DIGITAL FINE ART PAPERS
In addition to our wide selection of fine art                      When testing and experimenting with fine art
papers, Opus carries a selection of high                    papers in your inkjet printer it is important to
                                                            consider the weight and surface of the paper in
quality papers compatible with inkjet printers.             combination with the weight of paper your printer
Many of these inkjet papers can be used to                  can feed. This will help to minimize any jamming or
c reate limited editions*, original digital art,            other potential problems with your printer. Most
photographic quality images or any print                    printers have a paper thickness adjustment, though
                                                            each printer will have a diff e rent range of weights
w h e re a quality look and feel are re q u i red.
                                                            which the printer can accept. It is best to check your
Many of these papers are acid free and are                  printer manual for its individual specifications.
designed with the discerning user in mind.                         Artists often use digital technology in
Opus also carries papers which are labeled as               conjunction with other more traditional methods
photocopier and laser printer compatible, and               such as printmaking
                                                            and photography. This
a number of smooth, lightweight fine art                    combination of
papers which are printer friendly.                          processes off e r s
*Please see "Archival Concerns."                            greater possibilities
                                                            for art making and
                                                                                                     digital camera
                                                            provides the artist
INKJET PAPERS                                               with excellent tools for experimenting.
There are a variety of papers available for inkjet          Recently, there has been a wider acceptance of the
printers, now that these printers have become less          use of digital media to create works of art, and with
expensive and more accessible to consumers. Digital         the advent of faster computers, more storage space,
papers are produced in diff e rent surfaces and weights,    aff o rdable inkjet printers and the creation of digital
providing artists with many choices of paper to use         art papers, artists have even more tools to cre a t e
for their individual projects.                              and output their work.
     Most digital papers are specially coated for use              The choice of paper you use often depends on
with inkjet printers. This special coating is               the project, the subject matter and the desired
generally applied to one side only, making the              outcome. As all papers will interact with inks and
coated side the optimum side for printing. In               images in diff e rent ways, some testing should be
addition, due to the nature of this coating, it is best     done previous to printing the final image(s). Some
if the paper is stored properly and not handled too         papers produce more subdued colours, while others
much as the oils from your hands can break down             make colours more saturated. Bright whites often
the special surface. The surface treatment on these         enhance intense colours while cream coloured or
papers is designed to increase colour gamut and             o ff-white papers will dull the more intense colours
maximize ink jet loads allowing for excellent colour        in your image. The latter of these papers work well
and tonal re p roduction.                                   with black & white, sepia toned or images with a
                             T h e re are also many         subtle tonal range. The surface of the paper
                       traditional fine art papers that     whether it be glossy, matte, satin, rough, smooth or
                       can be used with inkjet              t e x t u red also has an impact on the image.
                       printers. These include, but are            As with most art materials, all artists have their
                   not limited to, A rches Cover,           favourite paper. Depending on your aesthetic and
  scanner      A rches Watercolour, Wa t e r f o rd, Opus   style, and the desired outcome, you too will
           Student Wa t e rcolour and Somerset Velvet.      develop your own pre f e rences.

  OPUS Framing & Art Supplies                                                                           Page 1
                       DIGITAL FINE ART PAPERS
TESTING                                                         you make sure that your printer can handle the weight
                                                                of the paper you would like to print on. There is
There are a few key things to keep in mind when                 always the possibility of a paper jam, however, with
testing papers for printing with an inkjet printer.             inkjet printers this is usually quite easy to solve.
Ideally, the ink should be absorbed on the first layer
without beading and then dry immediately leaving a
smooth finish on the paper. The paper should not have           ARCHIVAL CONCERNS
a tacky feeling to the touch, nor should there be a             At Opus, we are frequently asked questions regarding
build up of ink in the darker areas of the print. An            the archival nature of our papers, matboard and many
even coating throughout the                                     other products. This concern is also true for digital fine
whole image is ideal. The ink                                   art papers and inks. In the past there was not as great a
should not smudge or bubble                                     concern about archival inks as printers were originally
on the surface. Smudging,                                       used in the office and not too many employees were
bleeding or bubbles on the                                      concerned if their annual report was going to last 50 or
surface can be a result of the                                  100 years! With the increasing demand for better art
DPI setting you are using to                                    papers has come the demand for better inks.
print your image.                              inkjet printer        The Wilhelm Research Institute has conducted
     If you are using a lower DPI such as                       longevity tests for a number of years and is respected
360, try another print only this time set the DPI to 720        for their work in this area. What has become certain is
or 1440. Some paper and image combinations allow                that it is no longer just the ink or paper that needs to be
for beautiful prints at a lower DPI and other paper             considered, but rather it is both the ink and paper in
and image combinations require that you use a higher            combination. Similar to many other works of art, after
DPI setting. Always remember to double check your               the choice of an archival ink and paper has been
printer settings to ensure that it is set for the correct       selected, the storage conditions must also be carefully
paper and type of image you are printing! It is also a          considered, as humidity will greatly increase the fading
good idea to get in the habit of keeping a log so you           of many prints. Thus, it is important to also consider the
can remember what works and what doesn't!                       use of archival framing materials such as glass,
     Most inkjet manufacturers will recommend the use           matboard, tape and backing.
of both their brand of paper and ink with the printer
you choose. This recommendation implies that only
their products will produce the best results. By no
means should this prevent you from experimenting
                                                                COLOUR MANAGEMENT
with and combining other papers and inks, however,              Achieving good results depends on more than just a
should you decide to use a diff e rent ink set than the         good printer, and the proper inks and paper. Colour
one recommended by the manufacturer it is important             management is important too, and is the act of
to note that you will most likely void your warranty if         moving colour from one device to another in a
any problems arise as a direct result of this action.           c o n t rolled and predictable manner. The devices over
Take care and do a little research before attempting to         which you can apply colour management can be
use diff e rent ink sets in your printer (please see the        your monitor, scanner or printer. Having contro l
end of this handout for a list of websites that will off e r    over your equipment will help to ensure that the
further information on choosing this option).                   colours you see on screen will be the same colours
     When choosing alternative papers, there is less            which will print on paper.
concern when it comes to the warranty on your                         The most basic and least complex form of colour
printer. It is simply necessary that the paper setting on       management is to ensure that your monitor is correctly
your computer and printer is properly set and that              calibrated. This can go a long way to avoiding some of

  OPUS Framing & Art Supplies                                                                                 Page 2
                      DIGITAL FINE ART PAPERS
the frustrations that can occur when the colours on your      Digital Art Papers: Specially coated artist grade papers
screen do not match the colours being printed. By             designed for use with inkjet printers. These papers tend
holding your printed image up to                              to reproduce a much sharper resolution than most other
the screen under proper lighting                              artist grade papers used in printers.
you can make notes about any
                                                              Dot per Inch (DPI): This is a measurement which is
inconsistencies. Take this
                                                              based on dot density. Most consumer inkjet printers
information and refer to your
                                                              vary from 360 dpi to 1440 dpi.
printer and monitor manuals for
tips on colour correction. Another                            Graphics Tablet: A pressure sensitive pen and tablet
good idea is to make a number of small prints on one          used in place of or in conjunction with a mouse. The pen
sheet of paper using different settings and making notes      and tablet allow you to draw with more freedom, as it is
as you go along. This can help you with future prints to      similar to using a pen and paper.
figure out which settings you want to use.
                                                              EPS (Encapsulated Post Script): This file format allows
     Learning how to properly scan images, and
                                                              the exchange of PostScript graphic files between image
understanding basic file saving concepts, such as the
diff e rence between TIFF, GIF and JPEG/JPG file
formats, will also help you achieve good results. In          GIF File Format (Graphic Interchange Format): This
addition, a basic understanding of the imaging software       format is a raster oriented graphic file format which
you are using to save and possibly alter the scanned          allows the exchange of image files across platforms.
image is useful. There are numerous websites, classes
                                                              Image Resolution: The number of pixels that make up
and books available that can help you get started with
                                                              an image. Image resolution is often referred to as pixels
scanning, manipulating and printing images.
                                                              per inch (PPI) or pixels wide.

GLOSSARY                                                      Import: The process of bringing data into a computer
                                                              from another computer, file format or device such as a
Archival Inks: Inks that have been produced for               scanner or digital camera.
permanence and lightfastness.
                                                              Raster Graphic: A set of horizontal lines composed of
Bitmap: An image made up of pixels. Often you will            individual pixels, used to form an image.
hear people say that an image is "bitmapped". This often
                                                              RGB: Red, Green and Blue. These are the primary
means that the pixels are distinguishable once it is
                                                              colours used to simulate natural colour on computer
Calibration: Adjusting the colour of one device relative
                                                              Saturation: The degree to which colour is undiluted by
to another, such as a monitor to a printer.
                                                              light. If a colour is 100% saturated it contains no white,
CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black): The encoding             if a colour has no saturation it is a shade of grey.
system used by printers for combining primary colours
                                                              Scanner: A device which converts images into digital
to produce a full colour image.
                                                              form so that they can be saved and manipulated on
Contrast: The measurement of the change in brightness.        computers.
High contrast implies a large difference between dark
                                                              TIFF (Tagged Image File Format): This is the standard
and light; medium contrast implies an even amount of
                                                              file format for high resolution bitmapped graphics. TIFF
diff e rence; low contrast indicates very little difference
                                                              files have cross-platform capabilities.
between light and dark.

  OPUS Framing & Art Supplies                                                                               Page 3
                    DIGITAL FINE ART PAPERS
Website Addresses: - Excellent information on
colour management, inks, printers and lots of other
useful things. - Information on printer inks and
includes a great links page. - An excellent introduction to
scanning. - Digital
printing information. - Information on digital print
longevity. - Reviews on printers,
software and other digital imaging accessories. - Information on testing
of inks and papers for archival stability. - Re-inking supplies.

       P ng &
    Oa m i U S
                                      OPUS Vancouver
                                      1360 Johnston St
                                       OPUS Kelowna
                                                             OPUS Langley
                                                              5501 204 St
                                                         OPUS North Vancouver
                                                                                 OPUS Victoria
                                                                                 512 Herald St
                                                                               OPUS National
                                         1357 Ellis St     120 Lonsdale Ave   Mail Order Service
    A rt Supplies                       250-763-3616         604-904-0447      1-800-663-6953

‘where artists prefer to shop’           

 OPUS Framing & Art Supplies                                                             Page 4

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