Support, help, technical guides and other such boffinry
Operating hours, walk-ins, appointments and schedules
Imagefoundry operates as a workshop/boutique/consultancy, not as a retail outlet. At times everyone is busy or in a meeting, or working on location - so it's impossible to accommodate every walk-in - although we try. Please be considerate.
We much prefer booking an appointment ahead of time. And, while on this subject - booking a 12PM appointment and showing up at 2PM, for example, is pretty disruptive. Thank you very much for your understanding and we apologize for any inconvenience.
Please plan ahead. Certain materials - oversized mounting substrates, frame mouldings, inks, some papers and chemicals - has to be ordered in, as we do not stock rare items. Delivery times on some materials can be as long as two weeks - as is the case with Platinum/Palladium printing supplies and papers.
A quick guide to efficient communications
Over the years I have seen countless episodes of what can be affectionately called a "failure to communicate". This paragraph is an attempt to lay down some basic guidelines for getting in touch with us in the least frustrating manner possible. And so without further ado:
- please don't send text messages to our office phone number. This usually results in a phone call with a computer trying to read your text, with predictably hilarious results. It's also pretty much incomprehensible.
- if you do text my cell phone (ie. the one on the business card) - please start with stating who you are :)
- on an average day I receive around 75 email messages. Sometimes it'll be hours before I can read and reply to yours - so please make your message as readable and as to the point as possible. And, oh - please don't be one of these people who send 5-6 emails one after another.... it tends to induce a complete email paralysis on my part.
- do not use email to communicate time-sensitive information - ie. "I'll stop by in 15 minutes to pick up my print" is a fail. I might not even get to your email in 15 minutes - I usually try to sit down and deal with incoming email once an hour, on an hour.
- I'd say if you need to convey some important numerical information - as an example, sizes, dimensions, quantities, etc. - I would much prefer to have you email us rather than doing the dictation bit over the phone. Sending credit card info over the email is not a great idea, though.
- we generally do not read incoming email outside of normal working hours. Emailing on Sunday and asking for something to be ready by 10am on Monday... let's just say this might not work out as you expected.
- please remember that shipping information MUST include the phone number and a postal code of the person/company you want us to ship to. One would think this is obvious, but clearly not to everyone.
- Fedex usually picks up between 2 and 3 pm on weekdays. Anything later than that means that your package would be shipped next day.
In conclusion, I just want to say this: every project has a certain "fatigue" point, the point after which it is increasingly difficult to continue to care. One can reach that fatigue point by doing useful, forward-looking things - like making more corrections and proofs, having productive meetings, and so on. Or one can get there by slogging through a sea of inane email and phone conversations, mutually-exclusive revisions, "changes of mind", requests for further quotes and re-quotes, and things of that nature.
No matter what, you can always be assured that I will do my utmost. But being a good communicator can make everything a much more rewarding experience.
Typical turnaround times and rush orders
On average, a custom reproduction project - ie. scanning original artwork, paper selection, colour corrections and proofing, followed by crafting a final print - takes about 1-1.5 weeks to complete; sometimes longer for complex images that require a lot of deliberations, meetings with the artist and so on. It is possible to rush through a project but in my experience quality is the first thing that goes out of the window when timelines are too compressed.
Custom framing usually takes about a week, and scanning jobs take 1-2 days, depending on how difficult the original is. Most simple printing jobs can be completed in a day.
Digigraphie by Epson
Digigraphie is a two-part program designed to assist artists in making and managing the highest-quality limited edition prints using giclee printing technology by Epson.
Part one focuses on technical aspects of making a perfect print. A printmaker must use one of the approved printers and inks, along with a limited selection of fine art papers and custom color control tools. Only top-of-the-line equipment can qualify, guaranteeing that Digigraphie prints are technically excellent.
A printed quality control sample is sent to Epson France every month to ensure a consistent quality monitoring and adherence to a specification; a printmaker must demonstrate a high degree of skill to be approved as one of authorized Digigraphie suppliers.
Part two of Digigraphie program focuses on providing an artist with online tools for managing and tracking edition prints. Every Digigraphie print must be numbered, signed, stamped with a Digigraphie chop and accompanied by a signed certificate of authenticity. Each print is entered into an online database maintained by Digigraphie France.
Why use Digigraphie?
At the simplest, Digigraphie label serves as an independent quality seal, making sure that the works in question are printed on best materials and best equipment available - and are guaranteed to meet and exceed quality and archival expectations of art institutions and collectors. It's somewhat like an ISO 9002 certification for fine art printing.
Secondly, adherence to Digigraphie guidelines signals the artist's commitment to maintain the integrity of the edition and ensures the uniqueness of each and every print. Having an independent agency track and maintain all the edition records adds a valuable management tool for both artists and art institutions/collectors. A searchable online gallery helps to keep track of the artist's print collection.
Visit Digigraphie.com for more information.
So, with that out the way, why inkjet printing? The reasons are many.
1. Vastly better resolution and detail vs. chromagenic prints
2. Vastly better archival longevity, literally order of magnitude difference with regards to light fastness
3. Significantly better color gamut in midtones and highlights
4. 60" wide prints vs. 50" wide prints provide more presentation options
5. Tremendous selection of top-notch papers allows for more creative expression
6. Drop-dead gorgeous black&white prints - something that chromagenic machines were never good at
7. Ability to print on fabrics, canvas, and more exotic options - such as hand-made washi papers and the like
On the other hand, digital chromagenic prints are cheaper, hold better color in low-key images and present more uniform appearance - specifically because of lack of any gloss differential. Still I am of opinion that future belongs to inkjet printing, even if just based on the current pace of technological progress. And two remaining manufacturers of photographic paper - Kodak and Fuji - are not doing all that well with regards to long-term survival.
Best way to prepare your images
Although traditionally 300dpi resolution is considered to be a baseline for print imaging, this is somewhat outdated information in 2015 and should be considered a lower margin if you are after exceptional prints. A modern high-end inkjet machine can easily deliver 50%-100% more of discernible detail - which is a major advantage when attempting to reproduce images with important, tiny features - such as etchings, fine ink drawings, watercolors, or even some oils and pastels.
So if you are after a supremely detailed print, aim for 450-500dpi of resolution at size. It's harder to see improvements past that point, but if you are absolutely, positively in need of maximum perceived detail, consider setting up your files to printers' native resolutions, which are 600dpi or 720dpi.
And, oh - that does not mean that you should just open your image in Photoshop and upsample it to 600dpi - you actually have to capture your image at that resolution.
Modern machines, when running at maximum quality setting, deliver near-continuous tone - meaning, although the image consists out of tiny dots of different colors, the dots are so tiny and packed so closely together that you can only see them with a strong magnifying glass.
This presents a bit of a challenge, specifically - if your images are prone to banding, which is a fairly common problem with photographing a sky, for example - especially if your camera set to record jpegs instead of raw files - that banding will become all the more obvious in the print.
If that is a concern please consider switching to 16bit per channel workflow; oftentime it will help. All modern platforms support true 16bit/channel processing. This is particularly relevant to grayscale images.
So far I've covered resolution and bit depth, the remaining pillar of high-fidelity printing is color gamut. As of 2015, the most appropriate color space for making gorgeous prints is AdobeRGB 1998. Of course, you can still continue using sRGB - just be aware that our machines are capable of printing colors that are far outside of range that sRGB specification can contain, so you might be missing out on vividness (if that is your goal). The color spaces with gamuts wider than AdobeRGB are perfectly fine too - just remember to maintain a 16bit/channel workflow through out the entire project
About CMYK color. Working with process color has many advantages, discussing most of them would be quite outside of the scope of this quick write-up; so I'll be brief: these advantages do not translate well to high-fidelity inkjet printing. So, don't do it.
Of course if your artwork is prepared for a print publication, and you've been using CMYK color right from the start - that is totally fine, and we can handle your images properly. But if the goal is to maximize color fidelity, consider sticking with RGB. LAB color is fine too, just remember to stick with 16bit/color, just as with B&W images.
Yes, you can send us files online. We presently use WeTransfer.com for all of out upload/download needs. Please give it a try! It's easy and free.
Imagefoundry is 100% colour managed shop - every part of our colour workflow is set up with correct colour profiles and colour transforms. As such, all digital artwork coming in for printing must be compliant with industry-standard practices and procedures.
Images submitted without embedded colour profiles are assumed to be in sRGB for RGB colour images, Gamma 2.2 for grayscale images, and US SWOP coated for CMYK images. Incomplete Pantone colour numbers are assumed to be from a solid coated set, ie. 7542 is assumed to be 7542C.
Default colour profile for scanned images is Adobe RGB 1998. Because certain artists materials are capable of producing colours outside of AdobeRGB 1998 gamut, some scans might be provided in ProPhoto or Wide Gamut RGB colour spaces. Default bit depth is 16bit/channel.
Other colour spaces can be used upon request.
Fine art paper worth printing on
Out of many large and small paper manufacturers, there are 5 that, in my humble but educated opinion, are worth considering for fine art printing purposes. Here they are, in no particular order: Hahnemuehle of Germany, Canson of France, Fabriano of Italy, Awagami of Japan and Crane of U.S.A. You would also probably notice that some of these companies are known for manufacturing papers that national currencies are printed on; this is not a coincidence.
Epson-branded papers are a mixed bunch. Some of their better papers, particularly "Signature-worthy" collection are simply re-badged products made by one of the big 5; others are also worth considering for specific uses - for example if you thinking of laminating your print I might want to consider one of the papers that I won't touch otherwise, like Epson Premium Lustre or some such.
Our fine art scanning system, at maximum resolution, delivers 16bit/channel, RGB images sized at 16,000x26,000 pixels, or approx. 50"x80" at 300dpi. In practical terms this means that original artwork measuring 30"x40" can be scanned at native, uninterpolated resolution of over 500dpi. Resulting scans can be as large as 1.16Gigabytes (8bit RGB).
Reporting and collaboration tools
Imagefoundry now uses Trello project management and collaboration system. We offer full logistical support for complex projects (such as edition printing), including up-to-date progress reports, time/cost tracking, secure messaging system, file exchange, soft proofing and more. This service is offered free of charge to all qualified customers.
Typically we store all client files permanently. As in, nothing ever gets deleted, unless you specifically ask us to. This makes re-orders and editions easy and gives you some peace of mind as far as backups go.
Imagefoundry follows Canadian copyright law very carefully. We would not, under any circumstances, make unauthorized copies of copyrighted artwork.
It's a bit more complex than that, though. Certain uses of copyrighted work are perfectly legal, and - not being lawyers - the best we can do is to ask you to sign a waiver acknowledging that you, the client, are fully responsible for following the law. Should you like us to research your particular situation we would be happy to refer you to an expert. Legal fees might apply, depending on the complexity of the issue.
We are proud to be a green business. What does it mean to be green, in a printmaking shop context?
One - we recycle everything. Very little, if any, of our waste goes into landfill. Two - we re-use up to 75% of packaging materials. The rest gets recycled. Three - we only use water-based inks as well as adhesives made from natural materials. Four - all chemicals used in our photographic processing are safe, food-grade and can be found in consumer products such as Coca-Cola and orange juice. Five - 95% of our lighting needs are provided by long-life CFL and LED lamps. Six - we use high-efficiency heating and cooling systems and tripple-insulated, very low transmission glass in our shop windows and doors. Seven - all our computer and imaging equipment is EPA EnergyStar compliant, including high-efficiency 85+% power supplies and battery backup systems. Eight - we use a solar panel to power our emergency lighting systems and battery backups. Nine - we operate an electric vehicle for pickups and deliveries.
The importance of being happy
If you are making a living (or thinking of making a living) by creating/selling art you already know how hard it is to close a sale. Imagefoundry's raison de vivre is to give you, the artist, that extra edge with our expertise and our total excellence of execution.
However - mistakes do happen. They happened before and, unfortunately, would probably happen again. Sometimes it's because of compressed schedules, sometimes because of some shenanigans with suppliers, sometimes just bad luck (like that time when a single fly got into a studio and crapped on a finished artwork ready to be framed - true story). But never because we don't give a damn.
So the worst thing that you, the customer, could do - is just go away, quietly disappointed. Please, don't! Speak up, make your concerns known and we would do our best to un-fubar your project. Really.
Bottom line is - we would absolutely not stop, like the Terminator, until you are completely satisfied with the results (or dead?... sorry, just can't stop cracking silly jokes today).
A quick primer on making reproductions of your artwork
Combining three different technologies - high-precision scanning, digital colour correction and fine art printing - allows you to achieve incredibly lifelike reproductions of original works of art.
Modern tools for colour control ensure tight colour match; and specially-formulated, archival pigment inks are rated for hundreds of years of display life when used with best artists papers and canvas available today.
We offer significant discounts on scanning and printing, when taking on a complete art reproduction project. Contact us for more information and/or a quote. Prices generally depend on the size of the original and the reproduction print, as well as desired colour tolerance. There's usually a solution for just about any budget!
A sample project:
Let's say you have an original oil painting, measuring 20 by 30 inches. You would like to make a copy of this piece, on canvas, keeping the same size. This project is going to consist of 4 parts:
1. The cost of making a digital scan of the original is going to be either $50, for a medium-resolution scan, or a $100 for a high-res scan - this being an optimum for an original with a lot of detail (brush-strokes, cracks, etc.) Should you not be too concerned with small details you can pick a less expensive option.
2. The scan needs to be colour-matched to the original. This typically involves printing a small version of the scanned image and comparing it to the art piece, making changes, and so on - it is an iterative process. You can bypass this step altogether - the resulting copy is not going to be wildly different, but we do highly recommend to spend at least $25 on one round of proofing. Typically a very good result can be achieved within 3-5 rounds of proofs, and so the recommended budget for this step should be $75-$150
3. Making a print - a 20x30 canvas print with enough loose fabric to wrap around a stretcher should cost around $80-85, depending on the brand of canvas being used. We usually only stock premium materials, but for a sizable project can bring in just about any type of printing canvas you can wish for. There is a discount available for making more than one print at a time.
4. Finishing - a completed print must be stretched on a stretcher frame - cost of which will depend of the depth and number of cross-braces, etc. - generally a custom-made 20x30 frame should be in $40-50 range; $25-40 in labour, and finally a coat of varnish (optional) for $45.
And so the final cost of making a fabulous, ready-to-hang reproduction of your original piece is going to be in $250-$450 range, depending on options.