Before any piece of art
work can be reproduced, it needs to be copied or digitized. Digitizing is simply converting artwork into a form the
computer understands. While the concept is very simple, I feel this is the
most important part of the reproduction process. A simple adage: "garbage in, garbage out" definitely
holds true in this area.
If you're on a budget, I would not skimp on this most important step.
Changing print size or quantity would be a better way to reduce cost.
I use two main types of copy, either flatbed scanner or a digital
The flatbed scanner is a nice choice if the original is under 11 x 17
in size, and does not have a lot of texture. Watercolors are the best candidate here. Acrylics and especially oils
are not recommended. Other delicate surfaces such as pastel or charcoal can also be a problem. The main advantage
with the flatbed scanner is it's more economical than the digital scanning back.
The other method I use is a 144 megapixel digital scanning back. This
is essentially a portable scanner that gets inserted into the back of a larger 4 x 5 camera. A picture of
this camera shown to the left. The advantage of this type of system is there
is far less of a limit to size,
lighting can more precisely be controlled, and the camera can be calibrated to a higher degree. This same type
of cameras being used at leading museums today for Art copy. It
is arguably the highest quality image capture available
"Any part of the copy process that draws attention to itself
will invariably scream reproduction."
Some examples of poor copy:
Taming the beast -- controlling
Aligment: A camera can only focus on one plane at a
time. To insure corner to corner sharpness, the camera must be precisely aligned to the
"It's all done with mirrors! " No really... If
you take a rectangular mirror and a round one with a hole cut in the center, and then align the mirrors to
face each other, you get a series of repeating or telescoping images. Any misalignment is immediately
apparent. It's an extremely accurate way to ensure exact parallelism, and what I use on every piece of artwork
I copy. Accurate to .004".
"The right tool for the
job". Did you know that most lenses focus
colors on a different plane? Yeap, it's true. There are some lens designs that are designed
to more precisely align color. These are known as apochromatic lenses. In addition to using lenses precisely
designed for flat field copy work, I also use lenses that are designed to focus all colors of light on the same
plane. This avoids something known as chromatic aberrations (color fringing) from misaligned colors. If you've
ever seen halos of colors around finely detailed parts of your image, then you've experienced chromatic
aberrations. The camera I use allows me to focus on individual colors, and does this electronically to avoid any
issues with poor vision. Details like these make a difference.
Con't on next page