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Scanning Large

Digitizing Artwork with the Simple Push of a Button

by Melissa Tetreault

Part 3 of a 4-part exclusive online series

In the last installment of the Digital Queue we focused on wide format scanners being used for archiving. Now we will discuss how scan-to-print has taken off and learn how certain businesses were affected by it.

Similar to scan-to-file, scan-to-print is another way for a customer to protect and preserve original pieces of art.

Additionally, extending scanner services to include printing is a perfect solution for both you and your customer. You save them from going to another shop to print and you personally profit from the experience – financially and in the long term by gaining a trusted customer.

Tom Brennan, president of CAD & Facilities Services, Inc. (CFS), was shocked when they purchased a Contex Magnum XL 54 Plus scanner close to two years ago, "Originally I though the primary use of the scanner would be for engineering and blueprint drawings but there are a lot of fine art artists out there who want their art scanned and printed or scanned to a file."

Once word spread that the company had a wide format scanner, complimented by a Hewlett-Packard (HP) Designjet 800 PS plotter, business boomed. Brennan advises, "for companies thinking about purchasing a scanner, it is guaranteed your business will grow, it put us in a new league, a bigger league." Business increased so much that Brennan had to hire a full time graphic designer, Erin Woodkirk.

CFS, located in the Adirondack resort region, has dealt with a variety of interesting projects. Thousand Islands Museum in Clayton, NY, brought in antique photos of the region to be scanned. Through scanning and cleaning up the images, fine details were seen in the final product. Woodkirk explains the process; "We printed the photos in a sepia tone to make them look antique, mounted them on foam core, and then laminated them. With the new photos, the museum was able to display them in an exhibit that allowed people to interact without the originals getting ruined."

Bob Lizza, owner and president of Lizza Fine Art Studios, uses scan-to-print technology to create reprints of artists’ work. Using a Cruse CS285 ST to scan and Epson 9800s and 9600s to print, Lizza has a nack for getting as close to the original as one can get.

His exact matching techniques are rooted in his color management philosophy. Lizza explains, "The whole process of color managing depends on what the original is. Some originals are on watercolor paper, some papers have optical brighteners in them, and some are really old. They reflect light differently. We calibrate as much as we can but there is a human element to correcting them at the tail end."

Lizza’s studio, in addition to being a working facility, is also a fine art gallery. Currently, the gallery is showcasing John Kascht’s work. Kascht is a prominent artist that paints caricatures in watercolors and oils. The Cruse CS285 ST is the perfect tool for scanning Kascht’s art because of its attention to detail. According to Lizza, Kascht uses pigments in his paintings that are so subtle that most scanners would lose this detail.

Brennan notes that scanning photos and fine art in full color tends to scare people because they’re afraid they won’t get the colors right for their customers but in the long run its all about finding a scanner that can handle everything. He continues, "Purchasing a wide format scanner is a logical extension of business. You have to realize that you need to be involved in all aspects of scanning to develop your business in the market. By all aspects I mean scanning worlds are coming together, it’s not just dull CAD vs. fine art, they’re becoming aligned."

In Part 4 of the Wide Format Scanning series, look for information on fine art giclée.

Click here to read Part 1 of this exclusive online series, Scanning Large
Click here to read Part 2 of this exclusive online series, Archiving Your Originals

Sep2006, Digital Output

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