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chris jordan
17-Sep-2014, 12:27
Hey peeps, greetings and happy September to all. Thinking about making some light boxes and wondering what the state of the art is for backlit prints (best resolution, color, longevity, etc.). Is anyone here noodling around in that world? Would love any tips, thoughts, etc. Especially curious about printing directly onto glass or plexi, instead of plastic film. Or, if plastic film is the best, then hoping to learn about best mounting process, perhaps sandwiched between glass? Cheers ~cj

bob carnie
17-Sep-2014, 13:08
Try Durst Rho for printing onto abstract surfaces.

Struan Gray
17-Sep-2014, 13:46
This might be of use:

http://www.pictoglas.com/index.html

The process is semi-secret, but I think they inkjet print glass frit and then fuse it into the surface with heat. The final product has photographic detail and colour, and is permanently incorporated into the glass surface.

Jim Becia
17-Sep-2014, 18:32
Hey peeps, greetings and happy September to all. Thinking about making some light boxes and wondering what the state of the art is for backlit prints (best resolution, color, longevity, etc.). Is anyone here noodling around in that world? Would love any tips, thoughts, etc. Especially curious about printing directly onto glass or plexi, instead of plastic film. Or, if plastic film is the best, then hoping to learn about best mounting process, perhaps sandwiched between glass? Cheers ~cj

Chris,

You might call Tim at Duraplaq (http://www.duraplaq.com (www.duraplaq.com)) a call. They have a new printer capable of printing directly onto plexiglass. The initial results that I have seen look interesting. Jim

pherold
18-Sep-2014, 09:32
Just a quick note to keep in mind when you get to this point: The perception of color seen through a material like this is different from the perception we have reflecting off the surface. For this reason the normal profiles you would use printing onto paper are not ideal for this backlit use. You can get pretty close using normal printer profiles, but to do it right you would need to have transmissive ICC profiles made of your final material, using a spectrophotometer that measures transmissive light.

bob carnie
18-Sep-2014, 09:55
Most if not all vendors have a profile for each product..

Just a quick note to keep in mind when you get to this point: The perception of color seen through a material like this is different from the perception we have reflecting off the surface. For this reason the normal profiles you would use printing onto paper are not ideal for this backlit use. You can get pretty close using normal printer profiles, but to do it right you would need to have transmissive ICC profiles made of your final material, using a spectrophotometer that measures transmissive light.

Tyler Boley
18-Sep-2014, 13:03
actually Bob. I have to slightly disagree, many vendors are unfamiliar with what is required to make transmissive profiles and lack the proper spectrophotometer to make them. Slightly unusual equipment for the average print shop. I certainly had no call for one, nor experience with one. It's a fair point. Also, there are longevity issues with regard to back lit materials and display due to heat. Chris would be familiar with his own display priorities, but it's a point worth mentioning in this thread. Some vendors offering "lightbox" type photo displays will make no longevity claims for this reason. Mark at Aardenburg would be worth consulting if longevity is a concern with a more unique and particular display.

bob carnie
18-Sep-2014, 13:57
All shops here in TO that I know have spectrometers onsite and profile every paper and every material. We also use the services of Color Manangement Specialists.
I use Angus Paddy here in Ontario and he is very top rate.
If any vendor is selling to the public and they are not properly profiled , they are either doing lousy work or losing money due to testing.testing. testing.


The bigger issue for the OP is the actual light box and the colour it emits... no use having a profiled material if the box is not up to standards. then you are in a hit and miss situation.

Personally I do not like making any backlit prints due to the longevity issue , and of course the issues with bad lightboxes. We sometimes take on commissions for ART projects where boxes are brought into our shop and we custom balance to the light. But this is a once or twice a year situation.

Jeff Wall has been making Cibachrome backlits for years and makes them himself.. I believe he makes a few for each job, puts one in the box and the others in dark storage, when the first fades he pulls out the next..very ingenious I would say.


actually Bob. I have to slightly disagree, many vendors are unfamiliar with what is required to make transmissive profiles and lack the proper spectrophotometer to make them. Slightly unusual equipment for the average print shop. I certainly had no call for one, nor experience with one. It's a fair point. Also, there are longevity issues with regard to back lit materials and display due to heat. Chris would be familiar with his own display priorities, but it's a point worth mentioning in this thread. Some vendors offering "lightbox" type photo displays will make no longevity claims for this reason. Mark at Aardenburg would be worth consulting if longevity is a concern with a more unique and particular display.

Tyler Boley
18-Sep-2014, 17:08
All shops here in TO that I know have spectrometers onsite and profile every paper and every material...

I don't think I'm making my point. Of course they do Bob, I too up to my ears in all kinds of standard and frankly odd and non-standard profiling, including N-channel and monochromatic.. but Pat's point was TRANSMISSIVE profiling, which requires a different device, and for specialty display systems few shops would bother to offer. Not that some aren't doing it, I'm sure some are, but it's far from the norm, and I'd bet a very small percentage of people involved in high level color management and profiling even own a transmissive spectrophotometer. This is not a point worth going back and forth over, I'm merely trying to back up Pat's point that one needs to seek out the right people for this sort of work, not just any print shop, even many of the very best.

tgtaylor
18-Sep-2014, 19:10
It's interesting to note that during the late 1850's a photographic image was printed directly onto the sensitized surface of a wood printing block which was then incised by hand for printing. This method dominated until the late 1880's when it was replaced by the halftone.

Thomas

bob carnie
19-Sep-2014, 13:38
TRANSMISSIVE includes duratrans dura clear and trans .. this product has been profiled since the beginning..Inkjet shops are new to backlight...

I think the OP is used to working with shops that can cater to his needs.

jnanian
19-Sep-2014, 14:11
hey cheris

have you thought of waxing your work with beeswax it might make it easier for
the light to pass through,
and encaustic images have been around since the renaissance ..

have fun!
john

Iluvmyviewcam
21-Sep-2014, 12:55
I used backlit film for small projects. Same longevity you get in prints more or less as far as fade resistance.

vinny
25-Sep-2014, 17:31
HP sells several varieties of backlit film, both reverse print and front print. I haven't tried any of it.

Graham06
8-Dec-2014, 02:08
hey cheris
have you thought of waxing your work with beeswax it might make it easier for
the light to pass through,

I tried printing into copy paper. The colours were all washed out when you looked through it. Then I printed the mirrored image on the reverse of the paper, and the effect was like two photoshop layers multiplied together. The effect was quite attractive. You could make something that would look nice on lamp or on a window.

Next steps for me: scan the waxed print or colour ramps in transparency mode and see if I can derive custom profiles. experiment with getting the ink to soak into the wax somehow (it's water based so not likely)

paulr
8-Dec-2014, 08:58
I tried printing into copy paper. The colours were all washed out when you looked through it. Then I printed the mirrored image on the reverse of the paper, and the effect was like two photoshop layers multiplied together.

This makes sense. Transmissive media generally need twice the image density of reflective media, since the light only passes through once. When you look at a print, the light passes through the image, bounces off the paper, and passes through the image again. You get twice the bang for your buck.

I wasn't 100% sure inkjet would work the same way, since most modern inks use pigments. Some pigment inks (like the Pantone printing inks) are opaque; light bounces directly off their surface without passing though to the paper. But your experiments suggests this isn't the case with inkjet. Needless to say, if inkjet inks were opaque, transmissive printing would be a problem.

Randy Moe
8-Dec-2014, 13:26
I read about this new Kodak product recently. The review said it was good as it would hide rear film supports better.

I guess Kodak has time and cash to develop something...

http://www.brandmanagementgroup.com/press-releases/new-front-print-glossy-backlit-kodak-delivers-vibrant-color

koraks
8-Dec-2014, 15:17
Looks like it might be a good candidate for digital negatives, unless a UV blocking agent was added to the base.