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Questions and Answers
Special page: Will my giclee look exactly like the original? - A reality check...
I'm new to this. How do I get started? I'm not even sure what the first step is.
Easy, you don't have to ask questions. Just give us a call at (805-528-2244 or 1-800-877-9055 between 9AM -5PM PST) and we'll chat for a while to find out what might suit your needs. We'll make your quest effortless, by asking you questions and then help you clearly understand what to expect.

Are there hidden expenses?
Most often, the only costs are scanning, printing and shipping. Some prospective clients think of a pre-press cost as a hidden charge. It's not with us...we want you to know this from the start. It's $85 per image that you submit to be scanned and proofed. This important step includes setup, cropping, minor digital retouching, and the all-important color balance and proofing, which often takes more than two to three hours of work and dozens of proofs to assure the highest quality. Giclee By The Bay charges $85, which is amongst the lowest in the industry, and we think you'll agree is very reasonable.

If you send a digital file that's ready to print, then there's no scanning charge. But, if it can't produce an acceptable giclee, we'll need to discuss how to progress. Unforeseen charges may include digital retouching of scratches or other problems found in the resource photo. Also, if a digital file is supplied that can't meet the criteria for printing a giclee, at a bare minimum of 200 dpi at the selected print size, together, we might have to select one of several options. Also, if original art is shipped to us, we will re-ship it in the box you shipped to us. If the re-packaging is complex, to the point of us wishing we video taped the unpacking, we'll need to charge you. (Keep it simple and re-usable.) Its condition and insurability is something we can discuss if there's a problem. Shipping is billed at cost, and if your original art needs to be shipped in a new container, that will also be billed. We often ship with re-usable 3" and 4" tubes for which we charge $5 or more, depending on length.
I'm concerned about shipping my original art. Are there safe methods?
Yes, there are safe and reliable methods. We understand your concerns. If you are able to carefully roll your original art then shipping is very easy and secure. We prefer shipping tubes. Not just any shipping tubes, but tubes made of Schedule 40 ABS plastic that's designed to carry fluids under pressure. (A truck could roll over one of these and it wouldn't collapse.) You can make your own quite easily. Just go to ACE or a local hardware store with this info and they'll set you up.

We suggest two diameter sizes ュ 4" and 6." One end cap is permanently attached to the tube and the other end has a large screw plug that seals the tube securely. Slip your work inside, send it via Fex-Ex or UPS (insured) and don't worry. It will arrive in perfect shape.

If you must ship your work flat, then you might consider using the reinforced AirFloat art boxes. Most painters who enter competitions rely upon these boxes to safely ship their work. The size of the box may raise your shipping costs considerably, so use the tube method if at all possible.

Another method for shipping that is much less expensive and seems to be much safer, is to nestle your art in styrofoam insulation material found in large building supply centers. You'll create a sandwich of three or more layers with the art set inside the middle layer that has been cut out to hold the art. The material comes in various thicknesses and has a plastic shield applied to the outside. Tape all the edges and it's good to go. By the way, most parcel services require at least 2" of protection to be insurable. This is a slick way to safely ship your art.

If you're concerned and the information above doesn't attend to those concerns, please call us and we'll help you arrive at one of many other alternatives.

Should I consider scanning, color correcting, sizing and sending you the image?
It sounds like it could be a fun project that might save you money, but our advice is to leave it up to us. We've seen a few websites suggest you can do this at home. You can, but your results will cause you more grief and frustration than it's worth. We can't imagine how you could match the output quality we, or other reputable fine art printers achieve without the equipment and experience that's required.

FTP Uploads: Giclee By The Bay accepts, free of charge, files sent to our website via FTP. You may upload files to a total of 200mb, but you must first call or write us for settings and permission.
I'd like to use photos taken by my digital camera. Will this work?
Yes. There are some limitations, however. If you have a 3 megapixel file, it will just barely print an 8"x10" image, and that's at 200dpi, the absolute minimum for files we print. Generally, they're 300dpi or much higher, and most file sizes are at least 100mb, just to give you an idea of where digital files sit in relation to others. Despite the smaller file size, you might be quite pleased with the results, and if you would like to increase the file size, don't do it using Adobe Photoshop resampling feature! It won't work going up in size, it only works going downward. We have a software program that can interpolate fractals and generate a larger file. It's an acceptable way to create a larger file for a larger print.

If I send you a 35mm slide or negative, how big a giclee will this render?
We've seen very good results up to half sheet sized watercolor (about 15"x20"). Our scanner is capable of detecting and recording 8 and 16bit information, so some 35mm files are upward of 450MB. But, the scan is only as good as the photo, the film, the film processing and the lens of the camera. This means we may have to compromise and make a print slightly smaller if the image quality of the film is less than ideal.

Here are some tips in choosing a slide to submit:

  • When you submit a slide, send two of the same if possible, just in case there's an emulsion or scratch problem on one. If you only have one, that's fine.
  • Determine if the color balance and exposure is representative of what you expect - is it representative of the original and would you accept a giclee that looked like it?
  • It should be an original exposure of the original and not a duplicate.
  • And one last suggestion: avoid submitting a slide that has been projected - the edges curl and cause a slight focus problem for film scanners.
I'd like to give my photographer some directions on how to photograph my work. What tips can you offer?
If your photographer is familiar with copying artwork, all should be fine. It's best to have polarized lights and a polarizing filter on the lens to reduce glare-especially with oils, caseins and acrylics. First determine what size giclee you want to print and then have your photographer shoot in a format (35mm, 2 1/4, 6X9 etc.) that will render enough information to fulfill the scanning requirements.

Other advice we have, is to ask the photographer to use the finest grained film possible with a neutral color balance. Have him or her include a gray scale in the field.

For Your Information: A 4X5 or 8X10 transparency is sensational, although scanning costs are somewhat more costly. Inasmuch as you've already invested in a large format transparency, you certainly want to accurately extract its valuable information by using a scanner that's meant to do just that. We use a Creo Sitex iQsmart3...the best there is. The marginal extra cost is very well spent!
How can I get the best print possible?
Either have a 4"x5" or 8"x10" transparency made of your original and send it to us, or, better yet, send us the original artwork and we'll scan it using our astounding BetterLight scanning system that museums rely upon for recreating extremely accurate reproductions of their originals. Both ways create a large digital file that can pick up every nuance of your art. The results are stunning!
Can you do fine art photographs as well?
Sure. Fine art photos are sensational when printed on smooth watercolor paper. We have a strong background in photography, and we think the feeling and soft transitions in color and value bring a quality to the work that is difficult to achieve with standard papers and dye inks.
I understand prepress is important, but what's involved in the process?
Prepress sets the stage for the printing process. Nearly all giclee printers charge $100 to $450 per image for this service. At Giclee By The Bay, we only charge for a one-time, $85, prepress per image. This includes the setup, cropping, color balance and proofing, which often takes more than two to three hours of work and more than a dozen proofs to assure the highest quality. Our pre-press charges are amoung the least in the nation, yet our giclees are amoung the very best.

The first stage of prepress is scanning an original piece of art or film. Either method will produce a high resolution digital file. But, resolution alone is not enough to guarantee a fine art Giclee print. Our film scanners are some of our most important tools. We chose our scanners for their ability to not only create very high resolution files but also for their ability to record subtleties in shadows and highlights.

Once we have a digital file that meets our criteria, we carefully balance the color to match the original art as closely as possible. We also remove the evidence of minute particles of dust, sharpen the image and as additional service, we can increase resolution using a specialized program. If there's excessive scratches or other imperfections, we'll call you and discuss resorations options and charges.

Now comes the third stage of prepress. When we are satisfied with the digital file, we run test strips through the printer and make additional changes until we feel the image is a faithful representation of the original piece of art. We then print one or more samll proofs for your approval or input. Once a decision is made, prepress turns to the press.
Why are your prices lower than others?
Current pricing for giclee prints are, in our opinion, too high. For the few who are truly producing excellent fine art giclee prints, the pricing is even more dear. At Giclee By The Bay, we are determined to offer more for less. If you're the delighted with the service and your giclees, you'll hopefully tell another artist about us, and this, ultimately, is how we will maintain a lower pricing structure while continuing to offer more service and quality than found elsewhere. As we say: "Pay a lot less and still get the best. Our service and results are our hallmark." This seems a little too catchy, but we really do strive to be the best.
What are some concerns I should be aware of?
1. Some clients send a slide or negative that has been photographed non-professionally. This doesn't necessarily mean there will be problems, but we believe you should be informed as to what could limit the size of the final print. If there was camera jiggle, the use of a grainy high-speed film, scratches, spots, poor exposure, the image not squared or any number of vagaries, together, we would have to make a decision as to whether or not to use this film or create a new resource.

2. A client may send a digital file either created by them or the film processor who then scanned the film and burned a CD-ROM. Invariably, these images do not include enough digital information to be able to print much larger than 8"x10" at best. Also, most film processor scanners "clip" the highlights and shadows, losing information on both ends. If you use a service that returns your film with a CD, you should know that the file size is fairly small (15mb or so) and may not allow us to print to a larger print. We are usually recording about 100 plus megabyte files, so this gives you some idea of relative size. This is meant not to alarm you, but to inform you. We want you to succeed with your project.
Do most artists use semi-gloss on the canvas prints?
Yes. We use a special UV filtering varnish that's designed for giclees. It's applied using a special 60" wide laminator or an HVLP sprayer system for an especially even finish. We don't offer a high gloss finish, and that may tell you something about how we feel about its appearance. Instead, we mix a satin finish, which is appropriate for artist's who don't want glare, but are concerned about the veiling affect of matte finishes.
2015 Fairchild Way, Ste. G Los Osos, CA 93402
Phone 805 • 528 • 2244
Fax 805 • 528 • 2233