Etching is the process of using strong acid or mordant to cut into the unprotected parts of a metal surface to create a design in intaglio in the metal (the original process—in modern manufacturing other chemicals may be used on other types of material).
Intaglio is the process of printmaking in which an image is cut, or incised into a surface, known as the matrix or plate. To print an intaglio plate, ink is applied to the surface then rubbed away with a cloth to remove most of the excess.
The final smooth wipe is often done with newspaper or old public phone book pages, leaving ink only in the incisions. A damp piece of paper is placed on top and the plate and paper are run through a printing press that, through pressure, transfers the ink from the recesses of the plate to the paper.
Intaglio techniques are often combined on a plate. For example, Rembrandt's prints are referred to as "etchings" for convenience, but very often they have engraving and drypoint work as well, and sometimes no actual etching at all.
Linocut is a printmaking technique, a variant of woodcut, in which a sheet of linoleum (sometimes mounted on a wooden block) is used for the relief surface. A design is cut into the linoleum surface with a sharp knife, V-shaped chisel or gouge, with the raised (uncarved) areas representing a reversal (mirror image) of the parts to show printed.
The linoleum sheet is inked with a roller (called a brayer), and then impressed onto paper or fabric. The actual printing can be done by hand or with a press.
Due to ease of use, linocut is widely used in schools to introduce children to the art of printmaking; similarly, non-professional artists often cut lino rather than wood for printing. In the modern day art world however, after the input of Picasso and Henri Matisse, the linocut is an established professional print medium.
Screen printing is a printing technique that uses a woven mesh to support an ink-blocking stencil. The attached stencil forms open areas of mesh that transfer ink or other printable materials which can be pressed through the mesh as a sharp-edged image onto a substrate.
A roller or squeegee is moved across the screen stencil, forcing or pumping ink past the threads of the woven mesh in the open areas.
Woodcut is a relief printing artistic technique in printmaking in which an image is carved into the surface of a block of wood, with the printing parts remaining level with the surface while the non-printing parts are removed, typically with gouges.
The areas to show 'white' are cut away with a knife or chisel, leaving the characters or image to show in 'black' at the original surface level. The block is cut along the grain of the wood (unlike wood engraving where the block is cut in the end-grain).
Lithography is a method for printing using a stone (lithographic limestone) or a metal plate with a completely smooth surface. It makes use of simple chemical processes to print text or images on to paper or other suitable materials.
The positive part of an image is a hydrophobic, or "water hating" substance, while the negative image would be hydrophilic or "water loving". Thus, when the plate is introduced to a compatible printing ink and water mixture, the ink will adhere to the positive image and the water will clean the negative image.
Letterpress printing is relief printing of text and image using a press with a "type-high bed" printing press and movable type, in which a reversed, raised surface is inked and then pressed into a sheet of paper to obtain a positive right-reading image.
In addition to the direct impression of inked movable type onto paper or another receptive surface, letterpress is also the direct impression of inked printmaking blocks such as photo-etched zinc "cuts" (plates), linoleum blocks, wood engravings, etc., using such a press.
Gravure (also known as rotogravure or roto) is a type of intaglio printing process that involves engraving the image onto an image carrier. In gravure printing, the image is engraved onto a copper cylinder because, like offset and flexography, it uses a rotary printing press. The vast majority of gravure presses print on rolls (also known as webs) of paper, rather than sheets of paper.
Photocopying is a mechanical process that makes paper copies of documents and other visual images quickly and cheaply. Most current photocopiers use a technology called xerography , a dry process using heat. (Copiers can also use other technologies such as ink jet, but xerography is standard for office copying.)
While photocopying is widely used for business, education, and government purposes, there have been many predictions that photocopiers will eventually become obsolete, as companies continue to increase their digital document creation and distribution, and rely less on distributing actual pieces of paper.
Laser printing is a common type of computer printing process that rapidly produces high quality text and graphics on plain paper. As with digital photocopiers and multifunction printers, laser printers employ a xerographic printing process but differ from analogue photocopiers in that the image is produced by the direct scanning of a laser beam across the printer's photoreceptor.
Inkjet printing is a type of computer printing that creates a digital image by propelling variable-sized droplets of ink onto paper. The ink can be applied to the paper through various means which differ between the models of inkjet printer, for example, thermal and piezoelectric inkjet.
Inkjet printers are the most commonly used type of printer and range from small inexpensive consumer models to very large professional machines.
Desktop publishing (also known as DTP ) combines a personal computer and WYSIWYG (acronym for “what you see is what you get”) page layout software to create publication documents on a computer for either large scale publishing or small scale local multifunction peripheral output and distribution.
The term "desktop publishing" is commonly used to describe page layout skills. However, the skills and software are not limited to paper and book publishing. The same skills and software are often used to create graphics for point of sale displays, promotional items, trade show exhibits, retail package designs and outdoor signs.
Digital screen printing is a method of screen printing (a printing technique that uses woven mesh to support an ink-blocking stencil) that can be carried out by digital means.
While traditionally processes such as garment decoration have relied on screen printing for printing designs on garments including t-shirts, recently new methods and technologies have become available to make this task easier and more affordable.
For example, printing directly onto garments can be done through digital screen printing using modified consumer-quality and task-specific designed inkjet printers to streamline the process.