The Virtual Workshop


Choosing the right sub straight. What's best for you and your images. Now that's  a subject we could discuss for months. Here's my basic take on it.  In the digital realm there are a number of choices; smooth and textured cotton rag, photo style resin coated papers like luster, glossy, semi matte, matte or the new baryta's (glossy dried matte look of BW and dye transfer) or aluminum, rice paper, tissue, vellum, scrim, canvas, cotton, silk, or even film.

First and most importantly, experiment with what image goes on what material.  If you want a bright red, don't use rice paper or if you want white in the highlights don't use aluminum.  Simply, learn through trial and error what works.

As a commercial printer, I have standardized to a couple of rags, resins, barytas and canvas.  So I know what to expect. I am always willing to experiment, in fact this month has been all about tissue and rice papers and the result have been very cool and even unexpected.

Digital gives you so many more options and the ease of creating what ever you wish or can imagine.  Enjoy the journey!


Just this week I got a call from a client about his prints looking somewhat muddy. This is a common problem for folks who don't calibrate their monitors. A weekly routine that includes monitor calibration with some "spider device" (I use Eye One by Macbeth) is important as is cleaning your printer and running nozzle checks. Most folks printing at home run their monitors too bright and don't clean their printers often enough.

Now that all things are equal, we should look at settings. This is where the rubber (pigment) meets the print. The most important setting is the printer/paper profile (how the computer tells the printer the color-density information), it's got to be as close as possible, otherwise you are just playing craps with your prints. Simply look up what is correct profile for the paper you want to use on your printer. It's all on the internet provided by the manufactures and works reasonably well. Although custom printer/paper profiles can be made (more about that later) or purchased.

Secondly, you must also choose the proper media (paper) setting for your printer. This will also influence the print's look. This can also be found in the printing instructions that usually come with the profile. If you are not confused, good!  In addition if you are using photoshop, also have it control the color handling and the rendering intent should be perpetual or relative colorimetric (depending on the media) and always with black point compensation on.

If your monitor is calibrated, you are using the proper printer/paper profile, and following the instructions for what media settings to use...your print will be,"mo better." A closer match to the monitor.

If not, take two profiles and call me in the morning.  505-982-8293



Every week I will post a question or issue from a client or friend about how to make your prints "mo better".

Example:  Why are my prints full of cat hair?  Answer:  Keep Mr. Boots away from the printer, the paper and just to be safe, give him to your ex for the week!

PS   Most of the discussion will be a little more focused on color management, photoshop tools & techniques, choice of sub straights, handling materials, scheduled routines and most importantly seeing color & density.

Later Skaters,