Relief, planographic, intaglio, and screen image carriers (or plates) are the most common. The image or printing area is elevated above the non-image portions in relief printing. Letterpress and flexography are both relief printing techniques. In planographic printing, a flat plate is used with ink applied to the surface which contacts the paper. The non-printing areas are not treated with ink.
Intaglio printing uses engraved surfaces where the print element is in raised conical points or "teeth." In this method, only the points contact the paper or other medium and remove ink from its surface. Engraved plates can be made from steel or copper and usually require mechanical removal of material to reveal the desired image. Screens are woven or broached fibers coated with an emulsion and used as a base for receiving ink. They are commonly used in lithography and letterpress printing.
Screen images are made up of pixels that are either black or white. Pixels are defined as the smallest unit of color reproduction. Pixels on a printed page will appear as dots when viewed at a normal distance. The number of pixels per inch determines the resolution of the print file. Text is easy to read if it is set in a font with about 72 to 75 pixels per character height. Vector graphics files have pixels also, but they are described by mathematical formulas using lines and curves rather than physical impressions on a plate.
The Different Types of Printmaking
Prints can be classified into five of several categories:
In art printmaking, relief printing is the act of cutting or etching a printing surface such that all that remains of the original surface is the pattern to be printed. Relief printing techniques include woodcut, anastatic printing (also known as relief etching), linocut, and metal cut. These methods all involve the direct carving or cutting away of parts of a block or sheet of material using a tool such as a knife or laser beam.
Relief prints look beautiful alone but they can also be used to create postage stamps, wall hangings, and even book covers. The choice of material for the print depends on how it will be used. If you're looking at buying prints to use as wall decorations, for example, choose high-quality paper rather than card. The print should also be as large as possible while still being able to clearly show the image.
The type of relief print you get will depend on which technique was used to create the print. For example, woodcuts feature carved blocks of wood while linoleum cuts feature layers of rubber cement and cardboard. Both produce images that use only part of the material's surface area so they look great displayed individually or in groups.
Anastatic printing is usually done on sheets of paper with watercolor paints added to the ink before it is put onto the page.