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Author Topic: Framing an A2 print (from P800) - workflow questions  (Read 2502 times)

Wawe

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Framing an A2 print (from P800) - workflow questions
« on: July 17, 2017, 04:08:52 PM »

Hi all,

I've recently started printing my own images with an Epson P800 and am looking to matt & frame them myself, too, as soon as I learn how to do that and acquire the necessary supplies.

Having watched hours of tutorial videos on the subject both on Lynda.com and YouTube, I found the methodology taught on Robert Rodriguez Jr's Matting and Framing Tutorial to be worth pursuing, with some minor modifications to be better suited for my purposes. Firstly, for now, I probably won't try to cut my own glass or build the frame as I have enough new stuff to learn as is. Secondly, as I understood that you can do the whole process in a way that allows you to change the image in the frame later if necessary, I would really like to do the matting and framing so that I can do that. I'd appreciate any thoughts you might have for these two choices.

If I'll end up following this process, I'm thinking I need to buy at least the following:

  • The frame itself
  • Backing board
  • Mount
  • Photo corners to hold the print in place
  • Glazing (I'm considering Tru Vue Museum Glass)
  • Some string to hang the finished art work with and other small supplies

As I've never actually done any framing in practice, the above list isn't probably complete. Something relevant I'm missing here?

Also, any thoughts on where to get the stuff? I live in Finland, so in case someone knows any good Europe-based retailers, those would likely work the best for me, but I'm willing to consider further-away options as well.

With a quick look, I found at least one framing shop that would sell bespoke frames, for which I could choose the glazing to be Tru Vue Museum Glass as well. So, from them I would get all else and would then do the mount myself. This is a tempting choice for first-timer like myself but I'd assume that they will charge astronomical mark-ups for the service. What do you think, would this be a nice, easy road to go at this point?

Please feel free to suggest other alternatives as well and thanks for your help in advance!

-W4w3
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Alan Goldhammer

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Re: Framing an A2 print (from P800) - workflow questions
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2017, 05:30:07 PM »

Glass breaks; use high quality acrylic glazing instead.  You should be able to find this at any good framing parts distributor.  You don't say what the volume of framing you plan to do.  Is this for your own display or for sale?  If you are just doing something for yourself there are other display options that don't involve framing:  https://posterhanger.com/  Beauty of this approach is that it's easier to change images!
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DeanChriss

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Re: Framing an A2 print (from P800) - workflow questions
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2017, 08:20:18 PM »

The problem I have with acrylic is that it needs special cleaners, special cloths, and also a lot of care in using them to avoid fine surface scratches. Rub it across the wrong thing when handling the finished piece and you'll have a big mark. Sometimes they can be polished out. With insufficient care the glazing can look pretty bad pretty fast. I don't trust that whoever ends up with a print is going to take that sort of care. When they don't it'll be my fault for using acrylic, not theirs for improper care. But what's best really depends on the properties that are important to you. Acrylic is very light, for instance. 

Glass breaks, but the last time I broke any framed print glazing was 17 years ago. It was a small print and I thought the hanging wire was on a wall hook. It wasn't, and the print came crashing down on a tile floor. It broke the glass and wrecked the frame corner too. Before and since that event I framed hundreds of pieces from 11x14 to 30x40 inches using glass without any broken glazing. That's not to say it can't break, but in normal handling it just doesn't. That includes hauling the prints around to arts festivals and galleries. I've also shipped them by UPS and Fed Ex without issues. That makes me pretty tense but they have always arrived at their destination unbroken. Needless to say they need to be packed extremely well.

Cleaning regular glass takes no more care than cleaning a mirror or a window. OTOH Tru Vue Museum Glass has a coating that adores finger prints and shows them worse than acrylic or regular glass. Be careful to put the correct side toward the artwork. Cleaning it can be an exercise in frustration. "Touching up" a small smear can lead to a much bigger mess. IMO it's usually better to clean the entire piece using an ample amount of cleaning fluid, but that's not necessarily easy either. Like acrylic, museum glass needs a non-ammonia cleaner and microfiber cloth, but is much harder to clean than regular acrylic or glass. I have never used "Artglass" so I can't comment, but it's supposed to be easier to clean, have anti-reflective properties similar to Tru Vue Museum Glass, and either side can face the print.

Glass, including UV protective and Museum Glass, can easily be cut with simple hand tools. A roughly $10 (USD) cutter, $10 set of running pliers, and a $10 - $50 (depending on type and size) neoprene backed cutting guide (straight edge) is all one needs unless you are doing significant volume. Even then, I know a commercial framer who probably frames 5-10 pieces per day for 30+ years and she still uses these simple tools. I know another who does less volume but has all of the fancy wall-mounted equipment. The results are the same. Practice on a couple cheap pieces of regular glass when you start. You'll break a couple pieces but once you get a feel for it you'll probably never break a piece again. It seems intimidating at first but it's really dead simple. If you can buy larger sheets of glass by the box (typically 50 pounds) and cut them to size it can be surprisingly cheap. OTOH Museum glass is more than $10 per square foot. (Pardon my use of English units - they're just what I'm familiar with).

Get a decent mat cutter. You don't need to spend $1500 on one, but you'll regret getting a $300 version. C&H, Fletcher, are great. IMO the Logan 850 "Platinum Edge" at around $825 is fine for 4-ply, but I wouldn't recommend any other Logan model. All of these mat cutters will also cut (with no bevel) foam core. Be sure to use acid-free foam core (if you use foam core) and matting. Acid-fee matting can be fairly cheap (Crescent Select - alpha-cellulose) or fairly expensive (Crescent RagMat - cotton). There are other brands, but the acid free alpha cellulose is always cheaper than the cotton rag.
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Re: Framing an A2 print (from P800) - workflow questions
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2017, 08:27:56 PM »

I can't advise you on sourcing components.  My main observation is that matting prints is more art than science.  By all means do the research, but don't underestimate how much practice it takes to be able to do this well.  For this reason I wouldn't suggest that you start with an A2 print.  Better to practice on Letter-sized (A4) prints.  You need to be able to cut it straight, with no 'hooks' in the corners, and just a very small amount of overcut at each corner. Conservation grade matte board is expensive, usually more so than the cost of the print you've made, and it takes some practice to be able to cut it for an A2 print without making errors.   

Speaking of which, make sure you do include in your research the various grades of matte board, because some suppliers will advertise matte board that is claimed to be acid-free, but that's only at the point of manufacture, and it won't necessarily remain pH neutral over time.  Look for conservation grade board, which is more expensive, hence the need to practice on smaller prints.  Museum grade (all cotton) board is even more expensive, but is only needed in very specialized applications.  You should also make sure that you use conservation grade mounting and hinging tape, should you decide to use that instead of photo corners.

I agree that frame-making is a step too far for most photographers, not least because you'll need specialized equipment to do it well, and the materials can be hard for a non-professional frame maker to source.  Bespoke frames in standard sizes is a good idea.

For a lot of photographers, being able to matte your own prints is a rewarding part of the creative process, and can help keep the cost of framing down, although as another post made while I was typing this noted, you will need to be prepared to invest in a good matte cutter, especially for an A2 print.
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Sharon VL

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Re: Framing an A2 print (from P800) - workflow questions
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2017, 09:53:33 PM »

Are you doing this for yourself or to sell? One big concern, if you sell your work, mounting has to be done properly. Photo corners probably won't cut it, you need to hinge or dry mount the photos.

We got into framing our own work for a while, but now refer our clients to a local framer. He has better quality frames, knows how to properly mount, and is fabulous at helping clients choose the right mat and frame.  Overall, he can offer them a better product than I can. I had one of the pieces I framed and mounted returned because the print buckled due to humidity. I've never had an issue with my framers work.

Sharon

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Re: Framing an A2 print (from P800) - workflow questions
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2017, 11:44:14 PM »

That's a good point, Sharon.

When I buy art, I get it framed by my local and very trusted framer.  The decision on how to frame can take 30-45 minute per piece.  I'm not saying photogs should never frame, but be aware that excellent framing can really add to a great piece of art (painting, print, etc.).
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Phil Brown

Wawe

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Re: Framing an A2 print (from P800) - workflow questions
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2017, 04:30:45 AM »

Thanks everyone! A lot of good points there.

For now, I'm doing this to hang my images on my own walls and on those of a couple of close relatives, so I'm probably going to be the most critical viewer of the finished work myself.

Nonetheless, I'd really like to do this part of the creative process well, too, especially since I'm thinking the same frames could then be used for years or even decades to come. That's why I'm willing to invest in quality framing, including the expensive Museum Glass glazing. If for any reason I would be unhappy with the print, I'm hoping to be able to change it (to an image of the same size) without having to do the framing again.

Maybe the easiest way to proceed now would be to order a couple of bespoke frames from the company I mentioned. I understood that I can choose everything I need for the matting and framing from them, so that I would only need to put the pieces together once the package arrives. I'm leaning towards this choice despite the obvious expensiveness due to being so new to the whole craft (still a lot to learn for me only on the printing job).

I've not yet decided on the exact framing and matting but selected something in the Frame Designer the company offers in their website. I'm looking at around USD 175 for the moulding, mount, glazing, backing board, fixings and undermount for the A2 size artwork. I'm expecting the shipping to be expensive as well, but that would be the case probably no matter how I'll be ordering the material. What do you think about the costs compared to your own experiences?

One prominent alternative I see to this choice is to use the services of some local framing shop. However, I would have to look into that since I don't know anything about them at this point. I'm also not sure about whether they will be providing the same quality choices (Museum glass, conservation grade matting etc.), but could of course send an inquiry to some places to find out. Has anyone got experience on what the professionals charge for this type of work?

Thanks again!

-Wawe
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virojarvi

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Re: Framing an A2 print (from P800) - workflow questions
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2017, 06:06:07 AM »

I sent email about local suppliers and framing services.

Timo
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hogloff

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Re: Framing an A2 print (from P800) - workflow questions
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2017, 08:44:54 AM »

If I'm framing for myself I don't use any glazing at all. I find glazing distracts from the print, adds a lot of expense and a lot of weight. I print a lot of my images on textured matte papers and the glazing just hides this beautiful texture.
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Alan Goldhammer

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Re: Framing an A2 print (from P800) - workflow questions
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2017, 10:46:27 AM »

That's a good point, Sharon.

When I buy art, I get it framed by my local and very trusted framer.  The decision on how to frame can take 30-45 minute per piece.  I'm not saying photogs should never frame, but be aware that excellent framing can really add to a great piece of art (painting, print, etc.).
I agree with Phil and Sharon.  All the framing I do is for myself and family members.  I've gotten pretty good at cutting mat and foam board but it's still best to suggest a good framer when someone is buying a print.  Dean's point on acrylite scratching is valid but since I know how to take care of it, it's fine for my own use.  A regular microfiber cloth is all that is needed for dusting.
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Dan Berg

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Re: Framing an A2 print (from P800) - workflow questions
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2017, 11:25:17 AM »

I do quite a lot of framing here but no mats and no glass.
Most is canvas on gatorboard and framed with a simple wood or metal frame.
Please do not discount canvas it is still the easiest product to mount and frame. (At least for us.)

schertz

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Re: Framing an A2 print (from P800) - workflow questions
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2017, 11:59:14 AM »

Some observations from a recent art fair (Toronto outdoor art exhibit at Nathan Phillips Square last weekend)

- Nobody really had prints with mats at the show. Most basic prints were just stuck in a frame borderless or with the white paper border of the print itself. This was described to me as a ďmore contemporary lookĒ when I asked. A couple people had shadow box frames.
- I didnít see any canvas (at least for photographic prints), but some metal and/or acrylic face-mounted works.
- A couple artists playing around with ink transferred onto a wood surface, giving a unique and attractive look, especially in the highlight areas where the wood grain/rings are readily apparent. A lot of interest in this (based on crowd size).
- A LOT of abandoned structures photography. I donít know it this is just the nature of who was jurying the show, but it was far too overrepresented.

Iím not sure how representative this is (either of larger trends or even regional preferences)Ö and obviously donít have any insight into how well different products by various artists sold.

Mike
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DeanChriss

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Re: Framing an A2 print (from P800) - workflow questions
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2017, 04:28:59 PM »

Some observations from a recent art fair (Toronto outdoor art exhibit at Nathan Phillips Square last weekend)

- Nobody really had prints with mats at the show. Most basic prints were just stuck in a frame borderless or with the white paper border of the print itself. This was described to me as a ďmore contemporary lookĒ when I asked. A couple people had shadow box frames.
- I didnít see any canvas (at least for photographic prints), but some metal and/or acrylic face-mounted works.
- A couple artists playing around with ink transferred onto a wood surface, giving a unique and attractive look, especially in the highlight areas where the wood grain/rings are readily apparent. A lot of interest in this (based on crowd size).
- A LOT of abandoned structures photography. I donít know it this is just the nature of who was jurying the show, but it was far too overrepresented.

Iím not sure how representative this is (either of larger trends or even regional preferences)Ö and obviously donít have any insight into how well different products by various artists sold.

Mike

Most people do not buy photography because they think "I could do that with my phone" regardless of whether it's true. Generally speaking people know they can't paint, but everyone knows they are a photographer. To counter that and possibly increase sales I think more photographers are trying to create unique objects with their images. The reasoning is that people will still think they could capture the same image with judicious pointing of their phone, but they don't know how to turn their image into that same object. If they like the object enough they'll buy it even though they wouldn't buy the image it's made from. They will never take the time to figure out how they could make such an object, if they could capture the same image, which they will never try to do either.

Some of these objects, like prints face mounted on plexi, retain an emphasis on the the image. In other objects, like prints on wood, the grain and texture of the particular piece of wood is as important as the image and no two pieces are identical. IMO it's not exactly a photograph anymore, but something made from a photograph. That's not bad if that's what you want to do. I also see some photographers exhibiting all of their images with "their own" particular and very obvious Photoshop effect. This seems quite popular with buyers. It makes their images unique to the given photographer, but I'd get really tired of making them because they all look so similar even though the subjects vary widely.

The big problem with putting a print into a frame without a mat is that, unless there is a spacer, the print surface will contact the glass and eventually be ruined.
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Ferp

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Re: Framing an A2 print (from P800) - workflow questions
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2017, 07:39:26 PM »

I understood that I can choose everything I need for the matting and framing from them, so that I would only need to put the pieces together once the package arrives.

In your original post you said "... and am looking to matt & frame them myself ..." and the wide variety of responses indicates that we all interpreted this statement differently.  Certainly there is a wide range of possible interpretations.  I gather that what you really meant is assembling all the components, and not cutting wood for the frame nor cutting the window matte etc.   

There's nothing wrong with that, we just need to understand what you mean in order to help you.  Assuming that I do now understand, there are plenty of videos around showing how to t-hinge your artwork to the backing board, and hinge the front matte to the backing board.  You just need to be aware that many will recommend gummed tape for mounting artwork, and that's not suitable for inkjet paper.  I think most framers will use Lineco Self-Adhesive Linen Tape (labelled conservation or archival quality) 

You mentioned photo corners, and if you prefer that approach over mounting tape, you may want to look at this ingenious idea:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2PWRVG4uvY

A number of other posters have suggested that you consider getting the whole job done by a local framer. That's certainly worth exploring, as some framers can be surprisingly inexpensive, especially if you give them a job lot of similar work (although museum glass will raise the cost), but you do need to shop around.

To other posters who don't matte their own images for sale - cutting matte is an art, as I said above, and to do it well you need to do it regularly with good equipment, but if you do there's no reason why you can't matte images for sale.
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Wawe

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Re: Framing an A2 print (from P800) - workflow questions
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2017, 02:28:10 AM »

Thanks again for everyone's input!

In your original post you said "... and am looking to matt & frame them myself ..." and the wide variety of responses indicates that we all interpreted this statement differently.  Certainly there is a wide range of possible interpretations.  I gather that what you really meant is assembling all the components, and not cutting wood for the frame nor cutting the window matte etc.   

There's nothing wrong with that, we just need to understand what you mean in order to help you.  Assuming that I do now understand, there are plenty of videos around showing how to t-hinge your artwork to the backing board, and hinge the front matte to the backing board.  You just need to be aware that many will recommend gummed tape for mounting artwork, and that's not suitable for inkjet paper.  I think most framers will use Lineco Self-Adhesive Linen Tape (labelled conservation or archival quality) 

You mentioned photo corners, and if you prefer that approach over mounting tape, you may want to look at this ingenious idea:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2PWRVG4uvY

A number of other posters have suggested that you consider getting the whole job done by a local framer. That's certainly worth exploring, as some framers can be surprisingly inexpensive, especially if you give them a job lot of similar work (although museum glass will raise the cost), but you do need to shop around.

To other posters who don't matte their own images for sale - cutting matte is an art, as I said above, and to do it well you need to do it regularly with good equipment, but if you do there's no reason why you can't matte images for sale.

You're right, maybe I should clarify my thoughts on what I aim to do. Eventually I do see that I'll pursue possessing the skill set to do the matting and framing myself.

However, at this point I'm new to all related to getting the digital image to finally hang on my wall. As there's a lot to learn just regarding printing (color management, choosing the papers etc.), I'm starting to lean towards "outsourcing" some parts of the process at least for now.

Yet, I already have a somewhat clear vision on the type of materials I want the frame to consist of, and that's why I believe I could just order the ready-cut matte, glazing etc. and assemble the components myself. As an alternative to this option, I could also use the services of local framers. I started exploring that option by sending e-mail inquiries to several close-by framers, so now I'll wait their responses to get a sense of what the cost-difference would be (to assembling the components myself).

The bottom line is that as I'm doing this for the first time, I'm not entirely sure yet what the best choice would be and hence I welcome all the different suggestions.

As for the technicalities, I mentioned photo corners as I understood that they're one way to frame the print in a way that it's possible to change the image later. So thanks for the link, I'll have a look at the idea in the video! Also, I'm open to suggestions on other choices to do the framing in this way. Any viable alternatives in mind?
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Alan Goldhammer

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Re: Framing an A2 print (from P800) - workflow questions
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2017, 08:12:56 AM »

As for the technicalities, I mentioned photo corners as I understood that they're one way to frame the print in a way that it's possible to change the image later. So thanks for the link, I'll have a look at the idea in the video! Also, I'm open to suggestions on other choices to do the framing in this way. Any viable alternatives in mind?
Making your own photo corners as shown in the video is not necessary IMO.  You can purchase Mylar photo corners in a variety of sizes.  I've framed 13x19 prints using them and the resulting prints are perfectly flat.  For larger prints than that I would use a hinge approach.  If you are not doing full production framing, keep everything as simple as possible to start with.
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Ferp

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Re: Framing an A2 print (from P800) - workflow questions
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2017, 07:37:07 PM »

Pre-made corners would be easier, and Lineco make a range of conservation grade corners in a range of sizes.  But corners like in the video would be cheaper, and may contribute to the OP's desire to do some of this herself.

I know one professional photographer who uses paper corners similar to those in the video to run a rotating display of his images.  The limitation of this approach is flexibility.  You have to print images in the exact same size and aspect ratio and ensure that they're positioned on the page identically. 
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fdi

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Re: Framing an A2 print (from P800) - workflow questions
« Reply #17 on: August 01, 2017, 02:36:27 PM »

Sorry I am so late replying to this post. I am an amateur photographer that started an online frame wholesale company to supply special size frames. In general people think of custom frame shops (high cost, low labor) and doing everything yourself (low cost, high labor). Since doing everything yourself requires equipment and practice it is difficult to have the volume to justify that. Even if you have the volume, it might not be worth your time. Even though I opened up a frame company I have never hand cut a mat. It is difficult, they seldom look as good, and it is very time consuming. I bought pre-cut mats until I had the volume to get my own computerized mat cutter.

I am very biased of course since I own a picture frame supply company, however, I suggest you buy the components and just do the design and final assembly yourself. That saves you the equipment costs and the learning time. The more generic and mass produced (especially in China) you go the lower the cost. However, companies like mine will offer volume discounts so if you can standardize on order in bulk you can save money.

You mentioned Tru-Vue glass. I would suggest you also consider Artglass from Groglass. It is a newer technology. They have options with less UV protection (an advantage for prints on paper with optical brighteners) that can save on cost and improve the optical quality. Artglass does not suffer from the orange peal effect Museum glass does.
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Alan Goldhammer

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Re: Framing an A2 print (from P800) - workflow questions
« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2017, 05:19:20 PM »

Good to see Mark Rogers weigh in here.  I'm one of his satisfied customers!!!! 
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Ferp

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Re: Framing an A2 print (from P800) - workflow questions
« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2017, 06:55:01 PM »

Even though I opened up a frame company I have never hand cut a mat. It is difficult, they seldom look as good, and it is very time consuming. I bought pre-cut mats until I had the volume to get my own computerized mat cutter.

I've been behind the scenes in a number of well-regarded framing shops in my city, and I'm yet to see a computerised cutter.  Both their mattes and mine look just fine to me.
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