Identification of Digitally Printed Materials

The first step to learning digital print identification will be to develop a basic understanding of how the various digital prints types are produced. Information in the Definition of Digital Prints section of this website will be helpful. Additional information can be found in the literature suggested in the Recommended Reading section.  A survey by IPI of the field also found that those with the most confidence in digital print identification were the ones that utilized several different resources to discover how to identify the various prints. These included websites such as this one, attendance at workshops, print sample sets, as well as assistance from colleagues in the field.

After learning about the various types of digital prints and the technologies used to create them, the following tool can be especially helpful in exploring the different technologies at different magnifications and under different types of light. The various print types can be compared in different ways to begin to more fully appreciate their individual characteristics and the sometimes subtle differences between them.

Below is a screenshot of the Print Comparison Tool. As you can see, it is possible to explore individual print types through the drop down menus above the images or compare two image types side-by-side such as traditional chromogenic and dye sublimation to see how their image structure differ. Below each image are bullet points with suggestions of what to look for in each image type that may help you identify the prints in your own collection.

 Screenshot of Print Identification Tool

Before opening the tool for the first time, review the information below that outlines how to switch between the various magnifications and angles of view.

Print Identification Tool

Above is a close up of the Print Comparison Controls. The following explains how each one works:

  • Using the orientation (Surface/Edge) buttons you can toggle between the front of the image and a cross section of the print.
  • Using the light source (0o, 45o, and 90o) buttons you can vary the angle of the viewing light. This enables you to view image characteristics such as gloss and texture.
  • Using the zoom (-,+) buttons you can vary the level of magnification. You can look at the print full size or zoom into to explore the image forming colors and shapes that make up the image.

The tool opens in a new window. This way you can easily switch back and forth between the print identification tool and the other resources on the DP3 Project website.