Season’s Greetings!

All I want for Christmas is a digital printer that outputs a full spectrum of reflective colors. And a team of elves is hard at work on my Christmas Wish!

reflective printsAccording to this New Scientist article Ink Breakthrough Puts the Shine into Printed Images:

Reproducing that variation in printed images has been beyond the capabilities of even the best colour printers. Now an international team of computer scientists says that could soon change thanks to a printer that can reproduce sheen as well as colour…

In time, I imagine, this capability will be available in desktop printers. So that poster you’re working on? You know the one I mean, that one with the kick-ass pearlescent skull, and the shiny gold unicorn? It won’t need to be a screenprint after all! So good luck with that.

To produce a full range of reflectivity the team needed 12 inks: cyan, metallic cyan, magenta, metallic magenta, yellow, metallic gold, black, metallic silver, gold foil, silver foil, finish and primer. They swapped individual cartridges and printed over images several times to produce the final product. By overlaying up to six inks, the team worked out how to represent a spectrum of colours with a wide range of reflectivities.

Apparently the printing part’s a snap. The real crux of the matter is analyzing and reproducing specific reflectivity in an efficient way. The research team presented a paper entitled “Printing Spatially-Varying Reflectance” at the SIGGRAPH conference last Friday.

You can download the paper here, but the basic gist is:

reflective printing

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Season's Greetings

Season’s Greetings!!!

(Thanks to D.Ko for the tip)

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Categories: Print-related, Resources, Technology


2 Responses to “Season’s Greetings!”

  1. Luther says:

    This was only a matter of time. I can no longer say that traditional process own these effects. Sigh. Roland has also launched a metallic silver ink to be used with their CMYK printers. Right now it only works for their solvent ink-jet printers.

  2. RL Tillman says:

    Luther, take heart. This stuff won’t be commercially available for years!

    …Unlike other products I could mention (but won’t mention, in the spirit of Christmas giving).