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03/30/15 New article on Mounting Canvas to Gator board

800M canvas print from Epson 9900 and Matte Ink with Breathing Color Profile

800M canvas print from Epson 9900 and Matte Ink with Breathing Color Profile

I have just put up a new article on mounting canvas to gator board.  This is a step by step write up which will take you from a printed canvas to framed print.  You will learn how to cut the canvas to size, prepare the gator board, lay down the glue, and then mount the canvas to the gator.  I then cover the final trimming of the print and getting it ready for the frame.  The full article is here–Mounting canvas to gator board for a finished framed print. 

This is one inexpensive way to display a canvas print, that will remove the need for an expensive gallery wrap and will also allow you to use a vast majority of the frames on the market, unlike a gallery wrap.  Gallery wraps will always need a very deep standard frame or they need a float frame.

07/10/13 An example of Breathing Color’s excellent customer service

800M canvas print from Epson 9900 and Matte Ink with Breathing Color Profile

800M canvas print from Epson 9900 and Matte Ink with Breathing Color Profile

Breathing Color, is a Canvas and Paper company based out of Austin Texas.  They make a wide range of paper and canvas solutions for both solvent and inkjet printers.  I have worked with Breathing Color products  now for over 7 years and the results have  been excellent.  In a world where an issue with a product tends to get pushed to a long waiting list that requires a series of conversations back and forth, Breathing Color on the other hand can address issues immediately with a  working solution.   Here are a few examples of this:

  1. Recently I started moving my matte printing over to the Epson 9900 from my older 7800 as most of my jobs were moving to sizes that the 7800 could not handle at it’s maximum width of 24 inches.  If you are using a Epson 7900 (24″) or 9900 (44″) print with canvas, one of the biggest issues has always been getting the running length of the print to come out correctly.  For some reason Epson printers can’t handle the flexibility of canvas, so on all prints, you had to add to the dimension that was the running length of the print.  (on a 40 x 60 inch print, 60 inches would be your running length)  In the past with canvas, most profiles were generated with the Water Color Radiant White (WCRW) media setting.  This made an excellent image but the Epson printers with WCRW media setting for canvas would never get the running length correct.  With the advent of the 9900/7900 series, Epson addressed this with the “canvas” media setting.  When you select canvas, the running length on most prints will be exact or withing 1/16 of an inch which is totally acceptable.  This is true on longer prints like 36″ x 72″ and anything shorter.  The only drawback to the canvas media setting is that has a different ink density.  So if you use the canvas media setting with a profile generated with WCRW media setting, the colors will  tend to look washed out.   So the key is to get a new profile generated with the canvas media setting.  Breathing Color over the past 2 months has been releasing some excellent profiles, they are so good, that I have pretty much stopped trying to use my i1 profiler to generate the custom profiles.  Breathing Color had released profiles for the 9900 matte ink set for their Lyve canvas but had not yet generated one for 800M matte.  I was working on a big job that required canvas prints ranging from 24 x 36 to 40 x 60, but due to the amount budgeted by the customer I had to bid with 800M canvas.  The results I have been getting with the new Lyve 9900 profile have been nothing short of spectacular, especially  details in the shadows.  I wanted to be able to get the same results from 800M, but the Lyve profile is not a good profile to use on 800M.  I contacted Justin at Breathing Color as asked if he could generate a new 800M profile for the 9900 matte.  Justin agreed to do this an was able to turn it around within 4 hours.    I was running on a short timeline and needed to get the prints off, so I was very pleased with this type of customer service.  The profile generated excellent prints and hopefully it has been added to the Breathing color website for general use.
  2. With modern profiling you now have the option to generate a Bradford icc profile in vr 2 or vr 4.   With CS3 and CS4 I have noticed a problem with the profiles generated as vr 2 on one machine, not transferring well to another machine if they are generated on a windows platform.   Most commonly when this problem occurs you and you soft-proof, with a vr 2 profile the image seems to look inverted or almost like a color negative.  However if you generate all the profiles as vr4, this does not seem to be an issue.   The only way to fix this is re-generate the profile as vr 4 then it seems to work fine.  The issue is that most people now seem to be using CS5, CS6 or Lightroom for their printing not CS3.  I still prefer to use CS3 for certain prints as I like the workflow and CS3 still allows for the transfer selection.   The first version of the Breathing Color 9900 matte ink profile for Lyve came in a vr 2 variant and thus would not work on my CS3 prints.  I contacted Breathing Color on this issue and within 2 hours I had a new vr 4 variant of the profile.  This profile worked perfectly and I was able to get the job finished on time.

Breathing Color has always handled typical customer service issues like damage shipping, or defective product in a very professional manner, however issues like profile generation  tend to be beyond day to day customer service and quick turn a rounds.  With the high quality prints I am now seeing with the 9900 matte ink set on both Lyve and 800M from these new Breathing Color profiles  I am now very confident to take on any canvas printing job.

This type of customer service is what I like to term “added value” and Breathing Color delivers on it.  I hope that other photographer/printers etc.  will discover this aspect of Breathing Color and take advantage of it.

You can find out more about Breathing color from their website.  They offer a sample program for all of their products and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in fine art printing on inkjet or solvent printers.

04/28/13 New information on Stretch Relief Pliers and wide back Stretcher bars

Stretch relief pliers working with a Omega 1.5 inch stretcher bar

Stretch relief pliers working with a Omega 1.5 inch stretcher bar


I was able to reuse some of my older 1.5 inch stretcher bars that were made by Omega with the new stretch relief pliers.  These bars are called a 1.5 inch bar, but they have a wider back side.  This makes it a bit harder to work with the stretch relief pliers since they really need to hit the very back of the frame to get a leverage point and create a fulcrum.  However I found that if I added just a bit more length of extra canvas, I was able to get a working solution.  You can read more about my findings here:

03/31/13 I have written a new article about Stretch Relief Pliers by Breathing Color

Stretch Relief Pliers by Breathing Color

Stretch Relief Pliers by Breathing Color

I recently wrote a review of the the Breathing Color Stretch Relief Pliers.  These Pliers are a revolutionary design that allow a person stretching a inkjet canvas to have a tremendous amount of control over the canvas during the stretching.  These new pliers allow the user to increase their productivity by a considerable amount over the use of standard canvas pliers like the ones made by Fletcher.  The pliers many features that are unique:

  1. Locking pliers design with adjustable tension
  2. Teeth that grip the canvas allowing no slippage
  3. Notched back that allows the user to get in closer to the corners and center bars
  4. 4.5″ inch width which allow you to work with much more canvas during each stapling

I have been working with the Stretch Relief pliers now for about 6 months and I have yet to have any issues with them.  These pliers allow for a much more even tension on the canvas during stretching and create a true drum tight stretch.  You can read more about them in my review here:



06/27/12 Media type is very important when working with custom paper profiles and the Epson 9900

Since mid 2011, I have been working with the i1 Publish profiling solution.  This included the i1 software, now at version 1.3.2 and the i1 spectrometer for scanning the printed test charts.  The process is very straight forward.  You pick the total number of color swatches you want to print which in my case is 1323.  Then save the chart and open it in Photoshop making sure you have all color management turned off.  Select the paper you wish to profile and the ink type, either Matte or Photo ink, then print off the test charts.  After they have dried for a day, then you use the i1 spectrometer to scan the colors off the test charts and then use the i1 Publish software to create your new icc profile based on the paper, ink type, and media used.

Note, I highlighted media.  The media you choose with an Epson printer has a definite correlation to the amount of ink that is laid down on the paper.  With Epson printers you have a large number of media settings both for Photo and Matte ink.  With thick matte papers, like Optica 1 from Breathing Color, the recommended media setting is water color radiant white, or WCRW.  When I printed my test charts, I used the WCRW media setting.  Note, it’s very important to write down on the printed charts the media setting you used and incorporate that into the icc profile name later on.

I had tested this new profile on a couple of sample prints, but for some reason I had forgotten to check the media setting I used when I created the test charts.  When I made the prints, I used the media setting Epson Ultrasmooth fine art instead of the WCRW setting.  I had been printing on the Ultrasmooth fine art paper the other day, and just left the media setting the same as I felt it would not make a big difference.  When I made a print with some deep blacks, I was really very disappointed.  The colors were all great except the areas that had deep blacks, mainly shadow areas.  Instead of a nice gradation, my black were all blotchy and just very harsh, no graduation.  It was like the printer had just laid down too much black in these certain areas.  The prints were not any good and I was really pulling my hair.  My first thought was that the profile I had generated had some errors, so I went back to the printed test charts and noticed the fact that I had printed with the media setting of WCRW not Epson Ultrasmooth fine art.  OOPs!

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