Saturday, February 9, 2008, 03:40 PMOne question we frequently get is how to best digitize a work of art, such as a drawing or painting, for making Giclee prints. There is a lot of confusion and some misinformation. So lets look at each of the options: digital cameras, drum scanning, film cameras and flatbed scanning.
Digital cameras are wonderful for making images that can be easily brought into Photoshop, used online and used for printing on a desktop printer. The problem for Giclee printing is that the file needs to be 300 dpi at the size of the final image. For example a 16X20 Giclee print needs to be 16X300 and 20X300. In other words the image file needs to be 4800 pixels by 6000 pixels. This is 28.8 million pixels, or the equivalent of a 28 megapixel camera. Since most digital cameras are in the 6 to 12 megapixel range, digital cameras fall way short. Or another way of looking at it is that a 16X20 Giclee print requires at minimum a 80 megabyte file. Again digital cameras fail to provide the needed quality.
Another problem with digital cameras is that they do not record all of the colors for each point of pixel. One half of the pixels are green, one fourth are red, and one fourth are blue. To make the final image the camera guesses the appropriate color. Normally this process works quite well for typical camera subjects like portraits and landscapes, however for reproducing artwork the demands are much greater. Every point needs to fully measured; something digital cameras can not do. Add to that the problems of even lighting, getting the artwork squared up and not distorted, and the fact that most camera lenses are multi-purpose and not specifically designed for flat art. Unfortunately we commonly hear from artists who have just paid a lot of money for a series of digital photographs of their work. Digital camera photos of artwork can be used for submission to shows, to make slides, postcards or greeting cards, but not Giclee prints of existing art. (Note printing digital photographs is a whole different issue I will address in the future.)
The drum scanner is often seen as the holy grail of scanning. These were developed for the printing industry over 20 years ago. They are the best scanners for printing, but again not often appropriate for Giclee. First of all, the artwork must be wrapped around a glass drum. This is not possible with art on board or stretched canvas. Second, the drum is rotated at a very high speed. This can be a problem for fragile art such as charcoal or pastel. Finally, many of the older drum scanners are optimized for CMYK printóin other words offset poster prints. Again not the best for Giclee. Scitex, who basically invented digital imaging says that the very best flatbed scanners are every bit as good as drum scanners. This may be debatable for 35mm film, but not for originals on paper. It should be noted that to get the best quality from a drum scanner, the film is coated with oil and slapped on to the drum. Something not appropriate for art on paper or canvas.
A third approach is to photograph the original art with film. 35mm is great for slides of art work, but even the best professionally - shot slides in our experience can not be made into Giclee prints that are very big. How big it will go depends a lot on the original art, the quality of the slide, and the artists tolerance. I have had some that can not go to 8X10 and others that look OK (not great like the original, but OK) at 16X20. A good 4X5 film of an art piece can of course go bigger, but here again there are a lot of variables, but being removed a generation it can never be as good as a scan.
But, there are times that film must be used to capture art for Giclee printing. This is because the original is too big to scan (normally over 4X6 feet or so). Or because the original is un-scanable; for example it is mounted to the wall as a mural. We did a project recently where we made a Giclee print of a painting that was done by Eric Cornett from Faux Pas Studio for the Calhoun Beach Club in Minneapolis. The original is a mural in the entryway to the club. Not just any photographer can properly photograph art however. There are only a handful of specialists in the Midwest and most work in art museums. We turned to Jerry Mathiason who works for museums, galleries and artists and specializes in fine art photography. From his 4X5 film we scanned Ericís painting on our high-end Scitex scanner producing a 43X58 inch 300 dpi imageó650 megabytes. First we made a test proof that was brought to the Calhoun Club and matched to the original. We then printed two sizes of the work on canvas. Needless to say the artist was very happy. www.fauxpasstudio.com
Finally letís look at flatbed scanners. To get the resolution, sharpness and quality needed to most closely match an original it is the best way to digitize an art work. The art lays flat, the light is even, the CCD captures all the colors at every point and the lens is superb for capturing the detail. We are convinced that this is normally the only way to capture art for Giclee printing. But in those rare cases where it can not be scanned, it is best to turn to an expert for photography and scanning the film on a high-end professional scanner.
Here are the results:
Image Copyright by Eric Cornett - Faux Pas Studio. All rights reserved.
Saturday, September 8, 2007, 08:41 PMWe are once again part of the famous Studio Ramble artist tour. This is the 6th year for the tour of Red Wing Minnesota and Pierce County Wisconsin artists that live and work in the beautiful Mississippi River valley. This year's tour includes 11 sites and the work of over 25 artists, including some new artists this year.
Husom & Rose Photographics is site 11 on the tour and will be open from 10-5 Friday and Saturday September 22nd and 23rd. Stop by to see our studio and some of the work we do for artists and our own art work. You will see signs coming down WI 35 from Prescott, or on 63 crossing the river from Red Wing.
Red Wing artist Dan Wiemer and I designed the folded card with the help of Kim Wiemer and Ann-Marie Rose. Drop me an email and I can send you one. Or check out the Studio Ramble Web site for more information on the tour.
Click on the image on the left to see it larger.
Husom & Rose Photographics
Giclee printers serving artists in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, the Upper Midwest and across the US.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007, 08:40 PMOne of the many fine artists we print for from Wisconsin is Tatiana Zank. Tatiana realized her talent as an incredible photorealist painter while a student at the University of Wisconsin - Stout in Menomonie a few years ago. She is currently having a major one person show at the State Street Gallery in Madison featuring her works on canvas and Giclee prints. Congratulations Tatiana!
State Street Gallery Web Site
Tuesday, August 14, 2007, 05:00 PMWe did yet another project for Red Wing's Sesquicentennial. The Red Wing Police Department needed two photos from the early 1900's restored and printed to hang in the recently remodeled City Council Chambers. The two images were of Red Wing Police Chief James Daily and Officer John Peterson, who died from gunshot wounds received in 1907 after an altercation with what the media at the time called "a mentally deranged person" staying at a local hotel.
Although we have often been called upon to fix photos that are nearly in shreds, in this case the original images were actually in pretty good shape given their current home at the Goodhue County Historical Society. But as is often the case, the originals were considered too fragile and important to leave archival storage. The Society had already scanned the images and they just needed a good bit of dust busting and scratch removal. But we experimented with different cropping and sizes before settling on the images below, which we felt matched the look of the original.
After a framing job by Red Wing master framer Bob Chester the photos were hung on the Council Chamber wall to memorialize the two Red Wing law enforcement officers who died tragically 100 years ago.
For More Information on the Fallen Officers See the Red Wing City Web Site.
Sunday, May 13, 2007, 11:12 AMGiclee prints are great for fund raisers for arts organizations and non-profits. Last year we printed the official Giclee print for the Austin Minnesota Sesquicentennial. Created by artist Tamara Schnieder the print quickly sold out its edition of 150 prints. (Yes Austin is the home of Spam and yes Hormel and pigs played a part in the art work).
This year it is Red Wing's turn to celebrate its 150th birthday. Dan Weimer was once again called upon to create a visual collage of this historic town on the bluffs of the Mississippi River. (See yesterdays entry for his mural of Red Wing). The print titled Red WIng...City on the River shows many of Red Wings landmarks and captures the flavor of this famous Minnesota river town.
The Giclee prints are being sold as a fund raiser for ArtReach. ArtReach is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide opportunities to explore and acknowledge the artist in every individual. In addition to classes for kids and adults ArtReach also sponsors a variety of community-wide art events.
Check out ArtReach's Web site for more information. The grand reception for the print will be Thursday May 17th at Red Wing Framing Gallery on Main Street in Downtown Red Wing.
See ArtReach for more information on Red Wing...City on the River print.