Canvas reflects as little as matt photo paper, but the surface has much more character. In the past, light-sensitive coated fabrics were used for canvas photos, but today these are almost exclusively produced on inkjet printers. However, the coating is also decisive for the optical and haptic impression, i.e. appearance and touch. There are coarse fabrics with a relatively thick and smooth coating, and finer ones whose structure is clearly visible. In addition, the coating determines the degree of whiteness.
The fabric itself is usually slightly yellowish
Even with the canvas one likes to save the frame today. However, a white outer edge rarely looks good on the wall, which is why many providers mirror the picture edge to a width that is slightly wider than the frame width and draw this part over the stretcher frame on which the canvas is stretched. This creates a seamless, harmonious picture impression. Alternatively, one can also draw the original image border over the frame, as long as it does not contain any elements that are important for the image. Poster-Union and Fineartprint.de offer this as an option. Those who want to stretch their canvas themselves will find a correspondingly cheaper offer at Fineartprint.de, the canvas will then be sent rolled up to save space. Some other providers offer this option on request. Customers who prefer the picture to be framed in a classic way can usually also get the matching shadow gap frame.
- The so-called standard RGB color space sRGB is a blessing for many photo service providers, because they hardly need to worry about correct colors.
- Most imagesetters are designed to process sRGB data. So if the image data is available in this color space – and they usually do, even if the profile is not embedded – there can be no gross color errors.
- No wonder that some service providers did not understand our question about color management and ICC profile at all.
Even if you can’t do much wrong with sRGB, you’re still giving away a lot, it says again and again, and fotocommunity prints on the website shows very clearly where the imagesetters and inkjet printers can print many more colors than sRGB allows, namely in the green-blue range. A little of this potential can possibly be exploited if the camera can output the image data in Adobe RGB. There are reasons for this cautious formulation: First of all, the motif must contain saturated colors that exceed the sRGB color space, and then these must not be ironed smooth during further processing in the camera, possibly in the image processing program and finally in the printer driver. In addition, Adobe RGB is a much larger color space than sRGB, but like sRGB it is actually designed for monitor display, so it still does not exploit the specific color potential of good ink-paper combinations.
This can only be achieved by image post-processing that is specially adapted to the printer’s color space
A good half of the tested providers expect the data in the sRGB color space, but still use color management, which means that if the data comes in a different color space (which of course must be embedded), this is recognized and the colors are converted accordingly. Only Whitewall, fotocommunity prints and jam fineartprint we sent the image data in the Adobe RGB color space. These providers are also the only ones to provide paper-specific ICC profiles for their printing presses or platesetters. We did not find any significant differences between the finished images that could have been traced back to the color space. Presumably, these were lost in the larger differences that result from the different color tastes of the providers or their customers. In any case, Cewe, for example, deliberately seems to “touch” the colours a little darker and more strongly than the data actually give away, the pictures appear more crisp.
Possibly the bad depth drawing often criticized in the test has the same reason
The running in of the shadows is accepted, so that the pictures appear richer in contrast. After all, it is important that the customer likes the result. Nevertheless, during the test we also paid attention to details that might not be visible at all under normal lighting and from a distance of one meter. In contrast to advertising posters and large-scale art presentations, the pictures that private customers hang in their homes are approached closer, and in addition, one has a direct comparison with the “original” monitor image in one’s own photo. And the disappointment shouldn’t be too great.
All test images had to prove their lightfastness in the UV exposure unit
The UV exposure unit simulates one year of sunshine behind glass, as is the case, for example, when sunlight falls on the image through the window. To make a long story short: The results are impressive for all test candidates. In contrast to many paper prints, whether from the service provider or from our own printer, where the colors fade and change significantly, this was not the case with our samples. The colors remained constant, black did not fade. We had expected this with the exposures on photographic paper (C-prints), but the inkjet prints also proved to be stable, the pigments obviously don’t mind the UV light. With the Dibond and acrylic pictures only jam fineartprint, Poster-Union and Whitewall (optionally as plate direct print) use the ink jet technique, the others expose on photo paper. In contrast, the canvas pictures were produced without exception on the inkjet printer. The scans of all UV-exposed test images together with the unexposed reference part can be found on the booklet DVD.