Iris printer

Iris printer

An Iris printer is a large format colour inkjet printer manufactured by the Graphic Communications Group of Eastman Kodak, which is used for digital prepress proofing. Iris printers use a continuous inkjet technology to produce continuous-tone output on various media, including paper, canvas, silk, linen and other textiles. The prints are noted for their accurate colour reproduction. Iris printers are also noted for the low cost of their consumables compared to other printing technologies. Prints produced by an Iris printer are commonly called ""Iris prints", ""Iris proofs", or simply ""Irises".


The Iris printer was originally developed by the Iris Graphics company of Bedford, Massachusetts, and first introduced in 1987 when the Model 3024 was shown at the September 1987 "Lasers in Graphics" show in Miami. It was acquired by Scitex in 1990, which was then purchased by Creo Products Inc. in 2000. In 2005 Creo was purchased by Kodak.


Industrial prepress proofing

Iris printers are used in prepress proofing for color on printing jobs where color match is critical, such as commercial product packaging and magazine layout. Their output is used to check (proof) what the colors will look like before mass production begins.

Fine art reproduction

Iris printers have also been used in the production of fine art prints since the early 1990s. An early developer of the technology in the fine art field was Graham Nash of the band Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.

Nash was introduced to using Iris printers for photo reproduction when the original negatives to some of his photographs were lost in shipment. An associate came up with the idea of scanning contact sheets of the photos and outputting them to an Iris printer. Nash was so pleased with the results he, along with his road manager, Mac Holbert, decided to develop further methods to use the printer to make continuous tone print editions of Nash's photographs [ [ "The Genesis of Giclee" by Greg Welch, November 9, 2001] ] . Nash and Holbert, with a team of artists and photographers, modified an IRIS 3047 and developed a method to print high-quality black-and-white photographs on various paper substrates. Since Iris prints were designed for prepress proofing where the output is usually discarded, early Iris prints were relatively fugitive and tended to show color changes after only a few years. The use of newer inksets and printing substrates have extended the longevity and light fastness of fine art Iris prints.

The Iris printer’s connection with industrial printing meant the name "Iris print" was synonymous with a disposable prepress proof. Nash and Holbert came up with the name "digigraph" to try to distinguish their work from the industrial process. Another generic name “giclée” is also used for this type of print. Some artist and fine art printers still prefer to call prints produced on an Iris printer an ""Iris print".



* [ - The New Remasters]
* [] "What's In a Name: The True Story of "Giclée"

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