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Wrapsody in Blue

Arizona's bluemedia uses its Mimaki JV3 solvent printer to produce the shop's 2500th vehicle graphic


By Clare Baker

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Forget silver, gold, platinum, or diamonds. To commemorate a significant milestone, bluemedia prefers vinyl. A tour bus wrapped for comedian Carlos Mencia’s "Punisher Tour," produced by Comedy Central, marked the design and print shop’s 2500th vehicle graphic.

Laurie Hinzman White, vice president of off-air creative for Comedy Central, describes the idea behind the wrap: "Creatively, we were charged with trying to get the energy of this comic onto a static bus." Featuring a larger-than-life photograph of Mencia integrated with elements of the network's "street art" look, the bus design was intended to be bold and simple in order to catch the viewer’s eye at high speeds, she says.

Production
After receiving the art files from Comedy Central, bluemedia used Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to build their own print files. As bluemedia president Jared Smith explains, many ad agencies or clients of theirs don’t know, for example, "how much bleed we need, what CMYK values make the best blacks on a Mimaki, or how big the front top visor piece should be to ensure you can’t see paint from the front."

Using its 8-color Epson Stylus Pro 4800 with an Onyx RIP, bluemedia output proofs onto Epson Proofing Paper Commercial Semimatte. "We have implemented a color-calibration and proofing process that uses the GretagMacbeth Eye-One device, an X-Rite densitometer, and the Epson 4800 to generate accurate, calibrated proofs," says Smith. After a few color corrections were made, the proofs were approved by Comedy Central.

The shop then switched over to its 4-color Mimaki JV3 solvent printer, outputting the graphics onto approximately 1300 sq ft of 3M Controltac Plus Graphic Film with Comply Adhesive using Triangle inks. The wrap was printed in 22 sections, each 54-in. wide; printing took a total of 13 hr. The graphics were finished with 3M Scotchcal Gloss Overlaminate using bluemedia’s Seal 5500 laminator and then trimmed by hand, taking 2 hr. Installation of the graphics, by R/O Custom, took 8 hr.

Comment
"It takes a great deal of resources to get to a calibrated color space, but when we get there, it is well worth it," says Smith.'

Client
Comedy Central

The Players
bluemedia, Tempe, AZ (www.bluemedia.com); R/O Custom, Phoenix, AZ.

Tools & Supplies
Epson Stylus Pro 4800, Mimaki JV3, Seal 5500 laminator, Epson Proofing Paper Commercial Semimatte, 3M Controltac Plus Graphic Film with Comply Adhesive IJ180C-103M, Scotchcal Gloss Overlaminate 8518, Triangle inks.


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