by Mike McNamee Published 01/06/2006
Olmec is a brand name for papers manufactured by ICI. With a long-standing expertise in both coatings and plastics it is not surprising that they developed ink-jet media quite early on in the market cycle.
There are nine variants available in sheet form and the more popular types are available in roll form. Of the nine, three are swellable polymer coatings suitable only for dye-based inks. These take longer to dry, are generally less fade-resistant and can also suffer from lateral dye migration as discussed in Paper Chase some time ago. For this reason we have listed the swellable polymer papers and their basic characteristics but would only recommend the use of dyes for photographic proofing purposes. Of the remaining, pigment compatible media, we tested on a variety of printers including the Epson 950, 2400, 4800 and 7600. Olmec provide profiles for a huge range of printers of all makes, visit www.ici-imagedata.com for a full listing.
310gsm Photo Quality Fine Art Ink-jet Paper
This is a heavy weight, acid free paper intended for fine art reproduction (and of course, fine art wall portraiture). It has a relatively smooth "hand-made paper2 look and feel and is almost pure neutral, just Olmecshading towards cream. There was no evidence of any OBA activity either in the uv-booth or from the spectral trace of the bas e tone. We made a number of bespoke profiles on various XRite and GretagMacbeth equipment and also tried the free profile provide as a download by Olmec.
As with all matte papers on an art texture, it is easy to clog up the shadows. We did not achieve the Dmax quoted in the specification (see table), however the results were in line with previous findings on heavy art papers.
The overall accuracy of the colour was impeded by the low Dmax and so the bulk of the errors occurred in the lightness component. The Olmec profile from the website produced a slight blue bias in an otherwise good print. The average error was 7.9 Lab ÄE/4.0ÄE2000 across the Macbeth chart. Although we produced a more neutral print by bespoke profiling we did not significantly affect the over all error statistics.
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