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Old 09-09-2019, 09:45 PM
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Lucy, Tracer Projector, and Flare150

I picked up something today that will REVOLUTIONIZE my methods - and results.
Ok- very quickly - I started painting just months ago but I'm a mechanical draftsman from ages ago. I'm retired now. But I still know my drafting. I like to work from photos so at first I printed out a large format print of the photo and transferred the features using drafting methods - and arrived at an underdrawing which I would paint over.

Then I got a "Lucy" device which projects an image 90 deg from a printed photo - or an object - to a canvas.
Too much distortion for my purposes, and the image is faint - or else you can see the image but not what you are drawing. But I used it for a few pieces.

Next I saw the Artograph Tracer Projector on the shelf at Hobby Lobby. There were 2 versions and I bought the higher model for about $60. I also saw something near it for about $500 and didn't even give it a second glance (this turned out to be the Flare150)

The Tracer was a HUUGGGGEEEE step up from the Lucy. Much clearer image - still from a printed photo - but it has limitations. One is that it wants to enlarge at least 2 - 3x magnification or more, depending on the distance from lens to (vertical) canvas. But I don't always want to enlarge a projection. I made 3 adapters out of cardboard that enhanced my Tracer, allowing 1 to 1 images - and I used it for many pieces. It's terrific for the price - with its limitations that I found a way to get around, anyway. Another weak point is it just sits on surface it's on, very easy to upset. No tripod mount in other words.

Well, I broke down today and finally got the Flare150 - at a discount (still hideously expensive) and brought it home.
It's remarkable. Everything before was a toy. You don't print an image to project it - it accepts digital images from your computer (HDMI), USB port, memory cards, etc. You can have grid lines. Grayscale. Color toning. Unbelievable. Sharp and clear. No need to work in the dark. Tripod mount. That one aspect alone makes it worth it. Remote control. You can use it to screen mirror, bluetooth sharing - fabulous features. Li ion rechargeable batter. And 1x to 4x magnification. Of course you can manipulate the parent image before you project it, so you have unlimited magnification. And all without printing anything. You do need a tripod - well it will work sitting on a table but have a tripod - with a standard detachable screw mount.

I couldn't believe how small the box was - and the device itself. At first it raised a red flag - how could it project any size image? - but the tiny size is a huge benefit really, and I didn't even know I'd be working with digital images. It's far more powerful even, than I had thought, when I bought it. How often does THAT happen? It's almost always the other way 'round. You get something home and feel a let down somehow. Not here - complete reverse of that. I was and am delighted.

I know the cost may turn you off but if you're looking for a projector - image to canvas - I would head right over there and buy it. Buy 2 in case of an apocalypse of some kind. This is my review and I highly endorse this product - and really, all Artograph products.
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Last edited by Yorky : 09-10-2019 at 05:13 AM. Reason: link added
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Old 09-10-2019, 05:23 AM
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Re: Lucy, Tracer Projector, and Flare150

I don't see why any cheap LED projector couldn't do the same.

Doug
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Old 09-10-2019, 08:03 AM
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Re: Lucy, Tracer Projector, and Flare150

Doug: the ones they use for business are meant for a large format.
they don't seem to be able to give a clear image at "painter" sizes like 18x24 etc. You have to have the specialized type for artists.
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Old 09-10-2019, 11:24 AM
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Re: Lucy, Tracer Projector, and Flare150

This is from the specs of a cheap LED projector (which I didnít even know existed because theyíre not in the Art Supply aisles in the store).

Ideal distance is 3. 5M with 120Ē display.

10 feet. Great if youíre painting billboards.
Or, watching movies from your computer.
I suspect this and business meetings- sales charts going up, Up, UP, Power Point presentations, etc.
-is the intended purpose. Not for painting small (< 1 inch sometimes) figures.

Iím glad this would not do the job because itís $350 less than the Flare.
At least the Tracer can project sharp images close to the screen - and even closer with my adapters - for small and sharp images, like I need for painting.
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Last edited by MarcF : 09-10-2019 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 09-10-2019, 05:14 PM
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Re: Lucy, Tracer Projector, and Flare150

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Originally Posted by MarcF
Iím glad this would not do the job because itís $350 less than the Flare.
At least the Tracer can project sharp images close to the screen - and even closer with my adapters - for small and sharp images, like I need for painting.
You could use those adapters or ones similar with a cheap projector to reduce image size.

I sometimes use an overhead transparency projector to copy big shapes of a sketch. It projects details just fine, but I've found I can't "color between the lines" so I go rogue on the details.

I looked into digital projects a few years ago and prices were much higher then. I'll have to revisit. One thing I discovered they tend to conflate, leave out and obfuscate spec details in the ad copy. So read carefully.
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Old 09-10-2019, 05:18 PM
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Re: Lucy, Tracer Projector, and Flare150

The figures for the small projector are the recommended Maximum distance to the screen, you can, of course, move closer for a smaller image.

Doug
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Old 09-10-2019, 11:11 PM
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Re: Lucy, Tracer Projector, and Flare150

Doug
There are much cheaper ways to project images, if cost is the main driver. But this is a specialized device, designed for the purpose of projecting digital images, in formats suitable for small paintings - up to much larger formats as well. I have a mania for clarity and distortion free projections. Iím proud of my adapters - but nothing Iíve seen or tried before is anywhere near this functional and sharp. Maybe you can get a smaller image out of the cheap LED one - but if 10í is ideal, you can imagine what 2í across looks like. At 2 feet the Flare is as clear as glass.

In my limited life experience - things that are designed to do something nearly perfectly cost a lot more money than things that say they can do the same thing, but only approximately. The choice depends on one's own needs and budget.

You can cross the ocean in many kinds of boats.
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Last edited by MarcF : 09-10-2019 at 11:43 PM.
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Old 09-22-2019, 08:10 PM
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Re: Lucy, Tracer Projector, and Flare150

I went to the Artograph site to look for an accessory for the Flare, and saw that the company is now out of business. What a shock - I just discovered this company and their outstanding products - and they're gone. Some text saying they were bought out by another company who will support several products (not the Flare). Bummer. At least I have my Flare. It's a wonderful device as I described. The only reason I can see is that this company - designing and selling these high end lightboxes and projectors - became obsolete in this age of computer graphic design. I don't know what sank them but it's too bad. I told you to get your Flare (in fact 2) and now it's too late. Mine is irreplaceable and really 10X more valuable now. There may be other things but this is just exactly perfect, for me. WITH the tripod I just bought on Amazon (that was the accessory I mentioned at the top) that can extend a boom, allowing me to project on a horizontal surface - which is the preferred orientation for watercolor and other runny media.
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Old 09-22-2019, 09:02 PM
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Re: Lucy, Tracer Projector, and Flare150

what is the diameter of the lense? a closeup filter on a good digital projector would I think accomplish the same thing. I have some I use for photography that are about 2.25" in diameter, they make various sizes and strengths - if the filter is bigger than the lens it will still work.
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Old 09-23-2019, 01:28 AM
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Re: Lucy, Tracer Projector, and Flare150

It's hard for me to measure the lens diameter, as the lens is fully internal to the unit. But holding a transparent scale against it, I'd estimate 1 inch in diameter. It's much smaller than your filter. But I don't really get what you're describing, with close up filters, etc. I know there are other ways to do what I'm doing. This, by the way, was nowhere NEAR their high end projectors - I think I saw one for $1,600. Maybe that's why they went under. I have (had) a guitar I paid around $150 for, and another one that I paid $12,000. They both have 6 strings, and they both have a fingerboard, a body, and a sound hole. Are they both guitars that I can play pieces on? Yes.
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Old 09-23-2019, 05:03 AM
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Re: Lucy, Tracer Projector, and Flare150

I was thinking that since your projector is no longer available, an option would be to get a regular low-end digital projector and use a close-up filter so you could shorten the throw - not saying it would be as good as yours but maybe the only inexpensive option available now.
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Old 09-23-2019, 06:48 PM
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Re: Lucy, Tracer Projector, and Flare150

Quote:
I was thinking that since your projector is no longer available, an option would be to get a regular low-end digital projector and use a close-up filter so you could shorten the throw - not saying it would be as good as yours but maybe the only inexpensive option available now.

I was thinking that's what you meant, after I posted - but too late to edit - then I said oh well. But yeah - I dunno. There must be many ways to project a sharp image from a digital file to a canvas - I have one of them. And I can also project a hard copy as well using my other projectors. I guess those of you who can really paint freely (unlike me) don't really need a projector. You paint from your - uh, soul I guess. Like musicians that can improvise beautifully - they understand what they are doing better than I do - a classical guitarist for 50 years - but I still need the sheet music to learn a piece before I can perform it.
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