View Full Version : Scanning your art question

07-04-2012, 12:34 PM
I'm wondering if any one uses a scanner to copy your work for reproduction as prints. I have never used a scanner, so forgive my ignorance. I've tried photographing, but the colors are usually off especially warmer blues. If you use a scanner for larger works, how do you piece it together. Will pastels damage the scanner and visa versa. Thanks, Leah

07-04-2012, 07:48 PM
I have used a scanner to copy paintings, but never for my pastels. I always figure that I will smudge my pastels if I try to scan them, but I think some people do.

I do use a camera - and you're right, the colors are usually a bit off. So is the exposure, so I always put my photo into a photo manipulation program (like photoshop elements) to make adjustments. This is true of every photo of artwork I take, but it is part of the process, in my opinion, and certainly good to know how to do. It's been a while since I scanned any artwork, but I recall that i still needed to make adjustments on the computer afterwards. Perhaps not as many adjustments as when using a camera, but scanners aren't perfect when it comes to color either. Still, if I can fit something on a scanner - and it isn't a pastel, I will go with scanning as my first alternative.

As far as any work larger than what fits on a scanner, you can stitch them together on the computer using photo stitching software. There are many - some programs come with it - or you can get programs specifically meant for stitching. Some programs will only stitch one row - to make a long panoramic, but others will stitch multiple rows. If you put "photo stitching software" into Google or another search engine, you should get many results. If you are looking for free shareware, just add the word "free" to the search. I believe Auto Stitch is the name of one of the free ones.

Hope this helps!


07-04-2012, 09:48 PM
Thank you so much Don. Sigh.... so much to learn.

07-05-2012, 07:56 AM
Ditto what Don says. I make my own prints successfully using an A4 Agfa scanner and an A3 Epson printer. It works great for everything, except it's trickier if you have something on a white background, such as a botanical drawing. Watercolours and coloured pencils were great. I have Paintshop Pro and it will stitch any number of scans together - the most I did was six, but it took absolutely ages........ Pastels - I have had success if the painting is A4 or less as it fits on the glass. Unfortunately most scanners have the glass sitting in a plastic frame, and I fear this would mark the pastel. I've been taking photos of the pastels larger than A4, but they are not as good as the scanner. Just clean the glass if you scan pastels and there should be no problem.

Unfortunately Agfa don't make drivers for my scanner, and I can't get them anywhere, so I have to use a computer that has Windows XP to use the scanner. It was an expensive scanner that I bought specifically to make prints with, so I'm not pleased. Bonkers or what.


07-05-2012, 01:07 PM
I have scanned smaller pieces, but even when you scan the colours are sometimes off. I open in Photoshop and adjust until they are how I like them.

07-06-2012, 02:12 PM
Thank you Leslie and and Angie. Leslie I appreciate that you told me the brands you use. It helps me to narrow my focus a bit. Leah

Deborah Secor
07-06-2012, 08:52 PM
For years now I've used a rather inexpensive camera (a Canon Elph) to shoot photos of my paintings and routinely run them through Photoshop Elements (PSE).

It isn't that difficult once you learn a few basic steps, such as the size in inches and what DPI (dots per inch) to use in the shot, as well as the habit of your camera. Mine runs a little too blue, so I routinely filter out the blue. I shoot under only two different lighting conditions and have the basics figured out for each (daylight and spotlight), making it simple--once you learn!

I agree with Lesley and Angie. I've used a scanner and it requires a whole 'nother set of PSE tweaks, plus it leaves some dust on the scanner bed. I never worry about the painting, just the combo of dust and electronics!

I love PSE, although I use probably a tenth of what it can do. There are so many users that there's a lot of info online about how to make it behave. You can do it!

07-07-2012, 01:04 PM
I use my Canon MP980 to scan in pastels that are A4 or smaller. (The Canon is a combo printer/scanner/copier.) I just give the bed a swipe after scanning. The scans are good - 300 dpi TIFFs - but a little cool, so I run them through Corel Photo-Paint and use the Adjustment Lab to tweak the temperature.

For larger pastels, I use my digital SLR. It's an Olympus E-500. I use a custom white balance to make sure the temperature is correct, although it's pretty accurate if I shoot in sun outdoors.

Good luck!

07-09-2012, 12:39 PM
Thank you Deborah and Michael. I'm getting all kinds of great tips!

07-12-2012, 05:48 AM
when you print out your images, you have to make sure you are using a printer with LIGHTFAST inks, or else your images will fade very quickly indeed. This might not worry you if yo are giving them away as gifts, but it might well worry someone who buys a print from you.

07-12-2012, 09:47 PM
I have a Canon 8400F scanner.
I scan all my pastels up to size 9x12. They don't smudge and rarely drop dust on the scanner glass. Wiping it clean is not a problem. It needs it from time to time anyway.

07-15-2012, 08:36 PM
Thank you, Jackie & Five:)

07-17-2012, 10:24 PM
I've given up trying to get a good enough file to print. Sometimes I get lucky, but more often than not it doesn't look very good. It has been totally worth it for me to get my work professionally photographed. Check out Art & Soul. They are in the Ballard area. They do a great job and they are reasonably priced. They charge by the MB, which is a bit weird, but if I just want a small file (around 9x12 print) it costs $20. Unfortunately, their web site (http://www.colorcarbonprint.com/) doesn't say much about image capture, but you can call them for info. I don't use them for giclees because of their expensive process, but so far what I have printed elsewhere has been spot on color-wise. They know how to handle pastels without ruining them (take my word for it and don't go to Color One in Seattle!). Their pictures look good online, too, which is more than I can say for the guy I used to use. I wish someone had told me about them years ago.