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All About Giclee Reproductions

Never before has technology allowed the artist to reproduce work with such quality and ease. Our state-of-the-art equipment allows us to capture the emotional essence of original work through the fine art reproduction process known as Giclee Printing.

What is a Giclee? From the French verb "to spray", the word Giclee (zhee-clay) is used to describe a digital fine art printmaking process. Giclee prints are created using a high-resolution inkjet printer. Images or paintings are carefully scanned and reproduced using stable pigment-based inks. Giclee are printed on a variety of substrates or mediums, the most common being watercolour paper or canvas. Image permanence is a concern to artists and collectors, the Giclee process gives fade & color shift resistance of better than 125 years. Fine art reproduction has been revolutionized with the Giclee printing process. Giclee are digital reproductions of original artwork. Paper or canvas is individually mounted onto a drum which rotates during printing. As the drum spins a fine stream of ink droplets spray onto the chosen archival substrate. Since no screens are used in Giclee printing, the prints have a higher resolution than lithographs and the dynamic color range is greater than serigraphy.

How long will my prints last? Under normal lighting conditions, EnduraChrome archival inks last at least 75 years on watercolor paper. Although pigmented inks last longer, they cannot be used with the high resolution ink jet heads which provide greater detail in prints, nor do they offer the wide color gamut of the EnduraChrome inks. Endurachrome archival ink, 25 year fade resistance on Canvas, 75 year on Watercolor paper.

How do I care for my Giclee print? You can extend the life expectancy of a Giclee art prints by not hanging them in direct sunlight or in rooms with excessive moisture. Care for them as you would any fine artwork on paper and they will reward you with many years of pleasure. Inks are water-soluble - for protection and increased ink stability, you may wish to coat prints with a UV lacquer spray which is readily available at arts and crafts supply stores.

How does a giclee print differ from an Iris print? Giclee prints are sometimes referred to as Iris prints, but the piggybacking of terms can be confusing - and misleading. Iris prints usually refer to an earlier process developed for posters and proofs. Iris and Roland giclee represent the evolution of the process used for making Iris prints to the level of fine art, with a more refined system for fine-tuning colors and inks that, on average, resist fading 10 times longer than those used in Iris prints. A good analogy: giclee is to Iris prints what serigraphs are to screen prints.

How do giclee prints differ from lithographs and serigraphs? Offset lithographs are created by taking a continuous tone image and processing it through a screen. The result is an image created with a series of dots, each one proportional in size to the density of the original at the location of that dot. The human eye is consequently "tricked" into seeing something that approximates a continuous tone image. Most printed material such as newspapers and magazines are printed with this process.Serigraphs are really screen prints. These prints are made by creating a set of screens, each representing one color. Ink is then squeegeed through the screen and onto the media. For fine art reproduction purposes, the number of screens required to approximate the tonal qualities of the original are typically from 20 to more than 100. The larger the number of screens, the closer a serigraph can appear to be continuous tone and the more expensive it is to produce.Giclee prints have many advantages over both the offset lithograph and the serigraph. The color available for giclee processing is limited only by the color gamut of the inks themselves. Therefore, literally millions of colors are available and the limitation imposed by the screening process does not exist.The giclee process uses such small dots and so many of them that they are not discernible to the eye. A giclee print is essentially a continuous tone print showing every color and tonal nuance.Giclee are printed on beautiful fine art papers, and the result is a print befitting the definition of fine art in every way. Giclee has the additional advantage of being reproducible, allowing you to "print on demand." This means that you only have to print what you want.

Why would I want to reproduce photographs using giclee? Many photographers find the soft, painterly quality of giclee-reproduced photographs on fine papers to be very appealing. Also, photos reproduced in this manner do not have the reflectance of traditional photographic prints, a characteristic that allows you to capture more subtle colors and imagery without fear of losing them in the light-grabbing surface of glossy paper.

Commonly used giclee terms:
Edition Size: The total number of giclee printed, or pulled, of one particular image. Separate edition sizes are recorded for the signed and numbered giclee, artist's proofs and printer's proofs.

Limited-Edition: A reproduction of an original work of art that is signed and sequentially numbered by the artist. The total number of giclee is fixed or limited by the artist or the publisher.

Open-Edition: A reproduction of an original work of art that is sometimes signed by the artist. The number of giclee published is not predetermined.

Signed and Numbered: Limited-edition giclee that have been signed and sequentially numbered by the artist. The artist's signature is usually found in one of the lower corners of the giclee and is accompanied by a number that looks like a fraction; the top number indicates the number of the giclee and the bottom number indicates the total number of giclee in the edition.




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