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A 15-Year History of Digital Printing Technology and Print Permanence in the Evolution of Digital Fine Art Photography – From 1991 to 2006

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Since digital fine art photography printing began in 1991 with the difficult to operate and costly to maintain 126,000 Iris Graphics Model 3047 inkjet printer using water-soluble cyan, magenta, yellow and black dye-based inks with poor light stability – but which could nevertheless print beautiful large-format photographs from digital files on a wide variety of artists papers, both thick and thin – the industry has seen rapid progress in the development of far lower cost, faster and easier to operate printers. Central to this evolution have been the dual concerns of image permanence and image quality. An increasingly competitive inkjet industry has driven the development of, at first, more stable dye-based inks and ink-specific optimized inkjet media. More recently, piezo and thermal head printers using high-stability, multicolorant pigmented ink systems from Epson, Hewlett-Packard, and Canon have come to dominate the field. At the same time, in a massive reshaping of the industry, the reduced costs of both printers and computer systems coupled with Adobe Photoshop and other advanced image editing software has made it possible for digital fine art printmaking to move from a small group of specialized providers into the hands of individual photographers and artists – worldwide.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-01-01

More about this publication?
  • For more than 30 years, IS&T's series of digital printing conferences have been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in 2D and 3D printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference that brings together industry and academia, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems?particularly those involved with additive manufacturing and fabrication?including bio-printing, printed electronics, page-wide, drop-on-demand, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based systems, and production digital printing, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields. In 2016, the conference changed its name formally to Printing for Fabrication to better reflect the content of the meeting and the evolving technology of printing.

    Please note: For purposes of its Digital Library content, IS&T defines Open Access as papers that will be downloadable in their entirety for free in perpetuity. Copyright restrictions on papers vary; see individual paper for details.

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