Digitizing original drawings, help needed.

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
Richard B99 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,250
Re: Digitizing original drawings, help needed.

mamallama wrote:

Richard B99 wrote:

TacticDesigns wrote:

VintageGibson wrote:

Thanks to all who replied.

Yardcoyote; Stitching software is the easy part, I need to lose the colour shifts and exposure variations introduced by the scanner, sybersitizen may have provided a clue for this. I was aware of Mustek and others and would need some user experience re the above issues.

Tom Neely & Tactic Designs; Camera mounted on tripod, artwork on ground or mounted vertically on wall, outside in bright daylight, but not direct sunlight, always some light fall-off on one long edge. Will try different positions to see if this improves lighting. Don't want to buy lighting equipment for a few sessions annually.

If mounted on wall, then if you have two lamps that you can move to either side of the artwork may provide more even lighting.

But the issue is the white balance of the light bulbs and if your camera can be set up to compensate for the white balance of the light bulbs.

The ‘old’ but effective approach is to grab a couple of ‘photographic tungsten light bulbs’ with Standard screw fittings. These are often called photofloods. They are cheap and much more powerful (say 250W) than normal domestic bulbs and a couple of basic fittings / lamp holders to illuminate the picture on the wall. Take a custom white balance off a neutral gray card held in front of the subject and you are good to shoot. Cost would be under $20 assuming you have a couple of lamp stands around the house and a tripod. NB remove any lampshade from the lamp holder to a) prevent colour casts and b) remove risk of fire (these photog bulbs run very hot!). You can also fashion a reflector to shield the bulb an throw light back on the wall. Corrugated card covered in tinfoil!

What is the advantage of using the old high wattage photofloods? I thought they were used in the old days when film speeds were slow and the higher illumination was needed.

Good question. I didn’t explain my thinking.  It simply came down to them being relatively very cheap (OP’s primary criterion) and tungsten provides a very good colour spectrum that most domestic energy efficient lights do not (you have to go out of your way to get near 90 CRI domestic LED lamps here).  Plus, really bright lights allow you to put more distance and diffusion between light and subject and this gives more even illumination on an A3 or bigger subject.

I will admit to a degree of whimsy in there too

A little bit more technically thinking.  Photofloods run a bit whiter (balanced at 3400K) than lower wattage domestic tungsten bulbs so it’s also easier to set a good custom white balance in a modern digital camera.  My understanding is that custom white balance doesn’t work so well below these colour temps.  The photoflood is essentially overdriven to give a max colour temp and output for the technology (so don’t last so long but would be fine for OPs occasional use).

Finally, here (Europe) it’s no longer possible to buy regular domestic tungsten bulbs; they have been sunsetted by energy efficiency regulations. I don’t have any at home now! [My high CRI domestic LEDs took a good while to find anything decent a few years back. They were still more expensive than photofloods but, of course, a small fraction of the energy cost to run and last hundreds of times the life of a photoflood. ]

Personally, I haven’t used a photoflood for some decades.  Not since I could afford a couple of decent flashes (Olympus OM 32s plus sync cables - OTF flash metered - nice setup that is still more advanced than we have on digital bodies) and could then dispense with buying tungsten balanced film and cooking subjects.  Nevertheless, speedlights and an off camera sync system (wireless is cheaper than wired now) are still quite a bit more expensive than a couple of tungsten photofloods.

To be honest, and all whimsy aside, it might well be good enough to get a couple of modern adjustable direction lights (e.g. office desk work lights) and experiment with those first for even illumination of A3 paper and colour fidelity.  My guess is that even illumination and good colour will be less easy to achieve than it might at first seem.  Powerful lights, distance / diffusion are much easier to get decent, even, results with.

That . . . I am thinking could be a cheap way to control the lighting.

I personally have a couple of flash units that I would have shot through umbrellas to do something like this. But before I had flash units, I used to try using a full spectrum light bulb.

Good luck!

Take care & Happy Shooting!

sybersitizen; Presumably the locking is a function of the scanning software. I'm using VueScan but have not ventured past the basics, will check this out.

again, thanks to all for the help,


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