Image Quality. We reproduce equal to the quality of file you send. So use the best quality imagery you can for the best quality translation possible. As artists, we use our expertise to translate your artwork with the technology available - however do realize that the color consistency from one printing to the next can vary. We are “printing” with inorganic pigments not ink.
So embrace the permanency, the great detail and realize there could be a shift of color in out of gamut hues.
About Color Translation. Currently we print with a MAGENTA set of toner. Natural colors and skin tones translate VERY well. Because we use this process for making art- if you look at the projects in our portfolio, INPLAINSIGHT Art- these are all colors that translate excellently. The following are difficult colors to translate with this process: **
- A. Royal Blue
Royal Blue does not have a great conversion into Frit Glaze.
Royal Blue is a problematic color to translate in Frit Glaze. It tends to look more black than blue once fired. Try to make your Blue not Royal Blue.
- B. Cadmium/Fire engine red
Bright red, fire-engine reds are "fugitive" - especially on glass. They tend to print more brick-brown or terracotta. Make your images more magenta or orange rather than bright, fire-engine red. More successful hues of the red variety are essentially those with more magenta in them. If you pick on the color %'s in your image and the MAGENTA and YELLOW is within 20 points of one another then this will translate muddy, brown red. The further apart those 2 hues are the more pure and Bright that "red" translation will be.
- C. Very saturated florescent colors
These will translate more "dull" less brilliant. i.e. A gorgeous spring green moss will just not look the same as the RGB photograph you took. Here is an example of a range of brightcolors printed on Ceramic tile. It is a piece we made for a Science Building in Anchorage, AK. Fusing to Ceramics does provide a greater degree of color “Brilliance” than when fusing decals to glass. The natural/artificial light coming behind and through the sides of the glass make the colors read less saturated.
- D. WHITE. We do not print white.
We cannot print the color WHITE. Since our process is CMYK- there is no "white." White comes from the substrate that you are firing onto. i.e. white glazed tile, opaque white glass.
WHITE vs. TRANSPARENT . The very "best" color, the one most visually rich and "accurate" to your RGB file- would result from decal fired onto WHITE glass or Ceramic surfaces that are glazed white. Another option, for good likeness of color- is to fuse the decal to a sheet of transparent glass then full fuse a sheet of white below that. For real pop of color you need that white either directly behind the image or further back behind the image. Firing on a transparent sheet of glass will not give you great color....too much light interference. We use transparent glass if a sort of liminal, ghostlike quality is conceptually important.
E. Text - especially thin font ( italic with thin spidery flourishes) or small size can be problematic.
Printing small text (less than 7 pt) or a font with ligatures can be a challenge for this process. The toner is trying to lay down on a very thin line or tiny serif and so sometimes there is what I call "text blowout." This is a shadow like blur or halo smudge right next to the letter. I can mitigate it a bit BUT note that printing tiny text is not the strength of this process.
Using Other Colored Glass To Fuse Your Decal To. By fusing decals to a blue colored or green colored glass, for instance- your colors in the decal will be affected. The low density or neutral hues will be influenced by the "background" color of glass.
Are You Trying To Match a LOGO With This Process? Know that this process offers excellent resolution, great detail and super permanency BUT to exactly match a color, especially someone's Logo, can be difficult. Best to convey to your client that printing with Glaze Frit is a cool means to get their branding on glass or ceramic- a place until now impossible to do with so much clarity, detail and permanence- but that an exact color match may not happen.
About FLUX COVERCOAT. For CERAMICS typically we use FLUX covercoat. The downfall with FLUX covercoat is that you can see the outline of the decal. You have to carefully trim up to the image. If you are making ceramic sculpture,(not be eaten off of) you would not have to use FLUX covercoat.Decal laminated with FLUX covercoat will have a YELLOW tint to it. These are dyes added into the paper at production to aid in spotting defects- do not worry these tints will completely burn away and will not affect your images or their color.
About NON–Flux Covercoat. Non-FLUX covercoat is most typically used for GLASS Decals.
Are You Finding That Your Edges Of Your Decal Are Fraying Or “Peeling Up A Bit” A common problem, particularly on glass. This happens when you touch the very edge of your glass. The contact of your finger to that edge can cause it to slightly come away from the substrate and as it fires the decal can pull away even more. This results in a ragged edge. To mitigate this- NEVER TOUCH THE EDGE. Do not pick up the decaled glass on its edge. Rather push it off the table with a stick or ruler. Load into kiln by holding underneath.
Ceramic As Decal Surface. The base glaze that you are firing on will effect the fusion of our decals. This is an over-glaze or on-glaze process that requires a smooth glossy base glaze for best results.
Earthenware glazes maturing between Cone 06-04 (1819F-1926F) begin to soften slighting at our decal temperature firing range of Cone 012-010 (1575F-1632F). The fluxes in our decals interact more on earthenware glazes. We recommend that you start testing our decals on your earthenware glazes at 1575F and look at the results. Go up in temp 10F at a time in subsequent firings to find the surface you like up to 1650F (About Cone 010 ½). Test your glazes.
Stoneware and Porcelain glazes maturing between Cone 6-10 (2200F-2345F) do not soften at all at our decal temperature firing range of Cone 012-010 (1575F-1632F). The fluxes in our decals completely fuse to the base glaze but they tend to require more heat to reach a shine. We recommend that you start testing our decals on your high-fire glazes at 1625F and look at the results. Go up in temp 10F at a time in subsequent firings to find the surface you like up 1650F (About Cone 010 ½). Test your glazes.
ABOUT THE GLASS Substrate
A. Kiln Forming.
The glass that you are using directly affects our decals because the softening and melting of glass occurs at the same temperatures as the fluxes and enamels that we print our decals. COE 90 and COE 96 fuse compatible art glass; COE 82 float glass and COE 33 borosilicate glass all require different firing schedules and produce different results. We strongly recommend that test our decals on your glass, develop techniques, and modify our firing schedules to suit your personal studio glass practice.
We have done extensive testing with many of the glasses commercially available. We found that Spectrum System 96 is the simplest to use because it is smooth and is very compatible with the fluxes and enamels on our decals. (Hang in there Spectrum Glass will be available through Oceanside Glass soon).
Bullseye glass works well but it requires a first firing to make it smooth. We have discovered our decals interact more with the fluxes in Bullseye and the image appears softer. Many of our clients have developed great results with Bullseye.
B. Hot Glass. Fused to sheet glass, decal transfers can be rolled-up and blown.Cylinder blanks can be blown and annealed. Decals are then transferred around the cylinder and pre-fired to 1120 F. Blanks can then be picked up and blown. Imagery becomes fully fused in the glory hole. With both roll-ups and blanks using white glass helps hold color due to opacity. Imagery can be gathered over with clear with no loss of color from the extreme temperature of the furnace glass. Torching and all other hot glass technique are the same.
C. Boro-silicate glass. CEO 33 borosilicate glass works well but requires more advanced techniques. Like float glass, Boro needs a higher firing temp to reach a uniform gloss. Flame working is possible, but torches directly hitting our decals are to hot they will burnout. Casing the decal between to layers of boro so the flame does not touch the decal is a must. We wrap decals around a tube and fried it to 1050F. We then slide this inside a larger tube and fused them together. From there we could flame work anything. One still needs to be gentle with the heat.
D. Float Glass. Float glass works well but it requires a higher firing temperature to achieve a uniform gloss. Devitrification can be and issue and you will need a tin scope to determine the tin side of the glass. Our decal only work on the NON-tin side. Armstrong glass and Youghiogheny glass make COE 82 colored glass that is compatible with commercial float glass.