Australian Photo Print Firm Uses HP 5500’s to Print on Canvas

Consumer Art – Large Format Printing Takes Another Leap with Hewlett-Packard Designjet
Press Release


Digital photography enthusiasts can now have their photos printed in
large format on a variety of media at a fraction of the cost.

No longer do you have to rely on image labs to output your
prints.  Companies such as Digital Prints on Canvas, allow you to
email images, or upload them on the service’s website, nominate the
size of the image and special additions, and then sit back and wait for
it to arrive on your doorstep framed and ready to hang.

Digital Prints on Canvas output photographs onto canvas (or other media
such as photo gloss) using an Hewlett-Packard (HP) Designjet 5500 large
format printer (60″) with UV inks.  The print is then stretched
over a wooden frame ready to hang and be enjoyed for many years to come.

“This technology enables people to turn memories into works of art . .
. in the past we’ve not had the technology that could economically make
this type of a business viable.  However, the HP Designjet 5500 is
so versatile.  It enables us to print images at varying sizes, on
a wide range of media with exceptional quality, and at a fraction of
the price,” says Mark Stanton, owner, Digital Prints on Canvas.

“The Designjet 5500 is obviously our main competitive advantage,” says
Stanton.  “It is connected to our PosterJet RIP server which is
also our photo library download server.  Users log onto our
website, upload their digital photos and then we print them out to

“The quality of inkjet prints has improved to the point where today you
can produce work that is on a par with prints from an image lab, yet
are more economic and therefore more accessible to the average user.”

Digital Prints on Canvas offers various finishing effects such as the
gallery wrap which literally wraps the image around the edges of the
frame.  The company also offers panoramic tiled effects or
stitched panels and will edit your image.  The company also
accepts non-digital photographs.

To find out more about Digital Prints on Canvas visit or phone Mark Stanton on 0402 454 955

For more information about the HP Designjet range of large-format printing products and services visit and for a free print sample visit

About HP

HP is a technology solutions provider to consumers, businesses and
institutions globally. The company’s offerings span IT infrastructure,
global services, business and home computing, and imaging and printing.
For the four fiscal quarters ended April 30, 2005, HP revenue totaled
$83.3 billion. More information about HP (NYSE, Nasdaq: HPQ) is
available at

Printable Displays for the Moving Image

Siemens shows color display technology that can be printed onto various surfaces and can display a moving image.
At the Plastics Electronics trade fair in Frankfurt this month, Siemens
demonstrated small color displays that can be printed using commercial
printing processes onto paper and plastics. These very low cost
displays will come to market in 2007.

The material consists of an electrochromic material which absorbs
different frequencies of light when an electric voltage is applied to
the molecules. This means that they change color when electricity is
applied. A conductive plastic foil serves as the other electrode and as
a clear window that protects the chemical layer in the process. The
current process embeds a small silicon chip to control the system but
work is progressing on using a fully printable circuit, so that the
whole device can be printed onto the paper or plastic substrate. Even
the batteries can be printable. Such batteries only last a few months,
but this still makes then suitable for many applications in packaging
and things like newspapers. Other work is being done on using printable
antennas to receive power from a local source. Siemens is working with
a partner company to integrate the process into the packaging and
production process.

Unlike other developments in thin and cheap displays, like OLED, this
new technology does not emit light and so is viewed in the natural
light of the environment. This makes then readily viewable in bright
sunlight, for example, which can wash out other displays. In this sense
it is similar to other developments like electronic or e-ink.

Canto announces Kodak RealTimeProof Partner integration

Digital Asset Management solution provides integration of Cumulus and Kodak’s RealTimeProof Partner product
Canto, a global leader in Digital Asset Management (DAM) solutions has
announced that it will provide a new integrated solution of Cumulus and
Kodak’s RealTimeProof Partner product.

Canto has developed an integration that leverages the remote proofing,
approval management and color management features of RealTimeProof
Partner. This allows customers to significantly reduce cycle times on
approvals for digital assets and at the same time to achieve reliable
color management.

“Canto’s solution exceeded our expectations,” said Rob Montraix, IT
Director at Haggin Marketing, “and we have done our fair share of
research to find the right Proofing system. The comparison panel of
RealTimeProof simply rocks!”

The RealTimeProof client application can be invoked seemlessly from the
web, after selecting the asset using the Cumulus web application or the
Cumulus native client application. That way, users can choose their
preferred work environment. In either case the RealTimeProof client
application will allow previewing of assets, attachment of annotations
& comparison of assets.

The integration also taps into the version control system Cumulus
offers, allowing to search for specific versions by annotation, or to
visually compare different versions of the same asset or even different
assets using the unique Compare feature of RealTimeProof Partner. This
makes it much more easier to control whether adjustments to an asset
were performed as instructed.

“Remote proofing is ready for prime time,” says Canto’s CEO Jennifer
Neumann. “We see strong demand for it with our customer base, as
workflows are changing in an effort to significantly cut time to print
or other output media.”

“Kodak’s RealTimeProof Partner’s open interface allowed Canto to easily
integrate Partner into Cumulus Enterprise.” says Steve Stein, Director,
Worldwide Monitor and Remote Proofing Support. “The benefit for Cumulus
users is the ability to use our proprietary Pixels-on-Demand technology
to stream actual, full-resolution images with no visable loss,
compression or artifacts directly to their Macintosh or Windows PC in a
matter of seconds.”

The integration will be available exclusively for Cumulus Enterprise
products. Further details will on pricing and availability will be
announced soon.

About DataBasics

DataBasics is a major distributor of leading IT products in Australia, New

Zealand and South East Asia specialising in creative business solutions for

prepress, networking, internet and workflow productivity.

For further editor information please contact DataBasics Pty Ltd on phone

1300 886 238 Intl +617 4038 3205, email [email protected] or visit our


Mastering Digital Printing

2nd Edition
Mastering Digital Printing

2nd Edition

By Harald Johnson

Published by Thomson Course Technology, 2005

ISBN 1-59200-431-8

This book is, at the present time, the definitive book on digital
printing. In around 400 pages the author manages to pack in a huge
amount of information that can guide people through purchasing
decisions, outsourcing decisions and help with getting the best out of
either doing it yourself or dealing with print professionals.

Chapters include:

  • Navigating the Digital Landscape
  • Understanding Digital Printing
  • Creating and Processing the Image
  • Understanding and Managing Color
  • Determining Print Permanence
  • Selecting an Inkjet Printer
  • Choosing your Consumables
  • Making a Great Inkjet Print
  • Finishing and Displaying Your Prints
  • Using a Print Service
  • Special Printing Techniques

The book is profusely illustrated with well-chosen and designed illustrations and photographs.

The book starts off by briefly discussing the history of digital
printing and then gets into covering the printing spectrum. A good
section describes digital image terms and does a effective job of
explaining things like resolution. There is then a useful discussion of
conventional lithographic printing and other print technologies. A
chapter then follows on preparing your source image, whether scanned,
digitally photographed or created. A chapter on color management
follows, which does a good job, if a little briefly, of covering this
critical area. The author does an excellent job of covering image
permanence, a difficult topic, which he handles perfectly. The middle
section of the book covers inkjet printing, from how it works to media
choice, making a good print to how to display it. All well done. The
last section covers things like using a print service rather than doing
it yourself, special printing techniques and unconventional media.

Who should get this book? Basically it needs to be on the bookshelf of
educators, photographers, illustrators, designers, digital artists,
scrapbookers and anyone working with digital prints. It is a core
reference book and a great learning tool. Obviously in one book
covering such a huge area some sections are a bit light compared to a
specialist book on just that area, but it covers all areas well.

Can it be improved? Frankly the only thing I would like to see added is
a reference section at the back, with things like dimensions for US and
international standard paper sizes, conversion tables of common US and
international paper weights, guides to approximate corresponding paper
thicknesses, etc. That would make it a great day-to-day reference
source for an even wider range of people.

Digital Art Studio

Techniques for Combining Inkjet Printing with Traditional Art Materials
Digital Art Studio

Techniques for Combining Inkjet Printing with Traditional Art Materials

By Karin Schminke, Dorothy Simpson Krause and Bonny Pierce Lhotka

Published by Watson-Guptill Publications, 2004

ISBN 0-8230-1342-1

Digital Art Studio is a book about extending digital printing, mainly inkjet, by working with unusual media, transferring the digital image and overworking the digital print with other artist’s materials. As
such, it reminds me of the wonderful books on alternative photographic processes, like gum bi-chromates and cyanotypes, that I used to love in my darkroom days.

This is a how to book for digital artists, illustrators, photographers and crafters who like to get their hands dirty. If you have become bored with the uniformity and repetitive perfection of the digital print, this is the book for you. Chapters include:

  • Tools and Materials
  • Choosing Printing Surfaces
  • Creating Customized Surfaces
  • Underprinting Digital Images as a Base for Other Media
  • Overprinting Digital Images on Other Media
  • Wet Transfers to Absorbent Surfaces
  • Dry Emulsion Transfers to Non-absorbent and Dimensional Surfaces
  • Gelatin Transfers
  • Layering Prints with Collage and Paint
  • Creating Three-Dimensional Work
  • Printing on Fabric

There is also a useful glossary and resources section.

Written by three artists who have well established reputations as digital artists and print makers, the book is lavishly illustrated with their work. Step by step sections take you through each process. I like the fact that the book is not just limited to this step-by-step approach but also helps you to understand the basis of the process. This is essential, as everyone finds their own working process, this mix of a proven step-by-step approach plus a deeper understanding helps you to achieve this.

There is a good variation in the book from pretty simple processes to quite complex ones. All are handled well. You can read the book from cover to cover, as I did, or browse and dive in at random.

Who should get this book? I actually think anyone who is serious about their digital art and who works in print should get this book as a way to unlock your thinking, whether you actually use any of the techniques or not. Digital art students, design and photography students, crafters, art and photography hobbyists and scrapbookers looking to do something different should all buy it. I use it with my undergraduate (college) art, photography and design students to get them experimenting and thinking about alternatives.

Can the book be improved? Well, if they do a second edition, apart from adding any other processes the authors have come up with since this was written, I would like to see a section after the processes have been discussed that examines the aesthetic and conceptual thinking of an artist in how to decide when and why to use these techniques. The book is great, as is, at telling you how to do these things. I would like to see a section that discusses why to use them.

New Kodak Professional Inkjet Photo Paper

Claimed to be Universally Compatible with Dye, Pigmented Ink Printers; Instant Drying Media
Kodak Australasia has introduced Kodak Professional Inkjet Photo Paper
for professional and advanced amateur (AdAm) photographers. The high
quality, instant-dry paper, available in glossy and lustre finishes, is
compatible with all inkjet printers (they claim) and represents the
first Kodak Professional branded inkjet- media in the market.

“Our new professional inkjet paper applies Kodak’s history and
expertise in silver-halide paper technology and colour science,” said
Steve Morley, General Manager, Digital and Film Imaging Systems,
Australia & New Zealand. “The new paper blends consistent colour
reproduction with the outstanding quality of Kodak prints as we
continue to advance our broad portfolio to meet the needs of pros and

Kodak Professional Inkjet Photo Paper offers a number of features:

  • Instant dry photo paper
  • Universally compatible with ALL inkjet printers – both pigmented and dye-base inkjet printers
  • Excellent glossy uniformity
  • 255 g/m2, 9mil; Resin coated (true photo base) paper
  • Kodak Professional paper backprint and unique package design
  • Available in gloss (F) and lustre (E) finishes

Custom color profiles available for optimal print quality (visit

The new paper comes in A4 20 Sheets (RRP AU$29.95), 50 Sheets (RRP
AU$69.95) and A3 20 Sheets (RRP AU$79.95). Kodak Professional Inkjet
Photo Paper in glossy and lustre finish is currently available at photo
specialty retailers in Australia.  

So what is it like? Well, we tried the Lustre paper in both a new Epson
RX700 multi-function and in a HP 2710 multi-function printer. Print
quality on both was excellent and I certainly like the feel of the
paper. Color accuracy is good. Kodak make no claims on the packaging of
the longevity of prints done on this paper. That is an improvement over
making outlandish claims using a questionable test methodology, as some
people do. However, it means that you have no indication of expected
print life until an independent person does a longevity test, such as
the Wilhelm Institute.

Would I use this paper? Well yes, but only for images where longevity
is not important. For those I would stick with paper/ink/printer
combinations that have been independently rated by the Wilhelm

Visualize special print finishes, like embossing and foils

Colour Confidence to distribute PrintDevizor to the design, print and repro markets Revolutionary new print finish visualisation software
Press Release

View the difference between standard print and other finishes such as embossing or spot UV, all in a 3D environment.

Rotate models 360 degrees into light and shade, demonstrating appearance when printed

Birmingham, UK, July 20 2005, Colour Confidence, the leading
independent colour management specialists, have today announced their
appointment by Stonecube as the distributor of PrintDevizor to the
design, print and repro markets. PrintDevizor is a print finish
visualiser; by allowing the user to view standard print, special inks
and decorative finishes in realistic 3D environments with true lighting
conditions, it removes the guesswork from decisions on the use of
differing printing and effects. PrintDevizor is the ideal software
package for anyone who is competing for attention using innovative
print, and is available as a free 30 day trial or to buy from

“Colour Confidence provides PrintDevizor with the best possible route
into the design, print and repro markets. They are Independent
specialists, so when they recommend a new product such as PrintDevizor
the market takes notice,” commented Martin Coulthard, CEO, Stonecube.
“We are delighted to be working with Colour Confidence to help educate
the market about PrintDevizor.”

PrintDevizor has the ability to:

  • Create print models by choosing a substrate and applying multiple
    print effects and finishes, using images from standard creative
    software as masks
  • Produce realistic print models in just a few minutes. There is no lengthy modelling, animating, rendering or scene lighting
  • View your print concept in true lighting, with the ability to rotate 360 degrees, zoom and alter the viewpoint
  • Adjust your design to look great in different environments
  • Stretch creativity by giving designers the opportunity to see the effects of an idea
  • Give outstanding presentations and pitches to clients
  • Avoid unpleasant surprises when the print job comes back from the printer
  • Produce output as emailable images, animations and interactive
    QuickTime VR views, meaning the recipient and user gain the full
    benefit of PrintDevizor’s capabilities
  • Communicate your designs quickly and clearly to colleagues, clients and printers
  • Quickly produce high-resolution pack shots to use in printed collateral and catalogues, saving time and money on photography
  • Build highly effective websites and CD catalogues including realistic interactive views

“PrintDevizor is a fantastic addition to our product range. Graphic
designers are coming to us to ensure that their images are correct and
while we have been able to deal with their colour concerns, this
product gives us another string to our bow when dealing with more
complex design issues.” commented Simon Prais, Technical Director,
Colour Confidence, “PrintDevizor removes the need for complex 3D CAD
modelling and has maintained an ease of use and intuitiveness that
would not be expected of such an advanced product.”

Minimum System Requirements

Macintosh OS X 10.3 or later, PowerMac G4 (ATI Radeon 9800 ProMac Edition); PowerMac G5; iMac G5; 2004 PowerBook G4.

Windows XP or 2000; 1Ghz Pentium 4, 256MB RAM. A suitable 3D graphics
card – must be DirectX 9 class with at least 64MB VRAM (128MB
recommended); NVDIA: GeForce FX5200 or better (5900 recommended); ATI:
Radeon 9600 or better.

About Colour Confidence

Colour Confidence is the dedicated colour management division of
TypeMaker Ltd which has been offering colour management solutions since
1995. From its inception, Colour Confidence has been at the forefront
of the colour management market, offering education, product solutions
and expert consultancy services to a diverse cross-section of users
including digital photographers, labs, graphic designers, printers and
publishers, and IT departments of multi-national enterprises.

In addition to its expanding reseller network, Colour Confidence’s
online store offers the widest range of colour management solutions
anywhere on the Internet or high street. As well as Colour Confidence’s
innovative product range, solutions from ColorVision, EFI, EIZO,
Fixerlabs, GretagMacbeth, Just Normlicht, Kodak, Monaco, Pantone,
PictoColor, Praxisoft and X-Rite are all available from

Epson RX700

The Epson Stylus Photo RX700 with 6.3cm Photo Fine colour LCD screen
Press Release

Epson has released the Epson Stylus Photo RX700 multifunction photo
printer with a 6.3cm colour LCD viewing screen, the highest resolution
ever used on an Epson multifunction printer, using Epson Photo Fine
(TM) technology for viewing of images before printing.

Users can preview smoother, more realistic images before printing as
the Epson Photo Fine(TM) screen uses LTPS (low temperature
poly-silicon) as the base material, giving a higher pixel density and
screen resolution up 256 pixels per inch, similar to the recently
released Epson P-2000 multimedia viewer.

The Epson Stylus Photo RX700 uses new six colour (Black, Magenta, Cyan,
Yellow, Light Magenta and Light Cyan) HQ4 dye ink for high quality
photos. With individual cartridges, the Stylus Photo RX700 ensures
users keep running costs low, as they only need to replace cartridges
as they use them.

High quality photos can easily be produced on the Stylus Photo RX700
with a resolution of up to 5760dpi (dots per inch) and a minimum
droplet size of 1.5pl (picolitres) using VSDT (Variable Sized Droplet
Technology) so that tones are smooth and accurate with fine gradation
and reduced graininess.

With the highest resolution MatrixCCD(TM) scanner in its class, the
Stylus Photo RX700 scans at up to 3200 x 6400 dpi. The built-in TPU
(Transparency Unit) also allows users to scan both positive and
negative film.

The Stylus Photo RX700 also includes new utilities such as CD/DVD
direct copy and printing, so designs can be produced for professional
and individual looking CDs and DVDs. This function automatically crops
the image to fit onto a CD label and prints directly onto a printable
CD or DVD. Users can print up to 12 images on one disc and create CD
jackets for an added personal touch.

Included in the Stylus Photo RX700 is the Epson Scan driver, with three
modes – “Full Auto Mode”, “Home Mode” and “Professional Mode”. This is
designed so that anyone, from beginners to professional photographers,
can get the most out of their scanning and printing. The Epson Scan
driver includes colour restoration and dust removal functions to help
users restore old photographs and negatives.

The Stylus Photo RX700 is the first Epson multifunction inkjet to
feature a double paper tray. This saves time in replacing paper and
means that users can stock one tray with plain paper and one with
specialty paper such as photo paper.

Direct print is available from scans of negative or positive film, most
popular memory cards*, PictBridge/USB direct printing from digital
cameras, USB Flash memory devices and BlueTooth enabled mobile phones
(optional BlueTooth module available).

Also new to the RX700 is the creative projects menu button, for various
photo printing needs. The combination print option allows users to
print photos, combined with handwritten letters for personalised
greeting cards or photo albums. The reprint/restore function is perfect
for multiple printing and restoring faded photos in a simple process.

To easily manage images from a variety of sources (DSC, scanner and
other external devices) the Epson RX700 includes the Epson Creativity
Suite photo software solution.

By first selecting “File Manager” users can find multiple files and
connect to the desired function. Users can then attached the image to
an email (“Attach to Email”), print the photo (“Easy Photo Print”),
retouch or resize the image (“Image Clip Palette”), or copy the
document or photo (“Copy Utility”).

Epson’s Creativity Suite also includes “Epson Web-To-Page” for easy
printing straight from internet sites, and “Scan to PC” for scanning
images and documents directly onto the user’s PC.

The Epson Stylus Photo RX700 is $699.00 RRP including GST in Australia
and available through Epson resellers. For pricing and availability in
other countries please check you local Epson site.

# Only available on negative and positive film scanning, with the Epson Scan driver.

* Compatible memory cards include CompactFlash(R) (I&II),
xD-Picture Card(TM), SmartMedia(TM), SD(TM) Memory Card,
MultiMediaCard(TM), Memory Stick(R), MagicGate(TM) Memory Stick(TM),
Memory Stick PRO(TM). Memory Stick PRO Duo(TM), Microdrive(TM),
miniSD(TM) and Memory StickDuo(TM) are compatible via optional adaptor.

About Epson Australia

Epson offers an extensive array of award winning image capture and
image output products for the consumer, business, photography and
graphic arts markets, and is also a leading supplier of value-added
point-of-sale (POS) solutions for the retail market.  Epson’s
products meet consumer and business customer needs for superior quality
colour image reproduction (printers), projection (projectors) and
capture (scanners) devices with high-level functionality, compactness,
systems integration and energy efficiency.  Epson Australia,
founded in 1983 is headquartered in North Ryde NSW and is a subsidiary
of the Epson Group headquartered in Japan.

About the Epson Group

Epson is a global leader in imaging products including printers,
projectors and LCDs. With an innovative and creative culture, Epson is
dedicated to exceeding the vision and expectations of customers
worldwide with products known for their superior quality,
functionality, compactness and energy efficiency.

Epson is a network of 84,899 employees in 110 companies around the
world, and is proud of its ongoing contributions to the global
environment and to the communities in which it is located. Led by the
Japan-based Seiko Epson Corp., the Group had consolidated sales of
1,480 billion yen in fiscal 2004.

Choosing the Right Screen Ruling

This article covers screen ruling selections for a variety of print processes for the printing industry and pre-press professionals.
Today’s advanced screening technologies present the print buyer and
prepress manager with a seemingly endless variety of screen algorithms
from which to choose. How then does one choose the right screen ruling
to deliver the best results on press? The answer: it depends. The
following outlines the options available and their best fit.

Factors Influencing the Status Quo

Traditional rosette-based amplitude modulated (AM) screening had been
virtually unchanged from its inception in the late 1800’s, until the
advent of super-cell AM screens in the early 1990’s. Soon these modern
AM screens, such as Agfa’s Balanced Screening (:ABS), became the

In 1993, two events turned conventional wisdom upside-down. Stochastic
or frequency modulated (FM) screens, such as :CristalRaster, were
introduced. And the first platesetters from companies such as Gerber,
Optronics and Creo, (now Esko-Graphics, ECRM and Eastman Kodak
respectively) became commercially available.

Traditional Screening

AM screens vary the size of the dot on an established grid or
line-screen ruling to change the tonal value. The finer the grid, the
higher the frequency or number of dots and the closer  the rows of
dots are to each other. Varying conditions of the prepress process and
the types of presses being used limit the screen ruling. The printing
process, therefore, determines the choice of a traditional AM screen
ruling; it is not solely a decision of preference. 

Stochastic Screening

Stochastic screening enabled new levels of detail. Previously, and at
an imager resolution of 2400, the finest AM screen ruling possible that
could deliver a continuous 1-99% tonal range, was 240 lpi. Considering
the standard screen ruling for magazine production is based on 133 lpi
(still today’s SWOP standard), the ability to deliver screening beyond
133 lpi or 240 lpi seemed revolutionary.

While mezzotinting  and stippling (precursors to  stochastic
screening in etching and engraving) were popular as far back as the
American and French Revolutions, the concept of modulating tones by
controlling the frequency or number of dots (FM), rather than varying
the size of the dots (AM) was indeed revolutionary. Stochastic
screening in a PostScript workflow was the first method to faithfully
reproduce a broad tonal scale at high fidelity with line-screen
equivalents of 300, 350 and 400 lpi.

The trick in today’s advanced screening algorithms is to control the
highlight and shadow detail in an FM fashion, utilising no smaller dot
than the process can easily hold. Often one hears how a magazine
manufacturer has settled upon a minimum-sized dot of 28 microns, which
equates to a 2% dot at 133 lpi.

SWOP standards were defined around best practices in magazine
production. Such conditions dictated that in order to print a 2-98%
tonal range, the finest dot the process could hold was a 2% dot at 133
lpi, or 28 microns. And yet, with the inherent variables of a
film-based workflow, consistently holding a 28-micron dot was a
challenge, let alone 14 or 21.

The Arrival of CtP

As PostScript-based advanced screening algorithms were challenging the
practical limitations of traditional film-based workflows, another
revolutionary technology arrived: computer-to-plate (CtP). CtP devices
were designed to reduce the steps and variables in delivering dots to

At first, CtP delivered several production benefits to the printer.
However, it was the simple removal of variables (no film imager or
chemistry fluctuations, no exposure-frame draw-down issues, no
exposure-frame lamp and timing variables, etc.) that proved to be the
factor that enabled the marriage of two revolutionary technologies: FM
screening and CtP.

FM Screening and CtP

With the marriage of FM screening and CtP, prepress systems could now
push the envelope of what these two technologies could deliver. What
before had been a nearly impossible task – to hold a 1% dot at 240 lpi
on plate – was now feasible. And because the addressability of standard
2400-dpi devices maxed-out at that 1% dot (10.6 microns), FM screening
seemed a natural fit.

Regardless of the first order FM distribution (random), or second order
FM (variable dot size placed into mid-tone swirls or worms), FM
screening was too grainy, especially in the mid-tones where the
frequency caused dot clumping, and it was still difficult to manage on

1% pseudo ‘AM’ tone at 300 lpi and 2400 dpi

The Inherent Benefit of AM Screens and Disadvantage of FM Screens

FM delivers finer detail than AM screens. However, this is the benefit
of the small dot or high-frequency and not the random distribution.
Until they max-out at 240 lpi, AM screens deliver smoother flat tints
than FM, and are more forgiving on-press than FM screens. It is also
easier to control grey balance with AM screens.

While some argue that using ink density to control mid-tones should be
the exception and not common practice, they do agree that FM does not
respond to density adjustments. So, the challenge to the industry was
to come up with a screening algorithm that combined the best of FM
(higher fidelity, and more consistent highlight and shadow details)
with the best of the AM world (smoother flat tints, greater operating
latitude on press).

XM Screening: The Best of Both Worlds

The problem with hybrid screens however, was the visible crossover
where FM and AM meet. The challenge was to combine the two technologies
seamlessly, without noticeable intersections. XM or cross modulation
screening provided the solution.

Agfa’s :Sublima XM technology applies a common sense approach to
advanced screening: match the screening to the pressroom environment,
rather than changing the pressroom to match the screening requirements.
XM screens take into consideration the type of paper typically used
(coated, uncoated, recycled, newsprint, etc.), the printing
architecture (sheet-fed, heat- or cold-set web, flexography), and other
variables (such as typical ink tack, blanket release etc.). XM
screening works within the established parameters and uses the smallest
optimised and printable dot for the application.

As you can see in the example below, the smaller and higher-frequency
XM dots to the right are still placed along an established AM grid, but
no smaller dot is used than can be easily held within this press
condition (in this case – 28 microns for heat-set web).

So, What Screen Ruling Should I Use?

The question is not really what screen ruling, but rather, “What is
minimum sized dot I can easily print?” This smallest dot size varies
based on press architecture and typical press en
vironment. The higher
the line ruling, the higher the risk of dropping the highlight detail
on press yielding blotchy or posterised effects. So, by establishing
the smallest sized dot that can be easily held, the next task is to
ensure a full tonal range.

XM screens deliver a full tonal range by using AM screens in the vast
mid-tones, and then converting to an FM (but not randomly distributed)
placement of the dots in the highlights and shadows. XM and FM
algorithms deliver 1-99% tonal ranges by placing (or leaving) fewer
dots of that optimised and minimally-defined dot. So just what size is
that dot?

The Magic Number for HeatSet Webs: 28 microns

The smallest sized dot depends upon the application. Magazine printers
have optimised their operations around a 28-micron size minimum dot,
which equates to a 2% dot at 133 lpi. However, at 175 lpi, that 2%
equates to a 21 micron sized dot, a size that might work well for
sheet-fed presses, but presents a challenge for typical heat-set web
environments. Therefore, XM screening algorithms tend to find that a 28
micron dot works well (2×3 pixel for a 2400 dpi device, or 2×2 pixels
for an 1800 dpi device). So, instead of a traditional standard of 150
lpi, with XM screening, heatset web printers find that they can nearly
double the resolution – up to 240 or 250 lpi, with no extra effort on

The Magic Number for ColdSet Webs: 35 microns

The issue for newspapers is not the imager quality, the quality of the
plates or even the ink. The newsprint substrate is the single aspect
that defines the screening parameters. By using a minimum dot size that
ranges between 35 and 40 microns, newspaper publishers are realising
the benefit of advanced screening technologies, without having to
change the pressroom. From what used to be a maximum standard of 100
lpi, newspapers are now attaining 180 lpi. And they accomplish this
without reducing dot size, but by simply using XM screening.

The Magic Number for Sheet-fed Presses: 21 microns (but it depends)

The sheet-fed environment in general is quite standardised, and
products such as :Sublima have been carefully formulated to ensure the
customer makes the right screening choice.

With :Sublima, Agfa engineers have assembled compensated screen sets
with pre-established minimum and maximum dots and frequencies based on
a variety of imager and plate characteristics, in combination with a
variety of press environments.

Provided a shop can consistently hold a 2% dot at 175 lpi, then that
dot size equates to a 21 micron dot size. Therefore, XM screening
algorithms based on 21 microns are quite popular in the optimum
sheet-fed environment. However, should the printer use a recycled
stock, then a bit larger minimum dot – 28 microns – should be the
default. Again it depends. With an XM technology, standard 21-micron
screen rulings exist at 210, 240, 280 and 340 lpi.

Regardless of technology or environment, one aspect rings common:
optimised process control is a must, and today’s CtP technologies help
to stabilise the environment.

When should one use 240 lpi versus 340 lpi?

Considering that a given combination of stock and ink sets can easily
deliver a 21-micron dot to the press sheet, then why not always use the
finest 340-lpi screen? A finer line screen cannot uncover what is not
there. However, it does allow you to get more detail from larger image
files that do have more information. With today’s rasterising speeds,
processing is not an issue but image archival and retrieval overhead
may be.

The finer the screen ruling, the more XM behaves like FM. FM can
deliver fine detail, but FM dots also resist on-press colour

At a normal viewing distance, it is difficult to tell the difference
between 240 and 340 lpi with the naked eye. Yet ink density and
reflectance can generate a greater measurable colour gamut or
brilliance with finer screens. And upon closer examination, one can see
differences in detail between 240, 280 and 340 lpi screen rulings.

With XM screening, when using 21-micron based 240 or 340 lpi screen
rulings, the dot size in the highlights and shadows are the same: 21
microns. At 240 lpi, the tonal range between 1% and 4% is built from
the same-sized 21-micron dot. With 340 lpi, the tonal range between 1%
and 8% is built from frequencies of those same-sized dots. Due to the
increased line ruling, and based on the AM aspect, 340 lpi mid-tone
dots are naturally smaller than the 240 lpi mid-tone dots.

These smaller 340 lpi dots in the mid-tones, and their lower ink
density yield a narrower on-press operating latitude than their 240 lpi
counterparts, and yet both allow for more on-press management than
traditional FM dots. Therefore, 240 lpi XM is more forgiving on press
than 340 lpi XM, and 340 XM is more forgiving on press than FM. But
whether the XM screen is 210, 240, 280 or 340 lpi, no smaller dot is
ever needed than that 2% dot at 175 lpi within conventional AM

Both 240 and 340 lpi XM screens are designed to work well within the
capabilities of the standard sheet-fed press environment. True, there
are indeed subtle and at times valuable differences in the rendering of
the finest image detail and the brilliance of the hues with finer
frequencies, but the practical difference between the two is that on
press, the finer the screen, the narrower the press latitude.

The Choice is Yours

Today’s advanced screening technologies prove to be a perfect fit for
today’s CtP technologies. Since XM screening algorithms combine the
best of both the AM and FM worlds, the matter of best fit depends on
stock characteristics and how much flexibility one desires on press.

It has taken over 250 years for imaging and screening technology to be
optimised to match the performance characteristics of the printing
process. With today’s XM screening, print buyers and printers can
choose not from a position of inherent system limitations, but rather,
from an optimised screening palette based on personal preference and
ease-of-use. The choice is yours.

Portable PictureMate

Epson releases the PictureMate 500 featuring a 6cm colour LCD screen and optional battery for portable printing
Press Release

Epson has released the Epson PictureMate 500 (also known as the
PictureMate Deluxe Viewer Edition in the US market) dedicated 4×6 photo
printer with a 6cm colour LCD (Liquid Crustal Display) viewing screen
and optional Lithium-Ion battery, designed for portable, quick and easy
photo printing.

With a high resolution (320 x 240) colour LCD screen, the PictureMate
500 allows users to confirm images before printing and gain an accurate
indication of the printed result. This feature becomes particularly
useful when printing a selection of the images stored on a memory

For totally portable photo printing, an optional Lithium-Ion battery
can be used in the PictureMate 500. This allows users to take the
PictureMate 500 with them on holidays or to special events and print
high quality photos at the touch of a button.

These new features in the PictureMate 500, build on those of the highly
popular PictureMate, which was released by Epson in 2004.

The Epson PictureMate 500 produces high quality photos using Epson’s
six colour UltraChrome Hi-Gloss[TM] pigment ink (Black, Cyan, Magenta,
Yellow, Red, and Blue). With a 5760 optimised dpi (dots per inch) and
3pl (picolitre) droplet size, prints from the PictureMate 500 are
better quality and last longer than traditional photos.

Using UltraChrome Hi-Gloss pigment ink means that extremely durable
photos can be produced on the PictureMate 500. With a lightfastness of
up to 104 years#, photos produced on the PictureMate 500 ensure that
memories can be preserved for future generations. UltraChrome ink is
also water resistant and less susceptible to scratching compared to
dye-based inks.

As the PictureMate 500 is PictBridge compatible, each image is
automatically optimised for colour and quality as it passes from the
digital camera to the printer and users can print photos in colour,
black and white or sepia, with or without borders, and in a range of
sizes (up to 4×6) so home printing can be creative as well as easy.

The Epson PictureMate 500 maintains a low cost per photo of less than
29 cents US or 50 cents Australian per print. The affordable and
convenient PictureMate PicturePack is designed specifically for the
PictureMate range of photo printers and includes the ink cartridge and
100 sheets of PictureMate Photo Paper.

With the PictureMate 500 users have a range of PC free printing options
from digital cameras, all popular memory cards including SD(TM) memory
card/MultiMediaCard(TM), Memory Stick Ž, Compact Flash(TM) Type I and II,
SmartMedia(TM), Secure Digital, MMC, xD and Microdrive, as well as storage
devices. An optional BlueTooth module is also available for wireless
printing from compatible mobile devices.

The Epson PictureMate 500 is priced at US$249.99 or $399 RRP including
GST  in Australia and the Epson Battery is priced at US$69.99. Check local pricing in other countries.

# Lightfastness results using Epson UltraChrome Hi-Gloss ink set of 104
years on Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper, based on accelerated testing
of prints displayed indoors, framed under glass. See
for test details and information on other Epson papers.  Actual
print stability will vary according to display conditions, light
intensity, humidity and atmospheric conditions.  Epson does not
guarantee longevity of prints.  For maximum print life display all
prints under glass or properly store them.