The digital printing process offers an artist
so many options that it can become difficult to make the right choices
and certainly difficult to compare different services from different
studios. This page will help you understand the critical factors
that are important in the making of fine art prints. As you consider
which printing studio to work with, you should consider all of these
factors and understand what approach is offered and what the real
We believe that when you compare what Color Folio offers relative to other labs, you will realize that you are receiving maximum value from us for your investment.
Any investment in a digital print
is a relatively considerable one. We suggest getting the best
quality scan possible up front.
One of the critical factors
in scan quality is file size - the larger the file (up to
a point), the larger print you can make without compromising image
quality. Many times we have had customers come to us to rescan an
image because they had received a scan that was sufficient for the
original print but not large enough for their current printing requirement.
Some studios only scan for the size print you are presently ordering or they anticipate a lower output resolution than is optimal.
Make sure you are getting a scan that will meet all your future printing
needs - with fine art images, it's very difficult to know in advance how large you may need to print down the road.
Fine grained film does not have more than 5000dpi worth of information
in it so scanning beyond that is a waste of your money. For 35mm film we recommend
a 5000dpi, 100mb scan - all Color Folio Print packages include a 100mb
scan, regardless of how large your inital print is - your investment is protected. For larger film formats, we offer an option to upgrade
to 200mb, 300mb or more for an incremental charge.
Drum scans are typically wet mounted using fluid. The old method
of wet mounting was to use oil, a very messy process which can leave
residue on your film which can over time break down the emulsion.
Color Folio only uses KAMI fluid, a petroleum based solution
which does not leave any residue.
Finally, are there hidden costs for either burning your scans
to a CD or for removing and dust or other scanning artifacts from
the file? At Color Folio, there are none.
Rarely does one want to print
a raw scan, even a high quality scan from a Tango drum scanner.
The objectives at scan time are a little different than at print
time and there are many subtle but critical actions that can be
performed on an image in Photoshop to make it into the finest print
possble that cannot be done in scanning software. So the imaging
stage is critical.
Different images require different amounts of time and different
strategies and techniques. Color Folio charges a flat rate for
imaging work rather than charging by the hour so you know up
front that you will get the print you want (within the limits of
the printing process) for a known cost. We don't charge more for selective changes vs. overall changes - after all, one of the advantages of digital imaging is the ability to be very specific!
The only time we add an
hourly rate is for extensive restoration or manipulation of image
content (removing a thousand telephone wires, for example). If an
image requires an hour or more of critical changes, including
complex masking, etc., we include that in our package prices. Be
aware of how much imaging time and what kind of changes you get
for your money!
If you are shooting digitally, are you paying the same price for your print packages as someone having their film scanned, or do you receive a discount because your image is already in digital form. Color Folio discounts your packages $20 if you provide us a usable digital file to begin with.
When we are finished with your image, we will
send you the Master file with all changes still in Photoshop
layers. This allows you maximum flexibility to revisit any changes in the future without degrading your image quality. You also get to see the techniques we've used to make the final print.
We also keep a copy of your Master File here for future printing. Some studios
do not provide you with your Master File, or they flatten the layers and many will charge you extra for this file. We believe you own this file and should have a copy of it at no extra charge.
If you are local to Color Folio, you are invited to visit us in
the studio and sit down with the Master Printer working on
your image to make final corrections. There is no additional charge
for this service.
Finally, all the staff at Color Folio are practicing fine artists
themselves in the areas of photography and painting. We feel that
this is an essential service to you as an artist - we can collaborate
with you on both a technical and artistic level.
At Color Folio we offer several
different printing processes, all archival and each with a particular
set of strengths. This not only offers you options for different
interpretations of your images but allows us to help you determine
which is the strongest option for any particular image.
We always suggest creating at least one 8x10 full frame proof of
your image on the same paper and printing process as your final
prints. We believe it is essential to see exactly how the image
will print before investing in the final print. We do not use a
different, cheaper printer to create the proofs as this may lead
to small but critical differences with the final print.