Frequently Asked Questions

What is SkyFire Studios?

SkyFire Studios is an environment dedicated to creating unimaginable works for a variety of applications. Our artists are exceptional at grey tone imagery which is quite a different medium than relying on color to relay the vision. The final works depend on an intuitive understanding of the subtle nuances of shades and shapes which determine great art pieces. And now, etched forever, we put our works along side those that have lasted centuries.

We work with your design ideas or your own personal photographs to create unique custom etchings. You can supply the final artwork or we can design the projects for you. In some applications we will be introducing a limited edition series clients can choose from.

The materials we work in range from detailed etchings in glass, stone, stainless steel, acrylic, anodized aluminum and wood. We also create detailed marquetry or laminate designs cut with intricate precision for custom flooring accents.

And the size of an etching can be as big as a wall or as small as a book cover.

What is laser etching?

Laser etching is a process that is the result of combining leading edge laser technology with artistic creativity applied through graphic software. Etching is done with a CO2 laser producing near photographic quality images and detail in a variety of substrates with very little environmental impact.

Essentially, the laser hits the material causing a microcosmic blast. Each blast creates a precise, tiny crater through the polished surface and into the material. The arrangement of these tiny craters is what creates the unbelievable detail.

Who are our customers?

The beauty of this technique is that the applications are endless. From personal custom gifts to high end award collections. From corporate identity systems to pet portraits. From interior decor features to donor recognition walls. Our clients are the neighbor next door, architects and designers, display companies, HR managers, specialty store owners, local communities, charity organizations and schools. We are proud to have such a wide-spread client base, each with a unique request.

How long does it take to receive an etching?

For individual etchings in standard materials and sizes it generally takes 3-5 weeks from the time we receive the order. But please let us know if you have a special occasion in mind and we will see what we can do.

For out of the ordinary art and materials we need more lead time which will depend on material availability, testing, proof approvals and such.

Do you have a catalogue?

Not really. We are creating a limited series collection of artwork that will be available soon. Due to the custom nature of this art form the intriguing part is that our clients can supply their own images. But we can create layouts and we can even obtain images if you don't have just what you are looking for.

What do I need to provide the artists at SkyFire Studios in order to have a custom piece created?

First and foremost, our advice is to not be hesitant if you do not have the perfect photo or artwork. Our artists are quite skilled at enhancing less than ideal images. We can remove a background, add a different one, fill in cropped edges, eliminate unwanted elements like hydro poles and even fix a crooked tie!

The best results are achieved when the imagery or photo submitted is clear and crisp and neither too dark nor too light. Sometimes clients send us more than one image so that we can either pick the best one for etching or use the others as reference to features otherwise hidden or blurred.

Scanned images
We recommend that images be scanned at 300 dpi (or more). If you have a photograph but not a scanner, you can have it scanned at a local office supply store or a photocopying shop. The file is then transferred onto a disk so that you can email the image to us from your computer as an attachment. Or you can send us the disk. Sometimes the store will even email it for you.

You can mail us your favorite photograph and though we do return them with the final etching we suggest you make sure you have the negative or make a copy to keep at home.

Digital Camera images
Our biggest dilemma is when we receive a very low resolution digital image (eg: 72 KB). The results are not great. Most cameras let you choose. If you can, we prefer HQ images (1000x1000 or higher) or around 500 KB file size. For larger etchings or murals digital images should be closer to 1500 KB file size or more.

Note: Professionally taken photography must include a letter by the photographer allowing us to use his/her copyrighted material. It has been our experience that photographers do not mind having their work used for a personal etching and appreciate that you even asked them.

Professional Artwork
We work in a PC environment with Corel PhotoPaint but use Adobe PhotoShop for conversion to Corel. Depending on the etching dimensions we prefer 300 dpi photo images minimum. There is a great deal of tonal adjustments to be made to the image before etching to accommodate the difference in materials therefore we need the artwork to be unflattened in most cases.

Each submission is first checked for etching suitability and those posing special challenges will be reviewed with the customer before the artwork has begun.

Can I request a proof of the final artwork?

Yes. And in many cases we will insist on approval if we have any artistic concerns. But keep in mind, the proof will differ from the final etching as one is viewed on a screen and the final work is in a substrate. We cannot match the final nuances of the etching in the proofs, instead we rely on them only for layout and text approval.

How many words can I have etched?

As many as you choose and any size you want.  The process is such that the laser does not actually know if it is etching part of a word or part of an image.  The only thing to keep in mind for letter size would be if the words are meant to be read from arms length or up very close.

How do I care for an etching?

As etchings are permanent most pieces can be cleaned with a damp, soft cloth and a mild soap, then lightly buffed dry. We recommend that you do not use paper towels.

Anodized aluminum and stainless steel etchings can be cleaned with acetone.