Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


From glass eyes to colour-fast digital prints


Top quality colour printing could be revolutionised thanks to the revival in Bristol of an old printing process once used to create, among other things, colour charts for selecting glass eyes. Art researchers from the University of the West of England have discovered a 21st century use for the process, known as collotype, which fell out of favour during the early 1900s. As an added bonus, new inks are being developed which unlike current computer colour printouts, won`t fade over time.

In the past, the process, which was slow and extremely labour intensive for printers, used gelatine-coated plates to create accurate reproductions of works of art, with all the subtle colour tones of the original. However staff from UWE`s Faculty of Art, Media and Design have revived the technique and found that it can be linked up with computerised printing technology to open up new vistas in accurate colour reproduction.

The findings of the UWE research have just been revealed in a paper given by Dr Paul Thirkell at an international conference in Leipzig, Germany.

"UWE is now a world authority in this technique, which was so nearly lost," said Steve Hoskins, director of UWE`s Centre for Fine Print Research. "This was the first international Collotype conference and enabled print experts from around the world to learn from our discoveries."

"Collotype was one of the first photomechanical printing methods to be developed during the mid-nineteenth century, and was a means of commercially reproducing some of the most exact facsimiles ever produced. Despite its unparalleled image and colour fidelity, the process relied heavily on the skill of highly trained printers to make it worthwhile.

"Collotype declined as printing techniques such as offset lithography and letterpress took over in the mid-twentieth century, although the last printer capable of the process did not close until the 1980s. This was Cotswold Collotype at Wotton-under-Edge, in Gloucestershire, which from the 1920s until the 1960s produced art posters for the home. Owned for a time by Brooke Bond, the works also printed cigarette cards and more quirkily, shade-charts for the NHS showing the subtle variations in the colours of glass eyes that were available."

As well as providing a faithful record of original artworks, the collotype process could also answer a growing need for permanent, archive-quality records. Already, digitally printed reproductions using synthetic inks have been found to fade and lack permanence. Further avenues for research include developing the special papers and inks required for collotype. None of the original ink manufacturers exists, but UWE researchers are working on developing suitable inks based on traditional ingredients such as pure pigment and linseed oil, in a final marrying of old and new technologies.

Julia Weston | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Next Generation Cryptography
20.03.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Sichere Informationstechnologie SIT

nachricht TIB’s Visual Analytics Research Group to develop methods for person detection and visualisation
19.03.2018 | Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB)

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

TRAPPIST-1 planets provide clues to the nature of habitable worlds

21.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

The search for dark matter widens

21.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Natural enemies reduce pesticide use

21.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>