To the graphic arts, capture means more than digitizing and archiving. On a larger scale, sophisticated wide format scanning solutions are necessary for fine art reproduction. It is important to recognize that the correct mix of consumables, substrates, and printing equipment won’t necessarily produce the best results. The graphic must be high quality.
“The fine art market is relatively untapped when it comes to large format scanners,” says Steve Blanken, North American sales director, Contex Americas. He notes artists’ apprehension, mounted artwork, and the declining cost of high-end digital cameras and digital camera backs as reasons. “A $20,000 to $25,000 24x36-inch flatbed scanner would really open up the fine art market and offer scanner manufacturers the opportunity to invest at a much stronger rate then in the past.
Those looking to expand print services to include fine art reproduction, or dive in head first, must look for specific features, including image quality, color accuracy, original handling, and throughput. A number of manufacturers and distributors provide scanning solutions specifically tailored to the intricacies of fine art.
Aztek, Inc. offers a range of wide format scanners, up to 54 inches, capable of serving graphic arts requirements. The Aztek Digital Photolab (DPL) 2054 wide format scanner offers a unique media calibration control system that handles the capture of photos, posters, maps, and fine art professional media. The solution scans originals up to .6 inches thick, such as foamboard, Gatorboard, and canvas art frames. The device offers scan resolutions of up to 64,000 dpi, or a 96 GB file. Combined with the company’s Digital PhotoLab Professional software, the DPL2054 directly scans to any connected, compatible output device.
Colortrac Ltd. solves many capture needs of the graphic arts with its line of SmartLF Gx+ scanners. The devices allow for the adjustment of media hold down roller pressure based on specific settings for artwork and photographic material. “This applies less pressure than the CAD/MAP scanning setting, which features imaging and media protection benefits,” says Peter de Winter-Brown, sales and marketing director, Colortrac.
Contex offers its sheet-fed line of HD scanners for fine art reproduction scanning, including the HD3630, HD3650, HD4250, and HD5450. These sheet-fed scanners are gentle on originals while simultaneously delivering high-quality, color-accurate output.
Cruse Digital Imaging Equipment offers equipment to fill a niche market for high-end scanning. Mike Lind, sales manager, Cruse, says the company’s product line is specifically designed for capturing fragile, irreplaceable originals. “Nothing ever touches the original,” he explains. Cruse manufactures several wide format scanning solutions.
For fine art scanning, Cruse Synchron Table (ST)-FA models are available from 36x48 up to 80x120 inches. Variable resolutions range from 175 to over 1,000 dpi, in true un-interpolated optical resolution. Speed is dependent on the lighting technique chosen and required quality of scan. Cruse’s ST-FA models are primarily designed for fine art applications, but are also used by archives, museums, and mapping facilities.
Graphtec America, Inc. offers scanning solutions designed for a variety of applications. The CS610 is a 42-inch, 24-bit, full-color large format scanner featuring the ability to scan thick, rigid originals up to .8 inches thick. The CS610 is designed for a hands-free automatic thickness control function, which automatically recognizes the thickness of a material without any user intervention.
Hewlett-Packard (HP) does not provide wide format scanning solutions specifically designed for the graphic arts. However, its HP Artist Software offers an alternative to scanning for fine art reproduction. Designed for third-party camera vendors, the software simplifies and optimizes the digital fine art workflow, allowing photographers to increase productivity, extend creative expression, and grow business.
KIP America’s 2200 color and monochrome scanner provides users with a unique combination of maximum speed and high resolution. The KIP 2200 scan system offers a full suite of state-of-the-art software for both color and monochrome copying and scan-to-file operations. 600x600 dpi optical resolution scan quality derives from three independent imaging cameras and a touchscreen user interface.
The system covers the full range of monochrome and color applications, from basic to advanced, while handling the workload of two scanners in a single unit.
Paradigm Imaging Group is a distributor of wide format scanning solutions. The company offers its imagePRO Gx/GxT 42 HD Plus series and the imagePRO Gx/GxT 56 HD Plus series to meet the reproduction needs of the graphic arts. The devices’ media transport system allows for the safe scanning of delicate originals—everything from thin paper to canvas.