Friday, November 21, 2008

Photo or scanner?

Portrait 2 - update
coloured pencil on Colourfix 9 x 12

This is an update of the second portrait I am drawing for the portrait swap. Yes, I'm a glutton for punishment. I have a stack of art work backlogged and I take on another portrait. What can I say? I love it!

I always have a dilemma when trying to choose the best way to represent my drawings or paintings for online consumption.

Some media are better on a scanner, such as pencil or charcoal, if you're using white paper. The scanner gives a clean crisp image against a pure background. Coloured pencil I've found rarely scans well for me. The closeness gives a very grainy image that I can never tweak into perfection, so I usually use a digital camera for cp work. Colourfix paper, in particular, never seems to scan well, perhaps the texture fights with the colours too much, and the end result is never to my liking.

At this time of year when its dark as to go to work virtually and dark when I come home, I need to address my ability to take photos using artificial light. This update image was taken with a digital camera under 3 100 watt bulbs, but the colour isn't at all representative of the reality of the piece. Ok, I didn't tweak it in Photoshop which perhaps I should have to reach a closer match. But I hate adjusting photos of images. It never looks quite the same afterwards.

I wish there were a course locally on how to photograph and scan art, I would be there in a shot. Or would I? I'd like to absorb the information, but part of me shuts down when faced with technology. I swear I have no left side of my brain intact as someone only needs mention the technical aspects of how something works and I shut down.

I need an image expert to come live in my studio and create a digital portfolio of my work as I present it. The right side of my brain remains in creative mode and I become more productive! Image experts who expect no pay, but regular supplies of coffee should apply.


Jennifer Rose said...

A course would be a good idea, even if it was just for a day. I would take one, as I can not take good photos of my work. I usually have to scan images,(as long as it fits on my scanner), I can try to get the images as close as possible with Photoshop. CPs do look grainy sometimes, but not too bad for me. I do have problems getting coloured paper scanned, it either is too bright, or really washed out.

I can figure out the technological, but I have a habit of breaking computers :p I shock a lot of them lol

Anita said...

I have never yet got an accurate image from a scan so I photograh everything and then tweak with PhotoShop to get it as close to the original as I can. Never being home in the daylight is something that torments me too.

Your first portrait for the swap was superb and this one is going to be just as good. Wonderful to see it appear out of the paper.

Jeanette said...

Yes I think so too Jennifer - if I can find one locally. I really hate the whole process, but know its a requirement of showing images online.

I tweak in Photoshop too, but hate doing it Anita. I just like to shoot and go. :)

Thanks for your kind words on the portraits. I enjoy them.

Mary said...

Jeanette you are so very good with portraits and their is no exception with your CP work. This is looking fantastic!

Jo Castillo said...

This is coming right along. So fine!

Robyn said...

Scans never work for me. I find photography in natural light is best and then I can usual adjust it to the original through Photoshop. Of course now the sun has gone on strike, natural light is too cold, so if you come up with a successful approach to shooting in artificial light that would be great.

Your CP portrait is looking very good too.

vivien said...

this is looking really good

I find watercolours are best scanned as photos miss out some nuances but agree totally about cp - a real problem to reproduce well.

Sometimes if a work is small enough and is on coloured paper, it pays to put a sheet of white paper behind it - it helps to keep the colour balance correct

laura said...

Your portraits are phenomenal--each one is different, but each is beautifully and sensitively drawn. You really have a feeling for portraiture!
I too wish there were some help available for learning how best to "show" artwork online ... I never seem to get it exactly right!