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Do you want your large format prints to pop, be durable, and resist fading?


The obvious solution is to use the correct print technology for the best results. For instance, use photo paper for a large photo image, vinyl for banners, etc. But, one often overlooked aspect of printing the perfect image is the ink itself.


The secret to printing awesome large-format photos or graphics has just as much to do with the quality of the ink as the print material. This is why Canon has spent so much time researching and developing the best technologies for word class prints. Check out how Canon has elevated the playing field with their LUCIA ink sets for Canon large format printers. 

So, inkjet printing is not new. It was first conceptualized in the 1950s and brought to market in the 1970s by HP and Canon. As per Wikipedia:

“The idea of using thermal excitation to move tiny drops of ink was developed independently by two groups at roughly the same time: John Vaught and a team at Hewlett-Packard's Corvallis Division and Canon engineer Ichiro Endo. In 1977, Endo's team initially tried using the piezoelectric effect to move ink out of the nozzle but noticed that ink shot out of a syringe when it was accidentally heated with a soldering iron.”

Photo credit: dp3project.org

See the selection of Canon plotter ink tanks and cartridges available from TAVCO.


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Dye-based Plotter Ink

Traditionally, most inkjet printers use dye-based inks. The justification has always been a more comprehensive color range and lower cost. But dyes are pretty volatile; they are merely watercolors. Dyes are completely water soluble and can significantly be affected by the environment - incredibly ultraviolet light (UV) and moisture.


Most of the time, this is a perfectly cheap and efficient process for general-purpose printing.  Most large format printers use dye inks for CAD and other basic printing applications.

Once these dye-based prints are exposed to the elements, dye inks can fade in the sunlight or bleed when they get wet. These changes can happen suddenly, too. 

Conversely, photographers and other graphics professionals need and expect better image quality, durability, and longevity from their prints. Because of this, professional photo printers, such as the Canon PRO-4100, use pigment-based inks exclusively. 

Pigment-based Plotter Ink

Unlike dyes, which are essentially colored water, pigments are formulated as emulsions.

The pigments are microscopic solid particles suspended in an aqueous (water-based) liquid solution.

These solid particles are durable and resilient and do not break down because of environmental conditions. Pigments will not fade and are mostly water-resistant. The new Canon LUCIA inks are designed to resist scratches and minimize bronzing (distorting the reflection of light off of a print). 

Even though they differ from dyes, the printing process is the same. Pigment inks are shot onto the media as dye inks via an inkjet print head.

The difference is that dyes will soak into the paper, but pigments adhere and cure to the surface of the media. In addition to more excellent durability, pigment-based inks produce much better overall image quality.

Pigment inks deliver stunning results with fantastic durability.

Canon’s Pigment Plotter Ink Technology

Over the past few years, Canon has made great strides in advancing the ink technologies of its entire large-format printer series.

This includes high-quality graphics models and the more commonly used systems for CAD, GIS, and other business printing needs.

Canon LUCIA TD Inks

All five ink channels are pigment-based in the Canon TX and TM printer series.

Both the TX-Series and TM-Series printers use refined and improved ink sets. The printers utilize five colors (C, M, Y, Bk, MBk).

But, unlike previous versions, every ink in the set is now a pigment ink. This LUCIA TD pigment ink provides a way to get fantastic, high-quality prints on coated inkjet media and standard bond papers.

The black density of these new inks is fantastic, and the bleed resistance is strong. So, contractors can use these prints worry-free in the field.

They will not fade in the sun, and a rainstorm will not completely ruin the construction drawings. Another benefit to the bleed resistance of the TD Inks is that their drawings can be highlighted and marked up without any smearing.

Also, TX Series printers produce a wider color gamut compared to the earlier Canon imagePROGRAF 750/760/780/830/840/850 series.

This means that renderings, maps, and aerials look better than ever. Plus, even more, excellent durability can be achieved by printing on a tough, long-lasting media such as water-resistant matte polypropylene, vinyl banner, or Tyvek.

Canon TM Series Pigment Ink Image Quality

Canon LUCIA PRO Inks

When image quality is paramount, Canon PRO inks deliver. This new ink formulation is found in Canon's family of PRO-Series and PRO-S-Series printers.



Canon LUCIA PRO Pigment Inks

The Canon LUCA PRO ink set includes 11 colors plus a Chroma Optimizer.

The LUCIA PRO ink set consists of newly formulated 11-color pigment inks plus a Chroma Optimizer.

These inks are designed to meet the demands of even the most critical photographers and graphic artists. This ink offers increased pigment density for richer color expression.

The Chroma Optimizer works like a “clear coat” layer when printing on photo papers. Chroma Optimizer (CO) works to enhance the quality further and ensure uniformity of light reflection.

This unique ink system helps enable a broad color gamut with more delicate details in dark areas and improved gloss uniformity. The new LUCIA PRO ink set also significantly reduces bronze and graininess.

Canon PRO 4000 Plotter - 12 Color Pigment Ink

Final Thoughts

Whether recreating an artistic masterpiece or printing a set of construction drawings, the new Canon pigment inks will help you achieve much more outstanding results.

The Canon LUCIA PRO, LUCIA TD, and LUCIA TM inks provide a wider color gamut to produce highly durable prints to offer you better peace of mind.

Canon pigment inks are durable and can survive the elements. Drawings, pictures, and posters will not fade.

Combine the inks with more durable printing material, such as polypropylene, and your print can even be used for short-term outside display.

Upgrade your printing game and achieve exceptional results with a Canon plotter using a complete pigment ink set.


Content updated: 7-8-20


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Kevin Vaughan
Post by Kevin Vaughan
July 8, 2020
Kevin Vaughan is the Vice President of TAVCO and heads up Sales, Digital Marketing, and E-Commerce channels. With over two decades of experience, he has received various awards for sales performance and channel growth. Published articles focus on AEC technologies including laser scanning, 3D cameras, CAD software, and large format plotters. When he is not geeking out on new technologies, you can find him hanging with his wife and kids, playing guitar, or Scuba diving.