Author Topic: printing on metal (brushed Aluminium prints)  (Read 1395 times)

elsa hoffmann

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printing on metal (brushed Aluminium prints)
« on: April 21, 2017, 13:47:02 »
I am editing a pic for printing - LARGE - 3m x 1m -  print directly onto dibond® with a brushed aluminium finish  (metal print)

Question - has anyone have specific experience with this kind of printing?
It appears that one has to do an exessive amount of contrast and perhaps sharpening as this medium doesn't fancy mid tones too much.

I got my first test prints - and the mid tones are quite flat. (Image 1)

2nd image - In this image I added a LOT of contrast


any comments please?
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Thomas G

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Re: printing on metal (brushed Aluminium prints)
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2017, 13:58:11 »
Following with interest - would like to do smaller size same type prints in the 60x90 cm area or so.

Akira

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Re: printing on metal (brushed Aluminium prints)
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2017, 14:04:38 »
I cannot say anithing technical in this area.  But apparently the detail of the clouds in the second image are lost.  Does it look like that only on my (uncalibrated) monitor?  Is there any legitimate reason for the treatment?
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elsa hoffmann

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Re: printing on metal (brushed Aluminium prints)
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2017, 14:25:35 »
You are right - but thats kind of the idea. Anything white will not be printed - meaning that area the brushed aluminium will be the "white"
As soon as you add detail - or colour - it prints - and comes thru as a lighter tone - and becomes flat. The Metal is "shiny" (albeit brushed) whish gives it a 3D look. mid tones doesnt add anything to the printing - according to my experience and what I got back on my test prints. Hence my post- I think only someone who has had exact experience with this will fully understand the implications of the process - and I cant keep printing test prints forever as it costs a LOT. I am planning on doing 2 more test prints with the more contrasty image. But since I have little experience - I am a bit in the dark also
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CS

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Re: printing on metal (brushed Aluminium prints)
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2017, 15:51:35 »
Please post the results of the new samples. What I see currently is that image number 2 looks like some of the highlights are blown, and some of the shadow detail has been lost. Now, let me qualify that with the admission that I don't know squat about metal printing, but, you asked for opinions using those 2 images, so that's all I have to base comments on.
Carl

Jakov Minić

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Re: printing on metal (brushed Aluminium prints)
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2017, 16:03:35 »
Printing is a highly qualified trade.
I hate the fact that the place from where you print doesn't give you any insights. Shouldn't they know best?
I had the exact same problems when I printed on canvas and on plexiglass! Whatever you see on your screen usually has nothing to do with the printed result.
How come the printing shop is not liable for the result that they produce? Why is it that you need to pay for the testing? You should show them your photo on your screen and then challenge them to produce the same result on which ever medium :)
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CS

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Re: printing on metal (brushed Aluminium prints)
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2017, 16:32:07 »
Printing is a highly qualified trade.
I hate the fact that the place from where you print doesn't give you any insights. Shouldn't they know best?
I had the exact same problems when I printed on canvas and on plexiglass! Whatever you see on your screen usually has nothing to do with the printed result.
How come the printing shop is not liable for the result that they produce? Why is it that you need to pay for the testing? You should show them your photo on your screen and then challenge them to produce the same result on which ever medium :)

Well, matching prints to a display is not child's play, and that's if you're printing on paper where profiles are available for most papers. You can still have a profile made, but it's not inexpensive, and again that's with paper. I believe that Andrew Rodney, The Digital Dog, charges $100 per profile for papers. There used to be Kathy's Profiles ($60) here in the USA, but the last I heard she was no longer in business, and that was several years ago.

When you start printing on other media then all bets are off, unless you want to fund any necessary profiling.
Carl

elsa hoffmann

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Re: printing on metal (brushed Aluminium prints)
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2017, 17:02:31 »
unless you have seen the test prints to be able to match it with my image - it is impossible to see the result. Posting the test prints here wont work either as it is on brushed aluminium - impossible to accurately reproduce here. What I have seen on the test prints - my white are not white enough - and when printed - it doesnt give detail - it gives a flat tone - due to the metal. The clouds are too whispy to give detail on metal. The blown highlights shows up quite nicely because it is on brushed aluminium. I need comments from someone who has in fact done this. the print shop will a test print for me - in fact that have done 2 already - and will do 2 more - which I wont pay for if I do proceed with printing. But I don't expect them to keep doing unlimited tests prints for me. It costs them money too.  The situation is quite challenging as well because it is such a large print. smaller prints are totally different and prints differently. DPI is also different on metal. Adding to that - the test prints they have available in the shop is of buildings - and bridges - totally different to a mountain and whispy clouds
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CS

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Re: printing on metal (brushed Aluminium prints)
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2017, 17:38:16 »
Seems to me that a profile comes in. Their white ink is reacting to the aluminum differently than other ink colors? In the wispy areas is the metal showing through the ink?
Carl

Akira

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Re: printing on metal (brushed Aluminium prints)
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2017, 17:47:11 »
Elsa, thanks for the explanation.  Then it is tricky to judge the appropriate image on screen, just as you say.  But I want to see the final print!
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elsa hoffmann

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Re: printing on metal (brushed Aluminium prints)
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2017, 18:10:00 »
Sorry I thought you knew CS - it's a black and white image. White doesnt print. Where there should be white ink - its brushed aluminium (textured) a light shade (whispy cloud) prints a faint grey - making it flat. hence the pushed blacks and whites

Akira - you and me both - it's a huge assignment - I want to get it as best I can
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Alaun

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Re: printing on metal (brushed Aluminium prints)
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2017, 20:39:38 »
An amateurish theoretical approach: (thinking in RGB-colors): Your brightest white on the Al is not a 255,255,255 but perhaps a mere 160,160,160.
So you have to optimise the picture to that reduced “dynamic grey space”. I think increasing contrast on your screen (which shows almost all the way from 0,0,0 to 255,255,255 then is the wrong way? (Instead, optimise the picture to a max white level of 160,160,160 or to whatever grey level the Al surface has)  Or would this be the task of a printer profile?
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elsa hoffmann

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Re: printing on metal (brushed Aluminium prints)
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2017, 21:30:06 »
Alaun - you get the idea - questions.... and then more questions...
"You don’t take a photograph – you make it” – Ansel Adams. Thats why I use photoshop.
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CS

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Re: printing on metal (brushed Aluminium prints)
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2017, 22:42:09 »
Sorry I thought you knew CS - it's a black and white image. White doesnt print. Where there should be white ink - its brushed aluminium (textured) a light shade (whispy cloud) prints a faint grey - making it flat. hence the pushed blacks and whites

Akira - you and me both - it's a huge assignment - I want to get it as best I can

Thanks for the explanation Elsa, I did not understand.
Carl

simsurace

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Re: printing on metal (brushed Aluminium prints)
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2017, 23:07:02 »
I have had a print made on aluminium once. It was a picture of a high-rise building with metal facade, so the picture matched the material. The result is quite good.
I ordered from whitewall (do you have them in SA?). They have ICC-profiles for the aluminium prints. I was able to soft-proof in Photoshop on my Eizo monitor. Applying the profile made a big difference, but I was able to correct for the different contrast. When I got the print, it was exactly as expected.

Regarding other printing stuff, there are many printers that don't even support profiling. Or so it seems. See the recent thread of mine in this board.

I cannot say that I would recommend the aluminium print for this kind of picture. You want bright whites, which is best done on paper. But I guess if the client demands an aluminium print, try to download the ICC profile from whitewall and see whether it matches what you see in your test prints:

https://static.whitewall.com/ICC/WhiteWall_ICC_Direct_Print_Dibond_Brushed.icc
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