Scanning for Giclée
Reproducing Fine Art
by Melissa Tetreault
Part 4 of a 4-part exclusive online series
In the previous installment of the Digital Queue we focused on how scan-to-print technology is taking off. In this part of the series we will discuss a particular type of scan-to-print, the process of fine art giclée and how one particular studio built itself around a wide format scanner.
Giclée is the most accurate way to reproduce fine art. The process is centered on fine art prints being reproduced with large format inkjet printers. It has a high resolution from the printers that allows for exact details, depth, color, and texture to be picked up while the image is being printed. Image capture is also key to a successful reproduction. High-end wide format scanners are critical to the giclée process.
Lighting troubles originally held Bob Lizza of Lizza Fine Art Studios back from creating the accuracy he wished to achieve while capturing images. At the time, he was using a digital scanback in his home office.
Three and a half years ago he was searching the internet for wide format scanners and came across Cruse Digital’s site. At the time no one in the U.S. owned a Cruse CS285 ST and Lizza sent away for a sample in Germany. After seeing what the scanner could do Lizza says he was floored by the quality, "All the issues I was dealing with everyday – lighting problems, resolution problems, lens fall off issues – this thing was solving all the problems."
During the actual scanning process there is no movement of the optical system with the CS285, which means no distortion. Distortion is eliminated because the scanner lights the entire image while capturing it.
After the purchase, Lizza knew he had to expand his workspace. He ended up discovering an abandoned skating rink and renovated all 10,000 square feet of it. The space is so big Lizza was able to include a gallery at the front of the studio to showcase artist’s reproduced works.
The scanning process is quite easy. It is the color correction process that is the challenging part. It ensures that the reproduction is as close to the original as it can get. Color correction is really based on the original media and inks used. For Lizza the process begins when media profiles are viewed in PhotoShop. Then a visual on-screen color correction occurs, called a soft proof, which gives a visual of the final product. To actually capture the soft proof, Lizza uses a handheld spectrophotometer, which reads printed color swatches. The whole process takes anywhere from two to three hours.
Lizza is constantly cataloging proofs for various media types. So if an artist comes back to him a year later asking to reprint their art, Lizza can eliminate the grueling color correction process.
Lizza finds older originals with aged varnishes the most challenging to reproduce, "because of their amber coloring and they refract light differently."
After the soft proof is approved by both Lizza and his client the image is printed on an enhanced digital inkjet printer -- Epson 9800s and 9600s. The printer sprays millions of ink droplets per second onto the media. These dots are so tiny that they cannot be seen by the naked eye, which results in almost original artwork.
Look for a full feature article on Wide Format Scanning in the October issue of Digital Output.