Limited Edition Photopolymer Gravure Prints
Photopolymer plates, usually used for relief and letterpress printing, can be used to make photogravure plates. These polymer plates, when developed, are like a hard plastic. Some feel that they rival the quality of traditional copper plate photogravure. The process involves a series of exposures of the polymer plate.
First, it is exposed under strong light with a random dot screen placed above it (called an aquatint screen in fine art printing). Next, the plate is exposed with a positive transparency of an image. This transparency can be a continuous tone positive on film, but is most often made as a digital 'positive' (made in the same way as a digital negative printed with an inkjet printer). The plate is then developed in water. After proper drying and curing, the plate can be inked and printed. The dual exposures produce an "etched" polymer plate with many thousands of indentations of varying depth, holding ink, which in turn are transferred as a continuous tone image to a sheet of paper. Depending on the quality, the resulting images may look similar to those produced with the traditional photogravure process.