Posted in Articles on June 4th, 2013

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Large format scanners for digitizing artwork

Those who are most comfortable with technology, by and large, are more likely to get noticed in the artistic world. The more easily a piece of art work can be disseminated, the more likely it is that the artist who made it will receive recognition. Even if you have the artistic talent to produce desirable artworks or prints, it is still necessary to advertise your artwork as widely as possible in a digital format if you intend to succeed in the art world. This is especially true for the pictorial arts. While there are some artists who do not choose to capitalize on the benefits of the information age, they are definitely at a disadvantage to those artists who more quickly embrace the opportunities the internet offers. Whether or not an artist is in a position to take advantage of these opportunities is largely down to their facilities – that is, whether they have the requisite hardware to import and upload their images. The answer to this, is a good art scanner.

Choose the right scanner for your art

The most important step is ensuring you own the right type of scanner. For the purposes of digitizing paintings and other art work, it is crucial to make sure that you have a scanner large enough to handle the piece without reducing image quality or damaging the original. Regular sized scanners generally aren’t capable of handling the kind of thickness necessary to scan poster board, or to scan watercolor and acrylic paintings without potentially damaging the paintwork. It’s necessary to ensure that your scanner can handle the kind of pieces you intend to create. Finding the best scanner for art can be difficult, but the key is to go for something offering at least 600dpi optical resolution, although the majority of large format images are scanned at 200, 300 or 400 dpi to reduce the total size of the image file. These resolutions have been seen to deliver the best performance in both image quality and digital file size.  Large format scanners such as Colortrac’s SmartLF SC series or even their SmartLF Gx+ series, work in different manner to traditional flatbed scanners. These high resolution scanners utilize stationary imaging sensors and illumination with the print is passed under it. These type of scanners are good scanners for artists as they afford a higher definition image with excellent color rendition. While some individuals prefer to go to a scanning/copying shop to do their scanning, if you intend to regularly scan large pieces of art work you will find it much more cost effective to own your own scanner – as well as time saving! After making your purchase, next is how to scan art with a large format scanner.

How to digitize artwork & paintings

Scanning artwork with a large format scanner is very straightforward using the scanning software provided with the scanner, such as SmartWorks Pro. First ensure the scanner and the software is properly installed. Then you must decide how many colors you wish to use in the scanned image. You will be given the option of ‘monochrome’ or ‘color’. Monochrome will produce a black and white digital copy, and color will render the copy in the same colors of the print. It is important to note here, that if you intend to Photoshop – and very handy tool for artists – it is important to select ‘color’, as otherwise you will be hampered in your editing options. To protect your artwork whilst handling, Colortrac also provide transparent sleeves to place your artwork in, this helps to protect both the artwork and the scanner from potentially transferring paint to the scanner drive rollers.  With your artwork now in it’s protective sleeve, simply feed the top edge into the mouth of the scanner. The scanner should then draw the print through the body of the scanner and quickly produce an identical image on the PC screen. The resulting image will be a high resolution, and high quality, faithful digital representation of your artwork. If you need to trim, crop or alter the colors in the image, this can all be done at this stage without having to re-scan the artwork. After scanning, upload your digital image to the internet and enjoy the benefits of exhibiting a digital image copy of your artwork to a worldwide audience!

For more information regarding art digitization, contact Colortrac experienced teams.