Wide format color inkjet prints for photographic exhibits in large format quality.

Wide format ink jet prints in general and giclee fine art prints in particular are revolutionizing the nature of photography exhibits. Nowadays entire exhibits of photographs may consist entirely of digital prints from a wide format color printer. No film, no darkroom, no enlarger. Here we show sample wide format color ink-jet prints from an Encad NovaJetPro 36 wide-format printer to reveal their exhibit quality appearance. If you have a 600 dpi printer such as the Encad 700 printer you can get even better quality. If you have a Hewlett-Packard DesignJet the image will be better still, since HP produces the best 600 dpi output of any thermal printhead system.

These photographs were taken in Honduras with a Better Light digital camera as part of a project to develop programs for virtual museums, both QTVR virtual reality and virtual objects (using VR Toolbox ObjectWorx and VR PanoWorx software). Due to rapid advances of digital technology, we are still testing what hardware and software is best to handle such a long range program. In the meantime, we picture here results which we have already forwarded to the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History. F.L.A.A.R. donates all its photography as well as the large format color prints, and hence appreciates that the manufacturers have made their equipment available to this non-profit program of public education and international cooperation.

One conclusion from the program to date, is that a wide format ink jet color printer is essential to any program of this nature. There is no way to do practical work if you have to send images to an outside repro shop or service bureau to scan or to print. It is essential to have all the necessary hardware and software in-house, and to have proper training to use the capabilities of this class of equipment. The EFI Fiery RIP and Encad printer were easy to setup and use (actually we did not have to struggle hardly at all). A wide format color printer is a cost-effective accessory for digital printing with any computer system, Macintosh or PC-Windows.

It takes only about 120 to 150 dpi per unit to print at 300 dpi or 600 dpi. The dpi of your image is dependant on the lines per inch of the printer not the printer's dpi. In other words, never try to feed a 600 dpi printer an image that is itself 600 dpi. Actually most printers croak at over 180 dpi; the HP takes up to 225 dpi but the HP DesignJets require only 120 dpi and prefer 150 dpi. The Better Light is a high-end large format digital camera so can provide enough dpi to print this throne at its 1:1 original dimension (all seven or so panels together are about 7 meters long). Thus our long range goal is to reproduce the entire 21-foot long throne and make this a present for the Honduras Institute of Anthropology and History. The two panels here are the first test.

example of output of an Encad large format ink jet color printer; Mayan Moon Goddess with her Rabbit Companion.
wide format inkjet print of personified deity of the Scorpion Constellation.

Success in the future of archaeological research, art history studies and related fields will go to the scholars, institutions, and departments which recognize the digital nature of graphic representations. Be sure that you equip yourself with the proper computer peripherals and accessories to handle digital images. We test, review, and recommend appropriate computer peripherals on www.digital-photography.org.

portfolio of wide format color prints of 8th century Maya paintings: enthroned Maya king; kneeling Maya attendant; complete rollout of polychrome Mayan vase


Most recently updated August 02, 2001.