Since we started using the Chromata White Canvas last year we’ve been extremely satisfied. After testing out each of HP’s canvases, and then stacking them up against Chromata we junked all of the HP canvas (I still have a smaller roll if anybody wants it). Chromata stretches easily, the color reproduction is fantastic, and unlike the HP canvas we worked with, it doesn’t crack when stretched. I can’t say the same for HP, even with a veneer finish on it prior to stretching.
So, Breathing Color is this printer’s preference. More importantly, it measures up to the requirements my clients have. It doesn’t matter how much I like a product, it matters what my customers think. Pretty simple.
Seeing a new canvas from Breathing Color I wondered what was so “new” about it. I read the web site, went through the hype, and then called Stephan. He, as usual, was extremely helpful and we boiled the features down quickly. Higher dynamic range, works even better with the Glamour Veneer, and all the other fun properties I appreciate in the Chromata. With the new information in mind I requested a test roll to try out for myself.
Generating a Profile with the HP Z3100
After receiving the Lyve last week I didn’t have any time at all. Every day was occupied, and I didn’t get around to my testing until Saturday morning. I would have written sooner, but the stomach bug I got laid me out for almost two days. And over that two days I really wanted to get this post up…… Sorry for the delay!
Before I could do anything on the testing front I had to create a new color profile for the new canvas. It’s a pretty simple thing to do with the HP. You jump into the HP Printer Utility, tell it you want to create a new profile, name the profile, and then the HP is off and running. A set of color swatches is generated, scanned, catalogued, and added to my paper list. The whole process takes under an hour, and when complete, leaves you with a correct color calibration for your new paper or canvas type.
With profiling completed I moved on…..
Testing Lyve Out
Once I had a new profile in hand I picked a photo with a dynamic range that I hoped would really test out the new canvas. It was a print I intended on putting on canvas, so no waste of canvas. The image? “A Tea Party’s Ending,” which was part of the Mad Hatter Tea Party shoot from last week.
After running the image off on the new Lyve canvas I unloaded the printer and reloaded it with one of my Chromata rolls. The image was generated once more, allowed to dry, cut down, and then set next to the Lyve print. I labeled the back of each print and then started looking at the final image quality. I also enlisted the help of others…….
Just from a quick eyeballing of the prints I did find that Lyve handled the image better. There were some noticeable differences in the blues in the sky between Lyve and Chromata, I also notice some differences in the hat on my friend Clay’s head (from the image of course), and I was seeing a little more depth in the contrast in the rocks. Basically the image popped a little more on the Lyve canvas. But my evaluation alone isn’t good enough. I waited to see what other people thought.
Sadira and Ian were the first to see the new prints. Beyond enjoying the print, each selected the Lyve canvas. No coaching from me. Just two independent evaluations of side by side images. They mentioned the same things I mentioned above. Chromata reproduces wonderfully too, but I think there’s an extra “pop” factor with the Lyve that you wouldn’t notice unless you did a side by side like this.
Additionally I decided to reproduce my Everybody’s Hometown #2 on the Lyve as well. Comparing it to my other reproductions of that work I didn’t see much gain. However, it is a darker piece that does not sport such a poppy color spread to begin with.
Beyond the image reproduction and perceived color enhancement, what else can I say about Lyve? Like Chromata, it accepts the Glamour II Veneer quickly, evens out very nicely, and the drying time is pretty fast. I normally lay down two coats of Glamour. One coat on, wait for a tacky surface, lay down the second coat. Usually a 30 minute process. I did not see any huge gains in the time taken between both prints, and that’s not a complaint. Like Chromata, Lyve works well with Glamour II, evens very nicely, and drys fully in a few hours.
My personal conclusions on Lyve
Pretty simple. I’m calling Stephan after I finish this post to order in a 24″, 36″, and 44″ roll of Lyve along with a few other items. For the moment they’re taking call ins from current customers who want to use it. Apparently it will be available for web resale soon, but not quite yet. Glad I’m a current customer and that garners some favor for me. 🙂
Note: After posting this article I found another review of Lyve at Ken Doo’s blog. Ken uses Epson’s print product line and Breathing Color’s Canvases. Interestingly enough, Ken reached similar conclusions on Lyve with different equipement. Check out his posting for further information on his findings.