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Author Topic: glass-less display  (Read 7284 times)

bill t.

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Re: glass-less display
« Reply #20 on: June 03, 2014, 02:04:41 pm »

I'm just imagining a glossy surface with low-frequency, orange-peel-like (or toilet-paper-like) bumps. A bit like a laminated movie poster, but bumpy. Or a bit like plastic-coated, unprimed canvas. Or is the final effect much finer, like the stippled texture of a lustre paper (e.g. Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Pearl)? Is it obvious that there's a layer of acrylic spray on the surface of the paper? Or does it look more like the paper itself is glossy, rather than a glossy overcoat?

You're probably thinking of mounted mirror-gloss prints, which suffer greatly from texture transfered up from the mounting medium, whether it be dry mount tissue or adhesive or glue.  Fine art papers like Pura etc are on very heavy 20+ mil, flexible, crushable paper substrates versus the 10 mil, rigid, unyielding substrates of RC papers.  Those paper substrates are too thick to transfer texture up from the mounting medium.  Eggshell just doesn't happen.  If by chance you trap a piece of grit between the backing and the print, it's trivial to remove the resulting bump by pressing down on the print above which crushes the thick paper around the quickly disappearing grit, a process that is rarely successful with RC

There's just no way to accurately convey the surface in a photograph.  The surface look is reminiscent of what you see on original watercolors and drawings, which is not surprising considering the substrates are so similar.  What's different in that comparison is that the coated photo surface will have no glass or plex cover, which IMO emphasizes the tangible qualities of the surface.  It's a class act, not at even a little bit tacky looking.  The implication is that the viewer is looking at "real print" or almost an original, versus yet another knocked-off photo print.

For not much money you can buy a box of 8.5x11 Pura Velvet or Epson Cold Press Natural, and a quart of Timeless or Polycrylic (which can be bought at Lowes or HD).  Try it out!  If you haven't yet created profiles for the coated media, make your prints lighter that you want to wind up with, possibly by adding a Levels layer and putting the middle slider up to about 1.2.  Dilute the coating with about 10% water, and apply with a 6" foam roller.  Store the roller in a sealed baggie, it will last several days primed with coating.  Don't be satisfied with the first attempt, I would think about 25 tries would be needed to start creating decent results, varying print density, dilution of coating, number of coats, etc.  With coated papers, physical subtlety and craftsmanship count in ways not required by normal inkjet media.  And of course mount the most promising results.

Oh, I'm speaking entirely for myself here in regards to my soapbox aesthetic pronouncements above.  YMMV.



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shadowblade

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Re: glass-less display
« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2014, 11:03:16 am »

You're probably thinking of mounted mirror-gloss prints, which suffer greatly from texture transfered up from the mounting medium, whether it be dry mount tissue or adhesive or glue.  Fine art papers like Pura etc are on very heavy 20+ mil, flexible, crushable paper substrates versus the 10 mil, rigid, unyielding substrates of RC papers.  Those paper substrates are too thick to transfer texture up from the mounting medium.  Eggshell just doesn't happen.  If by chance you trap a piece of grit between the backing and the print, it's trivial to remove the resulting bump by pressing down on the print above which crushes the thick paper around the quickly disappearing grit, a process that is rarely successful with RC

No, I'm thinking of the texture of the paper itself, and how it would appear when glossy. Most glossy/satin papers either have a smooth surface, or a fine stippled texture (much finer than the texture of a velvet paper) - I'm just having trouble visualising how a velvet-textured paper (or even a cold-press paper) would look with a glossy coating.

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There's just no way to accurately convey the surface in a photograph.  The surface look is reminiscent of what you see on original watercolors and drawings, which is not surprising considering the substrates are so similar.  What's different in that comparison is that the coated photo surface will have no glass or plex cover, which IMO emphasizes the tangible qualities of the surface.  It's a class act, not at even a little bit tacky looking.  The implication is that the viewer is looking at "real print" or almost an original, versus yet another knocked-off photo print.

Except that watercolours and drawings are matte. After applying three coatings of Timeless, the paper would be semi-gloss to glossy.

Quote
For not much money you can buy a box of 8.5x11 Pura Velvet or Epson Cold Press Natural, and a quart of Timeless or Polycrylic (which can be bought at Lowes or HD).  Try it out!  If you haven't yet created profiles for the coated media, make your prints lighter that you want to wind up with, possibly by adding a Levels layer and putting the middle slider up to about 1.2.  Dilute the coating with about 10% water, and apply with a 6" foam roller.  Store the roller in a sealed baggie, it will last several days primed with coating.  Don't be satisfied with the first attempt, I would think about 25 tries would be needed to start creating decent results, varying print density, dilution of coating, number of coats, etc.  With coated papers, physical subtlety and craftsmanship count in ways not required by normal inkjet media.  And of course mount the most promising results.

I've got plenty of Timeless. Would have to ship the Pura Velvet halfway around the world, though...

I'd be very reluctant to roll 20x60" or larger prints - I far prefer HVLP sprayers.
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bill t.

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Re: glass-less display
« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2014, 12:00:56 pm »

The coating doesn't have to be glossy.  Using glossy coating paint, you can get anything from "the matte side of satin" up through "sparkly glossy" by varying the wetness and number of the sprayed coats.  The gamut of surface possibilities is very wide!  For me, the important quality of "glossy" is that it is far more transparent than "matte."  The tonal range of prints is greater and richer looking when the coatings are as transparent as possible

An important issue is that one has to avoid spraying coatings that are matte-like because the paint went tacky in the air, creating a dusty coating that has terrible light diffusion properties, causing the image to look hazy in many common lighting situations.  In every case the paint must arrive on the surface in a wet state, with the surface quality coming from the amount deposited on each successive coat.  Heavier coats lead to a glossy look, light coats (that nevertheless arrive on the surface in a wet condition) lead to a matte look.

If you don't like a textured surface, then coated art papers are probably not what you want, since there will inevitably be a certain amount of fine texture.

In my case, I really don't think about glossy versus matte.  I think about how the piece looks in its frame hanging on the wall in a gallery, or at an art fair, or on the often poorly lighted walls of the buyers.  And in particular I think about the lighting at one especially important gallery that is long and narrow with daylight windows at one end, which is a surface glare nightmare when people walk toward the windows, viewing my pieces at a steep, glare inducing angle.  Of all the art in that gallery, my surfaces survive that situation the best.  If the image presents well in those kinds of lighting situations, I call my surfaces a success.  One has to be practical in these matters, and all decisions about the physical presentation of one's artwork need to be made in real world situations, if one wants to make a living selling art.
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huguito

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Re: glass-less display
« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2014, 05:11:04 pm »

Hi Bill
Question for you. I had the most succes following your ideas about coating canvas, so I would love to pick your brain about coating paper.

When I use Timeless or Polycrilyc on canvas I dilute about 25% water and 75%coating, multiple light coats, normally 2 or 3. Most of the time I add a tiny fraction of a drop of dish soap to the mix, seems to help the coating to level. The result is a really smooth and even satin, very pretty.

Do you dilute on the same ratio when the print is on a paper like the Epson Hot Press ?
Do you tape the sheet all around to avoid curling after the coating dries?
How long between coats?
How many?
Any other difference on the way you treat fine art paper compared to canvas?

Thanks a lot in advance

Hugo
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bill t.

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Re: glass-less display
« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2014, 11:26:16 am »

Hi Bill
Question for you. I had the most succes following your ideas about coating canvas, so I would love to pick your brain about coating paper.

When I use Timeless or Polycrilyc on canvas I dilute about 25% water and 75%coating, multiple light coats, normally 2 or 3. Most of the time I add a tiny fraction of a drop of dish soap to the mix, seems to help the coating to level. The result is a really smooth and even satin, very pretty.

Do you dilute on the same ratio when the print is on a paper like the Epson Hot Press ?
Do you tape the sheet all around to avoid curling after the coating dries?
How long between coats?
How many?
Any other difference on the way you treat fine art paper compared to canvas?

Thanks a lot in advance

Hugo

For the fine art papers I have been diluting 1 part water to 5 parts paint, measured by weight.  So I might mix up 500 grams of Polycrylic to 100 grams of water.  Grams and ml are the same thing for water, but the coating is denser and might weigh 1.1 grams per ml.  I find it very useful to use a scale for such measurements, there are many advantages to that, including that you don't need measuring containers which have to be cleaned.  That dilution easily sprays wet, and since the concentration of paint is higher one gets more coating effect for less work.  I think maybe 1 part water to 9 parts paint would be the limit for what I call good spraying characteristics, using my gun and turbine.

I usually make ganged-up prints 44 x about 80 or 90".  In that case I first put a 3" swipe of 1" tape in the center of each of the 44" sides, to flatten out the print across its center.  Then I completely tape down both of the long sides, which is made a lot easier by the already in place 3" tapes.  It's really just the long swipe of tape at the top that's important, since it keeps coating from getting on the back of the paper.  The long bottom swipe of tape is to prevent differential shrinkage as the print dries, which could cause minor keystoning.  To accelerate drying I often remove the bottom swipe about 1 hour after coating, while the print is still mostly vertical.  To minimize the small amount of keystoning that might occur, I also remove about half the swipe of tape at the top, leaving some at the center to support the print.  There's much less tendency for paper prints to keystone than canvas.  I mount the prints as early as 4 hours after coating, there isn't much curl to deal with at that point.  But if want to leave them completely taped up for a day or more your will get very flat prints.

In my dry desert air I usually wait about 30 minutes between coats.  I test dryness by touching the tape, which dries much slower than the print surface.  If you get little flakes of coating that crack off when you later cut the well-dried prints, or you if you get excessive curl on the dried prints, you probably should wait longer between coats.

I usually apply two coats, putting down about 10ml of by 1:5 solution per each coat.  I weigh the gun after each coat as an ongoing QC thing, leads to very good consistency and avoid long term process drifts due to gradual changes in filters, residue build-up in the gun, etc.  I have a few pieces that present better with a more matte like look that comes from 1 coat, and a few that look best with the very wet glossy look that comes from three coats.  Of course, when laying down one coat you need very good technique to avoid banding.

The main difference in handling fine art papers versus canvas is that you need much more glue for mounting, especially if the print still has some curl.  The moisture helps de-curl the print, buy you must have enough moisture available to wet the print enough to at least partly relax the curl, and to be certain there is still enough wet glue to attach the print at the edges when the curl is gone.
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shadowblade

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Re: glass-less display
« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2014, 12:25:05 pm »

Hi Bill
Question for you. I had the most succes following your ideas about coating canvas, so I would love to pick your brain about coating paper.

When I use Timeless or Polycrilyc on canvas I dilute about 25% water and 75%coating, multiple light coats, normally 2 or 3. Most of the time I add a tiny fraction of a drop of dish soap to the mix, seems to help the coating to level. The result is a really smooth and even satin, very pretty.

Do you dilute on the same ratio when the print is on a paper like the Epson Hot Press ?
Do you tape the sheet all around to avoid curling after the coating dries?
How long between coats?
How many?
Any other difference on the way you treat fine art paper compared to canvas?

Thanks a lot in advance

Hugo

I'm very interested in the detergent you use.

Logically, as a surfactant, it would improve the flow and smoothness of the coating by reducing the surface tension in the liquid.

But would it have any negative impact on the longevity and durability of the final coating, and would it adversely affect the pigment or paper in any way?

I wonder what surfactant they use in inkjet ink.
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huguito

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Re: glass-less display
« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2014, 01:50:36 pm »

About the dish detergent, seems to make no difference the brand.
I put a drop on the tip of my finger, then scrape just half of that with a little wooden stir stick and that goes on the mix with water and coating, good for a couple of coats on a 6 sq/ft print.
If you try, as I did, coating the same canvas, with and without the little touch of soap, you see the coating following the contour of the surface in a different way, almost skin like.   
Hugo
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mstevensphoto

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Re: glass-less display
« Reply #27 on: June 05, 2014, 05:00:42 pm »

tons of good info, thanks everyone. I've printed my samples and am surprised to find myself leaning toward Silverada canvas or coated Optica one (don't have the pura on hand). I proved to myself once again that slick rock is garish. didn't expect to like the silverada so much.
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shadowblade

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Re: glass-less display
« Reply #28 on: June 05, 2014, 10:34:11 pm »

About the dish detergent, seems to make no difference the brand.
I put a drop on the tip of my finger, then scrape just half of that with a little wooden stir stick and that goes on the mix with water and coating, good for a couple of coats on a 6 sq/ft print.
If you try, as I did, coating the same canvas, with and without the little touch of soap, you see the coating following the contour of the surface in a different way, almost skin like.   
Hugo

Makes perfect sense - and it would improve the varnish's penetration into the paper, too, since surfactants like detergent improve the wetting qualities of the solution.

Do you know which particular surfactants they use for inkjet inks? All inkjet inks have surfactant, up to 6%, to help them flow better and wet the paper better. I'd be much more comfortable using a surfactant that's already used in inkjet ink than just using any old dishwashing liquid, where the surfactant is mixed together with many other chemicals (fragrances, etc.). They'd both have the same effect in improving the wetting qualities of the varnish, but I have no idea what the dishwashing liquid is going to do to the paper in the long term.
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bill t.

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Re: glass-less display
« Reply #29 on: June 06, 2014, 12:31:42 am »

http://www.dow.com/surfactants/applications/paints/flex.htm

I fooled around with "surfactants" in the form of household detergents a few months ago.  Some tended to curdle the coating solution, would definitely shy away from those.  Placing a tiny dot of others on a bare print would bleach the print under the dot to white in a few seconds, those probably contain ammonia which is a strong solvent for many water based paints.  There are side effects to those things, which may or may not be significant at the high dilutions we've been talking about here.

I assume the coating manufacturers would include surfactants in their products, to whatever degree they thought desirable.  But maybe not.  Polycrylic seems to show a lot of surfactant behavior in the way it flows and levels.  For a paint it seems to have rather low surface tension in a cup.

As far as flow and penetration go, you can cover a lot of ground by experimenting for optimal dilution and application of unmodified coatings.  Most of my coating problems went away when I starting applying rather wet coats, which among other things requires taking into account the ambient temperature and humidity.  The (to me) desirable quality that I get by cutting coatings with water is that they flow and level better, so I'm really using water as a surfactant.
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shadowblade

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Re: glass-less display
« Reply #30 on: June 06, 2014, 02:10:14 am »

http://www.dow.com/surfactants/applications/paints/flex.htm

I fooled around with "surfactants" in the form of household detergents a few months ago.  Some tended to curdle the coating solution, would definitely shy away from those.  Placing a tiny dot of others on a bare print would bleach the print under the dot to white in a few seconds, those probably contain ammonia which is a strong solvent for many water based paints.  There are side effects to those things, which may or may not be significant at the high dilutions we've been talking about here.

I assume the coating manufacturers would include surfactants in their products, to whatever degree they thought desirable.  But maybe not.  Polycrylic seems to show a lot of surfactant behavior in the way it flows and levels.  For a paint it seems to have rather low surface tension in a cup.

As far as flow and penetration go, you can cover a lot of ground by experimenting for optimal dilution and application of unmodified coatings.  Most of my coating problems went away when I starting applying rather wet coats, which among other things requires taking into account the ambient temperature and humidity.  The (to me) desirable quality that I get by cutting coatings with water is that they flow and level better, so I'm really using water as a surfactant.

Glamour II contains a 'levelling agent', which I assume is a surfactant. They don't say the same about Timeless.

There are certainly a lot of surfactants available, many of which are used in printing - I've heard one of the Tergitols mentioned somewhere, although I can't remember what kind of printing they were talking about. It would be nice to know which one they use in Epson/HP/Canon inks.

Adding water reduces viscosity, which certainly helps with wetting, levelling and paper penetration. It's not a surfactant per se, but it has a similar effect. Adding a surfactant to the water-varnish mixture, though, should improve these qualities even more.
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shadowblade

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Re: glass-less display
« Reply #31 on: June 06, 2014, 07:53:28 am »

Maybe a few drops of Kodak Photo-Flo or Edwal LFN? Unlike the dishwashing liquid, it won't contain any undesirable impurities. Not sure what long-term effects it would have on the paper, though - would be nice to know which one they use in inkjet inks.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2014, 08:01:02 am by shadowblade »
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huguito

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Re: glass-less display
« Reply #32 on: June 06, 2014, 01:24:52 pm »

Once coating is done most of the small prints I have tested with are badly curled.

Can I just press them on my face mounting press?
 
Maybe a quick minute at 180 degrees just to get this back to be flat?

Same temperature as I would use to mount the print on a board for framing?

Does Polycrilic suffers a degradation after being heated and or pressed?

Hugo
 
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huguito

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Re: glass-less display
« Reply #33 on: June 08, 2014, 03:09:20 am »

Just finished coating two prints made on Moab Entrada Bright, beautiful natural looking texture, like watercolor paper.

Two light coats of distilled water and Polycrylic gloss 20% to 80%, and half a drop of dish soap in the mix

One hour between coats

The finish is a very smooth semi-gloss.
The texture still there and the colors look very deep, really nice looking.
The images have very rich deep blues and yellows and some very light areas.

Has anyone tried the Polycrylic SATIN for this kind of treatment?
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shadowblade

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Re: glass-less display
« Reply #34 on: June 08, 2014, 04:20:46 am »

Out of interest - why Polycrylic (designed for wood) rather than something more proven for inkjet such as Timeless?

How much of a texture does the varnish itself impart? I'm fine with the texture of whatever paper's underneath, or a fine stipple texture from the laminate itself (like lustre paper) - just not a low-frequency, orange-peel-like texture such as that often imparted by heat laminating pouches (like those used in offices) or from liquid laminates which haven't levelled properly or are applied far too thickly.
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huguito

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Re: glass-less display
« Reply #35 on: June 10, 2014, 03:07:48 pm »

I just print for myself and the archival properties are not that important, cost is.
Polycrylic is very cheap and the results are really good, very similar to Timeless.

The varnish itself, when applied in light coats, spaced at least an hour or two, has not a noticeable texture other that the texture of the substract.

When I did a try with heavy coats with little time in between coats and no addition of soap as surfactant, I got the heavy orange peel surface you mentioned, its really ugly and overcomes the texture of the paper making it look plasticky.

Hugo
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shadowblade

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Re: glass-less display
« Reply #36 on: June 11, 2014, 11:33:19 am »

I just print for myself and the archival properties are not that important, cost is.
Polycrylic is very cheap and the results are really good, very similar to Timeless.

Fair enough. I guess I'll stick to Timeless, since my whole reason for doing this is for archival protection (to stabilise the inkjet receptive layer), not aesthetics.

Quote
The varnish itself, when applied in light coats, spaced at least an hour or two, has not a noticeable texture other that the texture of the substract.

Do light coats, allowed to sink deeply into the paper, also result in a glossy or semi-gloss surface? Or do they leave the surface more-or-less matte? Would be nice to have a semi-gloss or glossy coating, with the micro-texture of the original paper.

Quote
When I did a try with heavy coats with little time in between coats and no addition of soap as surfactant, I got the heavy orange peel surface you mentioned, its really ugly and overcomes the texture of the paper making it look plasticky.

I suspected it might do this. Need to give the varnish time to sink in and penetrate the inkjet layer deep into the paper base, in order to both stabilise the inkjet layer (by irreversibly binding it to the paper base) and avoid leaving a thick, uneven layer of acrylic on the surface.

I'm guessing it would be different for different papers as well. I wonder if watered-down, surfactant-enhanced Timeless would penetrate baryta layers as well as the top coat of glossy papers.
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shadowblade

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Re: glass-less display
« Reply #37 on: June 16, 2014, 05:13:40 am »

Just finished coating two prints made on Moab Entrada Bright, beautiful natural looking texture, like watercolor paper.

I just noticed you were using Moab Entrada for your prints.

I'm thinking of using the Natural version, as something with a texture in between Breathing Color Pura Smooth and Pura Velvet. It's basically the same paper as the Bright White, but without OBAs. A bit like Canson Etching Edition, but your experience seems to show that aqueous varnish with a bit of surfactant will penetrate the paper, unlike with Canson.

Would you mind running a quick test with the varnish-coated Entrada, to see how deeply it penetrates? Something like putting a piece of duct tape (or other strong tape) onto the surface, ripping it off and seeing if the tear occurs deep in the paper, or merely takes away the inkjet coating on the surface. The fact that aqueous varnishes sink deep into the paper, binding the image layer to the paper base and preventing it from ever flaking off, is one of the big attractions of the Breathing Color papers, and it would be great if this paper behaved in the same way.

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huguito

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Re: glass-less display
« Reply #38 on: June 16, 2014, 06:14:13 pm »

I will look for a scrap print and try that experiment
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huguito

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Re: glass-less display
« Reply #39 on: June 17, 2014, 07:37:26 pm »

I tried the duct tape rip test in scrap prints coated with polycrylic, prints made with,Moab Entrada, Epson enhanced matte, Cold Press Bright and Breathing color Pura smooth
In all cases the tape rips deep, o it looks like the varnish penetrates deeper than the ink layer.
Is that the answer you where looking for?
Hugo
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