Digital printing refers to methods of printing from a digital-based image directly to a variety of media. It usually refers to professional printing where small-run jobs from desktop publishing and other digital sources are printed using large-format and/or high-volume laser or inkjet printers. The most popular methods include inkjet or laser printers that deposit pigment or toner onto a wide variety of substrates including paper, photo paper, canvas, glass, metal, marble, and other substances.
Digital printing has a higher cost per page than more traditional offset printing methods, but this price is usually offset by avoiding the cost of all the technical steps required to make printing plates. It also allows for on-demand printing, short turnaround time, and even a modification of the image (variable data) used for each impression. In many of the digital processes used, the ink does not permeate the substrate/media, as does conventional ink, but forms a thin layer on the surface.
Fine art digital inkjet printing is printing from a computer image file directly to an inkjet printer as a final output. Substrates in fine art inkjet printmaking include traditional fine-art papers, watercolor paper, treated and untreated canvas, experimental substrates (such as metal and plastic), and fabric.