We love showing off what we do. We run regular tours around our facility to help inspire existing and potential clients to what they can achieve. There's so much to what we do and seeing is the best way to truly understand - plus you get coffee!!!
This is always a hot topic in digital print... just how many pixels does an image need to get a good result? Rather than let you rely on taking our word for it, we've run a series of prints so you can see for yourself. We have done a range of prints from 10ppi to 300ppi to demonstrate exactly what a print at a specific resolution will look like. The results are quite interesting.
There have been a few exciting changes happening over the last couple of months. In our drive to provide better quality and more sustainable printing, we’ve added two brand new shiney printers, HP Latex 360’s to be precise. They're pretty cool… HP latex technology provides all the durability qualities of solvent inks (the mainstay ink for tough durable prints), but without all the environmental nasties the solvent inks provide as a trade off for toughness. Better still, the latex system is odourless and far more reliable than the solvent systems we have owned in the past. The printers are more consistent with quality output and less prone to nozzle blockage issues we suffered in the past with our solvent printers.
We continue to follow our path of innovation with the installation our our newest printer. This HP Latex 3000 is the third generation of HP's industrial line of latex printers and has just been released worldwide. It has exceptional speeds and the odourless latex prints are ready to go straight off the printer making them perfect for sensitive environments like office and retail spaces. It's exciting to have a machine of this calibre right here in Christchurch.
We are so far into the digital age yet there is still a bit of confusion about CMYK (and RGB) colour models. I'll do an overview of the CMYK colour model and the affect on digital print it has. The biggest misconception is that a colour specified as CMYK percentages alone represents an actual colour. It would be wrong to accuse a digital printer for producing incorrect colour if the only thing you provided was a combination of CMYK percentages such as those seen in corporate identity manuals. Read on to find out why...
We'd like to introduce a recent addition to our line-up. HP in recent years have been pushing more environmentally conscious large format digital printing solutions. One of their biggest drives has been latex ink printers. Surprise surprise, the picture above happens to be one. The environment is not exactly being kind to us at the moment here in Christchurch, but we are still looking to improve our stance towards it. The HP Scitex LX850 uses waterbased latex ink, yet the finished prints are comparable to mild and eco solvent as far as scratch reststance and durability goes. It's our second latex machine. Without boring you to death with details, we get high resolution prints (truly stunning), with brilliant colour, durable for indoor and outdoor use including vehicles and then add to that the fact it does a great job on fabrics which is enhanced by it's ability to image on material up to to 3.2 metres wide (that's billboard size!!!).
In previous articles, I covered how we control colour with software and hardware using design programs and the printers. There is another important piece of hardware too. It's a colour matching booth. Not a weird device that you climb inside and lock the door, but rather a station that has special fluorescent tubes that illuminate vertically mounted prints and proofs from above. The big problem to overcome with manual hardcopy matching of colour is the lighting conditions. There are so many different conditions, fluoresecent warm to cool tubes, halogen, daylight sunny and cloudy, incadescent blubs and now led lighting which all emit different colour. There is no easy solution but a good start is an industry standard, which just happens to be D50 or more commonly known as daylight.
Matching colours correctly; it is a process that happens behind the scenes. You might not realise how important it is and why we take it so seriously. A number of years ago I read an article which is a great way to describe why colour management so important. It's all about making toast!
It's true, the easiest thing about digital printing is buying (if the bank likes you) the machine. Yes, the printers are automated, but they require quite a lot of user interaction to make the difference between a good print and a not so good print. Taking a closer look at the not so good prints, it comes down to a few important details which require additional skills, than just sending files to a machine. Here is a small snapshot of some baddies we avoid in the background.