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Large canvas prints marks the rise of modern day utopia wherein the best of old techniques and craftsmanship are interlinked with the versatility of technological advancement and thus finds wide application globally. The evolution of canvas prints dates back to the echelon of time as in the days of yore the artists used stretched canvases to bring the masterpieces to life. The word canvas is derived from the French word canevaz or canevas meaning "made of hemp" as the journey of canvas began from hemp though nowadays the canvas are made of cotton or linen. The digital printing era revolutionized the process of printing by leaps and bounds and the current popularity of prints; whether they are small or large canvas prints, stand testament to this fact.
The pioneers in the field of digital printing started a quiet revolution by printing artworks and masterpieces on stretched canvases giving them the realistic feel and above average visual display. The initial stages of digital printing revolution were covered by IRIS printers though the latter part has gone through umpteen versions of printers and printing processes due to continuously evolving software for photography, editing and printing. Currently Inkjet printing process and dye sublimation are the dual pillars of offset printing process.
The term 'giclee' is synonymous for art prints made on IRIS inkjet printers (Johnson 2005) and finds its origin in the spraying of ink on canvas process which is employed by the inkjet printers. gicl‚e (zhee-clay) n. is defined as a type of digital fine-art print often associated with reproductions; a gicl‚e is a multiple print or exact copy of an original work of art that was created by conventional means (painting, drawing, etc.) and then reproduced digitally, typically via inkjet printing.
The dye sublimation process on the other hand impregnates the dye into the media by mode of heat transfer by producing darker or lighter colours by varying the degree of current into the thermal heads. The debate between the better or more efficient mode of printing is ongoing with each having its unique set of values and issues. The dye sublimation technology was earlier considered as a better option by virtue of the fact that in case of large canvas prints it was giving a consistent colour scheme which looked better than the spray effect of inkjet printers which basically limited the scope of the print due to the pixel effect in which the print consisted of sequence of ink droplets yet now with the new generation of inkjet printers producing similar if not better prints, it is anybody's guess as to the outcome of this debate.
The market for large canvas prints has also increased by gigantic proportions. The myriad manifestation of the super-medium (internet) has also blown up the scope of photographic prints as the digitalisation process ensures the continuous growth of sales of prints in one direction-upwards. This exponential growth is spurred by real demand for large canvas prints both for commercial and domestic purposes.
The digital work can directly be imprinted on the canvas thus making it a boon for photographers and designers whose primary dependency is on the digital print media. Use of hybrid technologies in scanning, manipulating and printing is also spearheading the need for better and more competitive processes and the conglomerates as Sony, Epson, HP among others promise that the future of small and large canvas prints will be as colourful and vibrant as its glorious past.