Giclee Prints & Fine Art Reproduction
Using our large-format printer, we can create high quality reproductions of your artwork, or print enlargements directly from your digital files.
We print on rolls 24" wide by virtually any length using a variety of media. We use Epson Ultrachrome K3 inks which utilize high-density pigments for an extremely wide color gamut, and professional print permanence ratings ... which means you can expect a great looking print that will last for many, many years to come!
The Fine Art Reproduction Process
In order to create a giclee print of your artwork, a digital file must first be created. For optimum reproduction quality, we recommend scanning your original artwork (artwork can be on paper, canvas, panel, or similar materials). We can scan artwork up to about 20x28" in size (for larger images we recommend digital photography). Once a digital file is created, we fine tune the color so that the printed piece will match the original, and present you with a proof for your approval. Once approved, we create giclee prints on your choice of media. For more details, and answers to frequently asked questions, please see below.
- What is a giclee print?
- I already have a digital file of my artwork, can you use that?
- Can you print from a file I copied from the Internet?
- How do I know if my file is high enough resolution? How big can I enlarge my image?
- Can you make my prints standard frame sizes?
- What is your setup fee and what does it include?
- Why don't the colors just match - why is color setup necessary?
- I am not picky about color, do I still have to pay a color setup fee?
- My image/artwork is black and white, do I still need a color setup?
- How much does each print cost?
- How do I calculate the cost of the print based on square footage?
- How do I stretch my canvas giclee print?
- Can you stretch/wrap canvas prints?
- How long will my print last?
- What are the factors that can contribute to premature fading?
- What are the ways to combat premature fading?
Giclee, a French word pronounced (jee-klay), simply means "sprays" or "spurts" of ink. Commonly it is used to refer to fine art prints/reproductions that are produced on archival papers using high quality inkjet printers.
If you already have a high resolution digital file of your artwork (on CD, flash drive, or similar) we can proceed directly to color setup. However, the final printed image will only be as good as the quality of the original file provided. Therefore if the artwork was photographed or scanned poorly, the print will reproduce poorly. Likewise, if the image is low resolution, then we may not be able to produce a quality print/enlargement. Even if you are providing a digital file, we also recommend bringing the original artwork of at all possible. This is so that we can match the printed colors to the artwork's actual colors.
Probably not. For starters, we will not print an image unless you hold the copyright (i.e. you took the photograph, or painted the picture) or you have permission to reproduce the image. Just because an image is online does NOT mean it's free for the taking. If you did not create the image yourself, then you need explicit permission in order to use it (even if there is no statement of copyright, watermark, etc).
The second reason we probably cannot use the file is that images found on the web are generally too low resolution to produce quality prints (please see additional information below).
There are many factors involved in the issue of "resolution" and "how big" an image can be enlarged.
One quick way of determing whether your file has a decent amount of resolution or not is to look at its file size (on a PC, you can right-click on the file and go to "Properties" to see the file size). If the file is under 500KB, then we may not be able to produce a quality print of reasonable size, let alone an enlargement.
File size is influenced by various factors (including file format/compression and even the subject matter of the image), but in general, if your file is at least a few MB (1 MB = 1024 KB), without any software resizing, then we at least have enough information to work with. Of course, higher resolution files are preferred, as they produce much better results. For comparison purposes, the files that we create by scanning artwork are often several hundred MB.
Display Resolution vs. Print Resolution
Standard screen/display resolution is 72 dpi (dots per inch, or ppi - pixels per inch) whereas standard print resolution is 300 dpi. Basically this means that what looks "nice" on a monitor screen may not look so "nice" when printed the same size on paper. Prints require higher resolution in order to get the same crisp, clean quality.
Your monitor's resolution is also influenced by its display settings (Control Panel > Display > Screen Resolution). Different monitors can have different settings for the total number of pixels used to make up the screen. For example, if you were to take an image that is 600 pixels wide and view it on a monitor running a resolution of 1024x768 (1,024 pixels across by 768 pixels high) the image would take up a little over half the width of the screen. However, if you viewed the same image on a monitor running a higher resolution … say 1680x1050, it would look much smaller, taking up only a little over a third of the screen’s width. This difference in display settings does not change the actual file ... it is simply a difference in how the monitor displays the file. Different monitors can display the same image very differently ... another reason it is best not to judge a file based simply on how it looks on the screen.
Image Dimensions & DPI
As explained above, standard print resolution is 300 dpi/ppi, so our first step in taking about the print sizes is to determine the dimensions of your file at 300 dpi. Take for example a digital camera photo that is 4000 pixels by 3000 pixels ... if we divide by 300 we get 13.3x10. So using only the actual resolution of the file, we could print that file 13.3 inches by 10 inches. Of course we can also enlarge the file beyond its actual resolution by using software to "fill in" additional pixels. Just how much we can enlarge before the image starts to suffer is a difficult line to draw. Some images hold up better to enlarging than others, and each person's opinion of "how far is too far" is a little different. We recommend ordering test prints to see the effects of enlarging on a particular image. You are also welcome to bring in or send us your files and we will give you our opinion on file quality & enlargement options.
Because custom matting and framing can be so expensive, many people prefer to get prints that will fit into standard size frames. However, there are a variety of standard sizes (some more "standard" than others), and most of these sizes are actually different proportions (a.k.a. aspect ratio). Unless specifically asked to do so, will not distort (squish or stretch) and image to force it into a different shape, so generally an image will require cropping if it is to be printed a size with a different aspect ratio. This aspect ratio issue is independent of whether we are also enlarging or shrinking your image because (as mentioned before) we always scale your image proportionately without distortion.
Below is an illustration of what many common sizes look like when they are all shrunk down to the exact same width. See how they all end up varying heights? This is because they are actually different aspect ratios. Of the sizes illustrated, the only ones that are the exact same proportion are 8x10" and 16x20" (which is no real surprise since 16x20 is exactly double of 8x10). If you take a moment to see "shape" created by each size, you will notice how sizes like 4x6" (a common photo proof and postcard size) and 11x17" (taboid size paper), are much more elongated than say, an 8x10" which is a more "squarish" proportion.
So what's the big deal? Well, while some images can take a fair amount of cropping without losing anything critical, some cannot. For example, artwork with a "border" effect, or a signature that runs very close to the edge, may not be able to take much cropping. Consider too a digital photograph that was taken with the common aspect ratio setting of 3:2, but that needs to be printed 8x10. If you compare the two sizes, you can see that one line increment would need to be cropped off (and depending on the image, that may or may not be problematic).
If you do not want to crop your image, but still really want your print to be a standard size, there are a few options. One option is to print your image uncropped, but leave a paper margin out to a standard size. For example, say you had wanted to print your image 8x10, but the image is more like 8x12" (and you don't want to crop off the 2"). We could print the image 8x12" and leave the paper border out to 11x14". This gives you (or the person who buys your print) several framing options ... a 16x20" frame with a precut 11x14" mat, an 11x14" frame with no mat (though the paper border will give a faux mat effect), an 11x14" frame with precut 8x10" mat (the mat would in effect "crop" over the additional 2", but your own discretion), and then of course custom matting is always a possiblity too.
The other option to avoid cropping in one direction is to "create" additional image in the other direction. Depending on the image, this can be very easy or quite difficult. For example, adding some extra blue sky to the top of an image may keep you from having to lose information off the sides, and it is very quick and easy to do. However, extending the image off one edge can be much more difficult if the subject matter in that area is complex. We are happy to take a look at your image and let you know what we think!
We charge a low, one-time setup fee of $25 per image. This setup includes a color proof to ensure that the reproduction matches the original. This setup process is necessary regardless of whether you are providing the digital file, or whether we have scanned or photographed your artwork.
Each device used in capturing, viewing, and printing an image (scanner, camera, monitor, printer, etc.) puts it's own "spin" on color. For example, different scanners perceive and record colors differently - some may add more red, some less, etc. Cameras, whether film or digital, are greatly affected by the color of ambient lighting. And while a monitor displays all colors using red, green and blue pixels, a printer creates colors by mixing cyan, magenta, yellow and black. These are just some of the reasons why color can be a complex and tricky issue.
No, if you are not particular about color, then we can print directly from the file with no color adjustments. Before printing we can generally tell whether an image will print with "pleasing color," or whether there is likely to be a potential issue (in which case we would let you know). Please keep in mind that without a color setup, the image may vary not only in terms of color hue and saturation, but also values of lightness and darkness, which can sometimes affect the overall "look" of an image.
Please note that some orders that do not include color setup may be subject to a small general setup fee (such as orders totaling less than $25 and/or orders with several different image files).
As anyone who has tried to match a shade of "white" or "black" paint can tell you, such colors are not quite as simple as they seem. Different blacks and whites generally have a slight color cast to them, and can appear "warm" or "cool." And while the color issue is certainly simplified, many black and white images are just as apt (if not more likely) to have issues with lightness, darkness and contrast.
Again, if you are not particular about such issues, the setup can certainly be bypassed. We will try to work with any preferences you have regarding color cast, lightness/darkness and contrast ... for example, you can let us know whether you would rather the image be as close to neutral black & white as possible, or whether you would rather it err on the warm-black side ... or even if you would like your image printed in sepia tones. However, we cannot guarantee the image will look a certain way without the proofing process. Therefore, if you are particular about such issues, we would definitely recommend the color setup.
The cost of the print is determined by two things - which paper you choose, and the size of the print. We normally give each print a margin of at least 1" for matting/framing purposes, but if you require a larger border (to wrap canvas around a stretcher bar for example), we will add a small amount to the cost of the print.
- Photo Paper ($10/sq ft)
- Watercolor Paper ($12/sq ft)
- Canvas ($15/sq ft)
Take the length & width dimensions (in inches) the of the image and multiply them together. Divide that number by 144, then multiply by the price per square foot of the chosen media type (see above).
Example: A print that measures 18" by 15" printed on watercolor paper ($12/sq ft).
18 x 15 = 270
270 ÷ 144 = 1.875
1.875 x $12 = $22.50
Before stretching your canvas giclee we recommend sealing it with a spray or brush-on protective coating. There are a variety of coating/laminate products available online and at art supply stores. We like to use BullDog AquaLam Satin Coating but whichever option you choose, be sure to apply light, even coats and follow all instructions carefully.
Once the print is completely dry, place it face-down on a hard, even, clean, and non-abrasive surface. Be careful not to scoot the print around on the surface, as this could scratch the ink. If you can't see your image through the canvas, measure and mark where it is on the back-side. Place your stretcher-bar frame to the edges of the image (or just on the inside of the edges). If you planned on having the image wrap over the edges of the frame, place it accordingly.
Wrap the canvas around the frame until it is just taut. Never stretch the canvas as tight as you would when preparing a canvas to paint on, and do not use stretcher pliers. If you stretch it too tight you will create gaps & cracks in the ink.
Staple the canvas on the back-side of the frame starting at the middle of one side, moving to the middle of the opposite side, then to the middle of the 3rd side, and putting the 4th staple at the middle of the last side. Once these 4 staples are in, continue stapling from the middle - out, alternating back and forth on opposite sides of the frame. When you reach the corners, carefully fold them and staple into place. Trim off the excess canvas after you are done.
Some artists also add texture/paint to their canvas giclees to create "artist enhanced prints" which can often be sold for a higher price. Water-based acrylic mediums and paints can be added to the surface, but this should only be done after the canvas has been sealed. It is also advised that you experiment on a test area first, so that you don't accidentally over-work the surface and disturb the ink layer. We are happy to provide test scraps for you to experiment with.
Yes! We like to use 1.25" deep stretcher bars for a nice gallery-wrap effect, but if you prefer a different size, we can usually order that for you. We will also seal your print with two protective coats of BullDog AquaLam satin-finish coating.
Our pricing also includes printing that extends onto the sides of the wrapped canvas print ... so if you would like the image to wrap around, or simply want the sides printed black or any other solid color, just let us know!
Pricing for a few common sizes (for prices for other sizes, just ask!):
- 11x14" $60
- 13x19" $75
- 16x20" $88
- 18x24" $105
- 20x28" $126
Print longevity is affected by a wide variety of factors (see below), among them the specific printer, ink and media combination used to create the print. In terms of ink permanence, there has often been a tradeoff between inks that will produce a wide range of brilliant & subtle color variations vs. inks that will last for many years without fading ... it has been challenging to create inks with the best of both worlds. However, with newer technology, that is now within reach. Our Epson Stylus Pro printer uses archival Ultrachrome K3 inks with high-density pigments for an ideal balance of color range and permanence.
When displayed framed (under glass), you can expect a print on one of our commonly used media types to last for approximately 70-100+ years without noticeable fading. This estimate is based on laboratory testing conducted by Wilhelm Imaging Research (an independent research organization), using the following "standard" home display conditions: 450 lux for 12 hours per day, at a temperature of 24°C and 60% relative humidity. For more information about print longevity and testing, please visit www.wilhelm-research.com
- Elevated levels of light intensity (greater than 400 lux)
- Extended periods of time exposed to lights (greater than 12 hours/day)
- Elevated levels of relative humidity (higher than 50%)
- Elevated temperature (higher than 75°F)
- Variance in RH (relative humidity) and/or temperature
- Improper framing/protection (or lack thereof)
- Elevated levels of Ultra Violet light
- Radiant heating and infrared radiation
- Change in pH level, often resulting from direct contact with acidic materials*
- Elevated levels of ozone
- Elevated levels of pollution, including but not limited to particulates, smoke, gases & fumes
- Limit the intensity and time of exposure to light
- Maintain a constant RH (about 40%) and room temperature (68°F - 72°F)
- Properly mat and frame the print with archival materials* and UV filtering glass or plexi
- Never place in sunlight, in or near windows (especially windows without UV tinting)
- Spray the print with UV protecting spray/fixative on the front and backside
- Avoid “spotlighting” with intense, heat emitting lights
- Replace light fixtures producing radiant heat and/or use fluorescent lighting products with UV filtering
- Keep print away from sources of pollution and ozone producing air filters
- Keep print out of environments with high humidity
- Never display a print unframed and exposed
*Non-archival & acidic materials include: cardboard, masking tape, regular (non-acid free) foam core, the front side of Crescent® and several other types of matboard (museum board is best). Look for materials that are “archival” (chemically stable with good aging properties), pH neutral/balanced (slightly alkaline/”buffered” is ok, “acid free” is a must), 100% cotton rag, “lignin free”, or you can always have your print professionally matted and framed.
More questions? Just give us a call at 503-717-8350, or drop us an email, and let us know how we can help you!