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Want remarkable photo prints that turn heads? Something that looks sublime? Well, if you are like me, I hadn’t an idea about this new technique till I visited one of the local galleries. That’s the first time I saw and experienced metal prints. These look like artwork and are an exceptional way to turn any photograph into a masterpiece. Print photos on metal, especially ones on aluminum, are getting increasingly popular and let’s have a look at the reasons behind the trend.

The technology

How do they work? Well, it is not very different to conventional paper and vinyl printing but that the impression gets transferred to a metal sheet through a complex but exciting process. In most cases, the image is first printed on to a transfer paper. Of course, they are also printed directly on to metal sheets too, but the output quality varies widely and is prone to errors. In addition, direct prints are costlier too.

Using a transfer paper is the preferred way, and the imprint on the transfer paper is first infused into a substrate. It is then stuck onto a coated sheet and then stuck together. Post this, and the two layers are run through a heat press that causes dyes on the transfer paper to turn to gas. The gas the gets pressed on to the metal surface. The metal when cooled down helps the colors to revert to a solid state, thus forming the image impression on the metal surface. During the process, the idea is transferred through the pores in the metal sheet, which subsequently close off when the dye turns back to a stable state, thus creating the effect of the image being practically absorbed by the sheet.

The looks

Simply stated, the looks are futuristic. Remarkable would be an understatement. People are awed merely by the output. Firstly, you have something printed on metal that’s much unlike the conventional canvas photo print. These are high-definition prints that bring out all the singular details including colors, and that’s what gets them to a level that is stunning. A photo print on a metal sheet doesn’t require a frame, and when it is stuck onto walls, they look like real masterpieces. With wall hooks that give the frame an appearance of floating, the metal prints are bound to turn heads.

The contemporary looks are what gets the attention faster. With options like matte or glossy finishes now available, the output can be tailored to the looks that you require. The direct print method, where the images are directly transferred to the primed metal sheets, are great for high contrast images. Even here, there are options to give the images brushed or textured looks that feels minimalistic, yet modern. However, if you are looking to really bring out all the colors and give a high-gloss feel to your exhibit, then opt for the HD Metal Print option that uses the thermal press method.

Durable and damage-resistant

Unlike prints on paper that can start fading on exposure to light, metal prints have a longer life. The fading process begins almost after a hundred years. In addition, since during the transfer process, the dyes get transferred to the inside of the metal’s exterior coating by a process called sublimation, the impressions are almost indelible. They cannot be damaged by scratches, or casual handling of the exhibit and neither are their chances of getting peeled off, thus adding to the durability factor. Most metal sheets used for printing are fire retardant unlike paper, and therefore they won’t get damaged by heat or the unfortunate event of a fire.

Easy to maintain

Metal sheets are lighter than conventional board-mounted canvas frames and are thus much easier to handle. If you mount them on to walls, you need not worry about whether the wall can bear the load. Thus, they are easy to display on the walls, and since they are light, they wouldn’t fall off easily. It is easier to clean too. With canvas, you live in constant fear of wiping off the layers, that can wipe off the graphics. With metal prints, since the imprint is below the surface, they won’t get erased, and any prints or marks on the surface can be easily wiped off.