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Writing, Illustrating & Publishing => Illustrating => Topic started by: dan-filler on March 08, 2015, 05:53 PM

Title: scanner
Post by: dan-filler on March 08, 2015, 05:53 PM
Hi, all,

I am looking to buy a high quality scanner. Any recommendations?

Thanks for the help.

Title: Re: scanner
Post by: Stephanie Ruble on March 08, 2015, 06:10 PM
I have an old CanoScan by Cannon. I like it, but wish it was a large format scanner. Will need a new one soon, and will probably get the newer model of the same thing.
Title: Re: scanner
Post by: R. LaFille on March 08, 2015, 11:22 PM
What size do you need (ie: larger than 9×12 or smaller?), and is this for color or b/w work?
Title: Re: scanner
Post by: Cynthia Kremsner on March 09, 2015, 06:14 PM
Size matters, yes. I work large and wanted high res scans. Refurbished is a good way to go when you are looking for high quality at a bit of a discount. I got a refurbished Epson Expression 10,000 XL, and love it. I get the same quality scans that I was paying high dollar for at a print shop. After doing one picture book, it more than paid for itself. Plus, there was less stitching involved because of the larger scanning bed.
Title: Re: scanner
Post by: dan-filler on March 09, 2015, 08:03 PM
Thanks for input so far. I need a scanning bed larger than 9x12 and for color.

Thanks for any feedback. It is an investment for sure, so I want to make a wise one.

Title: Re: scanner
Post by: DW on March 09, 2015, 09:22 PM
I did the whole scanning/stitching artwork thing but I really hated the process. Eventually, I opted to shoot my art with a good digital camera instead. It yielded better results and I didn't have to do any stitching unless the original was really big.
Title: Re: scanner
Post by: Artemesia on March 09, 2015, 09:27 PM
I have an Epson Perfection Photo 2480 and it has the 9x12 bed. It's 8 or 9 years old but still does great scans. My publisher had my paintings professionally scanned, but for the bound galleys we used my scans. I'd like to get one with a larger bed, but I would buy an Epson again.
Title: Re: scanner
Post by: R. LaFille on March 09, 2015, 10:05 PM
Epson makes some of the best large-format flatbed scanners, but they START at about $2500! ;_; I would get a refurbished one, but pretty sure they aren't that much cheaper. Same for ebay.

There are large-format all-in-ones for a couple hundred bucks, but NONE of them are worth it. I have tested all the latest ones I can get my hands on (because I too am on the hunt for a nice LF scanner), but they are all awful.

Be wary of cheap scanners with a supposed high DPI (like 6400). This is forced dpi, not optical dpi, ie: they scan at about 300 then "pump up the pixels" to make the file larger. This gives disgusting results. Always read the specs before buying and look for "optical" or "actual" dpi.

You also have to look at the horizontal and vertical scanning dpi. Even if one is high, if the other is low, results won't be much better either.

When I used to make comics, Mustek made a good quality A2 size scanner that was under $100. It was fantastic at scanning b/w lineart but horrible at color. Since you are scanning color, I cannot recommend.

Sometimes, a high quality art scanning service is the more economical way to go. Though, I live half-time in NYC and the other half in Austin, TX. I take all my art to get scanned in Austin. You actually would not believe how expensive it is to get scans in NYC. After a few high-res, large-format scans, it is actually cheaper to buy a large format scanner!!

Curious to hear more people's input on this. The cost of large-format scanners is the bane of artists everywhere. Which is probably why most of my friends have gone 100% digital. You can buy a mew Cintiq for the cost of a used large-format scanner... /end scanner price rant/
Title: Re: scanner
Post by: DW on March 09, 2015, 10:27 PM
Wow $2500 seems rather excessive for a scanner! I would spend that on a Cintiq in a heartbeat. I don't know too much about scanners currently but other than the size limitations, another big issue I had with scanners was the glare I would get because my illustrations had a bit of a sheen to them. For me, that's what made stitching pieces together such a headache. Not sure if this is still the case with high end scanners currently.

This was really one of the big reasons I went the digital route. I don't miss it one bit. 
Title: Re: scanner
Post by: R. LaFille on March 09, 2015, 10:33 PM
Btw, if you have a FedEx print center near you... you know those massive copy/scan/fax machines? They usually have a large-format scanner bed. If you fiddle w the settings (the default resolution is usually set pretty low), you'd be surprised that some of them produce beautiful results. There was a Canon once that I still dream about the beautiful scans it made...

Bring some art and test a few out. You could get lucky. Or ... it could be terrible. One of those things you won't know until you try it.
Title: Re: scanner
Post by: R. LaFille on March 09, 2015, 10:40 PM
DW: The glare can still be a big issue. Thats why guache has a history of being used so often in advertising: it dries matte. Acrylics ... not so much! Though there are matte sprays you can fix to acrylic as well.

I used to paint digitally. But then I bought myself a few watercolors, and I can't go back. There's definitely something intoxicating about having the tangible, physical materials in my hands and the happy mistakes that go with it! I also find it faster, oddly... But that's just me!

But you're right... it's just so expensive... ;_;
Title: Re: scanner
Post by: DW on March 09, 2015, 11:04 PM
I used to work in mixed media(colored pencil and water soluble crayons over acrylic paint), so the surface had various patches and levels of sheen. I tried pretty much every trick in the book to unify the sheen, including dulling sprays. But the downside of that is with heavy sprays, they also mute colors.

Yeah, with watercolors and gauche, you don't really have these issues.

After years of trial and error, I discovered digital photography. For the cost of a pretty nice digital SLR you are still looking at about half the cost of one of those large format scanners. And as a end up with a nice camera.  ;D
Title: Re: scanner
Post by: Cynthia Kremsner on March 10, 2015, 06:20 AM
The convenience of having your own pro-grade scanner versus going to a print shop each time your work is done is also one of the biggest perks, especially if you live in a more rural area on the outskirts of town as I do. My refurbished Epson was less than $1250.00. And although it was still a budget push, in the long run, it saved me. I use the PS exposure and vibrancy tools to bring the image back to match the original as it's never quite the same . . . always keeping my original right beside me to line things up. I also love the camera raw filter.

For my blog posts, showing WIPs, I often use an IPhone picture, but I always explain that in my posts and finish off with the scan. I have used a good digital camera but have found that getting angles right or keeping shadows out of the image was a challenge. There may be ways to do it correctly that I did not find on my own though. But . . . still will opt for my scans for textures, etc.
Title: Re: scanner
Post by: DW on March 10, 2015, 11:17 AM

I had a pretty good system worked out. I placed my artwork on an easel so I can make sure it's level and plumb. My camera was on a tripod and I made sure to take my shots with either the timer or with a remote. Definitely want to keep it as still as possible. For lighting, I bought two photography lights, think they were about $150 for a set of two. I would place these lights on both sides and at the same height as the artwork and aim them at 45 degrees onto the art. This way you get the light but you won't get the glare you would if the light was directly in front. After doing this for awhile, I placed masking tape on the floor of my studio so I can easily set up and break down without too much guess work. Even with this setup, I still needed to bring the photos back into Photoshop and retouch it. But it definitely made things easier, probably turned an hour worth of work into about 10-15 minutes.

Title: Re: scanner
Post by: Cynthia Kremsner on March 10, 2015, 05:36 PM
That's good information Donald. I know an illustrator who did traditional collage and was losing a lot of her layering with scans as the originals were getting compressed. She was told photography would be best for reproducing her work and the set up you used sounds like it would work well.

I find myself stitching my work less with the large format, but sometimes with works intended for two page spreads, I have to.

R. LaFille, I'm with you on the watercolors and their tenancies being addictive. I've added gouache for their opacities and love the mix. Good thing scanners like their finish as well as I do.
Title: Re: scanner
Post by: dan-filler on March 17, 2015, 08:14 PM
Thanks to all for the thoughtful and detailed replies. So much to learn- stitching? The input you all shared will be helpful moving forward. Thanks, again.