Continuous tone digital output using archivally proven printing methods and material
Thirkell, P. and Hoskins, S. (2003) Continuous tone digital output using archivally proven printing methods and material. In: Thompson, R. and Manning, A., eds. (2003) Conference Proceedings of the Second International Conference on: Preservation and Conservation Issues Related to Digital Printing and Digital Photography. London: Institute of Physics, pp. 24-29. ISBN 0-7503-0991-1
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Publisher's URL: http://www.iop.org/
Whilst the primary focus for the creation and preservation of digitally based artwork in hardcopy has relied in recent years on the gradual refinement of digital printing devices, reference points for their development often appear to follow a strictly linear route. To broaden the current possibilities for permanent, accurate digital hardcopy, Thirkell and the Centre for Fine Print Research has been engaged in the re-assessment of some early photomechanical printing processes which were eclipsed by the mainstream printing approaches long before the advent of the digital era. Thirkell's paper drew on a three-part methodology surveying printing techniques through historical and current literature, examining actual printed examples and testing findings through practice. The paper re-evaluated the high resolution and archival qualities of three unique 19th century printing processes in the context of current digital practice. Although in mainstream terms such techniques have become redundant, this re-assessment identified and demonstrated valuable principles such as lightfast ink qualities and continuous tone image rendering which has once again renewed currency in the rapidly expanding field of museum quality digital imaging and printing. As a result of this research a small AHRC grant was awarded to create The Woodburytype Database ISBN-10-0.9547025.3.0 ISBN-13-978.0.9547025.3.3. A web-based database of all articles in English relating to the process and production of the Woodburytype. UWE is only one of three centres in the world who have tried to recreate this process. This process died out in the early C20th but as the only truly continuous tone printing process ever invented has been accepted internationally by companies such as Hewlett Packard, Ricoh and Kodak as a benchmark against which current digital output can be viewed.