At ArtisanHD, we’ve been printing high quality images Direct to Dibond for over 7 years. These brushed metal prints keep growing in popularity, and we know why! We use one of the best aluminum composite materials out there. Dibond is tough enough to be commercially rated for outdoor use and building cladding, which makes it a perfect print medium for indoor or outdoor use.
How to Print to Dibond
While the silver-brushed surface has a tendency to enhance almost any image, there are a few pitfalls to avoid. For example, a portrait print with smiling people may not be the best idea, as those pearly white teeth will end up looking silver! Just like when you stick a white piece of paper into your home printer, the white of the teeth or peoples eyes are rendered by showing the white paper. You’re not printing at all in these sections, to make them show through as white. So what happens when you use a silver or gray medium? Well, everything that used to be white on paper will now show silver on brushed metal prints.
Our flatbed InkJet printers spray the CMYK ink directly to the boards. Since the ink is not 100% opaque, you will see the brushed texture throughout the print. But in the highlight / white areas, you see the silver texture peeking through. Since we are starting with a darker substrate, this can also have a muting effect on your overall color, gradients, shadow areas, and so forth. So, how does one compensate for that?
Custom Edits for 6 Dibond Prints
During a recent job review, we looked at six unique images sent to us by Matthew Cunningham. Cunningham is a very accomplished designer, so giving us high quality print files is not an issue. But as we looked closer, we realized that several of his images had some very subtle dark tones and intense highlights. To better preserve the integrity of these images, we placed the files into Photoshop and looked at the difference between the originals and what it would look like if we opened the shadows up in Camera RAW by 30% .
This simple move gave us more details about the dark areas, while preserving the overall color (vs. a Curve or Hue adjustment). For a final kick, we increased the Saturation by about 5%, just to make sure the colorful highlights really pop.
Before going to print, we made sure to reach out to the client and asked him to review low resolution versions of our adjusted files. Cunningham was very amicable, and told us to go ahead as he trusted our judgment. With his approval, we proceeded to make the prints based on our initial adjustments. The results were stunning! Not only did his print get that cool, industrial metal look, but we were also able to preserve the punch & details of the images, as seen on the monitor.
Dibond Brushed Metal Prints
Under the proper lighting conditions, these prints really come to life and add a whole new sense of attitude to the scene!
We sure wouldn’t mind driving one of those around! Cunningham has spent over a decade creating digital illustrations and concept designs, some of which will appear in the upcoming Marvel TV show, Runaways, as well as George R.R. Martin’s Nightfliers. If you’d like to see these prints up close and personal, visit Cunningham’s exhibition at Eastern Projects Gallery in Chinatown, Los Angeles, which debuted on November 3rd.
Cunningham currently teaches automotive design in California. To see more of his work, visit his website, Cunningham Concept Design.
Custom Printing Services for Dibond Prints
So, are you ready to try this creative media on your own? Find a great shot, make a few minor edits in Photoshop or Lightroom, and send it over to us for printing. But what if you don’t have Photoshop, or are just not all that comfortable making these tweaks? No problem! Simply send us your files via the Custom Printing Services page. We can manually quote the job for you, including a little TLC time to boost your image(s).
It’s hard to capture Dibond in a still photo. Check out our video to see Dibond up close!
Think canvas is passé? Don’t want another picture in a frame? Had enough of thin, super shiny metal prints? Break free from basic prints! Give your next print project some attitude with high quality Dibond brushed metal prints from ArtisanHD.