Thursday, August 16, 2007
Red On The Set
When Epson wanted to photograph one of the world's rarest automobiles to test a new printer, they went to Stage 3 Productions in Detroit, where the staff knows how to generate maximum resolution
Hitting The Big Time
We delivered the 2.3 GB file in person to Steinhardt and product manager Mark Radogna at Epson America's headquarters in Long Beach, Calif. Since this was a .psb file, Photoshop had compressed certain layers during the saving process. When the finished file was reopened, it was a staggering 5.6 gigabytes.
We were anxious to see if the Epson Stylus Pro 11880 could really hold all the detail we had in the file, along with the deep blue background that would normally just block up when printed.
In a relatively short time, the printer started up. The Stylus Pro 11880 incorporates the new TFP printhead, which has 360 nozzles per color, so print speeds would be more than twice as fast as our Epson Stylus Pro 9800. The head also incorporates a vibration-reduction technology to minimize ink shake in each of the nozzle chambers. Combined with a new screening algorithm, it would, in theory, give us the detail in the final print that we had in the final file.
Capturing the Enzo with extreme resolution against a normally out-of-gamut deep-blue background was in many ways a high-performance test of Epson's latest wide-format technology. A lab or sign shop could make big prints in the past, but never with this level of detailed precision, resolution and photographic tonality. When we saw the print of the Enzo come out of the new Epson Stylus Pro 11880, we all felt that we really did hit the BIG time.
As they prepared for the Ferrari shoot, Stage 3 found that most of the similar images to date had been generated solely from computer design data that was utilized to create CGI illustrations of a manufacturer's future vehicles. In this case, Stage 3 wanted to shoot the real thing. The facility has a high-tech Sinar Capture System for large-format imaging that's unrivaled for its clarity and smooth gradient control. It's the ideal tool for the contours of an exotic vehicle. They also wanted to create a unique lighting scheme that came from experimentation on the set—the Organic Method. Many clients have become very reliant on CGI solutions, but Stage 3's goal is to make images that are more complex than would be possible for CGI artists to render in a timely manner.
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