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Exhibition printing with HP Hahnemühle Textured FA Paper

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Hello and welcome to the How-To Workshop. I'm James. I'm going to show you how to get a great quality watercolor reproduction, then mount, matte and frame it like a professional.

Presentation and image quality are important to fine artists. That's why we'll be using HP's Hahnemühle Textured Fine Art Paper on your HP Designjet Z3100 or Z2100 series printer. HP's Hahnemühle Textured Fine Art Paper is perfect for fine art reproductions, landscapes, portraiture and images which might benefit from museum level treatment .

Let's get started.

Start with the equipment

You're going to need:

• A Designjet Z3100 or 2100 Photo Printer
• HP Hahnemühle Textured Fine Art Paper
• The HP Advanced Profiling Solution
• Archival self adhesive foam board
• A matte board
• A matte cutter
• An appropriate frame
• A roll of double-sided tape
• And some Kraft paper

Getting a good scan

The first step to fine art reproduction is getting a good quality scan. A good scan is essential to high quality output.

The driver for my scanner allows me to scan directly into Photoshop. So to save a little time, that's what I'm going to do. Go to File > Import and select the scanner.

If you can, select "Professional" or "Advanced" mode, so that you can better control how the image is captured.

Now let's setup the size of the scanned image.

First, I will figure out if we need to scale the image. My frame is 16 x 20 inches. A two and a half inch margin, all the way around, is fairly standard for a frame that size. That means the window for my artwork will be 11x15.

However, don't scan to exactly 11x15. I want the final image to be slightly larger than the window so that there are no white edges showing once it is matted. To do this I will leave an extra 1/8" inch per side.

The resolution is also important. For a watercolor print I'm going to set the resolution to 200 ppi, or pixels per inch. This will give the printer just the right amount of information to accurately reproduce the color and detail of the original.

Now I'll click the Accept button. The image will import directly into Photoshop. Because I set up the Adobe RGB profile as my default, it will automatically import the file into Photoshop in that mode.

The next thing I'll do is check out the color - The optional HP APS software coupled with the printer's built-in Spectrophotometer can calibrate and profile your monitor.

This way you can use your display as a digital viewing booth to show you how the file color and quality really look, and you won't get unexpected results when you print. You can have the best printer profile in the world, but if your file is bad, your print will be too.

Finally, I'm going to make sure my background color is set to pure white by clicking here. Then, under Image > Canvas Size, I'm going to enlarge the canvas size of the file up to 16x20. Hit Ok and you'll see a nice white margin around the image. Select All and go under Edit to Stroke. Set the Width to 4 and the Location to Inside. You won't see a difference now, but when the file prints, there will be a black outline that I'll use to trim the print. It will never show in the finished piece, because it will be concealed under the matte.

Creating an RGB Printer Profile

I also need a good color profile for my HP Designjet Z3100 or Z2100 series printer.

HP's Advanced Profiling Solution allows us to quickly and easily create a profile using the built-in spectrophotometer on the printer.

We'll launch the HP APS software and choose Profiling

Next, choose the device to profile. Select the printer icon, then click continue and choose the printer from the drop down menu.

We're going to use HP's Hahnemühle Textured Fine Art paper. As you can see, that media is loaded and calibrated.

The calibration procedure is extremely important because it helps assure that color will be consistent from print to print. It guarantees the profile we are about to create will be representative of the printer over a period of time. I'll recalibrate the media when necessary to keep the color consistent.

Ok, the next step is to print and measure a new chart. We'll choose the RGB chart. The test chart will print and will be allowed to dry. Then the chart will be measured by the built-in spectrophotometer on the printer.

Click finish to complete the profiling process.

Printing the file

Once the file is set up, we're ready to print the file from Photoshop.

I'll Print with Preview to get a quick visual of the Page Setup. Remember that the file is now 16x20 with the 11 x 15 image in the middle. Hit Page Setup and choose your Z series printer. Then set the Paper Size to Super C/A2, which is 18x 24 and change the Orientation to Landscape. That will give us plenty of empty space around the image for mounting. Hit Ok.

Now for color management. Under Source Space, verify that Document is set to Adobe RGB. Under Print Space, set the Profile to HP Hahnemühle Textured Fine Art Paper. The Rendering Intent should be Perceptual.

Now, click Print and select the HP Designjet Z2100. Choose Paper Type/Quality from the drop down menu and select Paper.

I prefer to trim the images myself, so I'm going to disable the Automatic Cutter.

Finally, click Print to send the job.

Preparing the print, matte and frame.

Allow the print to dry completely.

Cut a piece of archival adhesive foam board a bit larger than the 16 x 20 print. We'll trim it to final size once the print been mounted.

Next, I'll rough cut the print and then mount it. Peel back about 2 inches of the release liner and align the edge of the print to the edge of the board. Make sure the image will hit the board all the way around.

Put on cotton artist's gloves and smooth the print into place while peeling back the rest of the liner. If you have access to one, an un-webbed, cool laminator can also be used to mount the print onto the board.

Trim using the 4 pixel border that printed with the image.

Now it's time for the matte.

To show off the work, cut a custom matte in a color that compliments the image.

After I trim the matte to 16 x 20 inches, I'll use a matte cutter to cut the window. The cutter angles the blade to create a beveled edge and it's adjustable for different depths of material. It's a lot safer than using a razor blade and a ruler.

If you don't have a mat cutter, lots of retail shops have pre-cut mattes in basic colors or you can always customorder a mat from your local art store.

Now place all the pieces into the frame, starting with the glass. Make sure both sides of the glass are clean and dry. Then insert the matte, then the mounted print.

Tap some Glazing point into the frame to hold everything in place.

Now, let's seal the frame and give the back a professional finish.

Cut a sheet of Kraft paper that's slightly larger than the frame.

Then run a strip of double-sided tape around the entire back edge of the frame.

Place the Kraft paper centered on top of the taped edge and press it into place.

Finally, carefully trim the excess from the edges.

Wow, this looks like it was done at a professional frame store!


Those are the basics to create a fine art reproduction. To review:

• Get a high-quality scan. It should be 200 ppi at final size. And remember to leave a little extra image around the edges so it bleeds to the edge of the matte.
• Calibrate and profile your HP Designjet Z2100 or 3100 series printer using the HP Advanced Profiling Solution
• Set up Photoshop and the print driver to apply color correctly
• For long life, use archival materials to finish the print.
• For a professional look, back the frame with Kraft paper.


Thanks for joining me in the HP large format how-to workshop.

See you back here soon.
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