Current research at the Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR) at the University of the West of England, Bristol, is exploring the potential of creating coloured pictorial imagery from a continuous tone relief surface. To create the printing matrices the research team have been using CNC milled images where the height of the relief image is dictated by creating a tone curve and then milling this curve into a series of relief blocks from which the image is cast in a silicone ink. A translucent image is cast from each of the colour matrices and each colour is assembled-one on top of another-resulting is a colour continuous tone print, where colour tone is created by physical depth of colour. This process is a contemporary method of continuous tone colour printing based upon the Nineteenth Century black and white printing process of Woodburytype as developed by Walter Bentley Woodbury in 1865. Woodburytype is the only true continuous tone printing process invented, and although its delicate and subtle surfaces surpassed all other printing methods at the time. The process died out in the late nineteenth century as more expedient and cost effective methods of printing prevailed. New research at CFPR builds upon previous research that combines 19th Century Photomechanical techniques with digital technology to reappraise the potential of these processes. © 2014 SPIE-IS & T.
Hoskins, S., & McCallion, P. (2014). Continuous tone printing in silicone from CNC milled matrices. Proceedings of SPIE, 9018, https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2043123