James Tan Advanced Printmaking Workshop 25-26 April 2019

Comparing a print to what is seen on the EIZO calibrated monitor.

It's not done till it's printed.

Ansel Adams once said "The negative is the equivalent of the composer's score, and the print the performance." Anyone who's serious in photography would have made 100,000 exposures or more within the span of 5 years.

In this "Age of Instagram", countless images are made every day - some with more thought than others, most with a lot less. How many scores have we written and how many have been played and performed?

James Tan advanced printmaking workshop is supported by: Ilford, Canon, EIZO

In close partnership with Ilford, Canon, Eizo, and supported by Broncolor SG and Cathay Photo, James has created this small-group 2-day printmaking workshop to guide those who are serious about the photography to the next level of the craft.


Participants calibrating their monitors

Master the Craft

You will learn to master the foundational concepts of digital image editing that is behind every single imaging software, enabling you to expertly navigate and use them in creation of your work.

A complete printing workflow with Wacom Mobilestudio Pro tablet, EIZO monitor, and Canon Pixma Pro printers

Optimize Workflow

Having an incomplete understanding of the digital workflow which compromises image quality is one of the greatest problem photographers face today. Discover how to bring the most out of your equipment with the least guesswork.

Workshop participants comparing the details of different prints

Refine your Vision

Learn what makes a good image “good” from a Master Photographers Association Qualified Photography Judge, and how to connect with your personal unique creative vision.

Express your Art

“It’s the image that chooses its paper”. Learn about all the different types of fineart paper available and how to choose the best one to give life to your image.

Workshop Fee: SGD$800/pax

Limited to 10 participants. (4 seats remaining)

Course Outline:

Day 1

  1. Understanding the digital workflow and color management - "a straight and narrow path with landmines on the sides"
  2. Knowing your monitor and how to control it properly with calibration - moving from "P mode" to "M mode"
  3. The foundation of all digital imaging - mastering the core concept that enables you to use all digital imaging softwares
  4. Technical foundations of colour grading

Day 2

  1. The art of seeing - lessons from a photography judge
  2. The printing workflow - understanding the printer and paper
  3. Polishing your image
  4. Making your own print

Reserve your seat now!

Advanced Printmaking 3-day Class in Guangzhou, China, 2018
Advanced Printmaking 3-day Class in Guangzhou, China, 2018

James is one of the top printmakers in the Far East, being highly sought after by international artists and photographers.

Starting out in early 2000 as an apprentice in a commercial photography studio, James quickly rose through the ranks to be formally promoted to a full-fledged commercial photographer.

He became an Associate in the Master Photographers Association by way of double promotion in Architectural photography in 2007 and in 2 years was awarded MPA’s Fellowship Rank as the first and only Certified Printmaker in the MPA, a special honor created for him in recognition of his contribution and mastery in the craft.

Following that, he was invited to be trained in qualifications and competition judging at the MPA HQ, and then went on to do the final judging of The MPA’s prestigious International Photography Competition. Later he was also invited to Las Vegas to judge in the WPPI Annual Print Competition.

His current role is the MPA Deputy Ambassador and Chair of Qualifications for the Far East region, helping to maintain and improve the quality of photographers through strict and careful guidance to its members and potential candidates on image making and business practices.

Hope to see you there!

Reserve your seat now!View the FaceBook Event Page

3D printed footplate mod for i1IO v1 to fit i1pro2

The i1io from xrite is a wonderful machine for printmakers. It is basically a robotic arm which holds the i1pro spectrophotometer and automatically takes readings of color patch charts.
Making good printer/paper profiles is time consuming work, and to do that, we have to go beyond the 912 patch chart provided by basic i1match packages. I generally use charts that are over 3000 patches in order to build a good profile, and trying to hand scan them line by line with the basic slider provided with the spectrophotometer will take up a lot of time.
So what the i1io does is it holds the spectro at the end of its arm, and does the the sliding/scanning for me in a quick and precise manner, saving me a whole load of time and swearing (errors happens when you scan manually, either going too fast or too slow).

Basically I've been using the i1io for about 1 year before the i1pro2 came out. Due to certain hardware changes, the i1pro2 wasn't able to fit the foot plate. And Xrite wants a shitload of money to make a small plastic upgrade (they told me the circuitboard had to be replaced too, which I thought was bullshit), plus shipping the entire i1io around will cost another bomb. So I searched around a bit to see what other solutions are on the net.
First promising link turned out to be a hack done by Argyll CMS founder Graeme Gill. It also turns out that it's the ONLY option around.

For a week or so I was seriously contemplating to break out my dremel and make the cut, then it suddenly dawned on me since I had 2 3D printers in the office, I might as well make a totally new footplate. #hack :]

After a bit of measurements and about 6 prototypes, I ended up with one that fits well and is structurally strong enough to support the spectro.
Here's the final version

Getting printed

Finished printing



The black patches are thick PTFE stickers to raise the plate slightly and make it glide around without scratching the charts.

In action

*update* Due to morons exploiting my work to glorify themselves, no re-distribution is allowed. Please link back to this article if you want your folks to access the file. I'm embarrassed to even mention this but I've no choice but to do so or risk losing the motivation to share and give back to the community due to unscrupulous pigs.
*update2* still way too many folks ripping off my page without so much as a word of thanks. So I'm taking the file down.
If anybody wants it, simply ask from me. Cheerios.

If you like my efforts and would like to donate as a form of appreciation, here's the link. Thank you! ;)

*update 28-8-2014*
Apologies to all the inquiries regarding the footplate thru my contact plugin. It appears that the plugin company is blackmailing me into a paying subscription and is withholding the emails and not letting me reply them.
I'll be installing a new contact option soon. Cheers~

*update 13-10-2014*
I've signed up with shapeways and made the print available there for anyone who wants to try their hand at retrofitting their i1io.
They make pretty good prints and are fast in delivery so I hope it works for everyone. :)

A Multiple Extruder on a rotating turret idea for FFF / FDM 3D printers *Updated*

I've been puzzled for quite a while over the issue of the design of multiple extruders on FDM 3D printers. Most of the current design dictates an XY offset, which I feel cannibalizes on the XY build space of the printer. Not only that, it requires multiple feed motors, one for each nozzle, and that does add significant inertia to the moving head, generating much unwanted vibrations. Another common solution was to use bowden extruders, which suffers from poor retraction performance.
So I started to think of a solution that tackles all my peeves at one go.

I ended up with a design that can comfortably take up to 5 nozzles in a relatively small area, and only requires 2 motors - one to drive the feed gears, and another to switch the nozzles around a rotating turret. Each nozzle/hotend will have its own feed gears which will mesh with feed motor when it's in the printing state.

concept for multiple extruder design
concept for multiple extruder design

So far it's still a concept and a drawing. Altho I'm a mechanical engineer, I'm not in a good position to actually implement it due to my work commitments and lack of firmware programming skills. So I will leave this idea with the wonderful and innovative folks of the 3D printing world to try it for yourselves if you decide it's worth a go.



From the (lack of) response in the reprap forum, I'd guess that my drawing sucked. lol

So I tried a sketchup model to see if I can get the idea across more easily.





Epson 11880 viewing lights hack

Here's a slight modification I made to my Epson 11880 LFP a couple of months ago to allow me to view what's being printed a little bit better.

It's basically the inexpensive Ikea Ledberg lights stuck to the inside of the front cover.
Due to the size of the 11880, I needed 2 packs of the lights, which gave me a total of 6 strips, covering a length of 1.5m.



It's very good for spotting printing errors or flaking early in the printing stage. Those of you who print large pieces from rolls would know what I mean. Too many times have I spotted printing problems only after the problem area exits the printer from below the front cover. With this I've been able to save quite a bit of paper and ink from being wasted cuz I'm able to kill the print the moment I spot a problem.

Giclee printing

It aint easy but it's really friggin rewarding.

I used to have the (stupid) mentality that nowadays, digital photographs are supposed to just remain in the computer or the personal web gallery, to be shown to people from a laptop or desktop screen somewhere. For years I have carried on in my photography with this mindset and until now, I didnt realize how much I have missed.

The PRINT is an essential step, an intrinsically crucial part of photography. It's the final piece that brings completion to photography. when we take pictures, it's ultimately to get it printed. There's no famous photographer in the world who doesnt print his images. There's no self respecting photographer in the world who doesnt print his images. The PRINT is the reason why we photograph.

More than once I've been told by mentors that when taking a photograph, releasing the shutter only accounts for (using artistic aga-ration,) 25% of the work done. the rest of the 75% is getting that picture onto the print medium the way your vision dictates it to be.

Some time last year, it seems, that I was finally ready to walk the path of producing the print. of course I dabbled in photo printing in the past, which I will mention later, but this was different. having experiences plentiful in both areas of photography and advance digital imaging, I felt that I was finally prepared. This was the real deal. things and events slowly and miraculously started falling together and now I'm the printmaker of a fineart production outfit called Lateral Imaging x Vue prints, completely dedicated to producing the finest giclees on the finest paper and mediums for photographers and artists alike.

But things doesnt stop here. instead, it's just the beginning. >8D

Taken some time back when the printer just arrived:

An epson stylus pro 11880 ultrachrome k3 large format printer!!!!!! - The finest fineart printer in the world!!! And it's the ONLY ONE operating outside epson offices in the entire South East Asia (serial number xxx369)! w00t!

But that being said, it aint easy to use. i still remember the countless hours spent at epson center, tinkering, experimenting with profiles and exploring the characteristics of this new monster machine.

It's funny when I recall the days that me and triston and bunch spent on a epson4800 that kept rejecting sheet after sheet of german etching paper, and the frustration of trying to get the correct profile either for the driver or a RIP just to get the printout we desired for our exhibition. It's been almost 3 years since then already... o_O"

But that's all in the past now. Luckily for me the 11880 is much more reliable in terms of paper handling and print output consistancy.

Currently we're carrying and supporting the hahnemuehle range of fineart digital media. It's not cheap. Actually honestly it's friggin expensive to a normal layperson. But it's the best I've tested, and we're committed to offerering the best to people who're passionate about their work and art, so yea.

Soon we'll have a gallery up too! Bwaahahahahahaha I'm so excited. hehx.

Last sunrise of 2007

didnt think that i'd stay up till morning doing paperwork but i did.

then i saw this. it was beautiful.

it lasted only 3 mins.

but it was good enough to set my mood for the start of the last day of the year. =)

Leaf Aptus 22 on Sinar F2

after 3 days of fuddling around with the leaf aptus 22 digital back, and lotsa help from the distributor sales rep cum tech support cum wallet killer, i finally got it to work, tho not fully according to my expectations.

turned out that it needed the macbook pro to have a battery level of at least 80% for it to even start functioning(?!). i discovered it the hard way after lugging the 30+kg bag of equipment around for days to shooting locations and NOT being able to power up the thing.

so after solving the problem this morning, i proceeded to attempt a test shoot right in my own home. bad choice. my house is the worst photographic test area i could ever get.
luckily the location of my home provided a nice vantage point overlooking the dover MRT station.

thus i ended up with this.

the first few shots were bad due to the diffraction caused by small apertures, and the image quality wasnt fantastic even when the sensor came with microlenses.

so i compensated a bit to f/11 and got the pic at 1/60s at iso100.

not fantastic but it's a start. i gotta do more experiments on this thing.

MPA aftermath

Sometimes I ask myself am I on a regressive track? Cuz it seems like the more I learn, the less I feel I know, and eventually I'll get overwhelmed by the sheer realization that there's so much more to learn. I feel so small...
Today marks the end of my MPA qualifications and I'm so fortunate to be awarded a double promotion to become an Associate of the Master Photographer Association in the category of architectural photography.
The whole MPA concept and lifestyle feels so.. I dunno.. new? I was never a part of an association, much less a professional one. And these few weeks past, during the preparations for the exams really opened my eye to so many more aspects of photography that I somehow had been blind to all these years.
As of this moment I'm deeply intrigued by the complexities and the principles that lies behind the print, an area I have very much neglected in my photography before. Somehow things just start happening in a way that it all just fits together to allow me the opportunity to explore the art of creating the print..
I'm very very grateful to everyone who made it possible. thank you. you know who you are. =)

MPA Print Competition

As it turned out I won in 2 categories - Industrial/Architecture and Travel / Landscapes
I know tho the whole selection process was a bit strange, the learning process I went thru as i was preparing the images was honestly very enriching. It helped me gain an understanding of composition and the interactions of the highlights and shadows within the picture to generate a complete image.
Honestly on hindsight, I did not know what the hell I was doing or thinking when I took these pictures, or 99% of the pictures I've taken in the past. Most of the framing and decision was subconscious. But I feel as I grow in the art, it becomes necessary to understand the mechanics that's hidden the psyche to be able to craft pictures and scenes that mere subconscious instincts cannot.
I thank you Ryan and William Ng for your kind mentorship and assistance. Without which, I would still be wallowing somewhere in the mud.. =)

Winning picture in the Industrial / Architecture category. Taken in Prague, Czech Republic.

Winning picture in the Travel / Landscape Category. Taken in Cana, Israel.

1st post!

Hmmmm......here we go again! bwahahahahahaha...
got caught in the blogging fever by jon, william and ukay.
havent blogged for about 4(?) years?
maybe it's time to do some housekeeping and start all over again.

p.s. the previous blog lasted 3 days.