What do all those paper terms mean?

When looking at digital papers, they always give you these terms and facts about the paper that sound like a whole bunch of jargon. We decided to make a little glossary of these terms to help you out when looking at different brands and paper types:

 Just some of our many archival paper options

Just some of our many archival paper options

 Acid free symbol

Acid free symbol

Acid Free: Acid will break down the chemical compounds within paper, resulting in the paper yellowing and becoming brittle. According to the Library of Congress, the more acid present in a paper the faster the aging process happens. This is why it is important to use Acid Free paper for any Fine Art printing, matting, and framing you choose to do.

Alpha Cellulose: Alpha cellulose is a major component of wood, plant and paper pulp. It is separated from the other components of the pulp that are undesirable in fine art papers. The pure white, alpha cellulose is insoluble and is filtered from the solution and washed prior to use in the production of paper. A high percent of alpha cellulose in paper will provide a stable, permanent material. Linen and cotton contain high proportions of alpha cellulose. Alpha cellulose can be isolated from a variety of plants. Manufactures do not usually state from where the alpha cellulose is sourced.

Barium Sulfate: Is the chemical name for “baryta.” A thin layer of barium sulfate is used to coat the paper base of many inkjet and darkroom papers. This coating leaves the paper surface smoother and more even, as well as having at brightening effect (due to barium sulfate’s high whiteness value).  Barium Sulfate coated papers have a unique look and feel, which has been sought out by photographers worldwide.

Canson_RAG_photographique_thumb copy.jpg
Canson Platine_thumb copy.jpg

Rag, Fibre/Fibre, Paper : Are terms that today are virtually interchangeable. At one time, rag meant cotton taken exclusively from cotton rag/cloth/towel remnants. Very few cotton papers are still made from rags. The difference between true rag papers and cotton papers made from linters is that the rags have the longer cotton fibers and the weaving seems to add strength. The symbol of quality is still a paper that is made from 100% cotton rags. That is probably why people prefer to call both cotton linter and cotton rag papers “rag.”

gsm or g/m2: Grams per Square Meter. Literally how many grams a 1-meter x 1-meter sheet of paper will measure in grams. A higher gsm paper will have a heavier and usually thicker feel. Due to difference in materials and manufacturing processes not all papers with the same gsm will have the same thickness.

 

OBA: Optical Brightening Agents, also known as 'optical brighteners' or UV brighteners, are white or colorless compounds that are added to the printing surfaces of many inkjet papers. Their purpose is to make the papers appear whiter and brighter than they actually are. They achieve this by absorbing ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the ambient lighting and re-emitting it through fluorescence, mainly in the blue portion of the visible spectrum. Consequently, they only work in lighting with a relatively high UV content, such as sunlight, fluorescent lights and halogen lamps. When not illuminated with a sufficient amount of UV light, the color of the paper will appear with its natural creamy or yellowish hue.

All UV brighteners are inherently unstable chemicals. In the process of fluorescence, the absorption of a photon triggers the emission of another photon with a longer wavelength. This transfer of energy comes at a cost: slow changes in the fluorescent chemicals. As these chemicals break down, their ability to fluoresce deteriorates until they will no longer do so. When this happens, the color of the paper will revert to its normal creamy or yellowish hue.

 Giclée: Was adopted by Jack Duganne, a printmaker working at Nash Editions. He wanted a name for the new type of prints they were producing on the Iris printer, a large-format, high-resolution industrial prepress proofing inkjet printer they had adapted for fine-art printing. He was specifically looking for a word that would not have the negative connotations of "inkjet" or "computer generated". It is based on the French word gicleur, the French technical term for an inkjet nozzle. The French verb form gicler meant to spray, spout, or squirt. Duganne settled on the noun giclée, meaning "the thing that got sprayed.”     (In other words, it’s a fancy way to say inkjet print.)

NEW IN 2018!

We've been busy here at Panopticon adding new services to our roster. Now, we are ready to officially announce all of the new services that we now provide!

Color Film Processing

We are very excited to announce that we are now processing COLOR FILM! Our new processor can develop all formats of C-41 film from 35mm rolls to 8x10 sheet film. Not only are we developing color film, but we are also offering develop and scan as well as develop, scan, and print packages. These new services will be offered with black and white film development as well.  If you want to know more about pricing and film packages, visit our Film Services page.

 

Bulk Negative Scanning

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Have developed film you want a quick look at? We now offer roll, strip, slide, and individual film bulk scans. These are great for quick looks at negatives or for making small, medium quality prints. Our Fuji Frontier can scan both black and white and color film as well as positive film! Along with your bulk scans, you will receive free digital file transfer and an 8x10 contact sheet. For more information, visit our Scanning Services page.

 

Bulk Image Scanning

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Bulk image scanning is a fast and cost effective way to scan that shoebox of photographs you've had for years. Our scanner can handle images up to 8.5x11 inches so all of those old photographs can be digitally preserved or put onto a DVD included with your order. If you'd like to know more, visit our Scanning Services page.

 

Value Printing

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Last but not least, we would like to introduce our value printing services. Value prints are great as test prints to know what to print larger or for little images to give away to clients, friends, and galleries. They are also great for duplicating  or preserving old family photographs. For more information, visit our Digital Services page.

Take a look at our updated services pages on the website or stop by the office to talk in person with one of our staff members about us helping you with all of your photographic needs.

The common file formats


JPEG

JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group and is named after the committee that created it in 1986.

It is not as sharp out of the camera as TIFF or RAW modes, and every time the JPEG is manipulated more than once or twice, it will eventually become unusable. Every time the JPEG image is modified and resaved, it will lose more data.

Once compressed in JPEG format an image cannot be uncompressed (you cannot regain the original quality). This is why the original photo (your digital negative) should be taken with as little compression as possible.

When to use:

-       emailing

-       posting to the web

When NOT to use:

-       Printing (while we can use jpeg files for printing we would prefer a larger file in the form of a tiff or PSD, if the jpeg is compressed to heavily we do not recommend printing with it at all)


TIFF

TIFF stands for Tag Image File Format.

Tifs have a high image quality and is supported by many image-manipulation programs such as PhotoShop, Pagemaker, QuarkXPress, Adobe InDesign, Paint Shop Pro, etc.  You can have layers in photoshop when you safe with a tif and it can be modified and resaved, with the images being used an endless number of times without throwing away any image data.

When to use:

-       Printing

-       Editing in programs

-       Saving master files

-       Publishing

When NOT to use:

-       Emailing

-       Posting to web


RAW

The RAW mode is a picture format where the camera has made absolutely no changes; the files are not yet processed or ready to use with an editor, etc.

Its advantages are that a huge amount of control over the final look of the image is yours. Additionally, all original details stays in the image for any and all future processing needs.

The general rule is to shoot your images with the highest setting that your camera will allow (largest image size in terms of pixels, lowest compression – usually large/superfine).

When to use:

-       While shooting

When NOT to use:

-       Emailing

-       Posting to web


Somerville Toy Camera Festival

 Francine Weiss

Francine Weiss

About the Festival:

Since 2013, the Somerville Toy Camera Festival has celebrated the quirky and creative results that can happen when photographers are forced to loosen their controls, submit to the light and embrace the accidental. Each year since, the Festival has brought a wide range of toy camera photography by US and international artists together in simultaneous shows at galleries throughout the city, and featured related programming including artist talks/panel discussions, workshops, social events, and a darkroom day.

This year the guest juror was Professor Christopher James who is the Director of the MFA photography program at Lesley College of Art and Design in Boston.

 

  Liz Ellenwood  with the Gold Holga Award!

Liz Ellenwood with the Gold Holga Award!

What is a toy camera?

Holga, Diana and LOMO just to name a few. They are simple and inexpensive film cameras where you have little to no control over shutter speed and apertures. Common qualities of images made with toy cameras are vignetting, soft focus, light leaks and other distortions. It is the true point-and-shoot camera!

Toy camera photography has been widely exhibited at many popular art shows, such as the annual "Krappy Kamera" show at the Soho Photo Gallery in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York City. Various publications such as Popular Photography magazine have reviewed the Diana camera in its own right as an "art" producing image maker. Several books have also featured the work of toy cameras, such as The Friends of Photography's "The Diana Show", "Iowa" by Nancy Rexroth, and "Angels at the Arno" by Eric Lindbloom.

 

When is the exhibition?

The 2016 Somerville Toy Camera Festival will take place in September-October, with exhibitions at three non-profit spaces in Somerville MA: Nave Gallery Annex, Washington Street Gallery, and Brickbottom Gallery. For a full list of opening dates check here.

In addition,  The Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA will have a walk-in camera obscura built by artist Marian Roth! The installation of the camera obscura in a small gallery at the Griffin will take place on September 8, and is open to the public. The camera obscura will be accessible to visitors during regular Griffin Museum hours through October 2, 2016.

 Liz Wood

Liz Wood

How are we involved?

We have been proud sponsors of the Somerville Toy Camera Festival for the past few years. We offer a 15% discount for the exhibiting artists of the Festival for their scanning, printing & framing needs. Every year we look forward to seeing what each artist has created with their plastic cameras!

Tech Blog: Colorspace, File Formats and Untagged Files

Have questions about digital printing? How to get images to us? What type of file to send? We have tried to start simply and move onto the more complex questions. If you have questions regarding any of this or just want to review the process with us, please call or email us! First things first… You can upload us files here and you will see this screen from Hightail. You can drag and drop your images for upload to us.

Do I send Jpg, tif or psd? Raw?

You can send us any of the above. We have provided some details below about the difference between each type of file.

Raw are the proprietary file from the camera manufacture. Some examples are: Canon (.crw, cr2), Nikon (.nef, .nrw), Sony (.arw, .srf, .sr2), Pentax (.pef, .ptx).  Raw files hold the most data from your digital camera and are the easiest file to adjust exposure, contrast, white balance and other fine tuning. We can edit your Raw files however this requires an editing charge.

JPG is best for web use, but still can be printed from if it has high enough resolution and was saved at a high enough quality. (80+ in Lightroom, 10+ in Photoshop).

PSD is an Adobe Photoshop proprietary format. It can handle all of Photoshop’s features, but has some compatibility issues with non-Adobe products and Lightroom. PSD has a 2gb files size limitation.  Due to the compatibility and size issues, PSD has been (or should be) replaced by TIF by most photographers.  We prefer TIF.

TIF is one of the most universally accepted formats. It can be opened by most image editing and page layout software. TIF supports all the same things as PSD and has a larger file size limitation (4gb).

Ultimately, just send us what you have and we’ll figure it out. Got layers, send us those too. We can always provide assistance with your files or if you want to sit with one of our Digital Technicians and review files in person.

OK, so a tif  file, 16bit or 8bit?

Either one is fine. Whatever works for you.

What color space should I sent it in? AdobeRGB98, sRGB, ProPhotoRGB

You can send us files in any of these color spaces. You should be working in either AdobeRGB98 or ProPhotoRGB to begin with. sRGB is meant as a web colorspace, anything you upload to your website or facebook should be in sRGB.

As far as AdobeRGB98 or ProPhotoRGB goes, it could go either way. ProPhotoRGB is much bigger than AdobeRGB98 and can produce more colors. However, you must work in 16bit with ProPhotoRGB otherwise you can end up with posterization effects (banding). The other down side to ProPhoto is it includes imaginary colors. Yes, I said imaginary colors. They (Kodak) made the ProPhotoRGB color space so big that 13% of the colors included do not exist in the real world and are not visible colors. This can lead to color issues when printing. Some colors will become over-saturated or will be estimated to its nearest in gamut color and can cause banding. Even the best printers in the world can’t print imaginary colors.

AdobeRGB98 is larger than sRGB, is easily printable by commercially available printers and includes no imaginary numbers. Its not perfect, nothing is, but it is the standard most of the photographic world uses.

If you have a gray scale file, that is fine as well. Gray Gamma 2.2 will do just fine.

What about CMYK?

Leave that to the offset printers. If you send us a file with a CMYK colorspace we will convert it to AdobeRGB98.

What about an untagged file?

If you send us a file with an untagged colorspace you will get a call from an angry elf… just ask Ron Cowie. Again, you can just send us what you have and we’ll figure it out. Following our recommendations makes it easier, but we are happy to help in whatever stage you are in!

Sum sum summertime- that's a wrap!

Whoa! Summer is always an exuberant time to go down the Cape, have some BBQ and for us down at Panopticon Imaging, make work! Our artists have been busy, so we have been having a great season of working with them on finalizing images, prints and exhibitions! We were so excited to work on so many of these projects we lost track of the time, but don't worry- there were a few outing with the Panopti-crew where we were able to steal some sun and fun. We ushered in the season with quite a bang at the Magenta Foundation's Flash Forward Festival! We have been working with the Festival and it's artists for the last three years, and it is always fantastic and quite a different array of work every time.

This year we helped with the printing and installation of the 7 shipping containers that were on the Rose Kennedy Greenway for all of May! In coordination with the Fence, this outdoor exhibition was so much fun, and such a great experience working with the international artists that made up the roster. Each shipping container held a solo exhibition from artists like Angélica Dass and Gregor Schmatz. 

Angélica Dass's solo exhibition in the shipping container.

Along with the Fence, we had the great pleasure of working with Boston Globe Legend Bill Brett on his Flash Forward solo exhibition.   We take great pride in managing and implementing all production for these kinds of exhibitions- from the proofing with the artists, printing, framing and even delivery to the exhibition venue.  This was the fist of the two large-scale exhibitions we helped produce at the beginning of this summer, the second being a brand new relationship we started with artist Emil Cohen!

The crew with Emil Cohen at the William Scott Gallery

Emil Cohen came to us for assistance in producing his solo exhibition, "Portraits in Provincetown" at the William Scott Gallery that was held in July.  The exhibition would be of 76 portraits he made of the good people of Provincetown, both large and small scale to be displayed.  The portraits are beautiful as well as playful and sometimes mischievous- just as you might expect from P-Town. Working from London now, Emil needed to produce the exhibition remotely, and we were happy to take on the task.  When the exhibition was finally ready for air-time, we took that opportunity to join him in P-Town for a little out-of-office research and development.  We hope if you were there this summer, you were able to see Emil's work, or him photographing for the project!

Our whole summer did not just consist of large-scale exhibitions, though.  We work on any photographic endeavor, and were happy to work on both printing and framing projects for a multitude of new clients.  Artists such as Lazaro Montano stopped by to have one of his great Color Block pieces printed and framed; as did Toni Pepe, who had some of her new work in this summer's Community of Artists exhibition at the Danforth Museum of Art.  It was also great to do some expert framing for the end-of-summer exhibition Landscape as Fetish at Gallery Kayafas, introducing us to the work of Angela Mittiga and Mark Dorf. 

Finished framed work by Lazaro Montano

It has been a delightful season, and we hope that the fall brings even more exciting projects as we get to see what everyone has been working on all summer! And don't worry, we haven't slowed down one bit.  We are currently preparing artist Betsy Schneider for her exhibition at Harvard's Carpenter Center, and looking forward to the great work that will be in the Griffin Museum of Photography's annual Atelier exhibition in September! Stay tuned for more, and have a great rest of August!