View Full Version : Getting high quality prints from paintings

Marty Shay
02-08-2012, 02:59 PM
I want to get Giclee prints from my acrylic paintings (painted on fine-textured portait canvas). I have checked some local image art companies and one I use for both scanning my portraits and printing note cards and business cards. However, even though his printers seem to be high quality, the color reproduction is off when we print out note cards. The scans are excellent, the images look correct, color wise on his monitors, but when we get the cards from the printer, they aren't color correct--we do a lot of adjusting and testing and still there is something a red effect, most times a green effect in the color. While it's not great, it's very noticeable to me and since I spend a great deal of time in mixing and choosing my colors, I want the prints to look like the canvas.

What have you, who have had prints reproduced, looked for in a image reproducer--are there really good ones that consistently produce an excellent product. I've seen many online but I have no idea what the quality is really like without investing and try and buy. I'm looking for really good quality but affordable for my customers. I would like Giclee prints on heavy paper, also looking at some prints onto canvas-textured paper. Thanks for your comments and suggestions in advance.

02-08-2012, 03:40 PM
You absolutely need a print proof in that case. Any good printer will know they have to go back and forth a bit to match the printout to an original (not on screen). Every monitor is calibrated differently, and every printer is different. This pretty much happens with all printers, unless you happen to get lucky with a screen image matching the printer without any alteration.

02-08-2012, 05:32 PM
I am very fortunate. I live near some WC members who own "Sweet Pixels" - they do the photograqphs & printing and I have had very good luck with them. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have these great services nearby.


Perhaps they can give you some advice if you contact them.

Marty Shay
02-08-2012, 08:14 PM
Thanks for the comments and thanks for the advice and web site. I will check with them. I don't know how to judge a good print company especially those I can't visit and see the work personally (like online companies). Any other information is much appreciated.

02-08-2012, 08:57 PM
Hi Marty


Thats the term your looking for. But there are so many variables that build into this. Blank Paper stock has a color and gloss to matte all effect color. Humidity...you name it and someone will tell you the problem they had with it.

Look at it this way, You buy latex in large enough batches so you don't run out in the middle because they say they can match but....the color cast is off.

WYSIWIG is an ideal that rarely exists in the printing world. "Acceptable" is the term the printer wants to hear.

CMYK is the real deal from your printer. Thats what they print color with. Cyan, Magents, Yellow and Black cannot make all colors. They are limited. The translation from original can loose brightness or contrast or this and that. The overall yellow might be fine but a specific area in the yellow is too strong. ETC

The Color Seperation and Printing can become an art form. Costly as well.

Now, lil rules of thumb.

Always give the printer an acceptable hard copy. It may be scary but leave the painting with the printer. Or you may try to print at home but the acceptable print at home will visualy change from incandescent to sunlight to flourescent. The same is true for the painting really.

Always get a press proof. Avoid the proof some schlock printers give you from thier ink jet. It does not match the 4 color press. A 4 color proof only matches the press in the moment and only that press. If possible, go to press to see a strike right off the press. That will be the best, but if you make an adjustment, you will have to repeat whole process.

It is very expensive to get press time, set up press, pull a strike off, proof it and repeat.... most printers only offer service for regular clients.

Bottom line....Expect imperfection and anything better will make you happy.


I worked in two labe for color seperation, two textile engraving shops, 1 textile software developer and a textile design house.

Those people can get fussy when a run costs $30,000 and everyone is blaming each other for the problem. If they can't get it right all the time then..........

Marty Shay
02-09-2012, 12:50 AM
Excellent information, Michael, I understand enough of the terminology to know exactly what you are saying. So, maybe stupid question, but sending a scan on a DVD to a printer is not good enough? They need the actual canvas? When you say "give the printer an acceptable hard copy" I'm assuming when I get a hard copy that is "close enough", they can use that? Thanks for taking the time to tell me the processes and the blame game that's played, I sure understand that.