Welcome to the eye!
This website is designed to show the variations and similarities in digital prints made with different processes, different materials, and at different times. By focussing on one image, the enlarged area of a human eye, in each print, the characteristic qualities of different process-material-printer combinations can be examined and compared to each other.
All of the photomicrographs found on this site were taken from the prints in my Digital Print Sample Collection, which currently comprises 283 different prints. Each print is made from the same digital file in precisely the same size. Variations include:
- printing date: the earliest prints in the collection date from 1998, and the latest ones were made this year (2018),
- different printing processes (currently 13 general process families),
- variants within one process family, e.g. continuous inkjet vs drop-on-demand inkjet,
- varying colourants, inks, and toners, as well as different print media categories, e.g. plain paper, RC paper, film, coated paper, etc.,
- printing in colour (3 to 12 different inks) or monochrome (one single ink or a set of multiple grey inks),
- different brands, printers, and vendors in different countries.
Each photomicrograph was taken at the same magnification that is more or less equivalent to a 30x magnification, which can be achieved with a good quality loupe or a microscope. See scale for more information.
Browse is the main page that gives you access to all of the photomicrographs, which can be filtered by their appearance and by printing process. The compare page allows you to compare photomicrographs of different processes side by side. You can also filter the images by the brand names of the materials, such as inks, media, and printers, used in their production.
25 of these prints are taken from the Mellon Digital Sample Set, that was produced 2003-2006 and is still available for purchase. You can filter for showing only these prints by clicking on the filter term “mellon samples” on the browse and compare pages.
I hope that using this site is pretty straightforward, but you can always use the help page if you get stuck.
See the links for a list of references that will give much more in-depth information on the processes and materials and that will help you in identifying different prints.
A great thank you to all of those who have helped me build up this sample collection (especially the actual person whose eye this is) and setup this website (Markus Seewald, Ryan Boatright, and Patrick Voigt)! Please contact me if you would like to contribute to this growing sample collection.
This is not a didactic or a scientific site – it’s more about celebrating the amazing aesthetic variety of different digital printing materials and processes. I hope it will help you hone your identification skills and make you into a true digital print connoisseur.