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Understanding Gradation and Tonality
This text with examples may help you to understand and identify various criteria we use in producing a fine art giclee print. The original watercolor is 34"x25." Due to the original's size, to reproduce it with excellent film resolution, an 8"x10' transparency was produced years ago before the painting was delivered to a client. A 4"x5" would have worked, but the difference in price (about $20) was ultimately, negligible compared to the overall costs and increased image quality. The transparency was recently scanned on our high-end film scanner (a Creo Sitex iQsmart3) at a file size of 300mb. The file size is the most important factor. Of course, if we had the opportunity to scan this with our "Better Light" scanning back and view camera system, the results would have been even more outstanding. Unfortunately, the painting was sold and only the transparency was available. By the way, the cost with the "Better Light" would have been $105, not the $190 plus using conventional photography route.

OK, now that we understand that quality is important and there is no substitute or way to make up for inferior photography, scanning or forethought throughout the process, lets move on to gradation. Gradation is sought in the blacks to whites, and within each color. This is where the expression "the full gamut" applies. We (Giclee By The Bay) look to maintaining these gamuts while using, in many cases, over a hundred settings to mix and balance the final print. Below, you can see what is a soft, yet accurate, transition of colors as well as shadows to highlights. (Transparent Watercolor by Jim Kosvanec, NWS. Arches 140# CP 34"X25.")



Below, shows the fine detail of the mother's garment above her left elbow. You see that the edges are crisp and the gradation of colors are convincingly accurate. This represents an image size of 32"x44," which is considerably larger than the original. But, interestingly, we would hesitate to print this giclee at this size because it falls below our highest standards of dots per inch (dpi.). What you need to take away from this study, however is the concept of gradation and tonality and how important it is to the "all-seeing" giclee process.



Our last example demonstrates the same information but more subtilely. Without the chain of superior information leading up to the prepress, there's no way one can expect to see gradations in darks and lights such as you see here. So, if you want giclees that are breathtaking, you'll need to follow the path of quality at every step. You must not compromise at any point...absolutely none! Just remember this saying, "Garbage in, garbage out!" Now, don't think to yourself this is too complicated. That's why we're here. We'll help guide you toward making the right decisions while keeping your goals and budget in mind. We may be inexpensive, but we're determined to give you the best service, advice and highest quality giclees available anywhere.



800•877•9055•805•528•2244
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