Understanding Metal Prints

Metal Prints are created using a dye transfer process called “Dye-Sublimation Printing”. The digitized photographic image from one of my large format 4x5 black & white negatives or a large format 4x5 color transparency is transferred onto a special type of cellophane coated with dyes. This special cellophane, embedded with the photographic image, is then laid on top of a metal aluminum sheet that has been prepared with a poly-based coating. This combination is then put through the Dye-Sublimation Printer. Using extreme heat, the Dye- Sublimation Printer turns the dye into a gas that then adheres itself to the metal and returns to a solid. What’s left is a gorgeous metal photographic print!

To explain the Metal Print process in greater detail, in Dye-Sublimation Printing, colors are not sprayed onto a paper surface as individual dots, as is done in inkjet printers. In Dye-Sublimation Printing, a long roll of transparent film that resembles sheets of red, blue, yellow, and black colored cellophane are stuck together end to end. Embedded in the cellophane are solid dyes corresponding to the four basic colors used in printing: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. The prepared dye-embedded cellophane is heated up causing the dyes to vaporize and permeate the metal surface in the pattern and in the colors of the original 4x5 large format color transparency or 4x5 black & white negative.

Metal prints are processed to archival quality standards. While fine art photographic papers have fantastic image stability, test results show that the image archival stability of metal prints are even 2 to 4 times the image stability of traditional silver-based photo papers. The ultra-hard, scratch-resistant surface is also waterproof and can be easily cleaned. As with other archival quality art, it is suggested to avoid direct sunlight. With these qualities, metal prints should last for generations to come.

For my metal prints, I use a float mount on the back as a great hanging system. The float mount creates separation and makes the photograph “pop” from the wall. It has a distinctive look and is a finished piece of fine art that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.

Visit my shop to shop metal prints as well as traditional fine art photography paper prints www.robertvieleephotography.com