While almost any porous surface that is flat enough can be run through an ink-jet printer, including off-the-shelf papers made for printmaking and watercolor, results are usually less than satisfactory with the resulting image dull, faint or blurry. For the most part this is caused by the substrate being overly absorbent, with no way to encapsulate or prevent the ink from spreading outward or penetrating too far into the surface.
Conversely, on non-porous materials like acetate, plastic and metal, the inks readily pool up, run, and are easily smeared by both the printer mechanism and subsequent handling. In order to combat these problems and achieve the desired richness of color and detail, each droplet of ink somehow needs to be kept distinct and held in place by the substrate.
This is perhaps the major function and benefit of applying an ink-jet receptive coating. GOLDEN’s three Digital Grounds not only have the potential to extend the languages of printmaking, photography and painting in significant ways, but they liberate digital imagery from the flatland prison of pre-coated papers and canvases.
Digital Ground White (Matte) is a porous, opaque, white ground for use on a multitude of surfaces. As a porous ink-jet coating, it allows prints to dry extremely rapidly, making it the safest choice for use with unmodified desktop printers that still have ‘pizza wheels’ or ejection rollers. It is also an ideal starting point for the first-time user looking for the most trouble free application on a wide range of materials.
Digital Ground Clear (Gloss) is a clear ground with a gloss sheen for use on most absorbent surfaces, allowing the underlying material to show through. The nature of this type of ink-jet receptive coating, means that prints dry much more slowly, which can present problems for desktop printers that have ejection rollers or ‘pizza wheels’. Because of this, we do not recommend using relatively nonporous substrates coated with the Digital Ground Clear on a desktop printer unless the printer’s ‘pizza wheels’ or ejection rollers have been removed. However, when used on very porous surfaces like paper, this should not present a problem.