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Subject: Printer Studio Vs Artscow rss

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Tristan Hall
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Just have to say my Gloom of Kilforth: A Fantasy Quest Game decks arrived yesterday from Printer Studio after I ordered them on 31st July on GeckoTH's recommendation, so less than two weeks from order to delivery (compared to 4-6 weeks with artscow) for £22.75 or $35.48 using free shipping (compared to £44.88 or $70 with artscow using free shipping) and the quality is incredible, really, really nice (compared to hit or miss with artscow). No random edges bleeding, disappearing or otherwise misaligning, you can even read the tiny card numbers perfectly - and they weren't randomly cropped off!

I added a black border to make all my cards 822x1122 to fit with Printer Studio's specifications and honestly expected to see a thin black edge on all the cards because of this, but there was no evidence of this black border at all - they were cut to perfection. Almost as though a human who gave a crap was at the other end and checked that the cards were all full bleed before running the prints off. And the colours on the cards really pop too.

The cards themselves are slim but not too thin - roughly the same as most other games (sturdier than Mage Knight or Lords of Waterdeep, but nothing like as sturdy as Flying Frog’s cards for example). I will probably still sleeve them though because they are... precious... to me...

The user interface on artscow isn’t perfect, but Printer Studio makes the artscow interface look advanced. You can’t copy and paste copies of the same cards, you can’t share decks and it takes a long while to process, although I was working with hundreds of images at a time. So it’s a bugger to put your decks together, but so worth the effort for the final result.

Overall impression: thoroughly satisfied. It almost brought a tear to my eyes when the card decks arrived yesterday they look that good. If I took these decks to a convention I’ve no doubt I’d be able to sell hundreds of copies of my game.

So thanks to GeckoTH for the recommendation, unless they mess up royally I will only be using Printer Studio from now on. Thank you artscow, but you have been beaten on price, delivery speed and quality.

/End rant.
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Dicky P
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I am impressed that you are so impressed. I know we both have Artscow versions of Fantasy Quest so having that comparison is really helpful. I always thought Artscow were pretty good for what they were/cost, but it looks like there is a new kid on the block.

Thanks for reporting back on this.
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Mike Arlington

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I actually just placed my first PoD order ever, and I got decks from both PrinterStudio and ArtsCow. I have to agree completely with the OP. PrinterStudio was faster and cheaper, but even more importantly: the quality difference between the two was staggering.

The ArtsCow cards come in a paper tuckbox, the ink on the backs of the cards was chipped all around the edges, the fronts of the cards were so misaligned that the bleed I put on the cards (to their specifications) did not cover it (by a large amount), and while this is a small consideration, the cards were all out of order, upside down, etc.

The PrinterStudio deck comes in a hard plastic case, all of the cards were aligned great, the colors were fantastic.

I was just overall thrilled with the one and completely disappointed by the other.
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I. J. Thompson
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Thanks for the great info!

Any pics? In particular, has anyone printed cards with PS that are quite dark, originally?
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Mike Arlington

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I'm going to post some pictures in here tomorrow probably. (I'll be at work until late tonight).

The PrinterStudio cards were slightly darker than the ArtsCow cards. It hurt the contrast a tiny bit on some cards, but overall I thought the PrinterStudio cards still looked better as I felt the ArtsCow cards were just a little washed out looking.
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Tom Howard
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I'm so happy to hear that the cards came out great!! (It's also nice that you can order decks much larger than 54 cards)

ijthompson wrote:

Any pics? In particular, has anyone printed cards with PS that are quite dark, originally?


I've got a few comparison pics on my thread here:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/832754/artscow-vs-printe...

Similar to what Mike said, PrinterStudio's cards are a bit darker and more saturated than Artscow cards, but this is a good thing. Blacks are actually black now, with the rest of the colors more accurate to the images I submitted. Whites are still white, so I guess "darker" isn't the best term to use.
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Robert Beachler
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I have yet to use PrinterStudio but my Artscow cards turned out fairly good. PrinterStudio's interface is a pain and the fact that you can't retrieve a project once you've submitted it to your cart is annoying. If they made that better I am sure I would use them all the time as this is not the first thread I've read that they are great.
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Andrew Rowse
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You don't have to buy many copies before PrinterStudio becomes the cheaper option - it's a bit of a shame that they don't have plastic cases for deck sizes larger than 54, but after I fed that back to them they did say that new packaging option are in the pipeline...

I bought a copy of the PnP Doctor Who game through Artscow, to check their quality, and it really didn't hold a candle to Printerstudio. I ended up using Printerstudio to print 200+ copies of Zombies at your Heels, and I'm quite pleased that the quality of the cards that I'll be sending out to backers will be (IMHO) higher thn that of many commercial games!
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Tristan Hall
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robbdaman wrote:
I have yet to use PrinterStudio but my Artscow cards turned out fairly good. PrinterStudio's interface is a pain and the fact that you can't retrieve a project once you've submitted it to your cart is annoying. If they made that better I am sure I would use them all the time as this is not the first thread I've read that they are great.


PrinterStudio's interface is a pain, but you can retrieve a project from your cart after submitting, and even after buying. In your shopping cart just click EDIT next to the thumbnail view.

If you already paid and/or received your order and want more copies or to make edits, just go to your order history and click "reorder". This adds it back into your shopping cart so you can just click EDIT again as above.

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Dicky P
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Just to add my findings, I was able to make a direct comparison between similar cards printed by Printer Studio (PS) and Artscow.

As with others above I was very pleased with PS's output. On first sight you might not immediately notice the differences but after a short time they become very obvious. Blacks are more black, there is more visible detail, and overall less colour saturation than with Artscow. The last one might be a personal thing, but looking at the Artscow cards they look sort of "old" looking now. PS cards are more fresh looking and precise. If that makes sense. The PS cards feel nicer (although in this case have quickly been dropped into sleeves).

In "blind" testing others have 100% preferred PS over Artscow so far. Better quality at all levels.

So, subject to being comfortable with interface (or it being upgraded) and PS continuing to be price competitive I can see PS being a preferred supplier going forward.

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Tristan Hall
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Agree 100%, Dicky. PS also said they are going to introduce a higher cost higher quality card option for printed decks, whilst keeping the current lower (!) quality card deck options too. I mentioned that artscow's interface was more user friendly (particularly cutting and pasting) and they assured me this was passed on to their developers who will look into upgrading their interface moving forward. Can't say fairer than that. cool

Also, our cards did come from Frankfurt, not China - maybe this explains the much faster delivery times?
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Galaad Maal
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Just wishing I'd read this post two days ago...
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Dicky P
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ninjadorg wrote:
Agree 100%, Dicky. PS also said they are going to introduce a higher cost higher quality card option for printed decks, whilst keeping the current lower (!) quality card deck options too. I mentioned that artscow's interface was more user friendly (particularly cutting and pasting) and they assured me this was passed on to their developers who will look into upgrading their interface moving forward. Can't say fairer than that. cool


Wow! This all sounds very interesting, and promising. Thanks for the insight/update.

Quote:
Also, our cards did come from Frankfurt, not China - maybe this explains the much faster delivery times?


Yes that caused me to scratch my head when they first arrived. But yesterday noted that on the website at the bottom of the .com home page there are links to "international sites", Canada, Germany, China, USA/RoW. Not sure whether that means they manufacture in each of those locations, or whether they are just front ends which are then passed out to printing plants (which seems to be Frankfurt at least). Might there be different pricing on each site? devil




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Printer Studio look good in comparison to Artscow - their prices are nice, they do bridge-size cards, and people say the quality is higher. The thing that worries me is the size of the bleeding area and "safe" area. Oddly, they give both these values in terms of pixels, and I can only assume that they apply to their minimum image size (373x561 in the case of the bridge-size cards). Each area is 12 pixels, so that's 24 pixels per side or 48 pixels in each direction. You don't have to be a math genius to notice that it is more than 10% of the total width of the card (closer to 13%).

So I mocked up some cards with a border. After adding the safe and bleed amounts, the cards look very odd - if the printing is very good and only cuts off a couple of pixels on each side then the deck will look awful. Have you used them enough to see typical values of how far into the bleed/safe area they tend to go?
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Andrew Rowse
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Here's a post where I investigated how much extra to add on to my card borders to get them to turn out right on PrinterStudio:

http://boardgamegeek.com/article/9000622#9000622

My original images were 1488x2079. When I did my final production, I added 50 pixels extra bleed to each side, and the printed cards came back exactly as intended.

Edit - here's an image snapped by one of the people who backed my project:

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David Dawson
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Has anyone heard if Printer Studio might consider doing a gallery feature, like Artscow does? The direct links to artscow are the main reason I haven't switched over to Printer Studio, even though the quality sounds like it's superior.
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Tristan Hall
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dawson_osu wrote:
Has anyone heard if Printer Studio might consider doing a gallery feature, like Artscow does? The direct links to artscow are the main reason I haven't switched over to Printer Studio, even though the quality sounds like it's superior.


I think it's in the pipeline but nothing confirmed yet. FWIW, their feedback and customer service team are really responsive and open to suggestions.
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Tom Howard
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I made my cards at 2.5"x3.5" 300dpi, then when uploading to PrinterStudio, I increased the border to make the dimensions 822x1122 pixels as per their suggestion. Here are the results...

Uploaded image with expanded bleed border:


Printed cards:





I was very happy with the results.
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Ed Lovell
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One thing that holds me back from using PS is that Artscow often has deals on purchasing their cards. My last order with them ended up being $5 a deck shipping included. Does PS ever have deals to take advantage of for those of us who are...thrifty?
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Drew Dallas
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Yes they have deals much like artscow
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Dan W
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I am very glad to come across this thread as I have yet to do my first project. It sure sounds like the product is superior to Artscow. I've already set up my account with Artscow but I've yet to submit any thing. Even before I read this thread I had seen some comments regarding the inconsistency of the colors coming from Artscow.

I'm also looking to get a game board printed eventually. In this case I am seriously considering thegamecrafter.com. Are there any opinions regarding game board printing?

Thanks for the trhead!! I'm definitely going to consider Print Studio.
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Andrew Rowse
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Another fun feature is that you can have a different back for each card in a Printerstudio order, vs a single shared back (I believe) in Artscow.
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Dicky P
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KAndrw wrote:
Another fun feature is that you can have a different back for each card in a Printerstudio order, vs a single shared back (I believe) in Artscow.


No. Artscow 'Multi purpose cards' gives you the option to specify front and back on a card by card basis. I've used this many times.
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Andrew Rowse
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Huh - maybe that's a recent thing? the Doctor Who card game I bought via Artscow had common backs, and the buyer was expected to stick a few of them together to create a subset of double-sided cards.
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Dicky P
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KAndrw wrote:
Huh - maybe that's a recent thing? the Doctor Who card game I bought via Artscow had common backs, and the buyer was expected to stick a few of them together to create a subset of double-sided cards.


Been there as a option for at least a couple of years.
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