The LexJet Experience: Bringing Applications to Life

The LexJet Experience was a success! Our open-house showcased equipment, RIP software and media applications for local customers. Representatives were on hand from Canon, EPSON and HP as well as GRAPHTEC, SignComp framing systems, Onyx and ImagePrint.

Set up on the third floor of the Sarasota, Fla. headquarters, the trade show-style event allowed LexJet customers the opportunity to discuss current technology, best practices and innovative applications with the vendors of their choice.

Vince Bejar, LexJet sales representative, had several customers in attendance. “They were excited about the opportunity to visit our office,” he says. “They enjoyed the hospitality and are looking forward to growing with our partnership.”

Timothy Mitchell, the resident expert in all things HP Latex, was available to discuss the best media to use with the latex printers, including his recent review of the new HP Prime Gloss Air GP.

With such an intimate setting, customers spent as much time as they needed with vendors. “I was happy about the way the customers engaged in conversations with everyone,” said HP Partner Business Manager, Frank DeMartino. “They had questions about specific applications for both the latex printers and the Z-series printers, and they wanted to learn more about the vertical trimmer on the Z9+.”

Craig Hellman, Senior Account Manager for Epson, agreed that customers were seeking solutions for unique applications. “There was a lot of interest in dye-sub printing,” Hellman said. “They want to know how to create promotional products, displays, signage and, of course, apparel.”

With Epson’s breadth of products, it wasn’t just the dye-sub applications that piqued their curiosity. “People are very interested in what the SureColor S-Series (solvent) printers can do. They asked about signage and display, but they also want to know about décor printing.”

As the day began winding down, everyone seemed to have the same question: “When are you going to do this again? This was a great learning experience.”

Given the positive feedback we’ve received, we look forward to doing another open house later this year. If you were in attendance, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact your LexJet sales representative at 800-453-9538, leave us a comment here on the blog, or visit our Facebook page.

Masterful Combination: Bill Barley’s Giclee Printing and Jim Harrison’s Fine Art

Giclee Printing on Canvas
Renowned fine artist Jim Harrison checking out canvas gallery wrap reproductions of his coastal scenes, faithfully reproduced on LexJet Instant Dry Satin Canvas by Bill Barley, Studio BB&A.

It takes a master to reproduce a master’s art. Bill Barley, owner of Bill Barley & Associates (aka Studio BB&A), Lexington, S.C., recently had the unique privilege of printing giclees for one of South Carolina’s top veteran artists, Jim Harrison.

Canvas Gallery WrapsHarrison’s work typically depicts South Carolina’s natural beauty, especially its grand coastal areas. Harrison began his career as a sign painter in the days long before the advent of any vinyl-cutting or printing technology, then turned his talent to fine-art painting.

Now in his late 70s, Harrison has dived into the digital world with Bill Barley.

“You might call him the artist emeritus of South Carolina,” says Barley. “He’s doing a series of coastal scenes and I’ve been doing a tremendous amount of canvas printing for him. He’s a traditional artist, who for most of his career has sold only litho prints. Now he’s jumped into giclee printing big time.”

Photographing Fine Art
Capturing one of Jim Harrison’s beautiful South Carolina fine art landscape paintings at Studio BB&A.

Barley’s print process using an Epson Stylus Pro 9890 and the ImagePrint RIP fully and faithfully reproduces Harrison’s masterpieces.

“I’m using LexJet Instant Dry Satin Canvas. It looks like real artist canvas and the artists I work with love it. That canvas is worth every penny,” says Barley. “Jim Harrison is exacting in the landscapes he creates, and demands the same of me for his reproductions.”

Barley adds that the gallery wraps are custom built in collaboration with his framer since artists like Harrison don’t paint at standard sizes and prefer not to crop their work. Most of the gallery wraps shown here are 1 1/2″ thick.

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.

Prints that Win: Bridge over Water

Award winning photography and printing

Award-winning photography is often a fortuitous combination of skill and luck as was the first-place winner of the Commercial division and LexJet Sunset Award winner at the 2012 Professional Photographers of North Carolina print completion, Gregory Georges.

Georges co-owns Jonathan Penney Inc., a New York-based fine art print making business, with the company’s founder, Jonathan Penney. The skill is obvious in the presentation of the image, Bridge Over Water. The luck was in finding the scene at the right time.

Georges captured the image at the Conde B. McCullough Memorial Bridge over Coos Bay on US 101 in North Bend, Oregon, with a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III using an EF70-200 at 148mm set to 1/320 @f/8.0 and ISO 100.

“I was fascinated by this beautiful old bridge. It was near sunset with lots of clouds and not much color, so it was very monochromatic to begin with. I got very compulsive about locking-down my tripod, and using mirror lock-up to minimize vibrations to get the clearest image I could,” explains Georges.

Equally important, says Georges, was the combination of Adobe Camera RAW 7 RAW file conversion and black-and-white conversion done in Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro 2.0. “Silver Efex has absolutely amazing features that really bring out the best in a black and white image,” says Georges. “My vision was to make the print look like a mechanical pencil sketch without pure black tone and yet still show extremely fine detail.”

He printed on a fine art watercolor paper at competition size – 16″ x 20″ – on an Epson Stylus Pro 3880. Georges says that those who saw the print at competition were amazed by the amount of detail in the image, especially the individual cars crossing the bridge and fine line detail of the wires on the bridge.

“Monitors, color calibration tools, media, ink technologies and printers are so awesome now that if you edit it well on your computer you will get an amazing print. I also use ColorByte Software’s ImagePrint RIP, because it’s giving me extraordinary paper profiles,” adds Georges.

For more information about Jonathan Penney Inc., go to www.jonathanpenney.com.

Peak to Peak: Glenn Randall’s High Country Photography and Printing

Capturing the sunrise from Uncompahgre Peak

The exhilaration and fulfillment one feels when they reach an almost unfathomable goal is often nearly impossible to describe. But Boulder, Colo.-based professional photographer Glenn Randall has gone one step further by capturing this emotion in images, first on film, and now on high-end digital equipment.

Since early 2006 Randall has been capturing stunning shots of the early morning sun peeking up from the mountain peaks of Colorado in a project he calls Sunrise from the Summit. In the past five years he has achieved 39 photo shoots from 26 of Colorado’s 54 famous Fourteeners, those peaks that reach a height of more than 14,000 feet.

Randall’s journey to the peaks really started 30 years ago when he set off to launch his career in journalism. “For quite a while I thought of myself as a writer and photographer and then in 1985 I lost a writing assignment because the editor at the magazine said that basically the writing is fine and we’d be happy to publish it, but the photography stinks,” he recalls.

This harsh critique, however, kicked Randall into gear. “I decided it was either time to sell the camera gear or learn to use it better,” Randall explains. He went with the latter, upgrading all of his equipment and devoting time to studying the craft.

Photographing Colorado's 14,000 foot peaksIt was around this time that the avid outdoorsman began shooting many of the outdoors sports he was doing: rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, ski-mountaineering and sea- kayaking. This led him to purchase his first large-format field camera.

As time went on, Randall began losing interest in extreme sports. “I’d gotten married in 1989 and I could only get ten things done in one day. Rock climbing and ice climbing kind of became the eleventh thing that there just wasn’t time for anymore. My interest in those sports was waning, but my interest in being outdoors in the wilderness was still just as strong as ever,” he says. This led him to a specialization in Colorado wilderness landscape shots.

With a thriving career and a specialization, Randall took his photography to a new level by purchasing his first printer. “I jumped in whole hog. I had never owned an inkjet printer and I bought an Epson Stylus Pro 9600. So I went from nothing to a 44-inch printer.”

Before purchasing his Epson 9600 Randall had been using a local lab for his prints, but when they went bankrupt he explained that, “I either needed to find a new supplier or start making the prints myself.  It seemed like inkjet printing had evolved far enough that I went ahead and bought the printer and ImagePrint at the same time, both through LexJet.”

Printing fine art outdoor landscape photos
This framed piece, printed on LexJet Sunset Fibre Elite, is entitled Stormy Sunrise over Windom and Sunlight Peaks.

Since then Randall has upgraded to the Epson Stylus Pro 9800 after finding some limitations getting the color range he wanted for his shots with the 9600, particularly when working with vibrant oranges and yellows. “If you’re shooting Colorado in the fall you’re basically working with orangey-yellows. That’s the whole point of the photograph most of the time,” he explains.

Randall says he prefers fibre-based papers for his fine art work, primarily LexJet Sunset Fibre Elite and EPSON Exhibition Fiber Paper. For color plaques and gallery floats, he prefers to smooth surface of LexJet Sunset Photo Semi-Matte.

After using a friend’s printer to see what his photos would look like on the 9800 he was hooked. “The color saturation was virtually identical. And at that point I said, ‘Okay, I’ve got to have this printer,’ and so I upgraded to the 9800 and sold my 9600,” Randall says.

And that’s the printer he’s using today to produce the photos in Sunrise from the Summit, a project he was inspired to start when he noticed that so many photos taken from the summits of Fourteeners were essentially boring. Deciding this was due in large part to the poor lighting of mid-day Randall set a new goal of shooting sunrises from the summits.

It was a lofty task to take on. Photographing from a summit at sunrise meant hiking and climbing up to it in the dark. But the photographs proved well worth the extra effort. “I would like to do all 54. It’s been five years and I’m not quite half way there,” Randall says, but “the goal was never to simply tick them off.  Rather, the goal is to come back with outstanding images.”