What is a Digital C Print?

Industry News

What is a Digital C Print?

The term C print stands for Chromogenic color prints. These are full-color photographic prints made using traditional chemicals and processes. For Digital C prints, the material is exposed using lasers or LED lights. Originally, passing color corrected light through a negative onto photographic paper or transparency film produced traditional c-prints.  Kodak introduced chromogenic papers in the 1950s under the name Type – C. The name stuck and ever since it has been a mainstay of the photographic lexicon.

Large format digital photographic printing is a complex operation that few people ever get a chance to appreciate first hand. In between the original file and the final print, there are a number of processes and people that are instrumental in creating a perfect final print.

The first step is procuring a digital file either from a scan or digital camera. As soon as the file is presented it is passed along to “prepress”. In the prepress stage, a digital file is set up to the specifications for the final print. This is where color correction, color profiling, and resizing occur. After the file meets specifications the technician passes the file to a RIP station.

RIP (raster image processor) stations translate the digital file into analog information for the printer to use. Digital C printers use three colored lasers, RGB (red, green, and blue) to produce an image. After passing through the RIP station the digital file is then broken apart into three sections called channels, one channel for each of these lasers.

Now the image is ready to be printed. Photographic paper is fed into the printer where the three lasers expose the image onto the paper.  As in traditional c printing, the image has been printed but is latent and unfixed. At this point, if the paper were exposed to any light the image would be ruined. Exposed paper is spooled onto a tube and moved to the processors in complete darkness.

Photographic processors are automated machines that move the exposed photographic paper through a series of chemical baths. Time and temperature are critical factors in this step. If the paper remains in one chemical a second too long or the chemical is a degree too warm, the color integrity of the print is lost. Processors must constantly be observed and recalibrated to ensure optimal conditions for development.

After processing, the digital file has now been transferred onto paper and is visible as a final print. From here the print will go through quality control to ensure that size, color, and density are all accurate. Once approved, the print is then trimmed and passed along to the next department to be mounted or framed.

Paper Choice at Duggal Include:

  • Glossy – Shiny finished photo paper
  • Matte – Flat finished photo paper
  • Deep Matte  The Digital C department now offers a deep matte Fuji paper. It’s a beautiful fine art paper that’s particularly great for pastels and softer images and B&W on color.
  • Metallic – Digital photo prints on Kodak’s extraordinary metallic paper, rendering an entirely new look to digital images.
  • DuraFlex – Reflective, polyester-based high gloss prints for displays.
  • Duraclear – Clear-base color transparent material designed for use on illuminators that have built-in diffusers.
  • Duratrans – Translucent-base color transparent material designed for producing large transparencies for backlit displays on illuminators without diffusers.
  • Digital Fiber Print – High resolution digitally exposed archival fiber paper processed by master printers. Available in pearl surface.