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Digital Canvas Printing

Canvas photo printing allows you to produce photos on canvas that appear to be fine artBeautiful, realistic canvas photo prints can be made quickly and inexpensively.

How would you like to see your favorite photograph digitally reproduced in beautiful realistic color on a large-format art canvas, framed and hanging on the wall in your living room? You can have exactly that, with the wide availability and decreasing costs of digital canvas printing. It's never been easier to turn your photos into art on canvas suitable for framing and displaying in your home or office. You can take advantage of digital canvas printing technology to produce fine artwork of your children or grandchildren, your favorite family portrait, your pets, your prized yacht, your treasured sports car, wildlife, or any other photographic subject.

Art canvas is the perfect medium for the digital art printing technology. The digital printing process of reproducing photos on high-quality art canvas is able to produce vibrant, photo-realistic images, nearly indistinguishable from original painted art. The canvas prints are made by producing prints directly from a computer file without creating negatives or printing plates first. This digital printing technology permits the production of just 1 or a small number of canvas art prints at a reasonable price and in a shorter time frame than conventional printing. Photographers, businesses, artists, museums and galleries, and individual collectors are enjoying custom-produced digital canvas prints that encompass the beauty of traditional, original art at a fraction of the cost. Digital canvas prints are perfect for personalized housewarming, anniversary, or wedding gifts, custom office decor, or in your own home.

Your Original Photograph

You will generally need to provide your photograph to the canvas printer in high-resolution digital format. The higher the resolution of the original file, the larger the canvas print it can make. A photo taken at the highest setting using a 6 Megapixel camera can generally be used to produce a canvas art print up to about 27 inches x 20 inches. By comparison, a 1 Megapixel camera will produce a photo that can be used for a canvas print up to aobut 10 inches x 7 inches. Insisting on a canvas print too large for the original photo will result in a grainy, blurry, pixelated print, and many canvas printers will simply refuse to produce the print for you.

Most printers can accept almost any image format, but TIFF or uncompressed JPGs are often preferred. Many leading canvas printers allow you to upload your file directly from their web site, and some may allow you to e-mail your photo to them — but be aware that the high resolution required means the filesize will be quite large, which can make e-mailing the photo a less satisfactory option. A few digital printers will accept high-quality photographic prints, negatives, or slides which they will scan themselves. If you need this service, expect to pay extra for it.

A Word About Copyright

Reputable canvas printers will reproduce your photo only if you own the copyright to it, or if you have written permission from the copyright owner. Almost all professional photographers retain the copyright to the photos they produce — so if you want to have a canvas art print made of your professional wedding photo or graduation portrait, you must obtain permission from the photographer first. You can always have canvas prints made from photos you took yourself; for any photograph that you took yourself, the copyright by default belongs to you, unless you have formally transferred the copyright to another party.

Canvas Print Size and Quality

The size of your finished digital canvas print can be anywhere from a few inches square to 8' or more on each side. Typically, the size and resolution of the original photo will determine the maximum size of your finished canvas print. Most digital printers will provide you with you the specific resolution required for the size canvas you desire. If you require a particularly large canvas print, be sure to check with the digital printer to make sure they can produce canvas prints in the size you need. A key point to keep in mind is that the quality of your original photo will determine the quality of your finished canvas art print. A blurry or badly exposed photograph cannot be repaired adequately to reproduce it at many times its original size.

Cropping and Custom Retouching

Some digital canvas printers will only work with photos provided to them in the final desired form, while others offer cropping and retouching services. Cropping is generally a fairly simple task — you merely need to indicate clearly the area of the photo you want included in the final print. Custom retouching can quickly become quite pricy, depending on the particular retouching you need performed. Most digital printers that offer retouching services can perform simple retouching, such as removing redeye from flash photos, fairly inexpensively. But if you expect your digital printer to perform miracles on your photograph, you should expect to pay miraculous prices. Custom retouching is time-consuming and must be done by skilled, experienced artists — it is labor intensive, using expensive skilled labor, so it should be no surprise that it can be costly.

Canvas Printing Special Effects

Some printers will even reproduce your photo on canvas using a variety of special effects. You can have a color photo reproduced in black-and-white — or in sepia tones, if you're going for a nostalgic, old-fashioned look. You can add an attention-grabbing splash of bright color on a black-and-white photo. You can have your photo split across 2 or more canvases, or combine 2 or more photos on one canvas. You can have your photo reproduced with an artistic edge effect, such as fading or a torn-edge look. You can have your photo made to look like a charcoal sketch, a pencil drawing, an oil painting, or a watercolor. Different printers offer different services; if you want a special effect canvas art print, be sure to investigate a number of different printers, to find out what options might be available to you.

The Canvas Printing Process

The photograph is processed using special software to ensure that the colors will be reproduced as accurately as possible. A top-notch canvas printer will be experienced in color management in order to produce vibrant, true-to-life colors. The specific type of canvas used and the type of ink or dye will affect the color reproduction — be sure to select a canvas printer who has experience with the exact type of print you require.

The image is then reproduced on artist-grade canvas without the use of an intermediate medium, such as film negatives or printing plates. The process uses archival-quality photo dyes or pigmented inks. You'll want to make sure the digital printer you select uses archival-quality dyes or inks, as well as long-lasting, UV-resistant artist-grade canvas. Depending on the printer you select, you may have a choice of water-resistant canvas, giclee-coated canvas, or glossy or matte canvas. With archival-quality inks and artist-grade canvas, your canvas print can be expected to outlive you with proper care.

The canvas is then stretched onto a wooden frame, just like fine oil paintings or watercolors. Some digital canvas printers will frame your canvas print for you, but many prefer to let you have the canvas print framed by professional framers, who will assist you in selecting an appropriate frame to complement your canvas print and blend in with your other decor.

The entire process, from the time the digital printer receives your photograph, can take as little as a week, although it's not uncommon for a busy printer to require two weeks or more.

Caring For Your Digital Canvas Print

  • Digital canvas prints, even when printed on water-resistant canvas, are typically not waterproof, and care should be taken to avoid getting it wet. Additionally, you should keep it in a low-humidity environment where there are not extreme temperature changes. An attic or basement, for example, would likely be unsuitable, but the main living or working areas of most homes and offices will be fine.
  • Avoid placing your canvas print in direct sunlight.
  • Avoid placing your canvas print near or directly over a heat source such as a radiator or fireplace.
  • Avoid touching the canvas directly with your hands (or any part of your body). The natural oils on your skin can damage the inks and/or the canvas.