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What Are the Different Types of Fine Art Digital Prints?

Fine art digital prints are a fusion of tradition and technology, offering a spectrum of choices. From Giclée prints with their rich, vibrant colors to the precision of digital C-prints, each type has its allure. Archival pigment prints ensure longevity, while dye-sublimation transfers offer durability on various materials. Curious about which print type best captures the essence of your favorite artwork? Let's explore further.
Tess C. Taylor
Tess C. Taylor

Several major types of fine art digital prints have become part of the contemporary art scene due to digital creative technologies. Fine art digital prints, which are high-quality reproductions of original artwork, can be mass produced and distributed much more easily than with traditional press printing. The major styles of fine art digital prints include photographic prints, giclee or iris art prints, light-jet relief prints, digital silkscreen prints, and canvas prints.

The most common of fine art digital prints include photographic images captured with traditional or digital camera equipment. These images can be edited prior to printing, so that they come out with the highest possible quality. Photographic fine art digital prints can also be printed in a variety of sizes and printed as many times as desired.

The most common fine art digital prints are those taken with a digital camera.
The most common fine art digital prints are those taken with a digital camera.

Another type of fine art digital print is the giclee or iris art print, which is a high quality digital image that incorporates original or montaged artwork. The giclee or iris print is produced by either digitally scanning images or pulling from digital graphics to create an individual piece of artwork. Once the digital image is completed, high quality inkjet printers may print it onto a variety of digital papers or fabrics for display.

Light jet relief fine art digital prints can be reproduced in mass quantities or on demand. This style of digital art print is a favorite of graphic artists, mass printers, and digital designers who can easily modify the size and colors of the images to produce a wide variety of works. Light jet relief fine art digital prints with classical and limited edition images are also displayed in fine art galleries.

While digital silkscreen prints are considered another form of fine art digital prints, they are often seen on the mass consumer market in the form of wearable fashions and corporate logo products. The method by which images are transferred to fabric is vastly different with digital silkscreen from traditional silkscreen printing, which uses a hand-applied coat of paint. Machines transmit the digital image in layers of special fabric ink, which is then sealed to the textiles with a heat process.

Canvas prints are similar to silkscreen prints, except a different method is applied to create eye-catching digital fine art prints. First, the canvas is treated and stretched to a flat surface. Then a series of digital files are passed through the ink printer onto the canvas to create the varying colors and textures on the canvas. The ink used on canvas is a flexible, heavy duty fabric paint that can withstand wear and tear.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main types of fine art digital prints?

Fine art digital prints, also known as giclée prints, come in various types based on the printing process and materials used. The main types include inkjet prints, which use archival inks and a variety of papers; canvas prints, offering a textured, gallery-like feel; acrylic prints, known for their glossy finish and durability; and metal prints, which provide a luminous, high-definition quality. Each type offers a unique aesthetic and longevity, catering to different artistic preferences and display environments.

How long do fine art digital prints last?

The longevity of fine art digital prints depends on the materials and printing methods used. According to Wilhelm Imaging Research, a leading authority on print longevity, archival-quality inkjet prints can last over 100 years when properly cared for and displayed under ideal conditions. Factors such as exposure to UV light, humidity, and the quality of inks and substrates significantly affect the lifespan of these prints. (Source: Wilhelm Imaging Research, http://www.wilhelm-research.com)

Can fine art digital prints be considered original artwork?

Fine art digital prints can be considered original artwork when they are created by an artist using digital tools and techniques, and the print is part of a limited edition signed and numbered by the artist. In this context, the digital print is an original piece because it is not a reproduction of a work that exists in another medium but rather a unique creation that exists primarily as a digital print.

What is the difference between a fine art digital print and a poster?

The difference between a fine art digital print and a poster lies in the quality and intent of the print. Fine art digital prints, often referred to as giclée prints, are produced using high-quality archival inks and substrates, aimed at preserving the artistic integrity and longevity of the artwork. Posters, on the other hand, are typically mass-produced on lower-quality paper with standard inks, intended for promotional or decorative purposes with less emphasis on durability and fidelity.

How should I care for and display my fine art digital prints to ensure their longevity?

To ensure the longevity of fine art digital prints, they should be displayed away from direct sunlight and in stable, moderate humidity conditions to prevent fading and deterioration. Using UV-protective glass or acrylic when framing can also help protect the artwork. Additionally, it's important to handle the prints with clean hands or gloves and to mount them using archival-quality materials to prevent damage from acids or adhesives. Regular dusting with a soft, dry cloth can keep the prints clean without the use of chemical cleaners.

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Discussion Comments

orangey03

Canvas prints make awesome gifts. I wanted to get my sister a special wedding present, but I told her that I would have to wait until after the wedding to give it to her, without telling her why.

I took several photos with my camera as the professional photographer was shooting the wedding pictures. I came up with the perfect shot of the bride and groom, and I knew that it would look so great on canvas.

I sent my image to an online company that transfers photo files to canvas, and it arrived in a couple of weeks. The canvas was big enough to look like an actual painting, but the photo was so true to form that you had to question whether it had been painted or shot.

Oceana

@wavy58 – I actually tried to scan one of my paintings in sections, thinking that I could put them all together with a photo editor and it would look natural. I could never get them to line up perfectly, so I gave up on scanning my art.

Instead, I got a digital camera that takes high resolution photos. With this camera, a photo of my art will look even more high quality than a scan. It still captures the texture of the canvas, but I don't have to worry about things like fingerprints on the scanner bed.

Also, since the photo is high resolution, I can make it as big or as small as I need it to be. If I need to print a large image, I will go to a printing service. Otherwise, I just print it at home.

wavy58

I have made several acrylic paintings that more than one person in my family or circle of friends has wanted to buy. That is how I got started selling giclee prints.

I have a scanner, so I simply place the canvas on it and transfer the image to my photo editing software. If the lighting needs adjusting or the hue seems off, I will make alterations as needed. I want it to look as much like the original as possible, though.

The only disadvantage to doing this type of art print is that my printer can only use 8.5x11 sheets of paper, and my scanner cannot hold a large painting. So, I try to keep my paintings on the small side for convenience.

kylee07drg

I started using my dad's high quality digital camera to take photos of nature scenes on our property. I discovered a had a knack for choosing layouts and waiting for the right lighting, because the images I produced looked like the could have been sold to a calendar printing company.

I started printing out 8x10 photos and framing them with black mats. I basically used them as artwork to fill my walls.

I like using glossy photo paper for my images. This is more expensive than regular printer paper, but the reward is in the quality of the prints. They look like photos that have been developed in a dark room, only better.

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    • The most common fine art digital prints are those taken with a digital camera.
      By: Deyan Georgiev
      The most common fine art digital prints are those taken with a digital camera.