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Thread: Tricky art reproduction.

  1. #1
    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Tricky art reproduction.

    I have done art reproductions for (painters) artists over a number of years, but only around 2-3 assignments per year. Thus, I do not have a lot of experience, but I have actually always delivered satisfactory results. I estimate I have shot maybe 50-60 pieces of different size, materials and colours.

    As one should expect, I have been extremely careful with paralellism, even lighting and colour fidelity. Never had a problem.

    Until now. I'm scratching my head here and would like someone with far more experience to give a few hints of what to try....

    I have a small painting that is almost monochrome, but with tiny hints of blue here and there. (This blue not visible at normal viewing distance.) It contains an incredible amount of details and the high keys are normally in a silvery tone with a hint of metallic flakes. If you change the angle of light just the slightest the silvery tone changes to another, more goldish. This 'goldish' tone is totally absent viewing the painting straight ahead and my normal lighting from the sides. The blues also changes a lot depending on light angle.
    On top of this, the painter has incorporated pieces of thin paperpipes here and there making the painting having an embossment, but this embossment is only a few mm which makes it invisible looking at it straight on, however, slightest movment of your own eyes sidways the character changes.

    The painting is very cool, but a nightmare to photograph! My normal setup gives me a very flat and 'boring' image of an otherwise interesting piece of art in real viewing.

    The only interesting light and result I have so far gotten is when I skip having the cam/painting paralell and shoot at an ever so slight angle to reveal the embossment and actually see both a hint of silver and gold at the same time. But this ofcourse I cannot do because the idea is to reproduce the artwork on paper...

    I should add that this is a test!!!! from the artist himself. He says with a devilish smile that if I can produce this one to his liking I am to do a large amount of his paintings.

    What would you try?
    Last edited by danlindberg; 22nd September 2014 at 09:20. Reason: spelling
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    Member David Duffin's Avatar
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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    Dan the interference paint the artist has likely used is near-impossible to reproduce in a photo. One thing I've always wondered about though was what effect one could achieve by putting a lens in bulb mode in a totally dark room and lighting a painting from different angles during a single exposure...

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    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    That actually got me thinking. How about I light as a always do for even light and take a second exposure with a single light source with an acute angle to produce shadows from the tiny embossment and then layer these two and carefully paint in the 3d feel....?
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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    I have no idea what I'm talking about here, but here goes:

    - Try to put the flash(es) at almost grazing angle. This will accentuate the surface structures by increasing shadows.
    - Try polarization - for example by putting a polarizer on the flashes, or a polarizer on the lens (or both !).
    - Try changing the color of of the flashes (or filter the light entering the camera). Perhaps even try to merge (in PS) several images taken with several filters.

    It seems you will not be able to reproduce the artwork with high fidelity. So perhaps it's better to try to "interpret" it somehow, put your own spin on it ?

    Another (crazy idea!) would be to deliver several shots of the same piece put side by side, showing different aspects of it - something a la Andy Warhol !

    As I said, I have no clue about art reproduction :-)

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    Member David Duffin's Avatar
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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    That sounds plausible to me, even brilliant, but leaves you with the silver/gold problem, LOL. To accomplish that properly you may need some Epson "interference ink" in your printer, which probably doesn't exist. But I know you're a great hand with processing, so maybe you could get a decent colour effect with some layer-revealing as well.

    This could take you forever. It may be easiest to deliver 3 or 4 images to the artist ...

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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    Hello Dan,
    It sounds as if you have two issues.
    To bring out more texture in the embossed area and to have the metallic areas reflect light at the densities you want.
    to bring out the texture I would shoot the artwork with a raking side light. this will of course cause uneven lighting on the original. the uneven lighting can be corrected using Robin Meyers Equilight software. to use the software you shoot a second shot of the artwork with a white board in front of it (taking care not to readjust the lights). the software measures the amount of uneven light and applies a correction to the photograph of the artwork.
    The software works very well.

    as for the reflections of the metallic areas if a slight decent earring of the camera give you the tone you want I would take the shot and correct the distortion in Photoshop when you crop to the final image.

    Hope this helps,
    Mike,
    Profiles Studio
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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    some ideas:

    use very diffuse light at the typical 45 degrees, both sides, add a "skim" light from one side to highlight texture;
    move the camera off dead center to one side but parallel to the wall and use shift to re-center, maybe giving you a hint of the texture due to parallax

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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    Hello Dan
    Here it the Equilight software link
    Robin Myers Imaging: EquaLight™ 3
    Robin Myers Imaging: EquaLight™ 3
    This is a program for all fine art photographers that need a solution for lighting falloff. Equalight compensates an image for lens falloff and lighting falloff

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    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    Thanks guys for input! This is not an easy one. So far not happy, but I'm on it tomorrow again.

    The Equalight software seems interesting!

    I'll post an image when I'm done with it
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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    Dan, perhaps this may be helpful, at least I hope to be. I did fine art reproduction for ten years using 16-shot SINAR reproduction equipment, the texture part of the problem most times can be addressed by turning the piece 90 degrees to left or right from the position in which it was created; say for an example landscape turn it with the sky to the left as an example. Then from the left, using an angle to the plane of the art less than 45 degrees, maybe as little as 15 degrees, with a broad light source like a Broncolor Lightbar light the art. Of course, you will need to have a very dark camera room. Place the light as far from the art as your studio space will allow, that way there will be less light fall off from the left to the right (although it does make the light more contrasty). In this set up the light is coming downward relative to the original painting, meaning that the tiny detail - actually the threads of the canvas - will have a very slight cast shadow, giving amazing depth to the resultant image. SINAR had its own light balancing software, much like the LCC that is available in Capture One. So, when applying the LCC, you will not use the color correction nor the dust correction features, only the light balancing feature. This will work 99% of the time. If there are still shiny bits of shifting color, then cover the light with polarizing film turning until you see the change in shine, then only if still necessary add a polo filter to the lens and orientate that filter 90 degrees to the one covering the light. You will need a hefty lighting system to produce enough light for this.

    Hope that helps. I learned this from a great photographer who heads photography at a major national art museum.

    Best regards,

    Jerry Reed
    Jerry Reed
    http://www.jerryreed.net
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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Z View Post
    Hello Dan
    Here it the Equilight software link
    Robin Myers Imaging: EquaLight™ 3
    Robin Myers Imaging: EquaLight™ 3
    This is a program for all fine art photographers that need a solution for lighting falloff. Equalight compensates an image for lens falloff and lighting falloff
    Much easier to do this natively in Capture One using the LCC tool and simply place a white reference board/sheet at the position of the subject.

    This is what is done at all of these institutions.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183

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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    Dan, light it like an object, not a painting. Usually, I place my lights high giving a slight top to bottom fall off which most people think of as natural--actually, no one notices it. That can bring out surface detail while making a good reproduction. Not really seeing the material, I might go for harsher light. You can also even out the fall off by putting fill cards/sheets at the bottom.

    BTW, if you are viewing the painting with the viewing lights on a strobe, the higher color temperature of the strobes can fool you. Or rather, you are viewing with a low color temperature, but taking the photo with a higher one and some material, or the difference between two different materials, can change appearance drastically with color temperature. Do you have daylight viewing lights?
    Last edited by Shashin; 22nd September 2014 at 15:25.

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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    A friend does this all the time - he uses Sinar multishot, bet colour repro best resolution ...but you prob didn't wish to hear that Dan!

    as for Phase's marketing in this area- really Doug? Really? ...LOL

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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    the only interesting light and result I have so far gotten is when I skip having the cam/painting parallel and shoot at an ever so slight angle to reveal the embossment and actually see both a hint of silver and gold at the same time. But this of course I cannot do because the idea is to reproduce the artwork on paper...
    What I think can be done to reveal more of the "dimensionality" of the object is to use shifting, since you have a tech cam, just set it slightly to the side and shift the view to keep the painting square.

    Quote Originally Posted by danlindberg View Post
    That actually got me thinking. How about I light as a always do for even light and take a second exposure with a single light source with an acute angle to produce shadows from the tiny embossment and then layer these two and carefully paint in the 3d feel....?
    This is kind of the right way to go. Obviously, the shot is impossible with only one exposure, you need to take different exposures and manually blend them in photoshop, to reveal the effect in the parts you think it makes sense to see it.

    Quote Originally Posted by miska View Post
    I have no idea what I'm talking about here, but here goes:

    - Try to put the flash(es) at almost grazing angle. This will accentuate the surface structures by increasing shadows.
    This is already standard practice for art.

    - Try polarization - for example by putting a polarizer on the flashes, or a polarizer on the lens (or both !).
    Putting polarizers on the lens and lights is great for standard paintings that have been coated with varnish, however all reflective elements will be visible as a muddy brown if you do that. Painting which have gold flakes in them I first shoot with polarizers to get the color I want, and then without so that I can layer the reflective bits in later.

    Another (crazy idea!) would be to deliver several shots of the same piece put side by side, showing different aspects of it - something a la Andy Warhol !
    sounds fun, but may be impractical...


    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    Much easier to do this natively in Capture One using the LCC tool and simply place a white reference board/sheet at the position of the subject.

    This is what is done at all of these institutions.
    I've been doing it this way for a long while now, and it's probably the best way. Just take another shot of a blank white canvas or something in place of the painting, so that it covers the whole frame.

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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    When I shoot Russian Icons, and they have a lot of gold and silver paints, I usually shoot through a white screen, which allows very diffused light. And I combine a Lightbar on the top of the image and a narrow strip on the side, in deferent proportions, depending on the object. The screen is lighted from the sides towards the camera, at about 30 degrees. Sometimes I direct the light through the screen. There are no rules, but a big diffused source for reflections is usually needed.
    The cross polarization is not usually beneficial with the shining metal paints.

    Falloff is easily corrected in the software, as Jerry explained. I also use the Sinar 54h with CaptureShop.
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    Senior Member yaya's Avatar
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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    Dan here's a trick for creating shadows and maintaining texture:

    As Doug suggested, use a white sheet of paper or a board to comer the painting , make sure it covers the whole frame.

    Shoot it with 1 light source from 1 side and create an LCC file

    Shoot the pairing with 1 light and apply the LCC you've just created.

    You can play with the angle of the light or turn around the painting to get the shadow/ texture where you want them

    Enjoy!
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    New Member Plateau Light's Avatar
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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    You are dealing with a reactive original. With that in mind there is no exact reference to use as it will looks different in different lights and angles of incidence. The basic tips outlined above are good however the metallic sheen needs either a metallic substrate to print on or a metallic ink to reproduce.
    I use a cross polarized light source but put 1 light closer than the other. It gives some shadow depth to any topography of the original. You can play with the lens polarizer to obtain some specular highlights.

    Best of luck

    Robert Park

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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    A picture of the artwork in question would help us help you
    Interpretive is the key to collages, especially those containing metallics.
    Multiple exposures with light at various angles and then compositing is key, imo
    I have done many, including Gustav Klimpt, for repro (one of the hardest)
    Believe it or not, metallic inks are NOT the answer, as metallic (specular surfaces) are only a "angle of reflection" dealio, and when printed will often just look black or dark
    I recently completed a set of very difficult collages that include hand-laid gold leaf for a museum book.
    I will post some screen grabs to show that there are multiple exposures for each aspect of the painting and then masking and composite work to achieve the final result, which is subjective, of course, but captures the look and feel of the original using standard process inks.
    LCC used, just as Doug suggested, . C1 does this very well.

    Sample exposure for non-metallics and closeup



    Sample of one of the exposures for metallics and closeup



    Sample of final composite and closeup

    Last edited by Egor; 23rd September 2014 at 16:29. Reason: reduced image sizes for easier viewing
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    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    Thank you very much all of you. Some very interersting tips and workflows. Great help!
    Yesterday I didn't work on this but I will today. I'll post an image when I have one...
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    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    I'm not done yet, but I thought I show what I'm up against.

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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    Dan,

    I had a similar problem recently. Fortunately, the client is a good friend. She had used some weird paint which looked different at different angles, and significantly so. My solution was to work with her until we got an image that satisfied her. Not a technical solution, I know, but I'm just asking.

    Some things just can't be reproduced, no matter what you do.
    Cheers,
    Jeff
    www.jeff-grant.com
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    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    Alright guys. Mission completed. I guess there is not a lot of difference in the web-jpg compared to the first one I posted. But, I can tell you there is a huge difference in the original tiffs. I post a crop as well that shows much more detail, structure and 3d feel than from before.

    My usual even lighting was a no go, so thanks to tips I used one lightsource at the most acute angle possible to enhance embossment. However instead of equalize the overall lighting by LCC I made 3 separate exposures and blended the 3 exposures in PS. Now upon scrutiny you can even tell the difference between the silver strokes and white strokes. You clearly see the embossments which I didn't before.

    Thanks for the help



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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    Good job, Dan!
    After looking at the art you need to capture, I was going to suggest exactly what you did. Photograph it using multiple exposures and lighting angles that show different aspects of the artwork, composite layers in PS, and paint in the details you wish to show.
    I think thats what you did there and a good job of it! Congrats!

    e
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    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    Thanks Egor!
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    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    The proof is in the pudding.

    I should add that this is a test!!!! from the artist himself. He says with a devilish smile that if I can produce this one to his liking I am to do a large amount of his paintings.
    How many artworks are you going to do for him now?

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    Senior Member Antonio Chagin's Avatar
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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    So how did you manage with the metallic parts, the hint of metallic flakes? this you use any reflecting material or negative in the front?
    Thanks for sharing these important notes and great job by the way.
    ACH

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    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Re: Tricky art reproduction.

    Georg, no response yet, not a word....

    Antonio, the metallic parts were actually downtoned for the simple reason that there is a mixture of white and silver and when I got direct or reflected light onto the silver parts, they either got blown or just turned white as the adjecent paintstroke. Instead I wanted to see a contrast between the white and silver.
    Had the artwork only consisted of the silver metallic and black (and no white at all), then I would definitely have parts of the silver overexposed (not blown though) to make it more alive.
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