View Full Version : Metal Prints, Good, Bad or Ugly....

Randy Moe
21-Nov-2015, 23:24
Tonight I ordered a sample pack of metal prints and hopefully one 'keeper' from Bay Photo. A test of the product. All intense color, but I will soon test in B&W.

The metal surface and effect seems great for some images.

I'm not sure how, '...infusing dyes directly into specially coated aluminum sheets' in 5 different surfaces.

I have seen outside metal prints that were holding up well despite Chicago weather and knife welding vandals.

Any opinions on this type print?

Jim Becia
22-Nov-2015, 05:54

I have seen hundreds of metal prints at the various art fairs that I do. They run from "very well done" to "what were they thinking!" I think it is an interesting process and if done right with the right image, can be very effective. I have had one done as a sample, and it turned out nicely. The company that I use, Duraplaq, states that while not a lot of testing has been done yet on longevity, anecdotal evidence "suggests" that they should last a long time. The process has to with dye sublimation where the image is lifted off of the paper surface and infused into the metal. Personally, I just think it is magic!

According to the photographers that are selling the metal prints, they are selling very well.

A few years ago, I ran into an oil painter who was using this process to reproduce his vibrant oil originals. They looked quite good in terms of matching his vibrant oils. He actually had purchased his own printer and equipment to produce his own metal prints. I think he could go up to 24 or 30 inches.

Hope your pieces turn out to your satisfaction. Let us know.

22-Nov-2015, 07:00
Just as with any process, when done well and the right image they look good.
My Uncle curated a gallery show that had some in it. One 'popped' right off the wall in the gallery lighting. It was brilliant and well done and showed well as it almost 'glowed' in the museum lighting. The others were well done and looked good but the combination of colors and subject matter made the first of them really jump out.
Match the process with the image and it will look good.
We can only hope the excellent images last.

22-Nov-2015, 14:10
I haven't tried it yet either and have seen plenty that range from awesome to garish.

For B&W I'd wonder if it might appear to be some sort of digital descendant of a tintype, particularly if you use a swirly lens. Just another process to explore in my mind.

For color, it'd depend on the scene whether it'd be appropriate. I'd suggest it for abstract and altered color and perhaps not for postcard scenery. But that's my taste and it's not widely shared.

22-Nov-2015, 14:36
I have not processed any, doubtful I could. Out of curiosity, I did order one from a company using one of my favorite lightning shots form digital. It came pretty nice. The inner cloud subtle light bounces right out but the highlights where the bolt comes out is a tad blown out. I am not sure if it is a limitation of the process or a developing error.

Randy Moe
22-Nov-2015, 14:45
I can't post the image I am testing here, but I can link to it in small format. I figure it is a good candidate.

Printing at 12X12. I removed in PS the tree tops at bottom. I added a tiny black border to see how good they they can reproduce the exact image. That's a jet plane upper right.


22-Nov-2015, 15:21
Dye stability is better than dye transfer and not as good as inkjet print. Test of metal print near end of article.



Randy Moe
22-Nov-2015, 17:40
Thanks for the tech. I have 'copied and corrected' many color prints, most for Internet usage, and it is amazing how much we can improve the past.

Camera shake can now be fixed and those torn B&W family prints come back from the dead. I always save the original.

I just want to compare my image on metal to metallic paper and plain ol Fuji Crystal. No fun looking at OP's! (other people's)

bob carnie
23-Nov-2015, 07:17
My 2 cents... Ugly - for commercial applications only.

Drew Wiley
23-Nov-2015, 09:48
Reminds me of mall window venues. And if you've seen one shopping mall, you've seen em all. Call me prejudiced; but not a medium that appeals to me.

Light Guru
23-Nov-2015, 13:05
There are two options I've seen for metal prints one is where the metal is coated in white and the image is out on it and the second is where the image is put directly onto the metallic surface.

The second option is the one I love. Helps give an almost 3D look to the image.

Randy Moe
23-Nov-2015, 14:14
I am getting 5 different surface treatments in a discount sample sample pack of the same image.

The test image is not the one I posted.

For the image I posted I want the most glossy silver effect.

Alan Gales
24-Nov-2015, 13:50
Adorama offers metal prints where your whites are white or your whites are the aluminum finish coming through. I think the aluminum coming through may be interesting for b&w prints. You will probably need to hang it in a bright or well lit area because it would look darker than the white.

A friend of mine who shoots landscapes had a metal print done locally and he told me that he really liked it. I have not seen one yet so I am real interested in what you think, Randy!

25-Nov-2015, 06:34
And there is this too. http://moabpaper.com/slickrock-metallic/

Haven't tried it, has anyone?

"Stare. It's the way to educate your eyes. Pry, Listen, Eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." Walker Evans

25-Nov-2015, 08:39
Tried the Moab Slickrock in both the silver and Pearl finishes, with both scanned 4x5 and with digital images from the D800. Printed both b&w and color images using the Epson 3800.
Did not care for the silver finish. Much too reflective, difficult to evaluate the print as any change in viewing angle would change the reflectance. At some angles most of the print would be lost in a reflective glare. Also didn't care for the highly metallic silver highlights.
The pearl finish was actually very nice, little bit of pop and vibrance, nice saturation and contrast without being garish, also absence are the reflective problems I encountered with Slickrock Silver. Nice for scenes with bold colors, autumn landscapes as well as b&w. Would not be my paper of choice for a intimate portrait or any image that needed a more delicate or subtle presentation.
Had problems trying to soft proof both these papers, the supplied profiles did require a little tuning to get the desired results.

Mark Sawyer
25-Nov-2015, 09:30
I wonder how a tintype scan would look printed on metal... Has anyone seen one?

matthew blais
25-Nov-2015, 13:22
I bought a lens from Ken Merfeld (http://merfeldcollodion.com/) some years ago and he was getting metal prints of his wet plates done and they looked very very similar to the original

Mark Sawyer
25-Nov-2015, 14:07
Thanks, Matthew! I'm going to have to try it sometime...

Randy Moe
27-Nov-2015, 15:48
iPod snap of 5-5X7 sample metal prints.

Even in this bad snapshot there is noticeable contrast and exposure differences, which hide the surface differences. The file was specified 'do not correct' and was their 'bargain' sample package...

The Bean 12x12" high gloss metal print looks great on my wall so I got what I wanted.

I going to put one of the samples in the south window and see how it holds up compared to stored in dark in a year.

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5626/23060413230_21d60a9cf8_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/B8LDry)1-5 metal samples (https://flic.kr/p/B8LDry) by moe.randy (https://www.flickr.com/photos/tincancollege/), on Flickr

27-Nov-2015, 17:36
JWebb, Thanks, that helps, doubt I'll try the paper.

Randy Moe
27-Nov-2015, 17:38
JWebb, Thanks, that helps, doubt I'll try the paper.

Metallic paper is nicer. I like it better, especially for fashion.

This metal plate is a whole different thing.

Sirius Glass
27-Nov-2015, 20:30
I am waiting for the right print with a lot of pop to try it on.

Jim Andrada
2-Dec-2015, 15:17
Hey Randy - I think a South facing window in Chicago IS the dark! Maybe I'll get one made and put it out in the desert behind the house for a while. Judging from the ratio of dermatologists to population here, Tucson must be the UV/skin cancer capital of the US.