Centre for Fine Print Research University of the West of England Centre for Fine Print Research
  The British Channel Seen from the Dorsetshire Cliffs (detail) 1871

Colour Research Projects

Details, outcomes, results and commentaries relating to our Colour Research are disseminated at national and international levels through research conferences, symposia, workshops, curated exhibitions and publications.


The Development of Novel Inkjet Inks


Awarding body: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Awarded to: Parraman, Carinna
Researcher participants: O’Dowd, Paul
INDUSTRIAL partnerS: Pulse Roll Label Products Ltd
Project duration: 31/07/2014 – 31/07/2015
 
Project details:
In 2004, Dr Carinna Parraman undertook an AHRC funded project entitled "Screenprinted colour as a theoretical model for the development of inkjet technology". The Development of Novel Inkjet Inks seeks to build upon and extend the methods developed working in collaboration with Pulse Roll Label Products Ltd., a specialist manufacturer of inks and varnishes for the label printing and the packaging industries.
 
The collaboration will use the results of the 2004 research by exploiting recent developments in inkjet technology to enable Pulse to develop innovative UV cure ink products for commercial print applications, thus giving them an advantage in the field. Today, the field of colour printing is becoming increasingly more technical and remote from traditional methods of the application of colour in the physical world. The way an artist mixes and applies colour is fundamentally different to the digital reproduction of colour and coloured images. An artist's approach to colour printing is concerned with the physical mixing of pigments that are then applied as layers of colour, whereas the digital reproduction of colour is reliant on computational colour modelling to provide accurate numerical data for reproduction. Artists using digital colour are now becoming cognisant in an increasingly technical environment that demands more understanding of different colour spaces, characterisation of printer hardware and paper and an array of file formats.

 

The previous research by Parraman demonstrated that a more practical knowledge and perceptual understanding of colour can be formulated from the perspective of traditional methods by physically mixing colour pigments and over layering colour. In 2004, the technological capabilities and colour science were not ready for exploitation, in part because of limitations in the capability of inkjet print heads. Inkjet printing technology and knowledge has matured, and recent improvements in print head technology and software have increased the potential to inkjet print a wider range of inks onto a wider variety of materials. The previous research will now allow the use of a range of colorants that expand the current process colour set (bespoke colour palettes that match artists colours) spot colours (Pantone) pigments and decorative inks (metallic, mica, gloss) and novel colorants (fluorescent and colour changing) onto materials including leather, wallpaper, metallic card, plastic.
 
As demonstrated at industrial print expos, the shift from the traditional screenprint and lithography market to high-speed inkjet printing is partially due to developments in UV curable inks, which have better adhesion to a range of materials, resulting in a diversity of novel print applications, including: decorative printing for packaging, textiles and labelling. This development in UV curing creates greater potential for layering in relation to the findings of the 2004 research. Additionally it creates further potential for commercial exploitation for printer and ink manufacturers to develop UV curing inks.
 
Pulse wish to address colour printing from the perspective of traditional over layering of colour to create secondary colour effects. This project will move beyond halftoning and process colours - CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) towards the development of custom pigments and decorative inks to obtain new colour mixtures. The results should lead to new methods for printing from a practitioner perspective aligned more closely to the creative arts and creative industries.



Grant title: CREATE - Colour Research for European Advanced Technology Employment

Awarding body: European Union, Framework 6. Marie Curie Conferences & Training Courses (SCF)
Awarded to: Dr Carinna Parraman, Lead scientist and Coordinator
Researcher participants: Alison Davis
Project duration: 2007-2010

Project details:
The objective for the group CREATE is to develop a pan-European network of training projects and conferences that brings together European colour groups and to exchange and disseminate knowledge that enables researchers, especially those at an early stage in their career, to benefit from the knowledge of experts in the field of digital colour.

Furthermore, the intention is to provide a forum for dialogue between different fields, to create new insights to an idea or problem and to facilitate the dissemination of cutting-edge research to the commercial and industrial sector and improve economic growth through new collaboration and knowledge transfer, and to help build future research portfolios beyond the time frame of the project.

Staff associated to the project is Alison Davis, who is the CREATE coordinator and has a .5 position for 4 years. For more information visit the CREATE website www.create.uwe.ac.uk

View the full project details here.

The Wallpaper Project:

the use of printable UV, thermo and solar receptive pigments for wallpaper and textiles

Awarding body: UWE/SouthWest Regional Development Agency Knowledge Fellowship
Awarded to: Dr Carinna Parraman Researcher participants: Paul Laidler
industrial partner:Roland DG

Project details:
The objective of the Wallpaper Project, in collaboration with Roland DG (UK) Ltd and with support from European Research Development Funding (ERDF), was to develop a range of printed materials and surfaces that could be developed as print on paper, textiles and applied to walls, which could adapt to changes in the environment and be interactive with the user. The project explored contemporary approaches to wallpaper design that combines craft, design, cutting-edge fabrication and novel printing technologies. New printing technologies are now being used to print onto a range of materials (plastics, metal, wood, uncoated papers) and can be used to trial new inks and methods of printing (UV hardening, metallic colours, ceramic, three-dimensional, non standard colour).

Read more on the Wallpaper Project pages

Creative Colour Lab (CCLab)


Project Manager: Dr Carinna Parraman
Researcher participants: Yu Wang, Paul Laidler
Project duration: Ongoing

Project details:
Integral to the CFPR, the CCLab focuses on quality digital imaging and printing for artists, with an emphasis on colour print and image quality. The CCLab has ongoing discussions with Hewlett Packard Labs in Bristol, Palo Alto, San Diego and Barcelona; ColourCom Oxford and University of Milan.

Yu Wang, accepted a full-time one year post as research fellow, which is funded by Hewlett Packard, to write a user interface and software for multi channel printing, and algorithms for halftoning. Research is underway to look at methods specifically geared to bespoke fine printing for artists that tests and moves beyond the general workflows of commercial print reproduction. Hong Qiang Wang, who is in his final stages of his PhD is also based here.

Colour Light Fastness Tests


Project Manager: Dr Carinna Parraman
Researcher participants:
Project duration: Ongoing

Project details:
Real time exposure to inkjet prints could be considered as the only reliable method to understand the impact of light and the environment on inkjet prints. This obviously is problematic in terms of predicting the life expectancy of a print. However, by subjecting printed samples to real life conditions then a better understanding can be obtained as to the environmental impacts.

Colour measurements are taken from printed dye and pigmented colour patches, which are printed onto a range of coated and uncoated paper samples. These measurements are taken at regular intervals during the year. The measurements also take into account changes in the whiteness of the paper and the effects of storage on colour and paper.

Colour Print and Image Quality

Project Manager: Dr Carinna Parraman
Researcher participants:
Project duration: Ongoing

Project details:
Research is underway to investigate photographic image enhancement methods as a preparation for printing. The objective is to compare different image enhancement methods, such as those used in Photoshop such as curves, histogram, levels, which adjusts images on a global level; versus spatial methods of enhancement, which makes a pixel by pixel comparison. This project is being undertaken with Alessandro Rizzi at University of Milan and John McCann Imaging USA.

Screen Printed Colour As  A Theoretical Model For The Development Of Inkjet Technology


funded by: AHRB
project coordinator: carinna parraman
project duration: 01.09.2004 - 31.08.2005

Project details:
The objective of this research project was to develop inkjet technology and related new methods for artists through an historical analysis of screenprinting. Whilst inkjet can print fine detail and near continuous tone photographic quality images, it lacked potential as an artist’s tool. In the 1960s and 70s screenprinting was revolutionary in its method of applying layer upon layer of tints and translucent colour to build a picture. This project undertook a historical and technical analysis of 1960s and 70s screenprints from the Department of Prints and Drawings, Tate Britain in order to contribute to developments in inkjet technology.
 
For artists who mix paint on a palette, they define colour by hue, tint and shade, which are: (hue) pure colour, (tint) a pure colour that is mixed with white and (shade) a pure colour that is mixed with  black. The primaries used in inkjet technology – cyan, magenta, yellow and black – could not reproduced all the colours visible on the computer screen and by looking at a digital image on a monitor it was difficult to accurately predict how it would appear on paper.  This project investigated how a tint or translucent colour can be accurately rendered in inkjet.  How can a suitable method be developed in which colour differences and colour predictions be minimised.  And how issues relating to colour mixing, perception, layering, translucency and opacity addressed through more traditional print processes, such as lithography and screenprinting, can inform printed digital colour.


Alternative methods for colour and Inkjet printing

Project Manager: Dr Carinna Parraman
Researcher participants:
Project duration: Ongoing

Project details:

Over recent years inkjet technology has developed at a pace, and has evolved as a sophisticated software and hardware tool for the reproduction of digital photographic images. As improvements continue in inkjet head technology, inks and colour gamut, thus the gap between the traditional photographic print and the inkjet print has narrowed. However, there is a growing requirement for the user to gain access to an inkjet technology that is not necessarily dependent on photographic printing or facsimile reproduction. These requirements could be gained through alternative print and colour methods, such as the development of novel colour sets and modifications to print hardware. A range of experiments are undertaken to investigate how inkjet technologies can be utilised more creatively.


Colour and Visual Perception

Project Manager: Dr Carinna Parraman
Researcher participants:
Project duration:Ongoing

Project details:
My interest in this area developed through the prints made by artists working 60 and 70s. Artists exploring colour theories through the medium of screenprint in the 1960s and 70s developed an empirical understanding of colour relationships and optical colour mixtures. Methods of manipulating perceptual relationships in a work of abstract art have been adapted by artists. Colour and shape and surface are controlled to draw the viewer to the picture plane. The colour effects may change over time whilst viewing the artwork, as the eye adapts to the spatial arrangements of colour fields, thus spatial experiences such as chromatic adaption, simultaneous contrast, warping of the surface plane may occur.

The Impact of Paper on Inkjet

Project Manager: Dr Carinna Parraman
Researcher participants: Paul Laidler
Project duration: Ongoing

Project details:
As more inkjet papers are launched on the market, there is now a priority to make a comprehensive assessment of these new papers, and moreover, according to the requirements and preferences of the artist. Around 60 papers have been collected, which range from a high gloss photographic to Japanese Washi. The objective is to improve paper choices for the user and to provide a comparison of printed samples on a selection of papers. Information is provided on printed image quality, colour, clarity and crispness of line, greyscale, density; as well as the conservation issues relating to colour shift, fading and changes of the whiteness of paper.

The development of a specialist canvas for artists

Project Manager: Dr Carinna Parraman, Prof. Steve Hoskins
Researcher participants: Paul Laidler
Project duration: Ongoing

Project details:
In consultation with the Getty, Tate, British artist Richard Hamilton, and the CFPR, Hewlett Packard have developed a new inkjet canvas that is specially designed for the fine artist. A high quality linen was chosen as the substrate, and which, presents a particular surface quality, not as yet achieved for the average canvas for inkjet. The conservation departments at Tate and Getty have been consulted as to suitable coatings for linen, and tests were undertaken on the coating and linen combination for its archival properties to ensure longevity, appropriate surface qualities and colour reproduction.

KTP between John Purcell Paper and the Centre for Fine Print Research at the University of the West of England

Awarding body: Technology Strategy Board
Awarded to:Stephen Hoskins
Researcher participants:Carinna Parraman
Project duration: 2002-2004

Project details:
A two year project was initiated in December 2001 to investigate and develop paper profiles for artist's fine art printmaking papers. John Purcell is the major paper distributor for artists in the UK and supplies a vast range of artist's and conservation papers. The rapid development of desktop inkjet printing and subsequent use by artists as an alternative method for printing digital images has highlighted that there is a shortfall in quality inkjet papers. The objective therefore in the TCS scheme is to provide a series of artist's quality papers with colour profiles to ensure images are printed to the best ability of the printer.



 

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