Centre for Fine Print Research University of the West of England Centre for Fine Print Research

Colour Print Workflow and Multi-layer Printing

project manager: Carinna Parraman
project duration: 2009 - present

Project description:
The aim of research into multilayer printing is to test methods for driving inkjet in a more creative and innovative way. This is undertaken by adapting existing hardware and print tools by encompassing traditional approaches to printing, and accessing and customising software and hardware. This might be addressed by: bypassing standard CMYK process inks; increasing or adapting the available colour range to encompass new colour palettes; improving methods of mixing and printing colours; by assisting artists to be able to soft-preview colours; by addressing how colours are printed by changing which colour could be printed first; and developing methods for over-layering colours. A deeper understanding of the relationship between artists’ methods for colour mixing and their choices of colour pigments could have significance in developing alternative approaches for digital ink colours.

research areas:

1. UV curable inkjet printing and the wallpaper project
The objective of the testing was to print colour charts onto three different surfaces, which simulated different types of surfaces that the artist might choose: smooth, hard, gloss, plastic, textured, fabric, flexible, semi-opaque. Through the process of multi-pass printing the test charts, the objective was to identify the maximum amount of printed ink passes that was applicable for the chosen substrate. In most cases a two-pass process was required to achieve an optimum quality and coverage of ink. For printing onto more translucent surfaces, a further layer was necessary.

The printed colour charts were used firstly as a hard-copy print to demonstrate the relationship of ink onto a range of substrates, and secondly by measuring the test charts, to provide the artist with a method of soft-previewing the appearance of a multi-printed colour in different design software.

Download data sets:

Evolon .ZIP
Paper .ZIP
Polyproylene .ZIP

This data contains separate files for each printed pass. For example, file “1passPolypropLab.txt” contains CMYK, XYZ, LAB data; file “1passPolyprop.txt” contains CMYK and spectral reflectance data (nm380 - nm730); and file “1passPolyprop.icc” contains the icc profile showing the gamut of multi-pass printing, and which can also be used to preview the colours in design software.

Project outputs:

'Colour print workflow and methods for multi-layering of colour using UV inkjet for fine-art printing ', presented at IS&T/SPIE Electronic Imaging Color Imaging XVII: Displaying, Processing, Hardcopy, and Applications Panel, San Francisco (California – USA), 24-26 January 2012.

Download a .pdf of the paper
View the prezi presentation

'Traditional approaches using new technologies: case studies of printed wallpaper using UV inkjet printing', presented at Desire conference, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands,18-20 October 2011.

Download a .pdf of the paper
View the Prezi presentation

The Wallpaper Project
In collaboration with Roland DG and funded by European Research Development Funding (ERDF)

2. The development of alternative colour systems for inkjet printing
The aim of the research is to address how inkjet colour printing systems can be developed in relation to the needs of the fine artist. How can colour palettes be created that are a logical extension of the creative working methods of the artist, that are direct, more intuitive and within the creative control of the artist? To achieve this aim, it has been necessary to investigate alternative colours and develop printing methods that will enhance the creative and commercial benefits for users in both art and design. It is envisaged that the information gathered and disseminated will provide new research directions and alternative perspectives for science and industry. By assessing the existing high quality capabilities of wideformat printers in order to determine their strengths and weaknesses, it has been possible to adapt them through a series of tests and experiments aimed to refine their specific uses for artists.

Download Carinna's PhD Thesis: 'The Development of Alternative Colour Systems for Inkjet Printing:
Thesis .PDF
Appendix .PDF