My name is BASbird and I’m a moderator for .
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 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.
-Not enough lighting
-light source being blocked by arm or camera resulting in a “spot” of shadow on a piece
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.
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.
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
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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.
One thing though; links are not working!
awesome tip, thanks for the link
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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.
I titled the Aqua Tip so your comments about being misled belong with me
our moderator ~BASbird took the time to create what i believe are wonderful tips on getting good scanned results with a when you do not have access to a scanner
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hopefully these are helpful tips for future comments in
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.
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.
thanks, I shall remember this!
but how much is a dedicated scanner cost?
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.