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Old 08-23-2000, 04:14 PM
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babsalaba2 babsalaba2 is offline
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Question scanning oil paintings

Do any of you scan your oil paintings by placing the canvas directly on the scanner?

I have a great scanner and excellent software, but I have not been successful in scanning my oil paintings. The wet ones, (obviously) are still wet, and I imagine that I'll have to take a photo of them and scan THOSE in.

When I have attempted to scan my dry paintings directly, I end up with what looks like reflections of the scanner light in long, vertical bands on the image of the painting.

I generally varnish my paintings with Damar Varnish (Grumbacher). I suspect that the finish is too glossy for the scanner. Aside from buying a digital camera , what can I do to fix this? Also, could the intense light from the scanner do any damage to the paint film?

I'd like to be able to post some of my stuff in the Critique forum for some feedback from other artists. My husband, friends and family all say "Wow! That's great!" I'd like some more objective feedback!

Thanks for your response,

Babsalaba2
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Old 08-23-2000, 04:30 PM
AIGottlieb AIGottlieb is offline
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I already tried this, Babs. A scanner can't properly scan anything even remotely reflective. In order to scan a painting successfully, it would have to be perfectly matte. I suggest taking a real good photo of it, or having a pro do it if you're not a pro, and then scan it. Or you could pay several thousand dollars for a tolerably good digital camera.

I really don't know if the light from the scanner could damage the painting. It's a good question. Remember that museums don't allow people to take photos of works using a flash. I'd assume that you'd have to expose a painting to that kind of light for an awfully long time before any kind of damage was noticeable, but I'm not presuming to know anything.

[This message has been edited by AIGottlieb (edited August 23, 2000).]
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Old 08-23-2000, 08:12 PM
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Phyllis Rennie Phyllis Rennie is offline
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I do it but I also mutter and complain about the results. But I still do it because I find the feedback valuable. But the paintings are unvarnished--usually just dry to the touch. Phyl
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Old 08-23-2000, 08:28 PM
AIGottlieb AIGottlieb is offline
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It's okay to scan a matte painting so long as the colors are saturated. If they have sunk in, then you're not going to get the right color/values.

You might use a final varnish with a beeswax in it, though I don't know the recipe for that off the top of my head.

This is all hypothesizing, though. I've never actually tried it.
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Old 08-24-2000, 10:38 AM
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babsalaba2 babsalaba2 is offline
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Thank you, Adrian and Phyllis for your responses.

I can't see myself forking out great wads o' cash for a digital camera just for my art; nor can I see myself paying a professional to take the photos (that's the stingy Yankee in me talking...).

I DO recall Artist's Magazine had an article several months ago about photographing your work yourself. I already have most of the photography equipment except for the fancy flashes, but I suppose I could do it outside, out of the direct sunlight. What do you think?

Also, does anyone know if you can use an ordinary scanner to scan in slides? Do I have to do something fancy? Someone told me once that you need a special scanner for slides, but it seems to me that it might be possible to use an ordinary scanner. Any ideas?

Thanks again!

Babs

[This message has been edited by babsalaba2 (edited August 24, 2000).]
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Old 08-24-2000, 11:00 AM
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To do slides you need a scanner designed for that, because the light needs to go through the slide. With a photograph the light reflects of the surface. I have a scanner that does both, but get better results from photos than slides.

I photograph all my work outside with natural light and get good results.
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Old 08-24-2000, 01:30 PM
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LDianeJohnson LDianeJohnson is offline
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Whenever you have imagry that is not absolutely flat, there will be difficulty in direct scanning. Flat or reflective art are what scanners work best with. Anything with dimensionality will cause the banding, hot spots and other unwanted results.

For your oil paintings either shoot regular photographs to scan from, shoot transparencies and scan using a transparency attachment, or use a digital camera.



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L. Diane Johnson, NAPA, PSA, APOW
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Old 08-25-2000, 12:03 AM
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Have you tried using just the cheap 300 watt ( 3200 k i think ) daylight bulbs to shoot slides ? If your paintings are very glossy you will probably need three or 4 , and either a reflector or one of those translucent white umbrellas to diffuse the light . And a manual camera so you can use a grey card .
I heard that some Walmarts have a slide scanner right in the little photo places - much as I hate the idea of Walmart , that mightbe something to look into .
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Old 08-25-2000, 12:42 AM
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i use the scanner to scan in my paintings in acrylic, and it works good and it doesn`t seem to hurt the paintings or drawings.




[This message has been edited by animal (edited August 24, 2000).]
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Old 08-25-2000, 03:29 AM
Mark St.-C Mark St.-C is offline
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If the only problem you're having with the scans is with the reflections, couldn't you just take the scans after the surfaces of the paintings are dry but before you have applied the varnish?

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Old 08-25-2000, 10:54 AM
Arteology Arteology is offline
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Colin,
If taking a shot of a large oil painting on the wall, what is your recommendation of placement of the 3-4 300 watt daylight bulbs? Are they directly in front of the painting or what? Gunna sound dumb, but... is the umbrella placed between the lights and the painting? I am very particular about the color reproduction in my slides, so I'm curious about your method. Thanks!
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Old 08-25-2000, 04:13 PM
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pixelscapes pixelscapes is offline
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Here's a good link about photographing artwork: http://www.orst.edu/Dept/arts/jumpstart/photodoc.html

-=- Jen "Sasquatch" Pixelscapes
Dangerous sculpture and digital art prints
(Edited to add these links)



[This message has been edited by pixelscapes (edited October 06, 2000).]
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Old 09-09-2000, 04:46 AM
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I use two photo floods at 3200 K placed at about 45% from the painting on each side, one high and the other low. I use Kodak T film which is balanced for those lights. I use on the lense a polorizing filter to reduce glare.

Since my studio is somewhat small and crowded, I have to break it down each time I photograph, so it is a drag. I have found that the resulting slides don't reproduce very well on my scanner, so I bought a cheap Kodak 200 digital camera. Those are nice because you can take one photo and have it on the net in a few hours, and the repro is good enough?

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Old 09-09-2000, 05:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by babsalaba2:
Also, does anyone know if you can use an ordinary scanner to scan in slides? Do I have to do something fancy? Someone told me once that you need a special scanner for slides, but it seems to me that it might be possible to use an ordinary scanner. Any ideas?[This message has been edited by babsalaba2 (edited August 24, 2000).]
Some scanners come with an attachment for transparencies or slides. In my experience, those do not give good results (the resolution is not high enough). For this reason, I bought a slide scanner that works really well, a Polaroid Sprintscan 4000. I understand that the Nikon Super Coolscan 2000 and the Dimage are good too, but the resolutions are lower. However, I want to be able to take my images to a commercial printer. If you do not need this capability, and only plan to upload your images on the web, a moderately priced
digital camera will probably do. You can check out this link for alternatives: http://cnet.search.com/search?timeout=3&tag=ex.cn.1.srch.cnet&q=digital+c amera
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Old 09-10-2000, 12:48 AM
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I scan my Oil paintings wet and dry, then I spruce em up with my photo software. You have all seen mine done with the scanner, not bad, but not great either.
For larger ones I use the Intel camera thats on my computer. It works ok, but not great.
Mine are not varnished tho. I have a scanner that the lid will fit over most anything. It raising up on both ends. If a painting will not cover the whole scanner face and the lid doesn't fit, you might try putting something over the backside of the painting the the exposed part of the scanner so that it keeps the light out of the open glass.
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