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Hello!

For this installment of Artist's Toolbox I'd like to talk about my favourite tool of them all,

The Scanner.


my humble and slightly dusty scanner....

Without this vital analogue to digital translator, my own artwork as is would not exist, and of course many thousands of traditional artists would not be able to share their art online as effectively as just relying on photographing their work. 

'I feel like because I don't have a tablet or do digital art no one likes my work.'

Digital Art has a huge advantage when it comes to online display because the product was created on a screen ergo looks best on a screen. Art done on paper/canvas or otherwise has the disadvantage for digital display (such as on your deviantART gallery) because you don't have to be a genius to work out that we are not actually looking at the original artwork on our screens, rather a scanned or photographed copy. However it is not impossible to create a beautiful digital product out of your traditional artwork.

Peacock by Hellobaby Robert Downey Jr by Geinen Cliffdragon by drachenmagier

A half decent scanner is way cheaper than a quality tablet, so for those worried about exposure, you don't always need to work digitally to get people to pay attention to your art. It just needs to be well scanned and presented. You can also usually find one at your school or local library if you don't have one at home. Even when I was an art student at university and I did not have a scanner of my own I used to draw and draw and then make special trips to the library to use their scanners (10AM, 10PM.. Weekends.... they got pretty used to me and my piles of sketches turning up at random times...)

let's face it....scanners wreak havoc on shades.

-- Geinen

Anyone remotely familiar with the process of scanning and uploading traditional art will be well aware that the scanner often can change and bleach colours. While recent scanners have gotten a lot better with this problem it's still an issue, but it's one that can be fixed. A few simple edits using photoshop or another image editing software can really bring your image back to life. GIMP is a 100% free photoshop alternative and should not be overlooked by artists on a budget.  

Tutorial: My Scanner Hates Me by Wolf-Suit :thumb329306048: Tutorial: Editing Drawings by Cataclysm-X Gimp tutorial for scanned drawings by SilverChaim

And don't think scanners and traditional techniques are only useful for the 100% traditional artist! 

Custom brushes for photoshop and other editing programs are often made using scanned shapes and marks, and not to forget the humble texture, which can be layered over your digital art to give a myriad of different looks and feels. For textures you can scan anything you can think of, from plain textured paper to found objects or textures made of paint and ink. (Gross Anecdote: A friend of mine scanned the loose hair that he found on his carpet to layer onto his digital artwork... if it fits in a scanner, you can scan it as a texture...)

:thumb146349188: Using my textures in Photoshop: a basic tutorial by hibbary :thumb204538076: :thumb128702150:

Part of the texture on Davy Jones' Skin from Pirates of the Caribbean was scanned from a Styrofoam coffee cup. Scanning all the cool things can lead to a great personal collection of textures for your 2D and 3D art that will render your art unique instead of always using textures you download from other people. (Go on you know you want to creep out your local librarian by turning up to use their scanner with strange objects and bits of dirty paper!)

Textures play a huge role in all my work. They have an effect on the colors and overall look of all my illustrations.

-- loish

Save the cell phone photos of your sketchbook for your blog and instagram. Scan your work properly, wherever you can.

If you really want to successfully make use of deviantART or any online place as a platform for your traditional art, you will have to get super comfortable with either scanning or photographing your work.

Learn to love your Scanner!

Add a Comment:
 
:iconbluu-sparrow:
bluu-sparrow Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
True that! Thanks for the tips!
Reply
:iconpizzapotatonbacon:
PizzaPotatoNBacon Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Student General Artist
I've tried installing my scanner- it says the driver needed is 32bit and my laptop is 64bit. :XD: I am forced to use my iPad camera just so I can share my traditional work.
Gosh, gotta find a way to use this scanner and try all these neat tips. :la:
Reply
:iconhopeburnsblue:
hopeburnsblue Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Professional Writer
This absolutely blows my mind! I am blind and have used scanners many a time to convert homework into an accessible format for myself (the process after scanning is called OCR). I also like to take photos, and so I have been known to scan old pictures to recover them. I have never had enough vision, however, to perform enhancements and manipulations after scanning, so your explanations of this are fascinating to me and clarify a lot of things. Tell me, what happens when someone is working with a large canvas that won't fit in a scanner bed? I have always wondered about that!
Reply
:iconfionacreates:
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Professional General Artist
there are a couple of options for displaying larger work. a) scanning it in pieces and stitching it together seamlessly again digitally or b) getting a really top quality photograph. There are some great tutorials on dA for photographing artworks (just search for "photographing art") that explain about getting the lighting right and the distance etc.

All the prints in books and web display of most canvas work is photographed, (any copy you see of the mona lisa for example is photograph not a scan).

I have photographed art before on a small scale, but if I was a practicing fine art painter trying to sell digital prints or even just maintain a portfolio online of my large paintings I would consider investing in a DSLR camera (atm I just use a cheap automatic point and shoot) but if art is your business you gotta invest to get money back...

some fine art painters I know are also excellent photographers when it comes to understanding a DSLR camera because of this XD

Unfortunately in the digital age someone who chooses to work by hand does have these extra hoops to jump through and extra skills to learn, but if you want your work to be taken seriously you do it.

(It is actually possible to get decent photographs of your paintings on some cameraphones too now if you pay attention to lighting your picture correctly and weild your phone like a proper camera since some phone cameras are very good now)
Reply
:iconhopeburnsblue:
hopeburnsblue Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Professional Writer
Awesome! Thanks for the indepth and very educational response!
Reply
:iconfionacreates:
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Professional General Artist
no worries :D I'm glad it's all helpful.
Reply
:iconstygma:
Stygma Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I've never thought of scanning textures... Silly me...
Reply
:iconfionacreates:
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Professional General Artist
When I'm finished doing a painting, if I have some paint left over on my pallette I often smear it on some scrap paper and when it's dry, scan it for a digital texture. That way I don't feel like I'm wasting paint because I make some use of it :D
Reply
:iconstygma:
Stygma Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Awesome idea!
Reply
:iconfionacreates:
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Professional General Artist
I also semi obsessively take photographs of broken wall bits and pavements when I'm out and about and layer those as textures too.

It's been about 2 years now since I used a texture I downloaded online ^^
Reply
:iconstygma:
Stygma Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:XD:
Reply
:icondreamerdon:
DreamerDon Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Well Said!
Reply
:iconfionacreates:
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Professional General Artist
Thanks :D
Reply
:iconjeremyb796:
JeremyB796 Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013
Also Huion makes quality tablets...for a little under $60.

A quality scanner will cost around the same...
Reply
:iconfionacreates:
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Professional General Artist
Indeed it's all down to personal preference but there's so much choice now with price and brand than there was 5 years ago when I was tablet shopping :D I have both, some have just a tablet and others have just a scanner.
Reply
:iconjeremyb796:
JeremyB796 Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013
C':

I "had" a scanner...threw it out the windows sense ink only lasted a few days of non-use.
Reply
:iconjeremyb796:
JeremyB796 Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013
May I suggest people NOT to buy Kodak printers?

If you are low on any color or black it won't even scan or let you use it at all...turns into a power consuming brick...

Also I had full cartrages in it and it said they were empty the next day...what a waste.
Reply
:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2013  Professional General Artist
I so need to buy myself a new scanner here >_< but no space for it right now!
Reply
:iconfionacreates:
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Professional General Artist
Well currently I can fit my entire life into one tiny bedroom and I'm moving to a whole flat just for me so I'm getting excited about the opposite XD "OMG SPACE!"
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:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Professional General Artist
OH LUCKY YOU
Reply
:iconfionacreates:
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Professional General Artist
INO! Moving to Leeds! Cos Leeds is awesome. Who needs London? :P
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:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2013  Professional General Artist
I do! :XD:
Reply
:iconcatluvr2:
catluvr2 Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I have an important announcement to make concerning scanners:

Windows 7 and newer do NOT support ANY scanners. You can't update the drivers for any of them.
Reply
:iconsavagefrog:
SavageFrog Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Actually I have Windows 7 & don't have any trouble with my scanner or it's updates; haven't tried 8 since that thing is a mess-next Windows is coming out soon & will be less complicated than it.
Reply
:iconjeremyb796:
JeremyB796 Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013
That is completely wrong!

If you need to install drivers you download them from the manufacturers website and you HAVE to run the installer as an administrator.

I know, I have used Windows 7 and am currently running 8.
Reply
:iconpica-ae:
pica-ae Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Professional Interface Designer
Someone once told me they put shrimp cocktail, all with mayonnaise, onto a scanner… :meow:

It's just a step further than using a copy machine :lol:

And even when you have a big image, bigger than the scanner, I found the light to be more consistent when putting together the separate scans into one image. And taking pics of traditional art can be a real pain in the ass, especially watercolors or other light works are really hard to photograph. I once spent 2 hours trying to take a good picture and then threw my hands in the air, cursed and just scanned that shit and was done in 15 min including putting them together in Photoshop :B
Reply
:iconartbytiffany:
artbytiffany Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist
I love my scanner, and having one. I love that yall did a feature on this.
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:iconurus-28:
Urus-28 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Scanner can also be used for strange photography of objects :p
I've discovered that the depth of field is larger than expected and that there are perspective deformations :lol:
But don't expect to make it a true camera, it's more for experiments =P
Reply
:iconfionacreates:
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Professional General Artist
I dislike that funny grey colour it gives in the depth but I haven't played much with this aspect of scanning nor seen it used a lot. Might have to experiment a little :D
Reply
:iconurus-28:
Urus-28 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Here are the results of my experiments =D
[link]
[link]
I know some people who have put their cat in the scanner :rofl:
Reply
:iconsavagefrog:
SavageFrog Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Those look pretty cool!

(a friend of mine tried with a bird but it didn't turn out so well; if you're ok with cleaning up messes-try jello! XD)
Reply
:iconurus-28:
Urus-28 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I can easily imagine that a bird is quite challenging to put in a scanner :lol:
Reply
:iconsavagefrog:
SavageFrog Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
It's butt showed up with a few feathers. XD
Reply
:iconurus-28:
Urus-28 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Epic :lol:
Reply
:iconsavagefrog:
SavageFrog Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
XD yeah
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconfionacreates:
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Professional General Artist
Wow that's a really interesting effect! THanks for sharing!
Reply
:iconurus-28:
Urus-28 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think each scanner produce different effects, but you will never find a word about it on the technical data =P
Reply
:iconhaiircurlers:
haiircurlers Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013
I shoved my face up against a scanner
Let me tell you, it turned out really interesting.
Reply
:iconurus-28:
Urus-28 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Actually I've also put my head in a scanner to have a good picture of my ear :lol:
Reply
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