Thursday, May 17, 2007

Every day in May no. 17 - scanning trouble


I think flowers are pretty hard to capture in watercolors, I have to struggle for a while to get it right and the subject is a bit out of my comfort zone, to say the least. But it turned out today´s real challenge was not the painting at all. The hardest part was to get the colours to look right on the computer screen.

My scanner usually does a good job, but it certainly does not like blue Kremer watercolours. A little comparison here: The left image above was scanned, and there is always a little bit of editing in Photoshop after scanning something so I went ahead and did the usual stuff, i.e. levels and hue/saturation adjustments. That usually takes care of the flaws my scanner has. But this time nothing helped. The blues turned into something brownish purple-black (a completely new and surprising hue, I know!) . The right image is a photo, captured with a digital camera after I gave up on the scanner. The light was not the best, so the paper is slightly shadowed on the right, but the colors are extremely much better.

I wish I knew an expert in calibrating scanner, screen, Photoshop and printer, but I don´t. There is a whole science around this issue, and I wish I didn´t have to deal with it, but I realize I may actually have to sit down and learn more about it. If anyone knows of any good online resources on this subject, I would be very grateful for some tips and hints.

8 x 12 cm, light pencil sketch and Kremer watercolors on a small Moleskine Watercolor page.

7 comments:

Lin said...

Nina -- the same thing happens to me -- all the time -- especially since my journal pages are off-white. Have you tried using the 'levels' adjustment to get rid of the grey? Karen Winters told me about using that setting ... and then from there, I'll adjust in 'color variations' ... i hope this helps -- either way -- your flowers are glorious!

Deborah said...

I can see the difference in your photos but they are both beautiful. I am not very much of a techy so I just scan and post. These are very very nice.

Cathy (Kate) Johnson said...

AUGH. I ran into the same problems scanning work for my new book! Levels does help, as Lin said...but if the color's off, it's off. I'll be looking for great answers here!

Ujwala said...

you watercolour is truly lovely.

I rely on taking digital photos during the day and then adjusting them till i get as close to the original as I can. Lately I have become a bit lazy or a bit impatient and sometimes take photos at night which dont turn out so good.

i think you need to callibrate all 3 - scanner, monitor and printer. they all need to have the same ICC profile or some such. here's a link from about.com http://desktoppub.about.com/cs/colorcalibration/a/cal_scanner.htm

Anna said...

Let us know what you find out!

juj said...

I used to have a link for calibrating for the web, but when I went to find it I couldn't. ujwala's right, you must make sure your color profiles are matched from one machine to the other. The problem is you must have 2 settings for each machine. One for print and one for web (unless of course you only use them for one thing). This is easy to set up on a mac but don't know what you are using. Hopefully someone will provide you with a good link. I did a google to find mine. I love that you have kept up with the every day in May. I wish I was so productive. And regardless of the color mismatch - both images are beautiful as usual.

phthaloblu said...

I think your flowers are absolutely beautiful. Even with the scanner being off. All three of mine need to be calibrated, too, but I have a friend who is my guru for macs and he is going to help me do mine. I should say he is going to do it because I know nothing about it! Good luck!