Large-Format 3D Printer Creates Models for Events and Exhibit Promos

If you want to design some head-turning decorations for a big event, consider what’s possible with the Massivit 1800 3D printer.

Larger-than-Life Skeleton

Mexico-based print service provider, Moti Digital 3D printed this towering, head-turning skeleton for the Mexican Festival of Light celebrations in Guadalajara.

The four-day event explored how light and art work in perfect harmony and encapsulates the culture of Guadalajara. Moti Digital used its Massivit 1800 3D Printing Solution to create a model that would ‘wow’ visitors to the event and demonstrate the impressive capabilities of large format 3D printing technology.

 

Measuring 27 ft  long and 11 ft high, the breathtaking skeleton was produced in just four days. The painted skeleton was positioned inside the Plaza Tapatía fountain pool and illuminated at night, where thousands of festival-goers were able to sit in its arms.The experience generated huge amounts of conversation and photos that featured prominently across social media platforms.

Life-Size Triceratops

METROPOLE, a visual-communications company in France, used a Massivit 1800 3D printer to produce this ultra-realistic, full-size triceratops to promote a paleontology exhibition at the Museé national d’Historie naturelle in Paris. Measuring 5.9 ft. wide x 7.6 ft. long x 9.8 ft. high, the dinosaur model is currently displayed at the Gare d’Austerlitz railway station adjacent to the museum.

Thanks to the 14-inches-per-hour print speeds of the Massivit 1800 3D printer, the visually striking dinosaur was brought to life in just two days. The model was printed in eight components. Once assembled, Metropole’s production team strengthened the construction with ballast to guarantee its ability to withstand sustained interaction with the public. The cinematic artistic team at Metropole covered the dinosaur with a textured surface to replicate natural-looking skin. They also produced realistic eyes to enhance the appearance.

“When it comes to producing giant attention-grabbing models that truly turn heads and capture people’s attention, our Massivit 1800 is the solution of choice,” said Denise Zanet, executive partner at Metropole. She says the museum staff “was completely blown away by how astonishingly lifelike our 3D-printed triceratops looks. It’s generating huge buzz at the train station with many passengers asking how it was created.”

The Massivit 1800 3D Printer is the first of its kind to produce super-size, crowd-stopping signage, displays, and props for visual communication. Offering unprecedented printing speed, can build objects up to 57 inches wide, 44 inches deep, and 70 inches high.

Massivit 1800 3D Printer
Massivit 1800 3D Printer

HP Showcases Limited-Edition Packaging at Cannes Lions 2018

HP continues to educate designers and other creative professionals about what’s possible with the latest advances in digital printing.

At the 2018 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, HP demonstrated how small runs of labels and packaging can be designed to create personal and lasting impressions. In collaboration with sculptural artist Karen Chekerdjian, HP created personalized and customized labels and packaging for Moët & Chandon MCIII premier champagne.

The limited-edition packaging was an artistically printed replica of a six-sided gold sculpture designed by artist Karen Chekerdjian. Each box includes her signature.

Each day of the five-day event, HP produced labels and packaging with the names of the winners of the coveted Cannes Lions Grand Prix awards for excellence in marketing communications. (Award categories ranged from mobile, outdoor, radio and audio, and print and publishing to industry craft, digital craft, film craft, creative e-commerce, entertainment, direct marketing, product design, PR, social and influencer marketing, and brand experience and activation.)

In addition, 300 award jurors received a personalized champagne bottle and 400 platinum-pass attendees received a digitally printed box with champagne and chocolates in a “toast to creativity.”

The luxury packaging was produced in collaboration with Barcelona-based print-service provider Serafi. The production team used an HP Indigo 12000 Digital Press, a gold metallized substrate, new HP Indigo silver ink, and an HP Indigo 6900 Digital Press for the labels.

To enable more festival attendees to see what’s possible with digitally printed packaging, the limited-edition packaging was displayed in a lounge of the Hotel Martinez in Cannes throughout the festival.

Scalable Press Uses AI to Help Protect Artists’ Rights in Apparel Business

Scalable Press is a technology-driven print and fulfillment company that helps independent designers sell print-on-demand apparel and other products through their own websites or Shopify or WooComerce e-commerce sites. The company uses cutting-edge automation to keep production quick and overhead low plus artificial intelligence to help protect the rights and profits of artists.

DTG printers at Scalable Press
The direct-to-garment (DTG) printers at Scalable Press can print full-color images on T-shirts. (Photo: Scalable Press)

Scalable Press primarily sells screen-printed, embroidered, of digitally printed apparel. But they are also equipped to print posters and smartphone cases.

The founders of Scalable Press believe artist copyright infringement is rampant in the apparel industry — from corporations that mass-produce designs for T-shirts to individual consumers who use photos and designs without the appropriate permissions.

So Scalable Press now uses Google Cloud APIs and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to pinpoint stolen art and lead the fight for artists’ rights. The AI and machine learning help detect stolen art for apparel designs.

The Scalable Press technology doesn’t just detect infringements of the copyrights of well-known license holders, but also the copyright infringements of new, unknown artists who are just starting to build income from their work.

At first, the company used human moderators to judge when incoming garment designs contained elements that infringed on an artist’s copyrights.

“But as orders for shorter runs of prints started becoming the norm, the amount of artwork that was coming in made it difficult for human moderators to detect copyright infringement,” explains Eric Zhang, VP of Engineering for Scalable Press. “We wanted to find ways to reduce the workload on our human moderators. So, we started using artificial intelligence along with human moderators to check incoming artwork for copyright violations. As humans flagged different types of work, machine software became more proficient at identifying problem images.”

When Scalable Press spots art that may be inappropriately used, they contact the artist and explain how to request the appropriate royalties.

Zhang says their company continually looks for ways to use technology to improve all facets of their operations. He says, “AI is good at some things. Humans are better at other things. And there is less overlap than you might think.”

Scalable Press is equipped with multiple screen-printing presses and direct-to-garment printers in 6 facilities in California, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Indiana.

More than 3,000 Products

If you are an independent designer, Scalable Press is well-equipped to help you add different types of products to your website. In addition to printing each order that comes in, Scalable Press will pack it and ship it directly to your customers — complete with a packing slip with your company’s branding. There are no minimum quantity order requirements and the company can handle higher volumes of orders as your business grows.

In the Scalable Press Product Catalog, you can choose from more than 3,000 products that you would like to have decorated with your art, photography, or designs. Hundreds of different types and colors of T-shirts, polo shirts, tank tops, dress shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, shorts, hats, tote bags, and more can be customized. The catalog clearly indicates which type of products can be used with which garment-decorating processes.

The company’s Artwork Guidelines provide more details on how to prepare files for the different processes: DTG printing, screen printing, embroidery, and dye-sublimation printing.

The blog provides lots of useful advice about how to succeed with e-commerce email marketing or sell seasonal products such as sweatshirts and jackets.

About Scalable Press

Scalable Press was founded in 2012 in San Francisco as an e-commerce company. Today, their six facilities across the U.S. have more than 40 screen-printing presses and 60 direct-to-garment printers.  They deliver custom T-shirts in three to five days and dye-sublimated phone cases within 72 hours.

 

SharpEnd Helps Brands Achieve Full Potential of IoT Technologies

After publishing an article about connected packaging in Big Picture magazine earlier this year, I was introduced to Cameron Worth, the founder of the SharpEnd “Agency of Things™” in London. The SharpEnd agency works directly with global brands to help them maximize the opportunity that emerging “Internet of Things” technologies can provide.

In addition to developing strategies, creative, prototyping, and pilot projects, SharpEnd can help brands scale up successful programs.

“Smart packaging is our bread-and-butter right now,” said Worth. SharpEnd also helps brands evaluate and test technologies for retailing, experiential marketing, and the connected home.

A New Type of ‘Agency’

When discussing SharpEnd, Cameron Worth hesitates to call it an agency. He doesn’t want SharpEnd  confused with a traditional advertising agency that plans campaigns, writes catchy slogans,and buys advertising space.

Cameron Worth, SharpEnd

SharpEnd helps brands choose emerging technologies that fit the technographics of their target market.

“We start with the consumer value proposition and why a brand would want to implement a certain technology in the first place,” says Worth. In the smart packaging space, Sharp End develops prototypes for several types of connected packaging that the brands can evaluate in private.

If a test program is successful, SharpEnd can help clients make the business case for converting a test project into a large-scale deployment.

“We can work with the brand’s existing providers to help them scale up,” says Worth. Working with packaging manufacturers and converters, SharpEnd employees can help test whether a certain technology concept fits in with existing manufacturing and shipping processes. For example, they have studied how the performance of an NFC chip is affected after it goes through a heat tunnel.

Clients

When SharpEnd was founded in 2014, it may have been the first company to promote itself as an IoT (Internet of Things) agency. Worth describes SharpEnd as “an activation partner” for the fast deployment of emerging marketing technologies.

“A massive transformation of opportunity is underway,” says Worth. “We have a responsibility to make sure that people are making the most of these opportunities.” He believes brands must understand the full possibilities of a new technology in order to get the most out of it creatively.

SharpEnd currently has offices in London and Stockholm and plans to open a U.S. office before the end of 2018. SharpEnd clients include Unilever, Pernod Ricard, British American Tobacco, Nestle, and Pepsi.

One connected packaging project SharpEnd is currently working on is a scale-up of a project for Malibu-brand rums and cocktails. Last summer, Malibu applied NFC chips to over 45,000 bottles distributed to 1600 Tesco stores. SharpEnd recommended “near-field-communications” technology because it doesn’t require the consumer to download an app to activate it. They used a printed neck-hanger on the bottle to encourage consumers to connect with the online content.

SharpEnd also demonstrates how “smart spaces” and “smart ordering” can create memorable brand experiences. For Malibu, SharpEnd created a virtual-reality experience for retailers that was much more engaging than a PowerPoint presentation. The immersive brand world contained ads, gifs, recipes, and even retail guidelines. The smart ordering project involved a connected coconut-shaped drink cup.

Sharp End shows brands how the Internet of Things can be used to create memorable brand experiences. For Malibu, they turned an empty cup into a connected marketing opportunity. Users of the connected Malibu coconut cup simply twisted the NFC-enabled base to order another a drink. Servers use the Coco-Nect app and Bluetooth Mesh networking to see where they should deliver the drink. (Photos: SharpEnd)

Malibu Coco-Nect app

Observations

In researching my article, “Connected Packaging as a Marketing Channel,” I learned that brands are curious but cautious about emerging technologies such as augmented reality, NFC, embedded smart codes, conductive inks, and printed electronics.

Early attempts to use QR codes to connect consumers to digital content failed because the “interactive experience” detracted from the consumer’s overall experience with the brand. Instead of connecting to content that was updated, useful, or engaging, the first QR codes often connected to static, boring websites that didn’t display properly on the consumers’ smartphones.

With the right combinations of technology and creative content, brands today can avoid those issues.

As SharpEnd demonstrates, packaging isn’t the only object that can be connected.  Perhaps other forms of Internet of Things connections can generate more immediate sales results (e.g. “smart ordering.”)

From what I have observed over the years, major new technologies (e.g. wide-format printing, the internet, cameraphones) didn’t really take off until some determined, creative people demonstrated killer applications that could achieve large-scale success.

For example, analysts have discussed the potential of “mass-customization” of consumer products for years. But it didn’t catch the attention of major consumer brands until HP and Coca-Cola teamed up to prove that packaging can be customized and personalized on a global scale.

Because SharpEnd can help brands with everything from strategy to creative execution and technology selection, the “Agency of Things” seems well positioned to help accelerate the adoption of connected packaging and other Internet of Things applications. Check out SharpEnd’s work by visiting http://io.tt.

 

Travel Photographers Enlist Copytrack to Fight Image Theft

By Jonathan Appleby
Copytrack.com 2018

Lance and Laura Longwell made it their life mission to travel. Despite both working 9 to 5s they found time to explore the world and in doing so set up TravelAddicts.net, an amazing site full of their adventures and stunning images from all corners of the globe.

However, they soon had issues with image theft as their images were being used without permission. The Travel Addicts turned to Copytrack, the online compensation recovery portal, for help.

Travel Addicts Lance and Laura Longwell
Lance and Laura Longwell of Travel Addicts (www.traveladdicts.net)

Now the couple incorporate the Copytrack service into their day-to-day business lives.  In less than a year’s time Copytrack has settled over 50 copyright disputes for the on-the-go duo!

But that’s just the beginning, the travellers are still in the process of resolving more claims with Copytrack. Here’s what Laura had to say to Copytrack about their life, their work, and their experience with Copytrack.

Tell us a bit about the website.

Travel Addicts was born in January 2008. Initially, it was like a lot of early blogs and was essentially a journal in which we updated friends and family on our travels.

Somewhere along the way, we realized thousands of people were reading it. Since then, our focus has been on showing working professionals how to maximize their vacation time. While Europeans are used to long holidays, most North Americans get about 10-15 days of vacation per year, so it’s important to make the most of it. Now we have readers from all over the world who take advantage of the destination information and travel advice we offer.

Photo of a blue dome in Santorini, Greece by Lance Longwell and Laura Longwell for their blog Travel Addicts (www.traveladdicts.net)

A few years ago, I decided to turn our hobby into a business. The decision was actually prompted by our photography. We were contacted by a major European capital city that wanted to use one of my photos as the focus of their tourism campaign. We ended up licensing the photo, and it changed the way we thought our website and our photography.

What place is a favorite from all the places you’ve visited?

This is the most common question we get, and it’s one that we really struggle with because we love every place we go for different reasons. We have a favorite city (Rome) that we both agree on. However, we split on our favorite travel experience.

I would say the South of France, while Lance’s favourite was our trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Yet, there are some countries that we visit over and over again because there is so much to see and do: Mexico, Germany, Ireland, and Slovakia.

Photo of Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland by Lance and Laura Longwell of Travel Addicts.

What tips would you give to anyone getting into travel photography?

Think beyond the obvious. There are 10 million photos taken of the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero every single day. We all know that shot. There are other photos waiting to be captured. Seek out the unusual and the untold. Try to tell a story.

In our photography, we seek a balance. We need shots that both create a sense of place as well as images that tell a story. For the story, we are always thinking about the caption.

Photo of canal cruise in Bruges, Belgium by Laura Longwell of the Travel Addicts blog (www.traveladdicts.net)

What would be the caption on this shot?

Practice, practice, practice. Nobody becomes an incredible photographer overnight. It involves lots of practice and experimentation. Get your camera out of auto focus and try to experiment.

When did you first notice your images being used without your permission?

It was probably about a year and a half ago that several things happened within a few weeks of each other. First, we noticed that a handful of our photos were being offered up by Google as featured images in search results. Second, a good friend of ours had one of her images taken by a business and turned into billboards. Third, we stumbled on a tour company that was using one of our photos to promote their tours in Africa. Those three things drove our decision to look for a solution that could protect our work.

How did you hear about Copytrack?

We heard about Copytrack from a fellow travel photographer. We didn’t sign up right away and spent a few weeks researching the company and their process for intellectual property protection. Ultimately, I decided that this was the right solution for me.

How do you find using Copytrack?

I appreciate the updates from the Copytrack team on the status of outstanding claims. I’ve been very pleased with the success rate to date of my legal claims and the speed of payment for recovered funds. The portal is quite straightforward and easy to use. And I particularly like the image overlay tool.

And what have the results been like?

I have been very pleased with the results. Copytrack has provided me with sophisticated software to monitor the Internet for illegal image piracy as well as a defined process for legally enforcing our copyrights. Working with Copytrack has become an important step in my business activities.

Learn more about Lance and Laura and their work at Travel Addicts, as well as on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

About Copytrack

Copytrack was founded in 2015 by Marcus Schmitt and currently employs around 25 people from legal, IT, customer service and finance. The service helps photographers, publishers, image agencies and e-commerce providers detect and resolve illegal use of their images on the Internet. Copytrack assists with the image search, and the legal process to help ensure photographers receive money whenever their images are used online.

Copytrack is fully responsible for an out-of-court solution in over 140 countries as well as a legal solution in the areas relevant to copyright law. If the image has been successfully licensed, the rights holder receives up to 70 percent of the agreed sum. The pure search function is free of charge.

Package Your Creations and Gifts in Custom Boxes

Thanks to on-demand digital printing, you have the power to convert your art, photographs, and designs into all types of  marketable gifts, decor items, apparel, and fashion accessories. Plus, you can sell or ship your creations in custom boxes that are just as distinctive as your merchandise.

Custom boxes from buyboxes.com

One of the newest custom box printing services is Buyboxes.com. Operating as an independent company, Buyboxes.com has the full support and resources of its parent company Rand-Whitney. Based in Worcester, Massachusetts, Rand-Whitney is the largest independent packaging company in the Northeast. They offer more than 75 years of knowledge and expertise from the world of high-volume packaging.

Some of the benefits of ordering from Buyboxes.com include: zero set-up costs, no minimum order, and quick turnaround.

You can start with a single customized shipping box, mailing box, or gift box. As demand for your products grow, you can order quantities of tens, hundreds, or thousands of boxes as needed.

You can use the online design tool to create your own designs or enlist the support of an experienced team of packaging designers and structural engineers.

Buyboxes.com logo

With the online design tool, you choose a box style, decorate it with your logo, text, custom colors, and artwork. The experts at Buyboxes.com will check your final design, make sure everything looks good, and send you a proof for approval.

Boxes are printed on kraft or white corrugated or white paperboard.

For quality color reproduction on a variety of substrates, the company’s state-of-the-art digital printing system uses 6 colors of UV-curable inks (CMYK plus Light Cyan, Light Magenta, and White) and prints images with a resolution of up to 1000 dpi on media up to 126-inches wide.

An on-site team of skilled packaging engineers and designers can help you with any questions or unique package designs you might need.

“We do way more than just basic box styles,” says Stephanie Shamy of BuyBoxes.com “Our dedicated team of graphic designers can help create eye-catching artwork. We want to help you showcase what makes your products so special.”

Other services include structural design, packaging audits and consults, and kitting and fulfillment. Buyboxes.com can assemble your packaging and pack it with your product to be delivered to distribution centers or directly to your customers.

Project managers with years of retail packaging and marketing experience can provide one-on-one consults when you are ready to take your packaging to the next level.

“We are a group of creative-minded packaging professionals looking to change the way you package what matters to you,” said Shamy. “We have a passion for driving the new, the innovative, and the unexpected into the hands of small businesses, entrepreneurs, and everyday people who want a unique way to package their creations.”

Custom packaging isn’t just for products. You can create attractive, memorable packaging for events and award programs, product prototypes, promotional mailings, weddings, birthdays, and holiday gifts.

Augmented Reality Is Coming to Printed Books and Magazines

With augmented reality technologies in digitally printed books and magazines, readers will be able to use their smartphones to access explanatory videos, supplementary websites, and online discussion groups. Authors, designers, and publishers may have to change the way they plan their content if readers begin to expect “connected books,”

At the PRINT 17 show, I picked up two books and a magazine that demonstrated augmented reality technologies that publishers could use to make printed publications more interactive.

Book: Introduction to Graphic Communication

Two leading experts in printing and publishing technologies showed a prototype of an updated edition of the popular textbook, “Introduction to Graphic Communication.” The goal is to show designers and publishers how they can combine the permanence of print with the vitality of interactive communications.

The key to making the hybrid print/digital book possible is a new Clickable Paper technology from Ricoh. Unlike scannable QR codes that only connect readers to a single website, Ricoh’s Clickable Paper Technology makes it possible to connect with multiple online experiences, including video, social networks, audio content, and live chat.

As you read through the book, you can use the free Clickar app on your tablet or smartphone to access video and other media that helps clarify the content. You can also connect and chat with other people who are reading the book.

This updated version of “Introduction to Graphic Communication”  is being coauthored by Dr. Harvey Levenson, former Head of Graphic Communication at California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo, and John Parsons of the Intu Ideas non-fiction writing and publishing consultancy firm. The prototype book distributed at PRINT 17 contained two chapters: Chapter 2 covers the History of Printed Communications. Chapter 8 discusses various types of Printing Processes.

The authors said the ability to marge print and online media changed they way they wrote. Parsons said, “Adding multimedia has made me a more visual writer.” The ability to include links to external media meant they could put less on each page.

“We found no shortage of ways to use the printed book as a ‘platform’ for directing the reader to curated digital content,” said Parsons. For some content, they captured webcam video (using several takes) and edited the results. For other content, they sought permission from creators of YouTube videos and collaborated with Viddler, a developer of video-based training technology.

“We’re not publishing an e-book,” Parsons emphasizes. “This is about a new way to demonstrate the inherent strengths of print.” The authors note that print is a stable medium that can point the way to selected content or interactive connections. They believes digital media isn’t an replacement for printed books, but as a potential extension of a a centuries-long history of innovation.

Book: The Third Wave

The book “The Third Wave” by Joseph W. Webb and Richard M. Romano uses HP Link technology to help owners of printing businesses understand how smarter mobile phones, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things will affect printing businesses.

Readers who download the HP LinkReader can scan hyperlinked text and images to get more information, watch a video, or listen to a song. At the end of each chapter, the authors include a short series of survey questions. The answers enable the authors to learn more about the types of business owners who are reading the book.

In addition to engaging book readers, HP Link Technology can be used on packages and other printed products. The HP Link technology delivers serialized marks that enable creators of printed products to securely track individual products throughout its entire lifecycle. These marks can help prevent thefts and diversion of products, reduce counterfeiting, and assist with product recalls,

The pages of the book were  printed on an HP PageWide WebPress T240HD and the cover was output on an HP Indigo digital press. “The Third Wave” interactive book was published by King Printing Co., a Lowell, Massachusetts-based company that provides short-run book-printing services for more than 10,000 authors and publishers.

Magazine: Out of Chaos

“Out of Chaos” is a digitally printed version of the online magazine published by the color-management experts at Rods and Cones.  The printed articles are enhanced with Stampatech “Print Infinity” technology.

Stampatech augmented-reality technology recognizes photographs and logos on printed books, labels, marketing literature, or packaging and triggers interactive content. Users of the app can learn more about the product, give feedback, or even make purchases.

An article in “Out of Chaos” magazine features excerpts from the white paper “Has Augmented Reality Really Gone Mainstream?” by Cindy Walas and Kevin Keane.

The Spring 2017 issue of the magazine was printed, bound, and trimmed on the Canon imagePRESS C10000VP digital press.