11x17 scanner converted flat surface

sfr table hockey

Very Active Member
This is a bit long..........

This has been a project I finally had a chance to do this weekend. I wanted to be able to scan a larger canvas 16 x 20 and bigger and have it sit flat against the scanner glass.

I bought a fairly cheap Mustek scanner 11 x 17. I do a lot of printing canvas art reproductions and some customers don't have the money to get a professional scan done (can be $200 and up with color management). If the image was small enough to fit in a regular 8 1/2 x 11 scanner that worked fine and results were quite good. But when trying to do a larger 16 x 20 canvas it was taking too many passes in the scanner but did work. I picked up the 11 x 17 scanner and tried a regular scan that fit in the 11 x 17 window and it scanned remarkably well and gave incredible detail. The Mustek scanner has a lip around the glass that was higher than my small 8 1/2 x 11 scanner and when you had to set a piece across the scanner that did not sit right on the glass, you did loose quality with a blurred result. There was no way to shave the frame of the scanner down so a new frame would need to be made. I had read that you could not replace scanner glass with regular glass as it would not work.

Inside this scanner the bar that scans the image has two outside edges that have a white plastic piece that sits under the glass and rides against the bottom of the glass. The bar is spring loaded so as long as the new surface glass sits just a little lower than that bar the bar will ride flush with the new surface and allow a bit of error if your new glass does not sit perfectly level.

What I have found out is that regular picture framing glass will work, at least with this brand of scanner. So I took the cover off the Mustek scanner (two screws) and made a new frame out of MDF and made it about 2” high, just enough so that when the glass was set on top, the glass would just rest on the scanner bar guide tabs. Then I marked out the scan window with the scan area (approx 11 x 17) and just stuck vinyl to mark the opening.

Now when the scanner starts to scan it needs something white and clean to read or initialize. If the bar reads any marks in that white space it messes up the scan or if its black it won’t work. Pure white works the best. Also light coming in on the edges of the glass can cause issues so you have to cover the (flatbed of glass) with something to block light getting at the scanner bar on the initialize. The initialize happens with every scan and the bar moves back and forth an inch or so for the first few second, then continues the scan. From there on you can have open areas of the glass and the scan still works fine.

My end results were, with scanning through Photoshop, I could scan a canvas and take that file and do no color correcting and print it and have it be quite close to the original. Almost to the point that no color correcting would be needed. Of course with a bit of color correction you could get things even better, but the quality of the scan is quite remarkable at 300 or 400 dpi. You can go higher (1200 dpi) but the file size is mega. The few I have done so far have been around 400. I am doing an old aerial photo of the town that was 16 x 20 and I hope to be able to print a wall mural that might be 8’ x 10’ and at a distance of 10 feet look ok. The test print on a 2 x 2 foot section looks not too bad. The original photo is quite beat up. The key is to keep your image parallel as you move it about for the scans and that helps a lot lining up the panels after the scans are done.

So for a scanner under $200 I now can scan any image flat and as long as you don’t mind piecing together in Photoshop, almost any size.
 

OldPaint

Major Contributor
i have done similar work with larger painting/photos/douments. i handle it a little differnt. wife is an avid photog. we have a 7.1 megapixel fuji now. i take the photo/painting out side, in the shade close to noon so you have full natural light. set up camera on a tripod, set object at 90 degrees to lens, i have the wife hold a white bounce light card and aim it at painting/photo. i take 2-10 photos of this. now i have a photo of a smaller photo that is now 42 INCHES X 36 INCHES........ to manipulate in photo paint.
here is an example of a 1800's hand made school diploma. its orignal size is 12 X 16. i can print on my HP K850 13 X 19, on photo grade paper. i took photo into photo paint, cleaned up some of the cracks and somebody at one time tried to write over some of the words, and screwed up. i fixed that. then printed 8 of these, the same size as original. 1st pic is the one i printed, the one on the right is the original photo.



for her birthday(aug 11th) iam giving her a FUJI HS20exr..........16 mega pixel!!!!! 2.4 58 mm lens to 30X zoom!!!! can add a 2X tela-converter and it will do 66 POWER!!!!
 

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sfr table hockey

Very Active Member
Funny you said take it out side for the natural UV but not in direct sunlight. This is exactly what I had found when taking photos outside. You get a much better match on the colors but I only have an 8 MP camera but still it is remarkable what you can do even with that.

But I do have to say the scanner is a whole lot better than any of the photos I have tried although you do have to piece things together. One hard thing to scan is a gloss black or something that has a varnish and creates a glare.

Also I had one artist tell me that the color that the scan was actually showing in the print was some of the base color that she had used but covered it up with the final touch ups. So she could see why the scanner showed a shadow in that area of the painting. You could not see it by eye in the painting but the scanner picked it out.

One other thing is I did try a UV non Glare glass (quite $$) but it was not too bad but it dulled the colors a bit and not as good as reg. plain glass.

With your photo it is remarkable that a person can actually make the copy look better than the original and fix flaws or marks and you would never know.

She is going to love the camera....... hope she shares with you....
 

OldPaint

Major Contributor
i get the 7.1 fuji))))))) if you go to my facebook A SIGN MINT most of those pics are taken with that camera. i drop em back to 1024x768 to post em.
 

Rooster

Very Active Member
For most consumer level giclees we do these days I just shoot them with a hand held 10MP digital camera and they turn out fine. I'll just set them up outside on an overcast day and the lighting is as good as you could ask for with enough resolution for all but the largest reproductions.

Now it's obviously not as good a scan as our betterlight camera back can do, and it doesn't have the advantage of being color managed from the input side. But it's a low cost way for the majority of people to get their artwork scanned in. If you're printing on canvas the textured surface hides any minimal defects. If we're printing on a smooth cotton rag art stock then the betterlight back creates a far better final image.
 
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