Converting Artwork to Digital Format

I’ve been creating some artwork that I’ve needed to convert into digital format.  Naturally, I was scanning the work with my flatbed scanner.  This worked fine for pen and ink and even colored pencil.  I’d take larger works over to Kinkos and have them scan it with a large scanner capable of scanning artwork.  This worked fine for awhile, but lately I’ve noticed that the scans are picking up glare from the scanner’s light and making the image look funny.  I’ve particularly noticed it in areas on my watercolor paintings where the paint is particularly thick and a bit shiny.

So, I need another way to convert my artwork into digital format.  After some research, I believe I’ve found the solution.  I haven’t tried it, yet, though.  So, I hope it’s going to work.

The solution is to photograph your artwork with a digital camera instead.  There are some tricks, of course.

You need to avoid glare, so lighting is important.  You can do it outside on a bright but overcast day or indoors with diffused light coming in from the sides.  For really shiny work, or work under glass, you need to take more extreme precautions.  You can set up a white box to surround the image with lighting from the sides and your camera centered at the top.

You need to hold the camera very still.  A tripod solves this.  Also using a delay setting on the shutter button, to prevent the movement of pushing the button from jarring the camera.

You need to set the camera to the very highest resolution it will go.

You need to get the camera centered directly in front of the artwork to get it square in the photo.  If you don’t quite get it square, you can use Photoshop’s distort feature to stretch it into a proper square.  It’s best if you get it as close as possible in the first place, though.

Anyway, that’s how I’m going to try it.  I’ll post when I figure out if it works or not.  Let me know if you have your own tips for doing this.

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