an updated mural that reflects those changes,” says Lakey.

Lakey adds that he offered to clear coat the murals, but the clients preferred the matte finish because you can view it from any angle in any lighting situation with zero glare. That worked for Lakey too, since he’s a self-described “matte finish freak” whose favorite photo paper is LexJet’s Premium Archival Matte.

The real challenge was in pre-production and processing the images for printing. In the first instance, at the Visitors Center, he had an amazing image with which to work, courtesy of local photographer Lawson Whitaker. Whitaker’s capture of the Chattanooga skyline was right on, but the challenge was the sheer size of the file and the final output size, about 17 ft. x 13 ft. in four panels.

“Each file presents its own algorithm to make it that large. It starts with a proper workflow to be as good as it can be. That workflow can change so it’s not written in stone,” explains Lakey. “Typically, I’ll either de-noise it or instead of doing a line sharpening I’ll do a radial sharpening to separate the shadows and highlights a bit, and run it through either PhotoZoom Pro or Genuine Fractals. Data is data. If you don’t have it then you try to make it as close as you can so you don’t see over-Photoshopping. I don’t want to make it into something it’s not.”

The other image for Rock City Gardens was much more of a challenge and required a lot more work to the file to make it just right. The image was originally taken in the ‘70s then drum-scanned, and it wasn’t a great drum scan to begin with, says Lakey.

“Scanners are great, but just like a camera lens, they have a sweet spot. You can hit below it or above it and not have a good photo. It’s all about knowing your equipment so you hit that sweet spot, but they did not hit the sweet spot,” explains Lakey.

Lakey and the graphic artist on the project spent most of their time on the signature portion of the image, the waterfall area called Lover’s Leap. It’s the piece that’s used in all of Rock City Garden’s marketing and basically works as a brand.

“In Photoshop I did a color selection of that particular section. I used Nik Software’s sharpening tool and Photoshop’s sharpening tools. Depending on what the file has in it, I’ll either go into unsharp mask and do more of a radial sharpening, and then go back into Nik with a line sharpening. Then I’ll do a color selection on parts of the photo I think have the most noise and do a Noise Ninja process on that,” says Lakey.