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Project 28 from 50 Fast Digital Photo Projects
by Gregory Georges & Lauren Georgescopyright © 2005 by Wiley Publishing, Inc.
This material is used by permission of
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
You can reach Gregory Georges at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If life were so simple that all our wishes were granted, we would wish that we could upload any image file we want to have printed, matted, and framed to a single Web site — and get a framed print packaged and safely shipped to us, or anyone else that we chose to send it to. On that magical Web site, we would want to be able to choose the kind of fine art matte paper we want to use and we would want to know that the prints are made on a printer that uses an archival ink suitable for selling to customers. Finally, we would want to be able to choose mat colors, easily determine mat border widths, and choose a frame from a large collection — all while being able to see a picture of the specified print, mat, and frame at each step to give us confidence that what we have chosen works and is the correct size. Continuing on with our wish, we would want the framed and matted print to be viewable against a color that matches the wall where we expect the framed print to hang. If you have experience ordering fine art prints online, and you have ordered matted and framed prints, you know how challenging it can be to order and to get what you want done correctly the first time and with no extra expense.
Well, guess what? In the process of researching print and framing services for this book, we found a company that was just launching the printing and framing service of our dreams. The company, Picture Frames (www.pictureframes.com), is part of Graphik Dimensions Ltd, a well-known manufacturer and supplier of picture frames for over 35 years. In this project, you learn how you can get what we wished for: excellent prints, framed, matted, packaged, and shipped wherever you want them to be shipped.
What kinds of printers, papers, and inks are used at Pictureframes.com?
If you have any experience ordering high-quality photographic prints or you have made your own using a quality desktop inkjet printer, you will want to know what kind of printer and ink set will be used to make your prints before any consideration is given to placing an order. You probably will also want to know what kind of paper choices you have. Those are good questions for sure.
PictureFrames.com uses Epson 9600 printers exclusively with Epson UltraChrome inks and a variety of high quality papers. The Epson 9600 printers are able to produce amazingly detailed prints of both works of fine art and photographs. The Epson UltraChrome inks guarantee a long-lasting museum quality work of art providing they are used with the right papers. This process results in color resolution that exceeds most other types of image printing and it uses the same materials and processes that are currently being used to create fine art giclée' (a fine artist term for an archival art print) limited editions. Another added feature to this process is a predicted fade resistance of about 75 years, once again, assuming that appropriate papers are used. All their mat boards are acid-free
When this book was written, we were able to choose from the following papers: Epson Premium Archival Matte Paper, Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper, Epson Premium Semi-matte Paper, Crescent Satin Digital Art Paper, Crescent Velvet Digital Art Paper, Crescent Watercolor Paper, Fredrix Glossy Finish Canvas, and Fredrix Matte Finish Canvas.
Step 1: Prepare your image
When we placed our first order with PictureFrames.com, there was only an option for sending a .jpg file. So, we uploaded the water lily image shown in Figure 28.2. The image was saved as a 1.4MB .jpg file using maximum compression level. The original file was 2,336 x 3,512 pixels and was a 25MB .tif file. We were skeptical, doubtful, and concerned about how well the print would turn out especially because it needed to be enlarged slightly to make a 12" x 173⁄4" print. In a word — it was wonderful! By the time you read this, you have an option of loading a non-compressed .tif file. And it is our recommendation that you use that format to get the best possible prints and avoid any image degradation that you can get when using a compressed file format such as .jpg.
Step 2: Order print, mat, and frame
By the time you read this, chances are good that the PictureFrames.com Web site will have changed so we are not going to provide much of a step-by-step set of instructions for using their Web site. In any case, the ordering process is so easy that there is not much point in providing detailed instructions. Instead, we provide a quote from a news release that they provided to us. We also show you a couple of screenshots from their Web site so you can learn about the specification and ordering process. You quickly get the picture — pun intended! PictureFrames.com explains their service as follows:
"Firstly, at PictureFrames.com the customer can have the unusual yet reassuring experience of 'try before you buy.' With the Personal Frame Shop section of our Web site, we've revolutionized the very ordinary process of selecting and purchasing a picture frame by allowing the customer to upload his/her art, combine and view it with thousands of mat (even double mats) and frame combinations – all at real scale and proportions – and, with one click of their mouse, they can compare prices among their favorite combinations.
They can play with possibilities, go have some lunch, and play more if they like – all of it is saved for at least one month. And, despite this flexibility, if any hesitation should remain (i.e. I'm an artist and need to be absolutely certain that color is beyond accurate . . . ), we offer another unique service: with a click of the mouse, we offer unconditional and absolutely free (including shipping) samples of all frame and mat materials."
What other services are offered by PictureFrames.com?
PictureFrames.com offers many special services for professional artists, photographers, and businesses that choose to publish their own editions of artwork. Services include: reproducing from any original artwork and a range of media, proofing protocol (1st proof free with the order of an edition), artist signature protocol, laminating, engraving, printing on canvas, print-only services, and flexible inexpensive options on the printing of editions without having to print an entire edition at once. They also offer Web site solutions to support artists and photographers in the marketing of their work.
For those times where you simply want to place an online order for a framed print that will be sent to someone as a gift, you can request to have an appropriate gift card or note sent along with the framed print.