Inks

When it comes to inkjet ink, you need to take several items into account. Many high-end printers use more than the traditional four inks that emulate traditional printing presses (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black). For example, Epson currently uses the seven-color ink system mentioned in Chapter 1 that includes light cyan, cyan, light magenta, magenta, yellow, light black, and black. HP currently has an eight-color ink system in some models.

The actual ink droplet size is critical in how much resolution can be achieved with inkjet technology (the smaller, the better). Look for inks with droplet volume in the range of 5 picoliters for best results.

Many printers can be retrofitted with continuous-flow ink systems that connect the moving print head with flexible tubes to bottles of ink outside the printer. The advantage here is economy because bottled ink can save you up to 90% on ink costs compared with single-use cartridges.

TIP Learn more about the Niagara continuous-flow ink system at www.mediastreet.com.

Ink itself can be classified as either a dye or a pigment, depending on whether it is water-soluble. Dyes have a larger gamut but fade more quickly than pigments. On the other hand, pigments tend to have a greater archival quality. The choice depends on your needs and is affected by the paper used.

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