FAQ: Fine Art Printing

Our Print Consultant has many years experience of print making. We will always strive to make the best prints we can for you.

Files should be a minimum of 100 ppi at 1:1 (100%) of output or print size. As a general rule bigger is better in terms of file size, however do not simply resize (interpolate or resample) an original file size upwards as this may not improve the print quality. We have sophisticated software that will resize exactly for output. If in doubt about your file size or suitability for printing, please contact us first. Take advantage of our “Free Image Report Service”. We will check your image and advise accordingly.

Save files as tiff or pdf. If saving as jpeg, use the maximum quality setting. Provided that the opened file is not being enlarged too much, it is unlikely that you will see any difference in quality when printing from a jpeg. Upload image files directly to Yousentit.comwetransfer.com, or send files to us on CD or DVD.

If you are not sure if your digital file is suitable for printing, then we offer a free service* where we check your file and email you back a report on your image file’s suitability to print to the size you require and to highlight any other issues that may effect the quality of your fine art print.

Many self-publishing artists and photographers are not familiar with using color management in Photoshop and are put off by the steep learning curve required to understand all the colour management features. That’s OK, just upload your file and let Q Framing Group do all the work. For digital files you have prepared, we recommend printing a set of proof prints*  on your chosen media and sending them back to you for approval. You will receive two A5 size (150 x 210mm) proof prints*:

One proof print is a scaled down version of the whole composition so that you can check the overall color.
The other proof print is a section of your image printed at 100% of the desired final print size so that you can inspect the detail.
For customers who wish to supply “color managed, ready to print” files, we recommend that your image files should be supplied in RGB mode as Adobe 98 or sRGB. An embedded profile will enable the image to be fully color managed through our print system. Unprofiled images are printed using generic settings, which may result in less accurate color reproduction. Profiles can be compared to dictionaries in that they translate color between one device and another. Please contact us if you require more information on embedded image profiles.

* Terms & Condition

An image that is flush to edge is flush to the front face. However, due to the rolled edge of the stretcher bar, the image will in fact wrap around the edge by about 2mm or so. A gallery wrap takes the image right round the edge of the stretcher bars. Please note that the image will be “cropped” by the depth of the stretcher bar, so consider this when making your choice. The 18mm bars require about 1″ extra on each edge and the 45mm bars about 2″. If you are unsure about the suitability of your image or the choice of stretcher bars, take advantage of our Free Image Report Service. We will check your image and advise accordingly.

The first step is to digitize your original artwork. If your artwork is flat, such as a water color or pastel, and less than A3 in size, it can be scanned. If it is larger than A3 or if the surface is textured, such as an oil painted artwork, it will need to be photographed digitally.

Allow 3 to 5 working days for digital photography.

Yes and no. A good professional printer will have a drum scanner, which produces the best results for fine art reproduction. The sensor system in drum scanners is less prone to electronic noise, and more sensitive to density variation, producing more detail in shadows with less visible grain than flatbed scans. For the best results, have your work professionally photographed, providing positive transparencies – 35 mm is acceptable, but choose a larger format if available – to the printer for scanning. Very good results can also be obtained with professional standard flatbed scanning of your artwork, with the print shop’s scanner being calibrated for their specific requirements.

For small prints, where high resolution is not so critical, or if you just want a few copies and need to keep costs down, you can create a print from your own digital file using your desktop scanner. Scan your image at as high a resolution as possible – for best results you’ll want 300 dpi output, 350 or higher for fine detail. Re-sampling a lower resolution file doesn’t give good results – you need a high resolution scan to ensure all the detail in your drawing is captured.

Digital photographs can be particularly problematic, rarely giving enough detail for successful printing, though some of the more sophisticated models – 5 megapixels and above, with high quality optics – may produce acceptable results. If you are confident in your photographic skills, with access to good quality studio equipment, you can certainly take your own photographs, but otherwise, its best left to the experts. Remember – the final image can only be as good as the source data that the printer has to work with.

Yes they can, although as mentioned, normal precautions should be taken. Any dye, whether it be in an original painting, fine art print, photo print, paint, fabric etc. will fade more quickly if exposed to direct UV radiation i.e. sunlight.

As our prints are not varnished or sprayed, they should only be considered water or smudge resistant. Treat them the same as you would an original water colour or pastel. There are proprietary varnishes and UV protective sprays on the market which may be used to enhance the durability of your prints. Be sure to check that the product is compatible, follow the instructions carefully and we would always recommend a test first, just to ensure that everything is working properly.

No, digital printing means you can print on demand. You can order the prints as you sell them, so there is no risk of being left with unsold stock.

The main advantage is PRINT ON DEMAND. Unlike offset lithography or silk screen printing, there are no print set up costs. You do not have to have all the prints made in one print run. The minimum print order is just one print. Unless the original artwork has been digitally created on a computer, there will always be a requirement for the original to be photographed or scanned first, whichever print process is used.

The inks and papers used are made by the top manufacturers. The inks are pigment, not dye based, the papers are of the required archival standard as tested by an independent UKAS laboratory. Accelerated UV testing, by the ink manufacturers, indicates that our pigmented inks should have a life span of up to 200 years if displayed under normal lighting conditions.

UKAS = The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is the national accreditationbody for the United Kingdom. UKAS is recognised by government, to assess against internationally agreed standards, organisations that provide certification,testing, inspection and calibration services.

In short, yes. However, you should consider whether canvas is the appropriate medium for your style of artwork. Canvas offers a more permanent surface than photo-base papers, though lacking the archival stability of watercolor paper, which would be preferable for pencil art. Canvas also has a relatively low dot gain compared to some papers. Canvas is a fairly robust surface, which can be rolled without cracking and can be stretched on to a timber stretcher for framing. Remember to allow a 2-inch border around the print if you plan to stretch it. Canvas prints are usually sealed with a solvent-based varnish, which is available in matte, satin or gloss finishes. This protects the print from wear, and especially water, as most printing inks are water-based and vulnerable to water damage.

Different giclée printers will favor different papers, depending on their inks and the stock sizes that are available. There are a wide range of choices available in digital papers. One problem to be aware of when selecting a paper is dot gain. Dot gain is the spread of an ink droplet when it hits the paper. Photo-base paper has a very small dot gain but is not archival, so is unsuitable for fine art printing. Arches and Somerset Enhanced watercolor papers have a slightly higher dot gain but still offer good resolution. Somerset Velvet has a relatively high dot gain, though the lovely matte surface may be worth the compromise, depending on the art. Hahnemuhle rag paper is another popular choice, offering a clean crisp white and excellent archival qualities.

Hahnemuhle Rice Paper – This paper is semi opaque just like the rice paper screens you’d see in Japan which makes it wonderful for hanging in a way that allows for backlighting with the right image.

Hahnemuhle Baryta – Using Barium Sulphate in the premium coating ensures the typical gloss that makes this paper a genuine replacement for traditional baryta papers from analogue laboratories.

Hahnemuhle Photo Rag – One of our most popular papers and often considered to be the industry standard that photographers base professional output on and tends to be the first choice from the point of view of the best photographic look. It is especially ideal for archival printing of black and white and colour photographs.

Many self publishing artists, photographers and other creative people use our giclee fine art printing service to create fine art, canvas or photographic prints from their original digital files or artwork.

Prints are imaged using archival pigment inks for long life. Giclee fine art printing offers one of the highest degree of accuracy and richness of color available in any of the reproduction techniques. The visual quality of the print result is extremely high with seeming continuous tone prints without dots, lines or barring.

Using the latest imaging equipment and profiling technology, we print with archival quality pigmented inks onto various media including canvas, fine art and photo-base papers. The inks are UV stable and offer a lifespan of 100+ years. Printing at 1200 dpi using a 12 color LUCIA archival pigment ink system gives you superb color accuracy, excellent color graduation, expression and accuracy with the broadest color gamut in its class.

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