Blog | A Perfect Marriage Between a Scanner and Dye Sublimation Prints

A Perfect Marriage Between a Scanner and Dye Sublimation Prints

April 3, 2016

Although we, and many of our loyal customers take great pride in the quality of our in-house prints on fine art paper and traditional canvas, many art aficionados have literally “fallen-in-love” with the unique appearance of our scanographic still life compositions on metal.
Printing on metal however requires an all-together different approach. Conventional pigment inks used in professional ink jet printers need an absorbent surface like paper or canvas in order for the minute droplets of pixel color to soak-in and gradually dry. So when using a non-absorbent substrate like aluminum, another method is required to get the color to adhere to the metal surface.
For this we rely on the expertise, exceptional skills and our long-standing relationship with Tim and Josh Lutz of Magna Chrome in Concord, California.

This is how a Dye-infused Aluminum Master print is created.

A two-step process is required to print on aluminum. Firstly, the image is printed with a dedicated dye sublimation printer using solid dyes onto a special transfer paper*. After this, a heat press is used to apply high heat and pressure to the transfer paper that has been placed onto a sheet of polymer-coated aluminum. Magically, the sublimation inks convert to a gas and permeate through the polymer coating and are infused onto the surface of the metal. This results in an exceptionally durable finish protected by a polyester coating and provides archival values that are superior to paper or canvas. Furthermore, the finish is scratch resistant and is easy to clean with regular window cleaning products or alcohol. Depending on your preference and taste, a frame, matte and/or glass are entirely optional.

*It’s important to note that dye sublimation printers have a substantial advantage over pigment ink jet printers; rather than printing individual varying sized dots of color that have to “jump” from one shade or separate color to another, they produce a smooth continuous tone which results in an overall seamless transition between tonal variances. This results in a superior rendition of our images with the greatest possible fidelity to the original.

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