July '21

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 1 J U L Y G R A P H I C S P R O 9 5 INDUSTRIAL-STRENGTH TRANSFERS A unique process for transferring digi- tally printed images was developed by artist Jim Reed, who produces magnifi- cent highly detailed, full-color portraits (Figure 7). His process requires precision, patience, and expertise. He starts by separately lighting and photographing the various elements of his image. His subjects may include a female model, a costume, a manikin, a background, or any other elements that his imagination invents. He composites the source images to layers and composes and transforms them by scaling, rotating, distorting, or warping to perfectly fit the components together. PRINTING Rather than outputting the fully com- posited image, each layer is output sepa- rately on a six-color Epson inkjet print- er (Figure 8). The material to which he prints is a clear, lightweight polyester film that combines the properties of both ac- etate and Mylar, called Dura-Lar. Prior to printing, he coats the Dura-Lar with a thin layer of a water-soluble liquid for- mula that the ink adheres to. The Dura- Lar acts as a plate that transfers the col- ored ink to the destination media. When the image is printed to the Dura-Lar, the thin coating of ink is relatively fragile. It can be easily smeared or scratched so it is sealed by spraying several light coats of clear acrylic gloss medium. INK TRANSFER The ink is transferred to a piece of canvas that has been coated with acrylic gloss medium. The canvas is attached to a rig- id plywood board. While the medium is still wet, the film is carefully placed and registered on the board. The acrylic me- dium is evened out with a special squee- gee. This part of the process can be tricky to remove trapped air — avoid dust to assure perfect complete adhesion. After the medium dries, the Dura-Lar is care- fully peeled off, leaving the ink on the canvas (Figure 9). After curing and baking the first layer at a low temperature for 8 hours at 110 F, precisely registered layers of Dura-Lar with additional visual elements are printed and applied, allowing time for each layer to bake and cure (Figure 10). Sometimes identical plates are lami- nated to produce rich colors and depth. During each lamination cycle, regions are modified by sanding to remove un- wanted elements, and this is where a lot of the magic and creativity comes into play. Superimposed elements display a surface depth and character that can't be achieved on a single flat opaque substrate. SILKY SMOOTH OR DISTRESSED After having been laminated, cured, sand- ed, and f inished, the resulting surface continued on page 110 Figure 11 (left). Freezing and crack- ing the finished can- vas produces a dis- tressed look as if the image was painted hundreds of years ago and has de- veloped numerous hairline cracks. Fig- ure 12 (below). Jim Reed's art is con- temporary yet clas- sical and pushes the concept of image transfer to the max. Figure 9. After the medium dries, the Dura-Lar is carefully peeled off, leaving the ink on the canvas. Figure 10. Additional visual elements are applied, allowing time for each layer to bake and cure.

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