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ink surface reflectionsInnova FibaPrint Warm Cotton Gloss 335gsm

Innova IFA-45 - a short review

We regularly use several Innova papers for some of our large black and white and colour prints, indeed my recent exhibition in Leicester used Innova papers for all prints, including the 14m wide view of Leicester city centre at dusk, printed on Innova glossy canvas IFA 36.

Keith Cooper takes a look at a relatively new offering from Innova...

The warm cotton gloss paper is an interesting combination of the matte archival cotton rag papers I use for some of my Monochrome print work, and the surface finish of the brighter white Ultrasmooth gloss (IFA 49 - part of our initial look at the FibaPrint range) that I often used for large prints in commercial interior design projects.

The paper is Innova FibaPrint Warm Cotton Gloss 335gsm IFA-45.

Buying Innova paper in the US

Innova papers are available via Amazon, Adorama and B&H - anything you buy via these links helps run our site, and is really appreciated.

...all Innova papers at B&H
...all Innova papers at Adorama]

Innova paper

About the paper

The paper is quite stiff, and at 390 micron thickness, feels thicker than many normal photo papers.

I had a 44" roll of the paper to test.

I need to produce a slightly smaller, much more archival version of the big Leicester print, and this cotton based paper, with no optical brighteners might be the one for the job?

This from Innova:

"This silky smooth surface structure has been designed to ensure we maintain the natural characteristics of a smooth natural-white art paper whilst maintaining the necessary natural aesthetics demanded by artists. The surface has a special microporous gloss coating, designed for high quality fine art & photographic reproduction and print applications. "

Key features are listed as:

Specifications

It's available in a variety of sizes:

full IFA45 specifications and availability of different sizes

In the US, I note that this paper is also listed as being available in 36" x 48" sheets (B&H)

I decided to test it on the Canon iPF8300 for both colour and black and white performance.

ICC profiles and media settings

For our Canon iPF8300 printer, I like to start by making a custom media setting.

These are based on what I would have picked for a media setting for printing (Premium SemiGloss 280), but allow for fine tuning print settings (minimising micro-banding for example) and control over B&W print mode settings.

If I was using an Epson printer, I'd probably pick 'Premium Lustre' or similar.

creating a custom media setting for IFA 45

A 2900+ patch target is printed to A3+ size, to make an ICC profile for the paper.

test chart for profiling the Innova paper

I also print out some of the grey ramps mentioned in my B&W print linearisation article, these generate a 'correction' profile that I'll use with B&W printing with the printer's built in B&W mode.

measuring linearity for black and white printing

I note from the testing, a Dmax of just over 2.7 - actually matching the number in the Innova specs (not that I'm ever sceptical about advertised numbers ;-)

To use the B&W correction profile in Photoshop, I take a black and white image and convert it from my working grey Gamma 2.2 working space to Adobe98.

Adobe98 is also a gamma 2.2 space, there is no visible change to the image (R=G=B)

Next I Convert it to the QTR correction profile I've made when I was testing this paper for the article above, then I Assign Adobe98 back to it. The image now looks a bit lighter, since this particular paper on my iPF8300 is printing a bit too dark and the profile corrects for this by lightening it (and opening up the deep shadows a bit).

The example below shows an image as I'd like it to look.

Move your mouse over it, to see the 'corrected' version sent to the printer (which should come out looking the way I want it to).

Remember though that this is a web image - so dependent on your monitor and browser...

comparing different linearity corrections

Print Quality

The results from test prints with a good colour and B&W test images are impressive. It's like using one of the cotton rag papers I like for some of my monochrome work (IFA 11), but with the added depth and punch I normally associate with 'Baryta style' papers.

  • We have a number of downloadable test images available for colour and monochrome. I always find it best to evaluate a new medium with a known image -before- working with your own images.

The paper is quite stiff, so if you are using roll format (as I was here) remember to unload the roll if you are not using it for a while. I went away for a few days and forgot that it was in the printer - the resultant 'bend' in the paper caused a minor head strike when I carried on my testing.

When printed in our Canon iPF8300, the ink coverage is very even, with relatively low gloss differential - i.e. it doesn't look like the ink is obviously sitting on the surface, as you can sometimes get with glossy papers and pigment inks.

ink surface reflections

The view below, of the roll of paper in the printer, shows a comparison to a rather bright white photo paper, with quite a bit of optical brightener in it. The lighting is diffuse daylight, through a curtain on a bright cloudy day. It shows one reason you should be careful if mixing paper types in a series of prints.

Move your mouse over the image to see a detailed crop showing the surface texture of the IFA-45 - note that without the bright blue/white paper nearby, it looks nowhere near as warm.

surface finish of IFA 45 paper

There are lots of things about this paper that just work for me - the feel, the surface, the colour. Every so often I get to test a paper that make me stop and think about how it will benefit my work. This is one I'll be doing many more experiments with, particularly monochrome.

The paper also looks to have good archival properties, and I'm looking at using it to produce a reduced size ('only' 37 feet long) version of the big canvas print of Leicester City centre, for more permanent display (article about the making of the 14 metre Leicester print).

large canvas print - leicester city centre at dusk

Buying Innova paper in the US

Innova papers are available via Amazon, Adorama and B&H - anything you buy via these links helps run our site, and is really appreciated.

Innova Warm Cotton Gloss at B&H

[all Innova papers at B&H] | [all Innova Papers at Adorama]

Summary

FibaPrint Warm Cotton Gloss 335gsm IFA-45 is a heavy cotton rag paper, with a semi-gloss coating.

It's OBA free and the warm base paper comes through making for a distinct 'cream' colour.

Supplied by Innova in a range of sizes - more info

The paper is available from Innova distributors worldwide, including FineArtFOTO in the UK.

Questions / comments?

Article History - First published June 2012

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