Scanning Larger Pictures?
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  1. #1
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    Scanning Larger Pictures?

    I wasn't sure where to put this and my flawed searches were coming up with nothing so here goes nothin':

    I am doing a primarily trad. media project on masonite, however I'd prefer to work in 14x17 or 9x12 at the smallest. The picture will either be done totally trad or scanned in and manipulated - either way, the finished artwork needs to be digitized and put into .jpeg format.

    Is there any sort of service offered in the USA that will scan large scale things like this or am I SOL and should just try to squeeze my detail into 8x10 masonite? I am weary of photography but I'd be willing to try it.

    Thanks

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    Photos should do fine as long as you get the lighting correct and have a decent camera.

    Here is a nice guide from Dan Dos Santos.



    However, if anyone knows of a good large format scanner, I would be interested as well.

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    I'm not sure if Vidar scanners will take something as thick / inflexible as Masonite or not. You should be able to find a company willing to scan the work in pieces and digitally stitch it back together (although you may end up paying quite a bit for that).

    Photography does work...it's just a bit of a pain to get it exactly right.

    *Edit* Now that I think about it, the company that I used to work for made slide photos of smaller works, and slide copies for art portfolios. We didn't have space to shoot larger works, but there should be companies that can.

    Last edited by Aphotic Phoenix; March 21st, 2009 at 12:40 AM.
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    i say shoot it, but scan it in sections and photoshop it together if thats not an option.

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    Shooting it looks like it's going to make more sense. Scanning seems to wash out work anyway. I am sure my college's photo department can lend me a hand, or maybe one of my professors. I don't have an SLR though, it's a Canon PowerShot SX100 IS, which is a wide zoom point and shoot. I hope that'll work... I do have a tripod for it.

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    Just for anyone curious...
    http://www.flatbed-scanner-review.or...d_scanner.html

    *Edit* Still trying to find something a bit more recent. Tech from 2004? Bwah...

    Ohhh snap:
    plus linky!
    Available for the low low price of $1.5 million dollars. Who wants to chip in on that bad boy? I've got $2...
    (and yes I know what it's actually intended for...I just find it amusing)

    Last edited by Aphotic Phoenix; March 21st, 2009 at 01:33 AM.
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    I wrote this in another thread but it applies to your question too.

    I mostly work A3 or larger (up to F8 or roughly 37 x 45 cm / 14.5"x18"). What I do is scan twice or more, and stitch it together in photoshop. This sounds elaborate but the quality is often lot better than what I have got photographed previously.

    Here is the good part: If you have photoshop CS3 or CS4 the stitching is almost always totally automatic. There is a function called photomerge used to make panoramic photos and it stitches the separate scans faultless unless it's the thinnest of thinnest line work. A3 drawings I scan in two parts, sometimes three. I scan F8 sized drawings in six parts if I used the whole page. Since I bought a higher quality Epson scanner a while back I saw a huge leap in quality. So I'm more than happy to stitch.

    Check or play around with Photoshop/file/automate/photomerge, then add open files or browse to a folder with your new scans (I set lay-out to reposition only but play around and see what works)... This became better in CS3 and 4, but older versions might work fine for you.

    Have fun.

    tensai


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    Just to explain the technique Tensai is talking about:


    Multiple Scans:
    If you are going to to do a multiple scan make sure that the first scan is on a part of the painting that has the lightest light and the darkest dark included. This will mean that the preview will automatically sort out the balance for all the scans that follow. Make sure you do not do another preview as you continue scanning otherwise things will get inconsistent with each other.
    Once in Photoshop, arrange them roughly together and then dissolve the 'connecting' edges of each scan with the rectangular marquee tool clearing a strip down the sides set as say, 44 pixels if you have a 300 dpi scan. If you have been careful about aligning squarely in the scanner there should not be any fiddling around rotating the scans in Photoshop.
    To match up the scans is just a question of blinking on and off the visibility of one of them until no shift is detected after nudging away with the arrow keys. (A bit like detecting planets....but much easier!)

    The first time you do this will take you a bit of time, but with a little experience you will find yourself able to do 6 scan job, join up in Photoshop, and be a 60meg TIFF in your hard drive all in just 15 minutes.

    Here is a comparison of the results using a painting of mine with the scanning technique described and straightforward photography with a 12.2 Megapixel Canon reflex, with natural daylight indoors. The red cast has not been corrected and the scan has also not been adjusted.

    Name:  Scan-photography compare.jpg
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    Scanned 4x painting detail:

    Name:  Blue Beads scan.jpg
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    Photographed painting detail:

    Name:  Blue Beads photographed.jpg
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    Last edited by Chris Bennett; March 21st, 2009 at 05:54 AM.
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    I don't have the cool comparison (or artwork) Chris Bennett has between the photo and scans but I see similar or even a bit more striking differences. I shoot the really large stuff on a solid tripod with good light and a dslr and macro lens (nikon d700 and micro 60mm, both solid enough). I've tried shooting the stuff on medium format film but then having it scanned properly again makes it a big hassle.

    What I do with the scans is basically the same as Chris, but I use Photoshops Photomerge to automate the alignment and blending of the different layers. It's normally used for panoramas of landscapes etc., but works really well with multiple scans. I made some screenshots of the process..


    1 - I set my scanner so that it doesn't make any tonal or colour adjustments and scan the sketch in 6 pieces getting plenty of overlap.


    Name:  lokscan01.jpg
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    2 - I open all the six tiff files and rotate them so that all have the same orientation. Before going into photomerge, I save all the tiffs, otherwise Photomerge won't run properly. I then go to file>automate>photomerge.


    Name:  lokscan04.jpg
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    3 - For files I select Add Open Files and for layout I select Reposition, but the other options might work fine too.


    Name:  lokscan06.jpg
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    4 - Kick back and relax, and let Photomerge create the panorama for you. How long depends on your resolution and computer. Shouldn't take too long though (I have six scans A4 at 400 dpi, but also 8Gb of memory and a big scratch disk to help out, so it goes fast enough).


    Name:  lokscan09.jpg
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    5 - This is the resulting panorama, without any adjustments. You can see in the top right and bottom left some pieces missing. This happens often on the edges of your artwork. You can either crop, or clone that area back in.


    Name:  lokscan12.jpg
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    6 - Because Photomerge works with a separate layer and layer mask for each scan, you can easily adjust the blending, or use pieces of layers if necessary. This is the alpha channel of one of the layer masks. You can of course adjust things manually but since CS4 I usually find I can just flatten the file (command E).


    Name:  lokscan14.jpg
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    7 - You can already really see the texture of the paper and the character of the Gouache. This detail is where I think you'll often see a difference with digital photography, however great it is of course. I love how with a proper scanner you get no sharpening artifacts or demosaicing or bayer interpolation and shit. This is 100% of the resulting 6000 x 4600 pixel file. I like to work big so if necessary I can deliver an A3 file @ 360 ppi for a magazine or book, or A2 @ 240 ppi for archival inkjet prints without any upressing.


    Name:  lokscan15.jpg
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    8 - I then add my copyright information and materials used, subject matter etc. as a note to myself or possible clients (cmd-option-sft-I). Perhaps not necessary but I think it's smart to do.


    Name:  lokscan19.jpg
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    9 - Final file before any curve adjustments. It needs some contrast adjustments and perhaps a slight colour adjustment, I do that on the flattened tiff.


    Name:  lokscan20.jpg
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    Perhaps it looks a bit elaborate because I'm showing so many steps here. But I basically scan, open the tiffs, rotate, save, go to Photomerge, let it run, flatten and crop and then do normal scan adjustments. Photomerge itself takes less than a minute and you don't have to do anything. I make scans like this from artwork up to size F8 (or roughly 37 x 45 cm / 14.5"x18") on an A4 scanner. Any bigger and I'll shoot per the above posted set up (or shoot close ups and use Photomerge to merge the digishots together). I'm sure there are many good other ways too - but try it out.

    note - Photomerge became a lot better with CS4, it might make a difference for you, it might not.

    Have fun.

    Last edited by tensai; March 21st, 2009 at 09:13 AM.
    tensai


    check the Tensai Tokyo Sketch Thread (Sketchbook)

    check the Tensai Cityscapes Thread (Finally Finished)

    bLok


    Quote Originally Posted by strych9ine
    Fuck backgrounds, who needs em.
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    That's a very beautiful drawing tensai - as all your drawings are anyway!

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    Now, with something thicker like masonite would scanning like that work or would there be a shadow or something where the painting runs off of the scanner bed?

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    Photomerge rocks.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Pezzle View Post
    Now, with something thicker like masonite would scanning like that work or would there be a shadow or something where the painting runs off of the scanner bed?
    yes it'll work. a worst case scenario might be a halo effect due to inconsistent lighting around the edges of the scan if parts of the painting are closer to the scanner bed than other parts. this may be caused by one side being 'propped up' or tilted from the glass on the scanner itself.

    here's a crude illustration of what i mean:



    this isn't an end of the world situation, but it may come up. you can remedy this with photoshop to get the tonality equal, or try to avoid it entirely by having the image parallel to the scanning bed. in most cases you can just chop-off the end part that is darker and have the next scan cover the lost ground.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pezzle View Post
    Now, with something thicker like masonite would scanning like that work or would there be a shadow or something where the painting runs off of the scanner bed?
    The painting of Blue Beads is painted on masonite. However, only 5% of the image is affected in the way you suggest in each individual scan. The process of clearing the edge with the feather rectange selection as I described above rids you of this by defaut anyway.
    Tensai will have to answer regarding his method, although it will be along the same lines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Bennett View Post
    The painting of Blue Beads is painted on masonite. However, only 5% of the image is affected in the way you suggest in each individual scan. The process of clearing the edge with the feather rectange selection as I described above rids you of this by defaut anyway.
    Tensai will have to answer regarding his method, although it will be along the same lines.
    Yeah it's the same, the thing with photomerge is if the masks didn't work at least the individual files are set up and already in the right position for you. You can adjust the masks, or delete them and work with your own masks.

    tensai


    check the Tensai Tokyo Sketch Thread (Sketchbook)

    check the Tensai Cityscapes Thread (Finally Finished)

    bLok


    Quote Originally Posted by strych9ine
    Fuck backgrounds, who needs em.
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    A scanner requires the surface to touch the glass in order for the optics to work properly, otherwise you'll get a blurred image. Don't press down hard on the glass for obvious reasons. I've scanned pieces up to to about 20" long on one side on an A4 (8x11) scanner; the thinner it is the better. The hinge of the scanner lid can also get in the way. You'll likely loose a couple inches where the surface doesn't touch glass while scanning large pieces, forcing you to move the surface and rescan that area. It'll help if you keep your scans straight for each pass. I put two pieces of tape on the outside edge to line up the sides when I'm scanning a center section.

    There are a few inexpensive large scanners on the market (12x17"), or there may be a print service in your area that has one available. It'd be nice if scanners didn't have a raised edge along the glass, more like copy machines.

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