Scanning Process

Our Fine Art Scanning Process is one the Best in the Entire World:

We use BetterLight ® scanners which are champions among the large format, camera mounted scanners. Their portability gives them a tremendous edge over stationary, room-sized scanners.

Our BetterLight ® Scanner has more than 16x the resolution of the best 24 megapixel Pro-SLR digital cameras.

The focal plane of the scanner is aligned perfectly flat to the art with a precision optical system.

  • This allows the vertical and horizontal edges of the art to remain parallel during image capture.
  • Without precision optical alignment, SLR photographers find it difficult, if not impossible to achieve true focal plane-flatness and the captured image becomes distorted because of misalignment.

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    We regularly scan images up to five feet by six feet; and, we scan four feet by eight feet images and murals—without a problem.

    The only thing that comes close to a BetterLight ® digital scan is an 8x10 fine grain photograph which is then wet-mounted on a high-end drum scanner.


    The computer performs a pre-focus measurement against the pixel contrast witin the art image or a specially designed focus card.  
  • This adjustment focuses on the individual pixels of the image and not simply an optical average of areas.
  • Our camera lens projects an image circle of 120mm max while 35 mm camera's best yet is about a 60mm circle.  

    This means we can capture more information, on a larger digital sensor, and we use the "sweet spot" of our lens to capture the image.

    Now, that is sweet.


    This is a photo of our actual Scanner.

    It captures a huge amount of color information and detail.

    For example, for a 30x40 inch original, this device captures over 800 MegaBytes of digital information. Compare that to your local 16 or 64 megapxel "art" photographer.

    There is no Nikon, Canon, Hasselblad, Leica, Mamiya, etc. that comes close to capturing the same size image.


    The Scanning Process

      Your art will be mounted on our heavy-duty Hughes™ easel in the art's natural, vertical position:

      • This prevents out-of-focus sagging that occurs in the middle of large canvas pieces that lay flat on table scanners such as a Cruse® scanner.
      • Easel mounted scans allow better control of lighting to provide balanced or angled lighting depending on the texture effects desired.
      • Your expensive framing and glass enclosure will remain intact. We do not need to remove your art out from its decorative frame or protective glass enclosure.
      • Table top scanners depend on a perfectly flat piece of art: no screws, wires, hooks, bumpers, or warped pieces. That is why they must break open or take off the frame and/or glass enclosure. But not us, we have developed our setup to work perfectly with or without an intact decorative frame or glass enclosure.

        Also, a serious draw-back to removing the art from the frame is that the paint is often peeled from the canvas art edges.

    The Scanner Lighting System

      We scan through glass without glare.

      The glare from glass reflections is gone:

      • Our lighting system is designed to eliminate glare from glass reflections.
      • We use an extensive system of filters and polarizers to achieve this.

      • It is possible that some specular highlights appear from highly textured, high-gloss canvas surfaces; but even in those cases we most always succeed in canceling the unwanted specular highlights from the canvas textures.
      • The art is lit with HID lighting that has a Rendering Index greater than 90%.

      We capture the surface textures of the canvas and paint.

      The realism of the giclée print begins with the scan and lighting setup:

      • Without a lighting setup that is purposefully designed to capture the varying ranges of textures found on watercolor paper, canvases and paint textures, the resulting print will appear flat and lifeless.
      • No matter where you get your art photographed or scanned, the setup should always capture the surface details that the artist needs to present a realistic giclée print.

      Lighting Fall-off and Uneven Lighting:

      • Let's begin by saying: our lighting setup and post processing technology has eliminated the problem - and we don't do it with photoshop tricks.
      • Lighting fall-off is the phenomenon that causes the art to appear darker (illumination value decreases) in proportion to the distance from the light source.
      • Uneven lighting also occurs because of the mechanical design of the lighting source.
      • We employee an extensive and expensive corrective system to elimiate these lighting problems which are potentially common thoughout the industry.

      Every Incremental Advantage Increases the Chance of an Artist's Success.

      Giclée prints are not just what ends up on the canvas or paper, but it is the professional process and care that brought that print into being.

      When switching to digital image capture over a decade ago, we also purchased a new Rodenstock lens specially designed for large format digital scanners. The lens provided a "flatter" RGB focus on the scanner plane than our current Rodenstock film lens.

      The difference was very noticable under magnification. Yet, to us we considered the extra expendature a necessity (in our opinion). That improvement provided another step-change toward the quest for realism in fine art reproduction.

    We use world class camera lenses.

    DIGITAL RODENSTOCK LENSES

    In addition to using some of the best lights and scanners, we also employ one of the world's supreme large format Digital Lenses. The Rodenstock® Digital APO-Sironar-S™ lenses. These incredible lenses provide superb contrast and faithful color interpretations of your art. The huge image circle provided by these type of lenses allows the captured image to sit comfortably within the prime choice of the image circle.

      The artist is always the final judge.

        • The image capture process is the most critical step for obtaining gallery or museum grade fine art prints.
        • Our entire process helps the artist leverage advanced technical advantages to produce realistic, color-accurate art:
          • Eliminate glare
          • Capture original art realism through control of the lighting system
          • Employee corrective measures to compensate for lighting fall-off and uneven lighting

    BetterLight ® Scanner vs Professional Digital Cameras

    Imagine the difference in picture quality between a consumer grade 2 megapixel camera and an 8 megapixel camera. Quite a step up in quality even at the consumer level.

    Now, think about the quality you would get if you had your art digitized with a 384 megapixel camera-mounted scanner. That is 16 times the quality that 24 megapixel studio digital cameras provide! We use the Super 8K-HS™ which is engineered to create file sizes as large as 1,100 MB and has ability to scan an area of about 60 inches by 80 inches at 200 dpi.

    Yet a digital image's quality is derived from more than just a massive number of pixels. It is the technology in how those pixels are used that sets the BetterLight ® system apart from digital studio cameras...

    BetterLight ® scanners are superior. They Do Not Average a community of neighboring pixels as studio digital cameras do.

    BetterLight ® scanners are designed so that each pixel reports its own pure RGB color. Because BetterLight ® pixels maintain their own identity, they also retain their individual sharpness.

    Studio digital cameras average groups of neighboring pixels. This causes fuzzy spots which are seen as an overall softness when compared to the BetterLight ® images which remain tack-sharp under the same magnification.

    Click Here for more really neat technical Info concerning Digital Camera as vs the BetterLight ® scanners.

         

    Don't Tolerate Poor Results:

    The technology exists to excell.

    p>No matter what you compare it to, a digital scan using a camera mounted scanner will outperform every other SLR digital or film device available.

    The only thing that comes close is an 8x10 fine grain photograph and then scan that transparency on a high-end drum scanner.

    So, the question is, how much "color" and "detail" inaccuracy can you tolerate? Who are your competitors in the art market? Are they providing better-looking art reproductions?

    If you are competing in the high-end range of art reprographics, then digital scanning is the only choice for color, for detail, and for cost.