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Profiting with Large-Format Scanning

(September 2008) posted on Thu Sep 11, 2008

Five shops share their viewpoints on digitizing on a large scale.

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By Clare Baker

Serving the artist
While sheetfed scanners are certainly capable of reproducing fine-art, sometimes a more specialized scanner is necessary. Just ask Mike Borum, founder and manager of Nashville, Tennessee-based Chromatics Photo Imaging (, which uses a Cruse CS 220/450 SL Light scanner for fine-art reproduction.

The shop opened nearly 30 years ago as a film-processing lab. In 1982, Chromatics began photographing artwork onto 4 x 5 and 8 x 10 transparencies. "Then, as the technology changed and developed," says Borum, "we realized early-on that we wanted to start scanning art. And rather than just sticking a digital back into one of the copy scanners, we decided to go with the Cruse system because of the high-quality scanning it’s capable of."

Borum purchased the Cruse scanner in 2000 and quickly adopted the technology into his shop’s workflow. The unit can scan images up to 48 x 72 inches and has a maximum file size of 450 megabytes. "A document or sheet scanner will do the job for some prints, but the moment someone brings you a framed painting or a piece of canvas that’s stretched, you’re dead in the water."

The shop primarily uses the Cruse scanner for all kinds of artwork reproductions from oils and acrylics to pencil drawings. Customers are offered three choices of scanning resolution, says Borum: 75, 150, or 300 dpi. "We educate the client on what the resolution really means and that 150 dpi is plenty if you’re reproducing at the original size for oils, watercolors, and acrylics."

How the process goes from there really depends on the client and their specific needs. "Some clients simply want us to make a scan and make basic adjustments to density and contrast. Those clients are usually the ones that are just thrilled to that they can get accurate work done without any fuss from them."