eNews Archive > March 2011
Sky Factory eNews - March 2011
landscape image 6nv

Reproduction:
Why We Use Inkjet,
Not Duratrans*

Inkjet printing emerged commercially in the early 1990s, and developed quickly into the de facto printing option for digital images. ‘Inkjet’ is a generic term referring to printers that ‘spray’ controlled amounts of ink onto specially coated media. There are several technologies that fall under the inkjet umbrella. Over the last two decades inkjet printing has become very refined, with great advances in print head and ink technology. Because inkjet printing is essentially simple, it remains an affordable, as well as a premium choice for both commercial and fine art applications in all sizes. Much fine art printing, including printing of b/w and color photographs, is now done using archival inkjet printers for the following reasons:

  1. Accurate color rendering. Quality inkjet is capable of far greater accuracy and subtle color rendering than Duratrans. Quality fine art and fine art reproductions are now printed using permanent archival pigment inks on high grade acid-free media. Most fine art photographic reproduction for exhibition and sale is now done using inkjet printing.
  2. Permanency. Inkjet permanent pigment inks now surpass Duratrans in fade and UV resistance. The underlying media have comparably long expected life spans.
  3. Resolution. Inkjet printing is capable of extremely fine resolution. Sky Factory’s new equipment prints at 2400dpi for an extremely smooth and grain-less look, unlike the visible grain of Duratrans reproductions.
  4. Environmental impact. The highest quality (color, resolution, etc.) inkjet technology is water-based with no VOCs. Unfortunately, Duratrans chemistry is not environmentally friendly and must be highly controlled for both VOCs and toxic effluents.
  5. Image Control. Inkjet technology, like many digital imaging technologies, provides greater control to the creators of images. As is the case at The Sky Factory, inkjet printing can be brought in-house where designers and artists can coordinate color management, run color checks, and directly supervise quality control. Because Duratrans is typically out-sourced to a commercial lab, it does not permit the same careful quality control by the image creators.

Sky Factory’s nature images require the finest reproduction possible to capture the subtle colors and delicate gradations of colors inherent in nature. Accurate reproduction of nature’s color is critical to the creation of illusory skies that can trigger genuine relaxation. For these important aesthetic reasons, as well as the technical, financial, and longevity advantages of inkjet printing, Sky Factory artists use superior inkjet printing for all still image reproduction.

* Duratrans™ is a trademarked Kodak photographic media composed of a translucent plastic base and photographic emulsion. It is exposed photographically (conventionally or digital laser) and chemically processed, like film. Duratrans is also a genericized trademark, used the way that Xerox and Kleenex brand names are, and has become an identifier referring to any of the large format film transparency photo media used for backlit advertising graphics, like those found in airports and other public spaces. Because of their size and required chemical processing, Duratrans are produced in commercial labs.

AIA course illustration

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Sutter Imaging

A Notable Installation

Boulder Associates, an architectural firm with a specialty in health and eldercare design has worked on several projects for Sutter Health, a not-for-profit healthcare provider with many facilities in Northern California. Boulder designer Jenny Reece has made extensive use of Sky Factory Illusions of Nature products in several recent projects, most notable is the Sutter Diagnostic & Women’s Imaging Center in Roseville, California.

Sutter is dedicated to an evidenced-based approach to healthcare design and process innovation. Views to nature, real or simulated, along with daylight, are two elements that research has shown to have significant benefits for patients and staff in healthcare environments. Ms. Reece specified standard and large-sized Luminous Virtual Windows for most of the modality suites. She also included two custom-designed Luminous SkyCeilings whose elegant curved perimeters resonate with the natural curves employed elsewhere in the facility.

Click here to see more Sutter Roseville images in the Portfolio.

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