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Author Topic: Framing: Glass vs. Acrylic  (Read 2100 times)

drralph

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Framing: Glass vs. Acrylic
« on: January 28, 2018, 09:53:40 PM »

I am designing a new set of frames for mat size 24"x32".  I am trying to decide between the top-end Artglass UV-Filter Anti-Reflective glass, or Acrylite with the same properties.  I plan to use Frame Destination to fabricate the frames.  They will not ship glass with that size frame.  So if I choose glass, I will need to source it locally, adding expense and complexity.  I am aware of the weight advantage of acrylic, but think glass still holds an aesthetic edge.  Any thoughts?
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Jeff-Grant

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Re: Framing: Glass vs. Acrylic
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2018, 10:02:46 PM »

I would never choose any glass over good acrylic. I don't understand how there can be an aesthetic advantage to glass other than the colour that it may add. For me, it's a no brainer, but I'd love to hear why I'm wrong.
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Doug Gray

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Re: Framing: Glass vs. Acrylic
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2018, 10:37:47 PM »

Glass, acrylic  and AR really depends a lot on the lighting. Lighting each piece with background lighting that doesn't create specular reflections is great for glossy types and you get the largest gamut to boot.  Ambient lighting is suboptimal even with luster. The problem with luster in ambient lighting is that it just spreads the specular reflections effectively reducing the saturation and increasing decreasing the effective DMax. Even AR only helps a bit. Matte's a different story. Often good matte prints combined with AR look the best under ambient light. While you are stuck with the higher lower DMax, it isn't significantly altered by the AR glass and you don't have the print desaturated under ambient like you do with luster or glossies.

Edited to correct inverting the meaning of DMax.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2018, 12:56:36 PM by Doug Gray »
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Jeffrey Saldinger

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Re: Framing: Glass vs. Acrylic
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2018, 09:14:03 AM »

This may add something useful to the discussion:  http://barkframeworks.com/preserving-art/framing-materials
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GrahamBy

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Re: Framing: Glass vs. Acrylic
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2018, 09:14:34 AM »

[...matte paper... ] While you are stuck with the higher DMax,

Doug, are you mixing up higher and lower here, or am I missing something really wild?
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tom b

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Re: Framing: Glass vs. Acrylic
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2018, 09:55:29 AM »

It depends on your audience, obviously glass for a traditional audience.

Face mounted acrylic on a premium backing looks great but costs a lot.

Cheers,
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Doug Gray

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Re: Framing: Glass vs. Acrylic
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2018, 10:42:28 AM »

Doug, are you mixing up higher and lower here, or am I missing something really wild?
Good catch. I meant higher (worse) L*, or lower (also worse) DMax.
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Wayne Fox

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Re: Framing: Glass vs. Acrylic
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2018, 11:13:35 AM »

Hard to beat ArtGlass for looks, nearly invisible with very little effect on what is below, but the weight becomes a problem and shipping is definitely an issue.  Very fragile, especially when larger sheets are involved.  The size you mention isn't overly large, so glass could be used, but is large enough to be delicate (expensive if you break it while framing the piece) , and is certainly too large to risk shipping.

I haven't seen an AR acrylic that is as good as ArtGlass, and at the frame show last week I didn't see any samples from Acrylite of an AR that was a true AR, more like a non glare.  Granted I didn't stop to really look to see what they offer because I've been satisfied using TruVue's TruLife acrylic for everything including face mounted and non face mounted work.  I like it better than their Optium, as the Optium seems to have just a little bit of "haze" for lack of a better word, and the TruLife to me looks very much like the ArtGlass. I realize they only market it for face mounting but I think that's to prevent cannibalizing sales of their high end Optium.  ArtGlass is still better if comparing two pieces side by side, but the truLife is significantly better than non AR options.

One challenge of Acrylic is it won't be perfectly flat like glass.  Not a real problem but from distance and on angles the slight bulge looks a little odd. I think the size you mention is probably not going to demonstrate much of this, once you get to 30x40 and larger it becomes more noticeable.

Perhaps you should order one with the acrylic and one without, and put your ArtGlass in it. 
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BrianBeauban

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Re: Framing: Glass vs. Acrylic
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2018, 12:05:07 PM »

"...effectively reducing the saturation and increasing the effective DMax."

You are using the term D-Max here. Density Maximum (D-Max) refers to the deepest tone achievable in an image. Are you suggesting that the overall contrast is increased? In my experience, this is not the case. Anything placed in front of a photograph or any art offers a bit of neutral density and can have the effect of lowering all tones somewhat. The only time I am aware of an increase in contrast is under a "wetting out" where a top coating in direct contact with an image raises the apparent saturation level of all tones, especially the low values. Unless the image is mounted in direct contact with glazing, either acrylic or glass, there is no change in D-Max.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2018, 12:10:37 PM by BrianBeauban »
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maximilian59

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Re: Framing: Glass vs. Acrylic
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2018, 12:31:07 PM »

Here’s another interesting article about glacing.
http://cacaoeditions.com/anti-reflection-picture-framing-glass/#revisions
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Doug Gray

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Re: Framing: Glass vs. Acrylic
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2018, 12:57:49 PM »

"...effectively reducing the saturation and increasing the effective DMax."

You are using the term D-Max here. Density Maximum (D-Max) refers to the deepest tone achievable in an image. Are you suggesting that the overall contrast is increased? In my experience, this is not the case. Anything placed in front of a photograph or any art offers a bit of neutral density and can have the effect of lowering all tones somewhat. The only time I am aware of an increase in contrast is under a "wetting out" where a top coating in direct contact with an image raises the apparent saturation level of all tones, especially the low values. Unless the image is mounted in direct contact with glazing, either acrylic or glass, there is no change in D-Max.

Sorry, I conflated DMax and L* for the media black points. They go in opposite directions. Original post corrected.
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aaronchan

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Re: Framing: Glass vs. Acrylic
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2018, 01:17:55 PM »

I used to work in a high end framing company and here is my reply:

AR glass is good, but there are different grade of it
Some has higher UV protection and some has lower
For indoor use, we usually choose lower uv protection for something that is not too expensive, or your own artwork
but they all share the same AR characteristic as the uses the same AR coating.

AR acrylic, basically there's only one company who does that which is tru-vue
they are extremely expensive compare to the glass
99% uv protective and the AR coating is just the same as the AR glass, at least under my eyes.

I used to use the AR Acrylic once in a while for some expensive painting
some clients even ask for the 4 or 6mm which comes in a much larger size
But they are about 10k per sheet

So, my conclusion is, try to find a local frame shop and do everything there with AR glass if reflection is one of your concern
But if you have the budget, go for the tru vue acrylic, never gets wrong with lux product

BUT, if I were you, i'll just go for there AR Glass.
I would never spend that much for my own work if they are gonna be hung correctly on my own wall.

aaron

framah

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Re: Framing: Glass vs. Acrylic
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2018, 02:21:59 PM »

If you are considering solely the reflective properties of the glazing, then there is Ultra-Vue glass which is considerably cheaper than Museum glass but only about 70% Uv protective.
It is what is called water white, meaning there is no color shift like other glass and is about 1/4th the cost.

The main shortcoming of acrylic is the inevitible scratches.
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mearussi

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Re: Framing: Glass vs. Acrylic
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2018, 10:13:13 AM »

Another drawback to acrylic is that it can build up a static charge which can cause small dust particles to stick on the inside of the framed piece, which doesn't look very good.

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fdi

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Re: Framing: Glass vs. Acrylic
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2018, 05:40:29 PM »

Thanks for the mention of my company drralph! If you have control over the lighting then UV acrylic is pretty ideal. It provides great protection and the UV filter is built into the acrylic as opposed to a coating.  You also do not have to worry about the green tint that glass has. If you dont have control over the lighting then Evonik UV/Non-glare is pretty good but it uses the etched surface so not ideal. I hope to offer an acrylic with anti-reflective coating like the artglass but do not right now. If you really want the glass to disappear then of course the Artglass anti-reflective water white is the best. If you get the UV filter it will still have a warming effect that is pretty bad on papers with optical brighteners (the case with any UV filter glass or acrylic). I wish we could ship the big stuff, but unless you want to pay for a freight shipment it does not make sense. As someone mentioned the acrylic is lighter but can bow a little where the glass will lie flat. Basically the choice between acrylic and glass is very much like the choice between a prime and zoom lens. It depends on what you are doing and what you are comfortable with. We have some info about glass vs acrylic here: Glass vs Acrylic Infographic
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mearussi

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Re: Framing: Glass vs. Acrylic
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2018, 08:53:05 AM »

Thanks for the mention of my company drralph! If you have control over the lighting then UV acrylic is pretty ideal. It provides great protection and the UV filter is built into the acrylic as opposed to a coating.  You also do not have to worry about the green tint that glass has. If you dont have control over the lighting then Evonik UV/Non-glare is pretty good but it uses the etched surface so not ideal. I hope to offer an acrylic with anti-reflective coating like the artglass but do not right now. If you really want the glass to disappear then of course the Artglass anti-reflective water white is the best. If you get the UV filter it will still have a warming effect that is pretty bad on papers with optical brighteners (the case with any UV filter glass or acrylic). I wish we could ship the big stuff, but unless you want to pay for a freight shipment it does not make sense. As someone mentioned the acrylic is lighter but can bow a little where the glass will lie flat. Basically the choice between acrylic and glass is very much like the choice between a prime and zoom lens. It depends on what you are doing and what you are comfortable with. We have some info about glass vs acrylic here: Glass vs Acrylic Infographic
Nice infographic, though the term "warming effect" for a UV coating is somewhat vague. A clearer description would be that it adds a slight yellowish cast to the print, which is why I don't like them.
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Wayne Fox

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Re: Framing: Glass vs. Acrylic
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2018, 12:05:29 PM »

The yellowish "cast" is the result of no UV light hitting the OBA's so they have no effect, so you end up with the papers natural whiteness.  I guess it looks yellow to the eye, but it really isn't a cast since it doesn't do this if you use it on non OBA papers.
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Doug Gray

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Re: Framing: Glass vs. Acrylic
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2018, 12:36:01 PM »

The yellowish "cast" is the result of no UV light hitting the OBA's so they have no effect, so you end up with the papers natural whiteness.  I guess it looks yellow to the eye, but it really isn't a cast since it doesn't do this if you use it on non OBA papers.

The OBA effect is certainly most of it but there remains a small amount because uV cut coatings also slightly decrease the shortest but visible, blue wavelengths.
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DougDolde

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Re: Framing: Glass vs. Acrylic
« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2018, 02:11:10 PM »

Framing with a matte is old school to me anyway

Here's a good source for economical acrylic face mounts, and they can be ordered with TruLife acrylic

http://impactvisualarts.com/prices/
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deanwork

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Re: Framing: Glass vs. Acrylic
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2018, 12:50:44 PM »


Yea, whatever. It may be old school ( this attitude was prevelant 18 years ago and now the so called contemporary alternatives have become cliche) but the fact is there is a reason museums and galleries frame photographs with rag board with or without appropriate mounting, and the artwork touching nothing on the face. To me, and most of the artists I deal with, we view face mounting to plexi that was trendy in the 80s with Cindy Sherman and what not, as not only old fashioned but cheap looking as a Las Vegas trade show. ( maybe people see that as sophisticated, to each his own) .....But,  the main reason not to face mount is that if you care about print longevity, I do, it's the worst thing you can do. The adhesive will destroy your print in the long term, but before that happens the print will delaminate from the plexi and/or get scratched making the artwork trash. The only decent form of face mounting is Diasec that uses a difficult to accomplish application of silicone. It is so expensive that almost no one even offers it anymore. That was the process used by the giant prints of German art photographers 15-20 years ago who were doing mural size type c prints that themselves were not stable in the long term. And before that it was an advertising gimmick used for super saturated cibachrome looking displays.

As to framing with glass vs plexi I'm facing that decision for a show of Carbon inkjet prints in April.

There are three kinds of super high clarity options - 1. Museum Plexi, which is out of the question for most of us since it is super expensive , vulnerable to scratching also and as such a delicate investment, especially for large works, small ones potentially a good choice.  2. Museum Glass - which besides having ultra clear opticality also has a uv filter 3. And the best choice by far for glass is Water White glass. It is identical to museum glass at a fraction of the cost without a uv filter.

Since I'm using pure carbon prints and Vivera color pigments I'm not at all interested in a uv filter, even for the ones that might sell. I couldn't afford museum glass anyway even for smallish size prints. I'm drmounting to 8 ply rag board and framing in a shadowbox frame suspended from the glass with no matting needed.

But as mentioned, Water White itself being glass is heavy, even for the 13x19 prints I'm framing. It's also way more expensive than plexi. But what it looks like in exhibition is the same as having absolutely nothing in front of the print, its invisible from any angle. You can't see it. It's incredible.

This is the cost difference for my show for the two possibilities that I will have to choose from. And by the way if you plan on shipping your work,for shows elsewhere as I plan to do, you will have to have at least one set of plexi anyway.

For  framing 20 - 13x19 prints:

With Water White glass - $667.00
With standard framing acrylic - $ 186.00

Here is where you can price various sizes of both -

https://www.framedestination.com/framing-supplies/glass-and-acrylic/artglass-ww-ar-uv.html

John

Framing with a matte is old school to me anyway

Here's a good source for economical acrylic face mounts, and they can be ordered with TruLife acrylic

http://impactvisualarts.com/prices/
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