Printing on canvas and metal

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by exakta, Jul 22, 2015.

  1. exakta

    exakta Mu-43 Regular

    86
    Jun 2, 2015
    I feel like George HW Bush when he saw the price scanner at a supermarket for the first time :roflmao:

    I printed on paper all through my film years with the standard matting and framing for wall display but these days I see even my local drugstore offering prints on canvas, metal and even acrylic.

    What are the pros and cons of these? Is long term stability of the image better or worse than paper? Is there a loss of detail?
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2015
  2. I saw someone displaying their fine art photos at the craft portion of a show last month. They were all printed on aluminum, were high gloss, and man, did they look sharp. The colors practically jumped off the surface. I was never much of a fan off glossy prints, but these were impressive. So the detail part is certainly not a problem. I think the move from optical/emulsion based printing to ink/dye based stuff has opened this up to a lot of different media.
     
  3. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    I can attest to the durability of the aluminum printed images. I have a scenic I did a few years ago when metal first got popular and it has been bumped off the wall quite a few times and only has a small dent in the bottom to show for it. It has since been moved to the master bathroom, and through all the steam, humidity, it still looks just as good as it did when I received it (minus the ding of course).

    There are so many options now. You've got prints on foamcore, metal, acrylic, glass, bamboo, hardwood, canvas...if you can print on it, there is probably someone out there who can put your images on them.

    I'm not sure of the archival life, beyond what the vendors say, but they seem pretty durable to me, at least the metal, canvas, glass and acrylic do. I've had some foamcore stuff come apart (specifically the mounting blocks for hanging) and warp on me. I'd guess wood would have a similar issue if it were subjected to changing temps and humidities over the years.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    I mounted some test prints on foamcore 16x20" and I've had a few warp and peel off too. Thought maybe I just wasn't generous enough or didn't get the real deal 3M spray adhesive. Peeling I can see, but I did not expect the warping. I can't recall if I used a paint roller to smooth it or not...but I'm sure the varying temps/humidity did it.

    As far as Canvas goes. I love it. No frame required, no glare. They really stand out. they look magnificent..esp the 1.5" frames. The 1/2"-1" look cheaper. I'm planning to do a bunch more to display in restaurants if I get accepted.

    I've only done one free metal print and it looked good. Acrylic is expensive and haven't tried it. I don't like the ones with visible mounting heads though (on the picture side).

    I have had great work from Simplycanvas, though I don't like their website at all. I recently found CGproprints and their pricing is great...but I haven't ordered yet, but intend to soon. Adoramapix I use for regular paper is very good, but their canvas is not quite as good (different texture?) as simply's IMO.
     
  5. Forget the foamcore. I worked for a couple of years at our local Kinkos where we had oversize printers and a large heated mounter. Depending on what you mounted to foamcore, it would tend to warp. Thing to try is Gatorboard..that stuff is very rigid.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  6. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    The foamcore stuff I got from the "respected, well known high end photo labs". It wasn't just a one off either, it has been multiple instances. Not a fan of it. I'd rather spend the extra money and get it matted/framed.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  7. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I have quite a lot of prints on dibond (aluminium sheets sandwiching a plastic core) which look great. I went for prints (actual photo papers) laminated with a matte cover over the top for most, which is not weather proof like direct printing options are, but had slightly better colour and detail to my eye based on the samples I got. Don't like canvas much because of the lack of fine detail (mostly print landscapes)

    I've used foam board to mount my own prints as well, and while it looks nice for a while, it can easily warp if humidity or temperature shifts too much. The frameless look can be very attractive I find.
     
  8. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    As @mattia@mattia points out, canvas prints are limited (IMO) by a lack of fine detail. This can be fine for particular images, but my personal preference is the aluminum. I've got a couple of metal prints that I'm very happy with.
     
  9. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    623
    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    It really depends on the size of the print. Anytime a print material, paper or canvas, has a texture it can limit the "fine detail" when the texture is large relative to the print size. At the gallery where I work, I regularly print 30x45" and larger prints (regularly=2-6 prints per day) on canvas and rarely anything smaller except on watercolor type paper. At the sizes we use for canvas, there is very little, if any, different in detail between our in-house canvas prints and the aluminum prints at similar size that we have made. Even the smaller 20x30" and 12x18" prints on canvas that we make occasionally retain excellent detail.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  10. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    I have 16x22, 20x24 canvas prints that are stunning. No lack of detail. I think larger ones would be even better. I think larger prints in general really are more life-like and immersive. Some subjects may lend themselves better to either choice of medium, but I've never found canvas to be lacking anything in my experience. YMMV. Of course with paper, metal or canvas. Garbage in=Garbage out too. ;)
     
  11. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I think it depends on what kind of detail you want - canvas is intrinsically a slightly rougher surface with less potential resolution (at least all the ones I've seen); I want to be able to get right up close to even my 6 foot wide panos and ogle tiny details. So I never go for the viewing distance only :)