Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Film Positives - Laser vs. Ink Jet

This morning was a continuation of the weekends workshop with a focus on comparison testing. Which film positive works best for Solarplate photopolymer printing... one from an ink jet printer or one from a laser printer?

Before I left Zea Mayes, I had a film positive made on their ink jet printer so when I was back in my studio I could compare that to my laser printer. The first thing I did was print the same image using my laser printer. The ink jet positive appeared much darker in comparison.

Ink Jet Film Positive
Laser Film Positive

After determining the best exposure time, I made two plates. After processing, I could immediately see a difference. The plate exposed with the ink jet positive was stronger in appearance and seemed to have more detail.

Left: Ink Jet Positive - Right Laser Positive

Ink Jet


I carded the ink onto the exposed plates using Akua carbon black intaglio ink and I could feel a distinct difference between the two plates. The one exposed to the ink jet positive had a lot more tooth, appeared to be more deeply "bitten" and obviously held more ink.

Inked Plates: Ink Jet left - Laser right

I printed on dampened Hahnemhule Copperplate paper. There was a definite difference between the prints. It was obvious that the plate exposed to the ink jet positive produced richer blacks (almost too dark in places) and held more detail.

Ink Jet


Doing this test was time well spent. I've always wondered if the two types of printers would yield different results when working with Solarplates.

As mentioned in the previous post, the type of printing ink used also makes a difference. Now I'll need to reprint the plates using an oil based ink to see how that affects the final print. What's important to me at this point, is that the type of printer used to make your film positive definitely has an impact on plate exposure and the printed image.

Prints & Film Positives - Ink Jet top / Laser Bottom

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