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Scanning or photographing art for giclee

We are frequently asked how to scan or photograph art for giclee printing. We will outline some basic guidelines to create quality files.

First, it is possible to scan art larger than the scanner size by scanning sections. This is of course only possible if the art isn't too large. Stitching different pieces is something that Photoshop can do automatically. Most important is to make sure the color is as close to the original as possible. The first step is to use a color calibrated monitor. Optical eyes are easily available for purchase and are essential for adjusting the monitor to the highest specs. A high quality monitor should be used. look for a monitor that will at least display 95% of the Adobe 1998 RGB gamut.


The next step is to have a decent printer to proof your files. Make sure you have the correct profile for the paper you are printing on. It does not have to be the same paper we would be using for the final work but it needs to be a good quality paper.

There will be necessary adjustments to make to the scan. No scan comes out matching the original. Photoshop is pretty much a must to achieve good results. There are free alternatives to Photoshop, such as GIMP.

Both programs have histogram analysis of each image. In Photoshop they are called levels. Levels constrol brightness and saturation. A giclee print will not properly match the original if histograms are not correct. Therefore make sure there is no flat space at the left or right of the histogram. If there is, move the cursors in to the origins. Once you adjusted levels, it is time to do color. Color can be corrected by visually matching the original to what is seen on the the calibrated screen. The tools are all in these programs. Curves, levels, hue and saturation are among some of the best. Any color cast can be corrected in RGB. There are times, more often than not, where individual masking (selection of an individual area) is required. The reason is that some pigments do not react to scanners the same way and they have to be corrected away from the rest.

The last step is to verify your corrections by printing a proof on your own printer. Again, make sure your printing software has the correct paper profile loaded.


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