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Understanding Product Specs

A firm grasp of the measurements we use to describe our products will assist you in picking the print media that's right for you.  Click below to Learn More.
Base Composition refers to what the substrate (base) is made of.  Most of our bases are made from cotton, polyester, alpha-cellulose, or blends of all three.  Cotton is prized for it’s structural stability and excellent color retention, while polyester ensures crack free stretching of canvas.  To maximize the benefits of both materials, most of our canvas is made of a 65/35 cotton/polyester blend. 
Alpha cellulose, which is made from wood pulp, is highly formable and makes an excellent base for photo papers and a variety of fine art papers.

This refers to how smooth the surface of a canvas or paper appears. 
Canvas texture is foremost determined by weave and composition of the base material.  Most canvas is either 2-over-1 (known as Oxford weave) or 1-over-1 (plain weave).  These designations refer to how many times the warp (vertical/longitudinal thread) passes over each weft (horizontal/transverse thread).  Plain weave canvas will appear smoother and more uniform, while Oxford weave appear more robust and textured.  Differences in texture between two canvas of the same weave can be accounted for by Base Composition, Basis Weight, Finish, and the chemistry and thickness of the IR coating.
Fine Art Paper is largely divided into two categories: Smooth and Textured.  Although the designation “Smooth” is a largely homogenous classification, there can be great variation between Textured Fine Art Papers.  The texture on our Elegance Velvet is calm and subtle, while the texture on 600MT is deep and striking.
Gloss.  Satin.  Matte.  These are largely generic terms to batch categorize the sheen or how light-reflective a product is.  Typically, a product with a GU (see Gloss Level) of 0-4 is considered Matte, 5-8 Satin, and 9+ Gloss.  You may notice we add additional distinctions to further clarify where a product falls within these ranges e.g. High Gloss or True Matte.

OBAs aka Optical Brightening Agents aka Optical Brighteners are fluorescent molecules added to the inkjet coating of fine art media to enhance the whiteness and brightness of the product.  Effective though these additives may be, OBA’s have a short usable life after which they “burn out,” leaving the media permanently yellowed and faded.  Think of OBA’s as filler- an inexpensive way to add bulk or improve the appearance of something while adding little or no substantive value.   If you are looking for a paper or canvas that won’t deteriorate with age, be sure to check the product page for our Archival Certification and check the product specs to confirm that it’s OBA-free.

Also expressed as g/m2 or Grams per Square Meter, this measurement represents the total weight of a one-meter by one-meter square of a given substrate.  The higher the number, the heavier the material.  There is not a direct corollary between GSM and Caliper, rather GSM is a function of Base Composition, Texture, Caliper, and the amount of coating applied.

Measured in mils (1/1000th of an inch), like the tool with which it shares a name, Caliper is used to demarcate the thickness of a media.

The measurement of how impenetrable to light or see-through a product is.  Opacity is measured from 0% (fully transparent) to 100% (fully opaque).  Products with 100% opacity completely block all visible light.

This is how we determine the white point of a media.  L*, a*, and b* (correctly pronounced L-star, a-star, and b-star) refer to distinct measurements that help us determine the absolute color of our media.  The L* value measures luminance/lightness on a scale from 0 (black) to 100 (white).  The 'a' and 'b' values measure Chrominance (color) with 0 being neutral;  a* measures the red/green value and b* measures the blue/yellow value.
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The standardized and measurable expression of “Finish,” Gloss Level rates the sheen or how light-reflective a product is.  Typically, a product with a GU of 0-4 is considered Matte, 5-8 Satin, and 9+ Gloss.

Indicates the inside diameter of the roll's core. Most large-format printers have a spindle designed with adapters able to accommodate both 2" and 3" core sizes.  Breathing Color uses yield maximizing Padded Core technology for aqueous canvas rolls allowing printing to the very end of the roll.  Competitors non-padded cores can generate as much as 10% gross waste per roll.

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