Friday, June 21, 2013

What is the difference between Matte, Satin, Semimatte, and Glossy Photo Paper??

The light reflective qualities of the final printed image play an important part in the decision of which proofing paper should be purchased for the project. The major manufacturers cover most if not all of the paper choices. In the order of reflective surfaces come matte, satin, semimatte, and glossy.

Matte proofing paper has a flat appearance as it does not reflect light and has little or no contrast qualities. More ink is absorbed by Matte paper than other types and provides an excellent printed image.

Satin proofing paper has some sheen to it and is considered more reflective than Matte but less than that of Semimatte.

Semimatte proofing paper has a higher reflection than Satin but less then Glossy.

Glossy proofing paper has the highest reflective qualities and is excellent for color definition and high contrast photographic printing.

In addition to the glossy surface, or lack thereof, manufacturers also grade their paper offerings according to brightness, whiteness, thickness, weight, and opacity. Each of these conditions are rated or measured according to industry standards.

Within the manufacturer specifications given for each of the Proofing Papers the following standards may be referred to: ISO 2471 (International Organization for Standardization) This standard specifies the method used to determine the opacity of white paper which contains fluorescent whitening agents.

Brightness can be determined by TAPPI 452 (Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry) and ISO 2470. The brightness of white, near white, and naturally colored paper is measured by the method contained in these standards.

GRACol Certified (General Requirements and Applications for Commercial Offset Lithography) IDEAlliance, an organization that has created general guidelines and recommendations for quality color printing across the industry.

SWOP (Specifications for Web Offset Publications) A set of specifications for publication printing that ensures measurable, consistent results at each step in the printing process. SWOP guidelines address quality-of-material issues in pre-press and proofing as well as on-press challenges of color matching, dot gain and different paper stocks

ASTM D523 (ASTM International, formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials) This standard measures the Gloss rating found on paper.

I originally printed with the Premium Luster with my 9600(and a 10000 before that), but switched over to the Premium Semi-Matte as I found that the color gamut, bronzing, etc. was essentially identical between the two papers, but I preferred the lack of surface texture with the Semi-Matte. Less gets in the way of experiencing the image, even when framed under glass. Both papers work exceptionally well with the Atkinson profiles.

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