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By The Light of 'Illume'

Crush Creative is a leading light in the production of Red Bull's Illume Image Quest photography com

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By Clare Baker

After receiving the digital files that had been uploaded to a website designed for the competition, Crush prepared the files for print in Photoshop and made the necessary color corrections to the images. Explains Polan, "The color correcting was not done to change the overall look of the image, but to correct for the actual glass that the prints were to be installed behind. Because the glass had a bit of a tint to it, the images needed to be corrected to account for that tint." Additionally, he adds, "the brightness and intensity of the bulbs in the cubes had to be taken into consideration as well."

The 50 images were printed as landscape and vertical images at 6 x 8 ft. on an Oce LightJet 500XL onto Kodak Duratrans backlit photographic material, taking approximately 3 days. The 1600 sq ft of graphics were then laminated with a 3-mil matte laminate with a Seal 80S press and back mounted to a piece of 1/4-in. polycarbonate material. "Lamination," says Polan, "was for the protective properties. While the prints were face mounted to plex, the back side could have been potentially exposed to moisture.

We encapsulated the print to ensure that the prints would endure in extreme conditions." Each print took about 4 hours to finish. "These prints had to be treated like fine art, and all of the finishing had to be done in a sterile, lint-free, clean environment," Polan adds.

Representatives from the various companies involved on the project then attended an all-day proofing session held at Crush Creative’s facility in Burbank. With a model exhibit cube on hand, the group reviewed each image just as it would appear installed and illuminated. "Basically," says Tidman, "we were checking for three things: that it was the right image; that the image quality was correct; and that it was formatted properly, portrait to landscape."