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Review ImageKind, a site that offers users the ability to upload art (which can be in the form of digital photography, digital/computer generated artwork and scanned traditional artwork) and then have it professionally printed/framed/mounted, has launched in beta.

Real humans do the printing and do their utmost to ensure the prints come out properly and look right. There are tens of thousands of combinations of how the artwork can be printed with different papers or canvases, frames, mounts and glass.

The site is incredibly easy to use, making use of the latest Web 2 features, including AJAX. It's also multi-browser friendly supporting IE (6 and 7), Firefox, Safari, Opera and others.

As well as just uploading art and having it printed, members can also set up galleries and set pricing on their art, which other members can print.

The originator of the artwork then gets the money for each printed piece of art (if the member sets their price at over 100 per cent of the wholesale cost, ImageKind takes a five per cent cut). Members can also print prepublished artwork from commercial suppliers (i.e. commercial art that you might find online - think of the old Arena picture of the female tennis player lifting her skirt).

There is also a social aspect to the site as members can comment and rate each other's artwork, members can even become fans of others. In future it will be possible to get an RSS feed to members and/or specific galleries to keep track of when new artwork is uploaded.

There are three types of account:

  1. "Create" which allows users to purely upload their own images and have them printed.
  2. "Free" allows a single gallery and is limited to 200MB storage and 200MB bandwidth per month.
  3. "PRO" has no storage limits, unlimited galleries and 400MB bandwidth per month.

Both Free and PRO accounts allow users to sell art and set their own pricing, PRO account users also get commission on the printing materials sold. PRO accounts cost $7.99 per month.

It seems bandwidth limits are only in place to stop people using ImageKind as a remote back-up facility.

ImageKind is the first development out of the Seed Investment and Software company Curious Office, whose first investment was the in UK based Feedigest.

Curious Office founder Kelly Smith said: "We like the size of this market. Relatively new print on demand technologies allow us to make affordable fine art prints that are nearly indistinguishable from those that cost tens of thousands of dollars. There are but a few walls in every home or office that don't have something on them. We're simply offering a powerful self-service system via the internet that make shopping and selling artwork more efficient and fun."

Though only in beta, the site is very slick and worth having a look at. ®

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