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What is a Giclée?

The Iris giclée is the latest improvement in art print reproduction. A good giclée print exhibits rich, vibrant colors, exceptional detail and a faithfulness to the original art seldom found in other traditional reproduction processes.

The word giclée comes from the French verb "gicleur" which means "to spray." A giclée print made on an Iris inkjet printer is literally created spraying millions of ink drops onto a print surface. The distinction between an Iris giclée and other inkjet prints is in the size and placement of those millions of drops.To the unaided eye, an Iris giclée can bear an uncanny resemblance to an original.

To make a giclée first requires a digital interpretation made from the original. This can be accomplished by either photographically making a film transparency and scanning into a computer or bypassing the film based process entirely and scan-ning directly to the computer. This can be done with a digital scanning back camera.

Once an image is in the computer, it is in pixel format. A pixel is a small block of color and on the Iris there are about 1800 per inch. Pixels are the building blocks of any computer image and may be viewed and manipulated on a computer monitor according to the artists wishes. Color correction, contrast adjustment, sharpening and even the erasing of an unwanted signature are just a few of the possibilities available to the artist.

The last step in making an Iris giclée is the actual printing process. A piece of paper is first mounted onto the Iris’ steel drum. Then, the four ink nozzles are cleaned and aligned to insure perfect dot placement. The ink pumps cycle on and the drum begins to spin. Once the drum achieves an optimal speed, the ink nozzles slowly begin to traverse the length of the drum laying down a stream of over a million drops per second. In about 45 minutes the giclée printing process is complete.

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