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Hello friends and members!

My name is BASbird  and I’m a moderator for  :iconwatercolorists:.

As we strive to keep this group a handy resource for water based medium lovers and learners, we have come across some submissions that are wonderful and that we’d love to have in our :gallery: but the scanning was so poor we had to reject them.

We understand that many are not financially able to have access to a scanner, so this Aqua Tip is about using your camera for scanning an image.

There are several key things that lead to a bad photograph.
-Uneven lighting
-Not enough lighting
-light source being blocked by arm or camera resulting in a “spot” of shadow on a piece
-crooked shot
Out of all of these, the crooked shot problem is the easiest to fix. Out of all of them, the spot shadow problem is the hardest to fix.
The Basics to remember:
-Natural sunlight is the best for taking photographs. If you can take your picture during the day, that’s the best. There are special light bulbs that mimic natural sunlight, but they’re WAY expensive.
-if you’re taking a photo with a light source that is concentrated like a lamp, make sure you’re BEHIND your light so you don’t cast a shadow when taking a picture.
- and don’t stand between your light source and your picture. Stand at a 90 degree angle, or a 45 degree angle.
-if you don’t have a tripod, objects like blocks of wood, books, chairs…anything can be a tripod!

-The copy stand method-

For the best photographs, we’re going to make a make-shift copy stand.

A copy stand is a set of two lamps set at 45 degree angles converging at a point with a camera directly over head behind the lights. The piece goes at the point where the two lamps converge. A copy stand looks like this.

www.ganoksin.com/borisat/nenam ...
www.ganoksin.com/borisat/nenam ...


Diagrams courtesy of ganoskin.com.

In which the object in the pictures is our piece of art.

Copy stands can run from a thousand dollars or more, but with two portable goose-neck lamps and a phone/MP3 player camera, we can make one that does the same job for a fraction of the cost. Bed Bath and Beyond has small goose-neck lamps for 15 dollars each.

The lights are at such an angle that the piece is fully lit and yet the light source is not obstructing the view of the camera. The copy stand is/was used a lot for animation recording, thousands upon thousands of images could be quickly captured without moving the camera and quickly sent to a computer/roll of film. All old 2D Disney movies were shot with a copy stand.

-Things to remember:

-Make sure the lamp isn’t LOOMING over the picture, it should be next to it casting light from an angle.

-Make sure the camera is straight, and securely strapped to your tripod! In times of doubt, duct tape is your friend.

Hopefully these tips will help you take better photos. Slowing down to take time on presentation is key! Many art classes won’t consider your art if it’s crooked or shot poorly, and most importantly, capture errors take away from the beauty that should flow naturally from your art.
Happy Painting!!
:iconbasbird:

Many thanks BASbird for the time and effort you spent putting this Aqua Tip together of our members.

We invite all of our members to add your ideas and experiences, in the comments below, that will help the rest of us do a better job scanning with a camera.

warm regards Cmac13
Add a Comment:
 
:iconinkysnowflakes:
InkySnowflakes Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
this is super helpful! i'd kind of worked out on my own that daytime lighting works best, but the rest of these tips are invaluable! thank you very much for writing this C:
Reply
:iconcmac13:
Cmac13 Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014   General Artist
thanks for the input Fella Kiss (Love) by Ehsan-m much appreciated
Reply
:iconinkysnowflakes:
InkySnowflakes Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
it's no problem whatsoever!! ;u;
Reply
:iconbasbird:
BASbird Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2013  Student General Artist
Here are the direct visual aides everyone!

www.ganoksin.com/borisat/nenam…

www.ganoksin.com/borisat/nenam…
Reply
:iconchiakineko:
ChiakiNeko Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2013   General Artist
Thanks for the tip about the copy stand! 2 angled lamps definitely work better than 1 direct lamp xD
Reply
:iconnelchee:
nelchee Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2013  Professional General Artist
The copy stand diagrams links don't work.
Reply
:iconcmac13:
Cmac13 Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2013   General Artist
try copy www.ganoksin.com/borisat/nenam and paste into your browser :nod:
Reply
:iconnelchee:
nelchee Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2013  Professional General Artist
"Forbidden

You don't have permission to access /borisat/nenam/ on this server."


I think this URL is incorrect. There are "..." dots after the supposed URL, so the author must have copied these links from some forum or other place and the rest got lost.

Reply
:iconabasss:
abasss Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2013
Nice tip. I fully support taking your pictures in the natural light, I always got the best results in that way, even if my camera wasn't great. }

One thing though; links are not working!
Reply
:iconcmac13:
Cmac13 Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2013   General Artist
Hi Agus :iconslipperyhugplz:

really? darn

i have not found a way to edit these journals - just delete or submit a new one - any ideas on how i can get back into it to fix the links?

:heart: Carole

PS we miss you :glomp: hope you're well :manhug:
Reply
:iconabasss:
abasss Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2013
Somewhere in this page you'll be able to see a blue button with the word "Edit", click it.
Reply
:iconlu--24:
lu--24 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Hi! This is surely a helpful tip! :D

I generally try to make photos to my watercolour works around midday with full day light, and setting the camera so that the outcome is bright but not too much, and that the background tends to white... I didn't know about copy stands, and it looks like a good alternative when I can't afford photographing in the day...
- just one thing: the links to the diagrams don't work to me, I just see part of the web address... I don't know if it's just me... -

Anyway, regarding poor scanning results, I've run in a really useful tip some weeks ago, it really improves scanning, and it's very cheap and easy, too. It consists in putting one (or more) transparency film between the artwork and the scanner plate. It helps a lot with light shades (that my scanner refused to acknowledge), and I was amazed with the results when I tried it! :la:
(I found out at the end of this tutorial: fav.me/d67rs4d )
 
Now, I try both the scan and the photo, photoshop them as I can, and I finally select the one I think represents the artwork better (it generally depends on the boldness of the lineart and the colours).
But, for one who needs to actually print the work, I believe scanning is always the best choice.

I hope it was of help! ^^
Reply
:iconchiakineko:
ChiakiNeko Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2013   General Artist
definitely gonna try the transparency film next time! I've always had trouble getting my paintings to look right xP
awesome tip, thanks for the link :D
Reply
:iconlu--24:
lu--24 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
No problem! Glad it was useful! :D
Reply
:iconchiakineko:
ChiakiNeko Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2013   General Artist
I tried it and the digital version came out almost exactly like the original after some editting!! :D
Reply
:iconlu--24:
lu--24 Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Eheh, I was pretty amazed myself when I tried for the first time! I'm happy it works for you too! ^^ 

Yes, the only little flaw I noticed is that it needs some editing when you use many films, because it tends to bring out too much the grain of the paper together with the lighter shades, so a white background can easily become gray... But after all it's much better to work a bit and edit that, than having a picture where all the subtle shades of colour disappear! :D
Reply
:iconchiakineko:
ChiakiNeko Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2013   General Artist
xD

I actually used a sheet protector because I didn't have transparency film, but it works just as well :3  
Thank god for photo-editting! 
Reply
:iconlu--24:
lu--24 Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Ah, I didn't use a real transparency film either the first time, I used some kind of transparent nylon envelope, and it worked pretty nicely too! ^^
Yep, photo-editing helps a lot, especially when the scanning tools aren't so professional :)
Reply
:iconalvinhenanda:
AlvinHenanda Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
great :dummy:
Reply
:iconsnowblindotter:
SnowblindOtter Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Please don't take my first comment as being 'screamy' at you. I forgot the closing html tags for bold and underline formatting somewhere by mistake.
Reply
:iconcmac13:
Cmac13 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013   General Artist
no problem :manhug:

to turn off bold type </b>
to turn off underline type </u>
Reply
:iconsnowblindotter:
SnowblindOtter Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I know, but while I was proofreading my comment I missed the lack of the html brackets. I also think I may have missed a space, but oh well.
Reply
:iconsnowblindotter:
SnowblindOtter Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
As a tip, very low rating. Virtually completely unhelpful.

Now, I know the function of the group is to help watercolorists of all levels of experience, but I believe that it would be more beneficial to have your tips Labeled, titled, and organized properly!. The title of your entry is Aqua Tip - scanning, however your tip itself specifically focuses on using a camera to digitize the artwork, not an actual scanner. There is a difference between the two techniques.

Scanning is a method which utilizes a flat bed or tray in which a document or item is placed, and a free-moving arm carrying an illumination source and a high resolution detector to transfer the image into an electrical code signal, which is then translated by the scanner's software inside of a computer program; from there the image can be altered or optimized to enhance the image properly.

The method you have described is known as Capturing, and is differentiated between scanning by the virtue that rather than using a computer interface device to digitize the image, you are using a camera of a fixed location and an external light source to take a photograph of the document or object, often resulting in much higher quality than regular scanning(without the aid of photomanipulation software).

Please understand that, while your intentions were good, research would have been greatly appreciated before titling the document, as two people(myself included) were mislead into thinking that this would be an article specific to using digital scanners to transfer the image to a computer, only to find that this was specific to camera capture only. It would be a good idea to change the title of your journal to Aqua Tip- Camera Capturing, this way those who need help legitimately with actual digital scanners will not be confused or frustrated by the misleading title.
Reply
:iconcmac13:
Cmac13 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013   General Artist
i thought we made it clear this tip is helpful when you do NOT have access to a scanner


I titled the Aqua Tip so your comments about being misled belong with me :nod:

our moderator ~BASbird took the time to create what i believe are wonderful tips on getting good scanned results with a :camera: when you do not have access to a scanner

and FYI
to turn off bold type
to turn off underlined type

to turn off underlined bold you only need to type

hopefully these are helpful tips for future comments in :icongoldendaplz:
Reply
:iconsnowblindotter:
SnowblindOtter Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
They are helpful tips, and while I do agree that it is helpful for those without access to a scanner, it does leave those with no access to a camera in the dark.
I have no access to a camera, only a scanner. Though the scanner is somewhat easier to use than setting up a rig to use a camera, there are some confusing aspects. The scanner sometimes distorts or can hide quality in the image that you would be able to get from a camera, so I do still stand-by my statement about properly titling entries. Capturing with a camera is still, notwithstanding, very different from scanning.

Yes, you did make it clear that this was helpful for using the Capture method using a camera, the misleading text is also now called into light. I read your article thoroughly, expecting a segment that handled specifically Scanning as well using a digital scanner, looking for techniques that I had not thought of. You need to state, quite clearly, that this is a tip that is only helpful for those who do not use scanners in the beginning if you are going to continue using the word 'scanning' in the title. 99% of people will see 'Scanning' and automatically equate this to using a digital scanner, which, more people are more easily able to afford than a digital camera.
Digital Flatbed scanners can run as low as $60USD(even less, depending on retailer and manufacturer), even for a fairly good quality scanner. Also, poor quality scanners can easily be used in tandem with photo manipulation software to create extremely high-quality reproductions very easily; whereas digital cameras rarely are lower than $100USD in price, when speaking specifically about image quality high enough to meet gallery quality standards, as well as being more difficult to use in junction with photo editing software to raise the quality of the image(Namely, you cannot change the DPI of an image with a digital camera to compensate for quality loss resulting from lenses). With cameras you also need to worry about details such as environment lighting, lens-flare, parallax issues, and lenticular and chromatic aberrations, which can, and often do, distort images with lower-price range cameras.
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:iconcmac13:
Cmac13 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013   General Artist
neat :iconslipperyhugplz: many thanks for your input

we appreciate your support of #watercolorists and
thank you for taking the time to give us your insights
on this Aqua Tip :manhug:

it's members like :pat: you :pat: who make our group GREAT :woohoo:
Reply
:iconsnowblindotter:
SnowblindOtter Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Mhmm. You are most welcome indeed. :movingon:
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:iconcmac13:
Cmac13 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013   General Artist
love the emote :movingon:
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:iconsnowblindotter:
SnowblindOtter Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Figured I'd throw one of my own in, y'know. I personally don't like using emoticons all over the place; just one or two popped in at the proper place is more than sufficient to send a message.
Reply
:iconluckynesu:
luckynesu Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013
AKKKKH DOES ANYONE KNOW GOOD SCANNER THAT CAN CAPTURE THIN WATERCOLOR PAINTING? THIS HP DESKJET 2000 REFUSE TO CAPTURE LIGHT COLORS. oh and is it impossible to scan fluorescent paint? the pink one turns out grey when scanned!
Reply
:iconwildwoodartsco:
WildWoodArtsCo Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2013   Traditional Artist
I've got a Mustek ScanExpress 2400 A3 flatbed scanner that seems to work very well at picking up subtle color. I've had the same issue as you with other scanner/printers. HP, Brother and Lexmark printers with built in scanners all seem to be incapable of picking up the palest colors and just 'white-out' the areas it can't cope with. No amount of fiddling with PS afterwards will help because the scan just didn't pick up the information in the first place and even changing the settings on the scan itself didn't seem to help.
I think a dedicated scanner is probably the only way to go. The scanning software/dashboard is generally better too so you get more options to adjust things at the scanning stage if you need to.

As for the fluorescent paint, I think it's unlikely that any scanner would be able to reproduce it accurately. It reflects light differently to normal paint and the scanner just has to do the best it can. It's the same with metallics.
Reply
:iconluckynesu:
luckynesu Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2013

thanks, I shall remember this!

but how much is a dedicated scanner cost?

Reply
:iconwildwoodartsco:
WildWoodArtsCo Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2013   Traditional Artist
They're not cheap - about USD200 for an A3 size one. But you can get A4 ones for much less.
Reply
:iconsnowblindotter:
SnowblindOtter Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I often have the same issue. What I would suggest is just patiently fiddling with the contrast and brightness(I usually find about Brightness between 15 and 30, and Contrast between -15 and -30 to be pretty good.)
If you still aren't getting good results, then I would suggest scanning several copies of the work at different contrast/brightness levels, and then use The GIMP or Photoshop Creative Suites to make an HDR image. I'm not sure how to make a High-resolution Digital Image personally, seeing as I have never made one myself, however I believe you could find a group on deviantART that would help you with making an HDR Image.
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:iconluckynesu:
luckynesu Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2013
hmm I''ll search about that, thanks
Reply
:iconsnowblindotter:
SnowblindOtter Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
No problem.

Somebody's gotta put a tip up about using digital scanners, right?
Reply
:iconcmac13:
Cmac13 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013   General Artist
:clap: nice :clap:

:iconslipperyhugplz:  thanks ~BASbird
for putting this important Aqua Tip together for us :manhug:
Reply
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