The first class of five advanced printing workshops took place on the 5th of March, 2018 with Ed Dunne from Inspirational Arts. The aim of the Advanced Printing Workshop was to enable much higher quality printing of photography and to learn more about different paper stocks and which inks work with these choices of paper. Ed mentioned Japanese paper stocks quite often during this class. These stocks retain a fine organic texture similar to traditional Washi paper. The leading manufacturer of Japanese paper is a company named Awagami Factory.
One of the most important lessons to take away from this lecture was values of light known as “D50” and “D65”. D50 is light to the value of 5000K and takes into account the full gamut of colour throughout the daylight period. It includes the warmth of sunrise and sunset in its value and can be described as a “warmish white”. The colour graph of D50 has more red tones and less blue. D65, however, is a more ‘pure white’. We may think of D65 as noon on an overcast day. For evaluating photographs, we use D65 for monitor and screens and D50 for a print since technology allows a value closer to D50. Also discussed was a concept of “colour constancy” which we may think of as an auto white balance for the eyes. D65 bulbs should be used when printing because they are neutral and give a better representation of colour in the print.
Ed also discussed the importance of your work environment. This I had not really taken into as much consideration as I perhaps should have. He talked about your ‘field of view’ while working, and how important it is to work in dim light (32-64 lux), have your walls matte and preferably mid grey and to absolutely have no strong colours within 1 metre of your field of view. It was also suggested that any desk lamp or light near the monitor should not be used. This, he said, was vital while viewing prints. He suggested, if you are ever unsure of a print, to use the natural light coming from the window. This light is closer to D65 than any bulb, so it will give you a more accurate idea of what the print will look like. It was also discussed how B&W can be more of challenge to print as eyes notice saturation and hue issues more readily in tonal prints. It was suggested we used our eyes on overcast day, rather than under artificial lights, as we would have much more accurate appraisal of the image.
Other minor printing issues were also discussed, such as the merits of using 16 bit images for printing and using the factory defaults for our respective printers for DPI (360 DPI for the Epson printers in college). One print was made after these settings were selected. It was a test image known as a PDI test chart. The test chart displays a number of objects under different sources of lighting in addition to tonal graphs and tables. It is used to test different print settings on various papers. If this test image comes out perfectly, then you can be certain that the rest of your prints will too.
DPI Test Chart
Beta read by Gary Byrne