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Scanning Artwork

If you are incorporating flat artwork such as pen-and-ink drawings or paintings in your design, you have several choices for digitizing the artwork. If you have a good flatbed scanner, you may be able to capture the artwork without any special handling. To provide some flexibility in later usages of the scanned image, consider performing two scans at 100 percent: one at 300 ppi, and one at 600 ppi if your scanner supports it. Then, you have two robust images that can be resized for a wider range of uses.

If your flatbed scanner isn’t up to the task, ask if your print service provider performs scanning. Many printers have high-end scanners capable of capturing and enlarging artwork. If you have transparencies or negative film that must be scanned, the printer’s professional scanners can capture detail and perform enlargements with higher-quality results than are possible with consumer-level scanners.

Some materials, such as textured paper, dimensional paint (such as heavy acrylic or oil paint), metal, or transparent substrates, don’t scan well. The scanner’s illumination bounces off metallic components and often appears black in the scanned image. Because of the even, frontal lighting of the scanner, texture is subdued or lost. And you can’t very well pin a statue under the lid of your scanner. If you have to capture a challenging art piece, the best solution might be to hire a photographer who specializes in capturing fine art pieces and has experience lighting and photographing such projects.

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