Elevated printing

with Canon Production Printing

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Elevated print of the (enhanced) surface from a Goya painting © Factum Foundation

Factum Arte and Factum Foundation have been working with Canon Production Printing (previously Océ - A Canon Company) since 2015, adapting and applying their elevated printing technology to the reproduction of exact facsimiles.

What is elevated printing technology?

Elevated printing technology allows the creation of full colour textured prints. It works similarly to flatbed printing, although in this case, layer upon layer of UV-cured ink is deposited onto a surface to produce high-resolution three-dimensional surfaces. The thickness of each layer varies between 2 and 4μm.

Factum saw the potential of this technology for the production of facsimiles of 2.5D surfaces (such as paintings and low-reliefs) and has been employing the high level of accuracy of elevated printing as a way to transform the depth-map data acquired from the Lucida 3D Scanner into material form - a textured surface onto which colour data is later printed. 

A test of the surface data for the small oil sketch of Boucher's Portrait of Madame de Pompadour, both with and without colour, reproduced at different depths of relief. The sections at the top have no relief at all, while the sections at the bottom have a far more pronounced relief than the original painting © Oak Taylor Smith

Elevated printing and the creation of facsimiles

One of the first projects that saw the collaboration between CPP and Factum was the recreation of the Renaissance altarpiece known as the Polittico Griffoni: the sixteen surviving panels from the altarpiece were scanned with the Lucida and then 3D printed by CPP as a white textured surface. The texture was moulded with silicone and then cast in gesso, over which the colour was printed by Factum's custom flatbed printer.

Printing the colour over the surface © Factum Foundation

A 3D print of the texture of a panel from the Polittico Griffoni, using the data acquired with the Lucida 3D Scanner © Factum Foundation

The reason behind the moulding is simple: gesso provides a much smoother and workable texture for printing the colour © Factum Foundation

During the rematerialisation of some of the painted walls from the tomb of Seti I as facsimiles, the collaboration with Factum led the research and development department at Canon Production Printing to create an experimental slicing algorithm and to the modification of the print process, enabling to create textured prints higher than 5mm. 

© Factum Foundation

Creating casts from Canon Production Printing's moulds © Factum Foundation

Silicone mould © Factum Foundation

© Factum Foundation

 

Factum Foundation also collaborated with Canon Production Printing and the Mauritshuis in the recording and reproduction of Rembrandt's Portrait of an Elderly Man (1667). With 2019 marking the 350th anniversary of the Dutch Master's death, the joint effort aimed to demonstrate how new technologies for non-contact digitisation and elevated printing can contribute to the preservation, study and dissemination of one of the artist's most notable works. 
Another collaboration with the Rijksmuseum Twenthe and Canon Production Printing rematerialised four paintings from the Dutch Golden Age in 2019. 

Canon’s technology has become a central part of Factum's work in outputting high-resolution digital data and rematerialising the surface of paintings. Facsimiles made using CPP's elevated printing technology include, among many others:

Contemporary artists and photographers also explored the possibilities offered by elevated printing.

Small sections of one of the printing blocks of the Heart-shaped map of Hajji Ahmed, re-materialised with CNC-milling (top) and with CPP’s Elevated Printing (bottom left). Initial printing tests have been made out of the CPP surface (bottom right) © Factum Foundation

Elevated printing test of a detail from the Heart-shaped map of Hajji Ahmed © Factum Foundation

© Factum Foundation

Making the mould from the textured surface of Caravaggio's Burial of St. Lucy © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

Tests to perfect the backboard of Parmigianino's Self-portrait in a convex mirror © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

Tests to perfect the backboard of Parmigianino's Self-portrait in a convex mirror © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

Tests to perfect the backboard of Parmigianino's Self-portrait in a convex mirror © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

Tests to perfect the backboard of Parmigianino's Self-portrait in a convex mirror © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

Making the mould from the textured surface of Juan de la Cosa's Chart, which was needed to perfect the application of the colour 'skin' - a process similar to the one used to make the panels from the tomb of Seti I © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

The vacuum bag seals the colour skin on the surface after careful positioning © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

The result is the perfect fusion between surface and colour, accurate to microns © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

Installing the Canon Arizona in Factum's workshops

In 2021, a custom Canon Arizona flatbed UV printer was installed in Factum's workshop in Madrid, bringing the collaboration with Canon Production Printing to the next level. The Canon end-to-end solution comprises Canon ALPS (Advanced Layered Printing System) technology and a Canon Arizona wide format flatbed printer, using the high-resolution 3D data recorded with Factum’s in-house built Lucida 3D Scanner. The Canon Arizona system prints the individual layers in perfect registration, by raising the print head gantry automatically. 

The registration of this flatbed printer, combined with the ALPS technology, will allow Factum to speed up the process internally and enhance the technology while working closely with CPP’s teams.

Installing the elevated printing system in Factum's workshops © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Arte

Testing the elevated printed colour © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Arte

Testing the elevated printed colour © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Arte

Testing the elevated printed colour © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Arte


 

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