Why digital capture on a large-format scanner is superior to current alternatives:
We do very little transparency art scanning as the industry has moved away from film to digital capture. Digital capture is superior to film-to-digital for art reproduction because film introduces an extra layer of color distortion to the process. In the absence of a large-format scanning solution, there is no alternative to taking a picture of the original with either a medium-format camera using film or scanning with the same camera using a scanning back instead of film. Either method is more expensive than large-format scanning and arguably produces an inferior image. With film there is the extra layer of color distortions introduced by the film plus the problems inherent in art scanning and enlarging the image on a 5 x 7 inch transparency into a 30 x 40 inch reproduction. Any scratches on the film made by the processing devices and any minute particles of dust that will attach to the developed transparency will be very visible in the enlargement and will have to be tediously removed from the file (with concurrent distortions to the file). The final color correction will be more difficult because of the color distortions introduced by the film process.
Cruse Large-Format Scanner:
With large format scanning on a Cruse Scanner, there is no intermediate step. We capture the original directly into a digital file. There is no chance for dust and scratches to cause a long clean-up. In addition, the nature of the Cruse Synchron Light ensures that the lighting will be the same on every scan and across each individual scan making color profiling more accurate than profiling a medium-format camera with a scanning back whose lighting necessarily will change from job to job. Accurate color profiling significantly reduces the cost of color correction. In addition, with a large-format scanner, cameras don’t have to be adjusted and lighting set up for each scan, greatly reducing the time involved and consequently the expense of capturing an original.
Editing and Color Correction:
Once we capture an image to a digital file, the file generally needs editing in order for it to produce an excellent reproduction. Color matching is the most important, but not the only, aspect of the editing process. Our sophisticated ICC Color management profiling software and measuring instrument (XRite/Monaco Profiler software and Gretagmacbeth Eye One IO auto reading Spectrophotometer) allow us to make very accurate, but not perfect, color scans. Flat art on paper or canvas can be composed of an almost infinite variety of pigments and dyes. No art scanner or film process is capable of capturing this variety of color exactly as the human eye sees it. In order for the colors in an art reproduction to match closely those of the original, some color correction is always needed. In addition to color correction, there usually needs to be some tweaking of the dynamic range of the digital file to make a reproduction that is as vivid as the original. In addition, all digital images whether captured with a camera or a scanner need to be sharpened to some degree. Many clients use only our scanning services and do their own editing. In these cases, we provide the client with the raw scan and the most recent ICC profile of our scanner. Other clients who do their own printing but are not prepared to do color editing have us scan and edit. We provide them with a color corrected and edited file and a proof of the original printed on one of our printers. Since we adhere rigidly to ICC color management standards, clients should be able to print on their ICC profiled printer reproductions that very closely match their proof. In many cases we offer to profile printers for clients who don’t have the software or measuring devices to make their own printer profiles.
For clients who wish us to do the whole process of capturing, editing, and printing, we offer printing services on our profiled large-format inkjet printers. Inkjet printing is continually evolving with new generations of printers occurring about every three years or so. Consequently we have replaced printers about every three years. We started with an Epson 10000 which was replaced with Epson 9600 printers. The Epson 10K was a six-ink printer (cyan, magenta, yellow, light cyan, light magenta, and black); the Epson 9600 was a seven-ink printer (cyan, light cyan, magenta, light magenta, yellow, black, light black). The Epson 9600 printers were replaced with Epson 9800 printers, 8-ink printers (Epson added another black ink, light, light black to the 7 inks of the 9600s and reformulated the inks for greater color gamut). We now use a Canon iPF9000, a 12-ink printer (cyan, light cyan, magenta, light magenta, yellow, red, green, blue, black, photo black, light black, and light, light black). Compare these printers to the offset lithography presses limited to just 4 inks that printed the vast majority of reproductions before the advent of large format ink jet printers (giclee printers). The quality of reproductions made on these inkjet printers is frequently stunning with the reproductions being nearly indistinguishable from the originals. Nearly all modern large format inkjet printers used to reproduce art and photographs employ pigment based inks that produce images with a lifespan approaching 100 years with little noticeable fading .
Media for Reproductions:
There are a variety of materials available that we can print on. We tend to use coated semi-gloss photo paper for casual photo enlargements and 100% cotton bright white papers for fine photographs. For reproductions of oil paintings we print on canvas. For reproductions on paper we use a variety of papers, all 100% cotton: velvet, water color, white and natural cotton paper.