General questions about our services
Do you work for artists outside the Metro Atlanta area where you are located?
Yes, absolutely. Presently about ¼ of the people we work for are from outside of the Atlanta metro area. These days with FTP/cloud service and FedEX for sending proofs, it is almost as easy to do work from someone outside of the US as it is for clients across town.
Since you are located in Cobb County, do you ever come into the city limits of Atlanta to meet with clients and discuss proofs?
Yes, if it is a large job we can meet you at your home or a closer location anytime. If this is a smaller job we still come into town at least once a week to meet in person, and we can always send proofs next day with regular mail or FedEX.
How long does it take you to do a print or scan job?
That depends on how large the job is and how large the prints are, but generally for a few prints or drum scans the turn around is about 3 days or less. For larger jobs like entire portfolios or exhibitions, it normally takes from one to two weeks. A lot depends on how much work we will ultimately be doing to the file and/or how many proofs the client would like to see. In 99% of the cases one proof is all people need, but in some other cases the artist doesn"t know exactly what he wants until the proofing process starts. Most people don't come to us for quickie overnight jobs. That's not our thing. They come to us because they know we'll spend whatever time it takes to achieve the best result with the best materials available.
What should I call the prints you make when shown in a gallery or museum?
The term we prefer is "Pigment Inkjet Print", or in the case of the monochrome Piezography K7 Carbon Prints, we often use the term "Carbon Inkjet Print" since this particular inkset is composed only of ultra-permanent pure carbon particles.
What does the term "archival" print mean and are your prints archival?
The honest answer to that is that the term "archival" has no established meaning. There is no accepted or professional longevity-measurement institution that gives a definition of or support the use of this term. Especially in the digital age this term has become a cheap and more often than not totally inaccurate marketing term that does more to confuse the issue of print permanence than it does to clarify any useful standard. It’s like the word "natural" in food marketing: meaningless. Please see the permanence page for more clarification. Even though we do not use the term "archival", rest assured that we use the best inks and papers to produce the longest lasting prints possible.
Do you make "giclee" prints and how do they differ from what you do?
The word giclee was coined in 1991 by the printmaker Jack Duganne, who worked at Nash Editions, to describe a high resolution fine art print made with an Iris dye based inkjet printer. Today, as then, it is simply a marketing term that has little if any meaning in a practical sense. In reality any inkjet print on any media could be called a "giclee" print and there is no measurement of a quality standard that applies to workmanship or the materials used.
A more useful term for the prints we make is "pigment inkjet print", because that distinguishes them from less stable dye based digital prints like Lightjet or Lamda, that use the dreadful Type C process, and also distinguishes them from the carbon pigment transfer process that is very rarely used today. Learn more about our printing process here.
Can you print on media and surfaces that are not listed here on your website?
Absolutely! We can print on any medium that is not harmful to our print system, and that includes making custom ICC profiles for specialized uncoated media. We will have to charge a deposit for ordering the special media however. The price of that would depend on the size and cost of the media used.
Questions about image files for printing
How large of a file size do I need to make a print of a specific size?
Since the native resolution of the printers we use is 300 ppi for HP and Canon and 360 for the Epson 9890 printer we use for Piezography, the highest quality would come from a file sized to these resolutions at whatever print size you are using.
If my file is smaller than what I would need to size a print at 300 ppi due to the limits of my digital camera or the scan size I have, should I upsize the file for you?
No, please do not upsize your smaller file when a large print is desired from a less than optimum file size. Let us do that here if necessary. The best way to accomplish this sending of a smaller file to the printer for a larger print is to send a smaller ppi number to the printer and let the print software do the resampling to achieve more dots. The printer is much more efficient in doing this than an upsizing software. So, in this case it is not uncommon to send 240, 180, or 150 ppi to the printer. However, we rarely send less than 150 ppi to the printer, even for very large prints. In that case some resampling of the original file may be necessary. We do this by viewing the image at 100% on the display.
Is it cool to send you JPEG files to print from in place of RAW, Tiff, or PSD formats for photographs?
No, it isn't cool, but we can do it. A JPEG file format is a compression format which, like sRGB color space, is designed for viewing images on a conventional display of a computer. It was never a file type that was designed for printing. This compression of the file can be compared to lossy compression schemes such as mp3 for audio or mp4 for video. They take a lot less space to store and email, but that compression reduces the overall quality by discarding information. In respect to photo image quality, this dumbing down is seen in the reduction in qualities of color accuracy, gamut, saturation, sharpness, smoothness of tonality, and especially increased noise. Even though people print from JPEG files all the time, it’s not recommended when you want high quality prints. So, will you reject my file if all we have is a JPEG? No we won't. We can work with it if it is all you can possible come up with, but you have been warned about its limits, especially when large prints are desired.
What color space should I be saving my files in for subsequent color inkjet printing?
The most expansive color space that you can set in your Photoshop or Lightroom preferences setting these days is Pro Photo RGB. Although no inkjet or analogue printers can actually use all of this color gamut, it's not a bad idea to save all your work in this space, since you can easily convert this to any print space. In the future we may have color printers that can utilize all this color information, so some day it might be good to have all these files archived with all of the gamut you can acquire. Having said that, a lot of people are still using Adobe 1998 color space and the best printers and professional displays can see all or most all of this gamut. Please never save your files in sRGB (small gamut for web display). It’s shocking how many people still go for years with their Photoshop preferences or Digital Camera preferences set to sRGB. When you convert your files to this color space you are losing a huge amount of your quality color and tonal information and you can never get it back. This can cause noise, banding, poor shadow detail, and limited color reproduction range. This is the single worst mistake people make when saving files for quality output.
Should we save my files in 16 bit or 8 bit and does it make a difference actually printing from 16 bit?
There are two very good reasons to save all your Tiff and PSD files in 16 bits per channel as opposed to 8 bits per channel. One is you maintain more color and tonal depth for each color. This is important when you go to make color or tonal changes to that file before printing. Every time you make a color or tonal change to that file some pixel data is clipped and thrown away forever. If you start with more color and tonal depth, you simply are doing less damage to your file. This damage is often evident in areas of smooth tonal and color transition, like in a sky area or any gradient. The down side to saving a file in higher bit depth of course is that you double the overall size of the file. This can be a problem if you need to send a file via the cloud, as it would take twice as much storage space and take twice as long to upload. In the case where the file just becomes too big, one should consider doing all the work in the original 16 bit version, and then saving a copy at 8 bit for sending.
In regard to printing from 16 bit files, all the major print drivers and rips now utilize 16 bit depth in the pipeline. The advantages of this extra depth are somewhat image dependent. Prints with more high contrast detail can benefit from it. It can also help in increasing resolution, can produce smoother tonal transitons in black and white, and help when larger prints are made to reduce noise in certain tonal areas. So yes, we always try to print from 16 bit files when they are available to us.