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Thread: where do you get your canvas prints from?

  1. #1
    Ady's Avatar
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    where do you get your canvas prints from?

    Hi everyone,

    I'm looking for a print shop for high quality canvas prints (for clients) on a decent stretcher at custom sizes up to 8' x 12'.

    So far I've narrowed it down to Photo-Canvas who are the only printers I've found using a DyeSub process for canvas (rather than inkjet). They are also very good at saying all the right things on their web site, though that's not necessarily an indication of the quality of the final product.

    Anyone got any experience with Photo-Canvas (good or bad) or any other recommendations?

    Many thanks for any feedback.
    Ady

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    Re: where do you get your canvas prints from?

    Ady,

    No experience with Photo-Canvas, but I have used both Canvas On Demand and AdoramaPix and I was pleased with both results. The canvases were both nicely done, very good color reproduction, on very sturdy stretcher frames with very clean work. I did one at 20x30 (CoD) and the other at 21x14 (AdoramaPix). CoD did offer the option to add a dust cover to the back of the frame. Both were wrapped cavases, and CoD gave the option of picking the thickness of the frame, and both gave options for whether the image would wrap, mirror, or be replaced with a solid color. I don't know enough about the differences of DyeSub and Inkjet to know which I should have been looking for, so I have no idea is this is helpful or not.

    - Bill

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    Ady's Avatar
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    Re: where do you get your canvas prints from?

    Hi Bill,

    thanks for the suggestions, unfortunately neither can provide the sizes I'm looking for

    Opinions can be divided on the aesthetics of dye-sub v inkjet printing, but the practical advantages of dye-sub printing on fabrics are significant. Because the dye sublimation process fuses the dye to the fibres of the fabric the print is more robust as the image effectively stretches and deforms with the fabric and is colour fast. So you can wash them, remove them from the stretcher and roll them up for storage, hang them like a wall hanging or banner, or even make them into curtains. All this can be done without the print cracking, flaking or peeling away from the surface of the fabric.

    I used to do pre-press work in the 80's before high quality colour inkjet came along so I have a personal history of working with dye-sub, offset and litho print processes. While inkjet is without doubt a great all round print technology it is a bit of a jack of all trades and, where appropriate, alternative printing processes can produce superior results. That said I do use inkjet for the vast majority of my prints because of its ease of use and low start-up costs and on the whole modern inkjet does produce a very good quality print.

    Cheers,
    Ady

  4. #4
    ktuli's Avatar
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    Re: where do you get your canvas prints from?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ady View Post
    thanks for the suggestions, unfortunately neither can provide the sizes I'm looking for
    I read that and thought... Really? 8x12 wasn't possible??? but you said 8' x 12'... just a little bit of a difference! Sorry my suggestions weren't helpful, but thanks for the ink vs dye education.

    Definitely keep us all posted as to how your canvas turns out. I for one am certainly interested to know.

    - Bill

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    Re: where do you get your canvas prints from?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ady View Post
    Hi Bill,

    thanks for the suggestions, unfortunately neither can provide the sizes I'm looking for

    Opinions can be divided on the aesthetics of dye-sub v inkjet printing, but the practical advantages of dye-sub printing on fabrics are significant. Because the dye sublimation process fuses the dye to the fibres of the fabric the print is more robust as the image effectively stretches and deforms with the fabric and is colour fast. So you can wash them, remove them from the stretcher and roll them up for storage, hang them like a wall hanging or banner, or even make them into curtains. All this can be done without the print cracking, flaking or peeling away from the surface of the fabric.

    I used to do pre-press work in the 80's before high quality colour inkjet came along so I have a personal history of working with dye-sub, offset and litho print processes. While inkjet is without doubt a great all round print technology it is a bit of a jack of all trades and, where appropriate, alternative printing processes can produce superior results. That said I do use inkjet for the vast majority of my prints because of its ease of use and low start-up costs and on the whole modern inkjet does produce a very good quality print.

    Cheers,
    Ady
    Hi Adrian,

    Canvas printing is one of the things I do for a living (unfortunately not the sizes you're after though -- down here in these parts we call them "boat sails" not canvas prints!)

    I just wanted to comment on the dye sub -v- pigment thing though ...

    I use an Epson 7800 - so definately in the "pigment" camp. When I first started canvas printing I used to overspray them with a solvent based UV protector (it came in an aerosol can and had the consistency of fly spray). I never had any complaints about the job it did from customers, but the cracking you refer to WAS evident in (and only in) areas where the canvas is folded back on itself to form the corner portion of the mounting. We also used to have an issue with cracking where it was stretched tight around the sharp 90 deg angle of the back of the frame, but that problem was eliminated by a 2mm radius bevel I put on the timber.

    In conversation with my media suppliers one day I was encouraged to try a new high-quality water-based liquid laminate (applied via a HVLP spray gun); it builds up to quite a thick coating that in some ways resemples PVA glue in that it's slightly opaque but dries clear (but remains flexible). Since switching to this we haven't had a single issue with cracking or with abrasion resistance.

    I've seen the results of solvent based printing, and I have to say, although good, it wasn't quite at the same standard as pigment prints (the gamut was somewhat "muted")

    It's often said that solvent based prints are more robust because of how the ink is absorbed into the canvas ... unfortunately ... fine art canvas isn't just canvas - it has a coating on top (well the types I use do anyway), and that coating is reasonably delicate. I have to say - that after years of doing these for people - there's only 2 ways to do them: the cheap way and the proper way ... and the proper way involves overspraying with a thick protectant - be it pigment or dye based, there's just no getting away from it. The theory dye based inks being able to be washed is correct if we're talking about removable canvas coverings on the side of a truck, but from a fine art perspective, they just wouldn't hold up; in reality, dirt & grime eventually work their way onto the print.

    In terms of fading, direct sunlight will fade ANYTHING (pigment prints / dye prints / carpets / couches / drapes) - it's just a fact of life. Kept out of direct sun however, pigment based printing doesn't have any problems (the overspray is a UV inhibitor anyway) -- can't say I've ever had a single print returned due to fading (research published by WIR suggests I'm safe for at least 70 years) (and I'll be long gone by then if anyone wants a refund!).

    Although you might struggle to find anyone (perhaps other than industrial sign writers) who can print at the size you want, have you considered printing and hanging the work you require as multiple panels? I've done these in the past and they're definately very "arty" - the problem with doing a canvas the size you want is going to be keeping in taught on the frame as the months and years pass -- they really do look aweful if the tension drops too much.

    Hope this helps!

  6. #6
    Ady's Avatar
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    Re: where do you get your canvas prints from?

    Hi Colin,

    Thanks for your response. I appreciate the points you make absolutely and in terms of fine art canvases that need to stand up to close inspection I'd agree. Particularly with the advances in flexible protective coatings, which had passed me by; some of my expertise in print processes is a couple of decades out of touch

    However I should have been more explicit in my initial post about where I'm going with this and why Iíve been favouring a dye-sub process and looking for large format print shops.

    In the future I am aiming to target clients who are looking to commission large commercial works either directly or via 3rd parties such as marketing agencies (e.g. hangings for commercial spaces, banners, trade/marketing displays etc.) where the print is not going to be subjected to the type of close inspection that a fine art canvas would need to stand up to. In addition they may not be jubjected to the best environmental conditions.

    I have a fair amount of experience of page layout/design work and working with large print shops as part of a previous job so I believe I can eventually put myself in a position to add value to, or provide directly, a complete service from design to photography and through to commissioning the pieces. I already have some contacts in relevant markets, including marketing, so I hope to find an in when I believe Iím ready.

    You are quite right about trade/industrial outfits, I have now found several places that will do anything up to 8' x 20'+ on a range of materials including stretched canvas/fabrics, weighted canvas/fabric hangings and coated/encapsulated fabrics and vinyl for outdoor use. The larger stretched pieces can be provided on collapsible frames with a variety of methods for (re)tensioning, as well as conventional wedged stretchers with additional and in some cases adjustable bracing for the larger frames.

    Obviously over time a large canvas/fabric print will stretch and need to be re-tentioned or even re-stretched from scratch. During this process a dye-sub print will potentially lose some sharpness as the weave is stretched but will retain its integrity. Where as I have got the impression from some larger canvas inkjet prints that I've seen that they would suffer from the more significant issues of cracking and peeling.

    So based largely on previous experience I believed that the compromise in gamut (and possibly a little sharpness) in a dye-sub process are outweighed or at last matched by the robustness of the print, especially for the larger commercial peices.

    I think Iím on the right track with regard to my reasoning over print processes and the qualities of the end product. But with the additional information of where I hope to go with this do you think Iím barking up the wrong tree?

    Back to my inital post, I asked about canvas in the first instance as that's where my initial requirement is. Iím looking at getting a couple of commissioned pieces made up, one 6í x 3í and another at 10í x (up to) 6í, the first one for a domestic setting and the second for a commercial space. For these two would you would suggest an inkjet print as the better option?

    I'm about to go on holiday but when I get back Iíll try out a couple of places with a 'small' (6í x 3í) print (one dye-sub and the other inkjet) as I guess ultimately the proof is in the pudding.

    Thanks again for your input Colin it is appreciated!

    Cheers,
    Ady

  7. #7

    Re: where do you get your canvas prints from?

    Dear Ady,

    You can find top quality Giclee prints, printed on canvas here.
    Check it out.

  8. #8

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    Re: where do you get your canvas prints from?

    Hi Ady,

    Thanks for the follow up.

    If I'm "reading you right", you appear to be pursuing 2 different areas ... "Fine Art" and "Industrial".

    For "Fine Art" - where sizes are generally smaller" - personally - I'd be thinking pigment via something like the Epson 11880 (up to 60 inches wide) (they're not THAT expensive if you say it fast!). These are the types of print that - being pigment based - would thus need to be hung indoors under controlled conditions, and over-sprayed (which isn't particularly difficult). This is going to give the highest quality. In terms of sharpness though, you're almost certainly going to hit the wall with respect to base image resolution -- but then again, it's usually a moot point because nobody should be evaluating a print thats 10 feet wide and 5 feet tall from a distance of only 12 inches (apart from photographers of course!).

    For "Industrial" - Dye Sub is going to produce a more robust print; again, "upclose resolution" isn't going to be great, but again, "who cares".

    So to answer the question, for 6' x 3' - personally - I'd go inkjet. I've printed up to 6' x 2' and they're just fine. I do mount mine in a way that they can't be retensioned, but then again, the canvas I use doesn't stretch a lot, and I mechanically stretch them so tight (literally as tight as a drum) that when the tension does drop, they're still quite firm (although at those lengths I have to reinforce the wooden frame to stop it bowing under the tension). For anything larger - I think Dye Sub is probably going to win the battle; my biggest concern would be keeping the tension on it - 10' x 6' is a BIG area to try and keep taught (and secure if the wind gets to it).

  9. #9
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    Re: where do you get your canvas prints from?

    Pre-stretched and pre-primed art canvases can be expensive. Stretching your own canvas not only saves money, but also allows you to create custom-size canvases for paintings. Canvas can be purchased by the square foot or on rolls. A stretcher bar is a wood frame over which the canvas is stretched. Everything you need to stretch canvas tops for painting can be found at hardware or art supply stores. A canvas can be stretched and ready to be primed in under one hour.

    canvas photo printing

  10. #10

    Re: where do you get your canvas prints from?

    I've done so many times printing some of my photos on canvas with different sizes from our photo collections and I'm happy using CanvasTouch.com, except from high quality of service they also offers a lots of valuable discounts on their new valued customers. some good promo codes I just received this holiday season. I purchased 36" x 48" Photo On Canvas print on our latest holiday reunion for $ 240 and save more than 40% discount. Great stuff, best quality.

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