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PRINTING STANDARDS
Pre-press setup and procedures.
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Endico Setup for Pre-press

Currently no printing method exists which can provide the color range and dynamics (light to dark variation) equal to Endico haute conduite watercolors. Therefore Mary does not aggressively pursue making print reproductions of her watercolors.

However the Endico studio had to establish standard procedures for achieving the best possible reproduction for promotional and educational literature. The procedures that were instituted are the result of over two decades study and testing. They anticipate future development of process printing while giving acceptable results using today's devices. It is an ongoing process, but certain compromises are still necessary.

Most colors in Endico haute conduite watercolors are out of gamut for all known printing and output devices, therefore original scans are done at 16-bit color depth. This results in image files which have an overly wide dynamic range compared to the original watercolors and must be altered for correct final output. However, this larger dynamic range allows required adjustments to be made at print time (fine tuned to a specific printer) while maintaining archive images that anticipate, and are prepared for, future developments in print and reproduction technology.

To facilitate today's required adjustments, the original scan is provided to service bureau personnel along with a color match print produced on an Endico studio inkjet printer. This studio printer provides a more vibrant color than can be expected with commercial print process, however, the match print is fairly close to the original watercolor and thus allows operators the means to make rational decisions based on the known capabilities of their own output devices.

Due to the high quality of the original 16-bit scans, plus carefully controlled output from the Endico studio Inkjet printer, required changes to the file are minimal and can be accomplished using only slight adjustments made to the Levels... settings in Photoshop (version 7.0). The settings used for the match print are then reported to the service provider to give pre-press operators an informed starting point. This procedure assumes a highly qualified print coordinator who has a similar aesthetic to the artist herself.

The following table provides a generalized comparison of dynamic ranges (that is to say black point to white point) at each step.
 

PRODUCTION STEP

<-- darker    DYNAMIC RANGE     lighter  -->

Haute Conduite Watercolor

|-----------------------------------------|

Scan 16bit1 |-----------------------------------------------|
Color Proofing Computer Monitor2 |------------------------------------|
Inkjet Print3 |-------------------------------|
Process Print4 |---------------------------|

1   Powerphase FX 10,500 x 12,000 pixel scanning back view camera
2   Barco V calibrated color proofing computer monitor
3   Epson 2000P Inkjet printer, using archival matte papers and inks
4   Unspecified, job specific and dependent on service provider

The relative dynamic ranges shown above are generalities only, and are used here merely to illustrate the principle. They do not refer to specifically quantified ratios. Additionally, although color gamut variances are too complex for easy assessment, the ranges illustrated above may also be assumed to map similarly to color information as well.

As for the 16-bit scan, no existing output device can accurately show the full data captured. This leaves the content of the original file somewhat speculative and is an issue the print and fine-art reproduction industries are generally reluctant to discuss—absent the additional clarity provided by judicious placement of smoke and mirrors.

In summary: an original, is an original, is an original. All reproductions are merely subsets of the originals they reproduce and are not exact copies. In the case of comparing an Endico haute conduite watercolor to all reproductions of it, this difference is significant indeed. So although the printing procedures used by the Endico studio result in the best color match currently possible, the originals themselves must be seen first hand in order to be truly understood and appreciated.

Here is a short video of the room set aside in the Endico studio for critical viewing: Museum Room.

 

this page last updated: 10/11/2011 10:24:59 PM

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Endico Watercolor Originals, P.O. Box 31, 1386 Kings Highway, Sugar Loaf, NY 10981-0031
845-469-9272

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