Nano Bits. When Nano Meets Print.

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Monday, 13 April 2015 | By Gerry Mulvaney


By Gerry Mulvaney, European Sales Manager, Landa Digital Printing

I was sitting in a room in Kyoto when I first realised that you could not believe everything you saw in pictures. It was about 1987 and I was a guest of Dainippon Screen at their Japanese R&D facility, seeing their new and very expensive digital imaging system for the first time.

On one large screen in front of me was a young lady standing on a boulevard in Paris and on another large screen was a beach in the Pacific Ocean. With a few deft keystrokes and the use of a mouse, a Dainippon technician cut the young lady out and transported her from one location to the other. In the room we were stunned. This was the time before Apple had conquered the graphic arts world and we simply could not believe what we had seen, but we knew the world of print would not be the same again.

What You See (Printed) Is Not What You Get (Original)

I was reminded of this Japanese experience recently when I read about the 25th anniversary of Photoshop, which launched in February 1990. Like many of the major developments in the graphics industry, this one too started life in a student’s back room when Thomas Knoll wanted to make black and white pictures on his Apple Macintosh Plus a lot clearer. His brother just happened to be working in George Lucas’s visual effects company at the time and the brothers started to develop features that would make it possible to process digital image files.

Kate Moss before and after Photoshop

Model Kate Moss before and after Photoshop

The software caught the attention of Adobe, who renamed it Photoshop, selling the first version in February 1990. The rest, as they say, is history. Photoshop has evolved to become the de facto standard for image re-touching and formatting. Whether it is Kim Kardashian’s butt, Kate Moss’s face or the latest Ferrari car that you happen to be looking at in a magazine, newspaper or book, chances are it has been put through the retouching process on Photoshop. So the process that I saw in Japan is now in the hands of graphic designers, artists and engineers worldwide, for less than the price of an office printer.

The Nanography® Solution – a Rare Seminal Moment?

These seminal moments don’t occur often. Like in the case of Photoshop, they are usually a result of someone trying to solve one problem and in doing so find a solution to one they didn’t know existed.

The same could be true of the Nanography® process, which started life in Landa Labs when the research scientists were looking for ways to use nano particles in their quest for sustainable energy sources.

Landa Labs images

Work on energy in Landa Labs led inadvertently to the development of Landa NanoInk® for printing

With Benny Landa’s background, it wasn’t going to be long before ink pigments found their way into the laboratory and were subjected to the same process. The results were astonishing as the pigments – NanoInk® droplets – became super absorbers of light and their adhesive qualities multiplied. In searching for one thing, something else – an entirely new printing technology – was born.

It will be interesting for those of us around for the 25th anniversary of Nanographic Printing® technology, to ponder if had the same impact as Photoshop.

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Landa S10 - Printing Press