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What is Giclée printing?

Ejemplo de impresión Giclée.
Example of Giclée printing

Giclée printing is French for “spraying” or “spraying”. It refers to the process used by inkjet printers to reproduce artwork or photography to create a single copy of the original artwork.

It is important to note that not all inkjet prints are Giclée printing. With Giclée printing, you can expect a higher quality product with a longer life than ordinary inkjet printing, and certain conditions must be met to treat the print as a Giclée and not as a laser or photographic print.

Epson printer for Giclée printing

1-Choose the right resolution

In order to achieve the highest quality when making your Giclée print, it is necessary that the image you are going to use has an optimal resolution to avoid surprises with the result

For the print to be as accurate and vivid as possible, the file you use must have the correct resolution corresponding to the selected print size. The rule of thumb is that 300DPI is the safe resolution for most standard size prints. To determine if an image meets the conditions, you must first know the size you want to print. For example, using the 300 dpi standard, if the longest side of the image will be 12 inches, the digital image must be at least 4,800 pixels in that dimension (4,800 pixels / 300 ppi = 12 inches).

2-The importance of good paper

The paper is a fundamental element if you want to achieve a luxury finish for your artwork

When selecting the paper for your giclée print, you will have to find a balance between the look of the print and its resistance. Elements to consider when choosing paper are finish, gloss and weight. In this case we cannot use edible papers as we cannot make an edible print like this.

Types of finish

The finish of a paper can be classified into three categories: matte, glossy and semi-gloss. Within these categories there is a spectrum of more granular variations, but knowing the difference between the different types of paper will be very useful for you to choose the one that best suits the characteristics of the work you want to print

Matte

Matte papers come in a variety of textures ranging from ultra smooth to uniquely textured. These papers show no reflection and work well behind glass and in bright light

Fingerprints and dust are less of a concern on matte paper than on glossy; however, matte prints are more easily damaged by minor handling

Wearing cotton gloves will reduce the likelihood of damaging a print on matte paper.

Glossy

These papers have a reflective coating that gives prints on glossy paper a luminous, shiny appearance. This coating can serve as a protective layer between the actual ink and the oils from direct hand contact

The downside is that those same fingerprints (as well as dust) are also more likely to appear. The coating also creates a glare that can be distracting, especially when behind glass in a frame or under bright lights.

Semi-gloss

Semi-gloss papers are a middle ground between glossy and matte, although their high points are less distinctive. They feature vivid colors, are resistant to fingerprints and produce less glare than glossy papers, but have less sheen. They are also more durable than matte paper, although they do not produce the deeper blacks that matte paper prints can achieve.

Spend some time thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of each of the options, but remember: whatever type of paper you choose, it must be quality paper

Prints made on non-quality paper will only last about 10 years. After this time, the inks will fade or change, and the paper will begin to crack

Paper brightness

Although all white papers have a certain degree of brightness, there is a difference expressed as a number between 1 and 100 from less bright to more bright. However, brighter is not always better, and the image you are going to print will help you determine which paper brightness is right for the job. Here are some general guidelines, but remember that there are no right or wrong choices, but you must decide for yourself to get the look you want for your print job

  • Use paper with a high brightness scale when you are going to print jobs with very bright, bold colors. These types of colors will appear more vibrant on paper that is fairly glossy.
  • In case the colors are very light, it is better to use a less glossy paper. If very light colors are printed on very glossy paper, they will appear washed out. Less glossy paper will create deeper, richer images.
  • If your work contains both light and very bright colors, choose a medium brightness paper

Paper weight

The thickness of the paper you use is also important and will depend on the purpose for which you want to print your work

If you are printing images for use in your portfolio, it is usually better to use a thinner paper, as it will be easier to turn the pages when the paper is less stiff and takes up less space.

When using giclée printing, thicker paper is usually preferable, as it is less likely to tear or wrinkle and is better for framing. Use even thicker paper when printing large-scale images to prevent them from sagging over time.

Remember that these can be papers with a bit of texture but cannot be fabrics or canvases as we cannot enhance textile printing in any way.

It is true that we cannot use silkscreen or sublimation to print works on canvas, but offset printing allows us to use fabrics.

3-The ink

The type of ink you use will determine in part the quality of the print as well as the resistance of what you print against external agents such as sunlight

If you want your prints to last, it is important that you know the characteristics of the different types of inks and how the final product should be cared for to extend its useful life

This information should also be passed on to the buyer of the artwork. Some inks, especially dye-based inks, can fade over time and should be kept out of direct sunlight or at least behind some type of UV protection. Use the best inks and (pigmented) papers you can afford. Use the best printing methods, such as giglée, photographic or UV printing.

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