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View Full Version : How to get a high quality digital file of a painting I made?


todd2000
Apr 26, 2011, 12:56 AM
So I want to make a copy of a painting I made with a friend. I would like to make this copy on canvas. I was thinking the cheapest way to do it would probably be to get a digital copy and get some online service to print it onto canvas.

The painting is 18" x 24." My question is, what would be the best way to get a digital copy of the painting that looks as close to the original as possible? My Sony Point & Shoot isn't that good :). If I take it to some sort of printer would they be able to scan it and give me the file? I was also thinking about going to a photo studio and getting a professional picture of it.

Any thoughts?

iGav
Apr 26, 2011, 08:27 AM
If I take it to some sort of printer would they be able to scan it and give me the file?

I was going to suggest a repro house with a good quality drum scanner as the way to go, then I noticed the dimensions, I'm not even sure drum scanners are capable of scanning that size, so instead take it to a repro house that has an A1 scanner, and have them scan it at the absolutely largest spi resolution possible, which should suffice as an archival digital master.

That said, desktop flatbeds really are very good now days, so alternatively you could scan it yourself and then stitch it together in Photoshop, and simply provide the file to a printer to print.

Consultant
Apr 26, 2011, 08:44 AM
I was going to suggest a repro house with a good quality drum scanner as the way to go, then I noticed the dimensions, I'm not even sure drum scanners are capable of scanning that size, so instead take it to a repro house that has an A1 scanner, and have them scan it at the absolutely largest spi resolution possible, which should suffice as an archival digital master.

That said, desktop flatbeds really are very good now days, so alternatively you could scan it yourself and then stitch it together in Photoshop, and simply provide the file to a printer to print.

Scanning typically won't work for paintings.

They are usually photographed professionally.

steadysignal
Apr 26, 2011, 08:46 AM
Scanning typically won't work for paintings.

They are usually photographed professionally.

agreed, and if you have unusual depth of color, lighting will be everything to capture your work correctly.

maflynn
Apr 26, 2011, 09:51 AM
Contact a local photography school to see if one of the students wants to do it cheaply.

iGav
Apr 26, 2011, 09:53 AM
Scanning typically won't work for paintings.

Not sure that I agree with the typically part, because it's entirely dependent on the medium of course, though I have to say I hadn't considered such details when I replied. :p

Having it professionally photographed is of course the way to go, but given the comments of the OP regarding cost, I'm do get the impression that he doesn't have an abundance of money to throw at this, and if it's a painting that can be scanned, it will be arguably more cost effective than having it professionally photographed to the level needed for reproduction.

It would of course be of help if todd2000 could provide further information about the type of painting.

iJohnHenry
Apr 26, 2011, 10:14 AM
Paint another one?

chrmjenkins
Apr 26, 2011, 10:35 AM
Paint another one?

That's kind of like telling parents who want another kid exactly like their own to have another one.

andalusia
Apr 26, 2011, 11:36 AM
That's kind of like telling parents who want another kid exactly like their own to have another one.

I'm surprised you've been here this long and you haven't yet come across iJH's humour.

snberk103
Apr 26, 2011, 12:49 PM
Contact a local photography school to see if one of the students wants to do it cheaply.

Pay a student. Get one who has been there at least close to a full year, though or even better in their 2nd year.

Shouldn't take more than an hour, and they have access to the same equipment a pro shooter has. Shooting a painting that size is nothing special, if you have the right lights it makes life easier.

Tell them to use ProPhoto colour space. I'd be surprised if it cost more than $30 or $50 for the digital file. You'd just have to show up, stand around for an hour, take it away.

The expensive part may be the printing.... but then again, the photo student may be able to help. However, that 18" is a problem. It's an inch wider than the common "mid-width-format" printer, so you are probably looking at needing a wide-format printer..... only schools and pro printers have those, for the most part.

Good Luck.

cube
Apr 26, 2011, 12:51 PM
Large format digital scanning back is the way it's done.

cube
Apr 26, 2011, 01:10 PM
For occasional use, probably the best is to take an analog photo with a large format camera and have it drum scanned.

snberk103
Apr 26, 2011, 01:13 PM
Large format digital scanning back is the way it's done.

Not necessarily. Depends on how much "quality" the final needs to have. If it's supposed to be an exact duplicate of the Mona Lisa, perhaps.... though even there I could argue that LF data back is not necessary, it just makes life easier.

One can also create overlapping images from a good DSLR and stitch them together. May not even be necessary. A painting of this size is only a little bit bigger than what my camera can capture and put straight to a printer at 360dpi with no interpolation. If the printer only needs 300dpi then it's within the ability of my system to capture and print with no interpolation.

The limiting factor for colour reproduction is the printer. It doesn't matter how much of the colour range the camera can capture, the printer - in this scenario - is going to be the limiting factor. If the painting includes colours that are beyond the printer's scope then the file doesn't matter much.

UPDATE: @OP: How much money can you afford to spend?

chrmjenkins
Apr 26, 2011, 02:23 PM
I'm surprised you've been here this long and you haven't yet come across iJH's humour.

I found humor in extending it to a logical conclusion. Doesn't mean the original wasn't a joke either. ;)

iJohnHenry
Apr 26, 2011, 05:19 PM
I found humor in extending it to a logical conclusion. Doesn't mean the original wasn't a joke either. ;)

Exactly.

If cost is a factor, and he is the original artist, and he want's it on canvas, it is a solution.

I'm surprised he didn't expect brush strokes and texture too. ;)

andalusia
Apr 27, 2011, 12:11 AM
Exactly.

If cost is a factor, and he is the original artist, and he want's it on canvas, it is a solution.

I'm surprised he didn't expect brush strokes and texture too. ;)

Maybe I gave you too much credit... :p

Crawn2003
Apr 27, 2011, 12:39 AM
Wirelessly posted (iPhone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_0 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8A293 Safari/6531.22.7)

If you live in North Bay California I'll do it for free.

I use a Sinar 4x5 with a Leaf digital back. Also use Profoto lights as well.
I used to photograph paintings all the time in photography school and after. Poor equipment just sits around now.

iJohnHenry
Apr 27, 2011, 07:30 AM
Maybe I gave you too much credit... :p

Impossible. I'm fantastic. Just ask anyone. :p

todd2000
Apr 27, 2011, 01:12 PM
Wirelessly posted (iPhone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_0 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8A293 Safari/6531.22.7)

If you live in North Bay California I'll do it for free.



Thanks, but alas I live in VA :(.

Thanks for the suggestions guys, it seems like getting it photographed is the way to go, but you all are talking like it's going cost an arm and a leg, how much do you think it would cost to photograph one painting, assuming I can't find a student to do it?

I don't need this to be a museum quality reproduction, just look like the original :) I have a friend who really loves this painting, and would like to surprise her with a copy. I was figuring on spending somewhere in the $100 range. I have already found places to print it for $50-$60.

As for the painting it is Acrylic on Canvas, and here is a pic:

(click for larger)
http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f384/todd2000/DSC04686.jpg

MattSepeta
Apr 27, 2011, 04:08 PM
Pay a professional photographer to take a high-quality photo of it!

snberk103
Apr 28, 2011, 10:54 AM
Pay a professional photographer to take a high-quality photo of it!

Yes.

For a medium quality reproduction, you don't need a super-duper pro. Call some photographers in the Yellow Pages....ooops, The Google Directory... and ask them what they would charge. Find one who can print the canvas on-site. Call the portrait shooters first. They will often have canvas media for their printers.

In your conversations with them.... if they are making you feel "intimidated" by the technological hurdles, go on and call the next photographer. This is not rocket science. Any moderately competent photographer can give you what you want. A good photographer will just take on the job, give you what you want, and leave the technical jargon aside. A really good photographer will only do the job when you satisfy them that you created the painting, since it is infringing the artist's copyright to reproduce it. I wish more photographers paid attention to this issue, but that is a thread for another day.

$100 may not quite cover it, though. Photographers charge for their time, for the wear and tear on expensive equipment, the overhead on any facilities, etc etc . Plus, the canvas you want to print on could cost $10 to $20 per sheet, before the cost of the ink, and before including the photographer's time to do the printing.

Of course you could fly to California and take Crawn2003 up on their offer. :)

Fubar1977
Apr 29, 2011, 06:31 AM
Scanning typically won't work for paintings.

They are usually photographed professionally.


This is my business and we regularly have original watercolours scanned at high resolution for reproduction using Giclee` printing.
You need to spend a little time adjusting the scanned image afterwards to get it as close a possible to the original, as you would with a digital photo.

Not to say that photographing it does not work, it does, but a professional company can scan it and get excellent results.
It`s not cheap tho.

The cost of doing this is only viable to us because we sell the prints commercially, it would not be viable to do it for just 1 duplicate.
No use to the OP but we use GBM Digital in Manchester, UK