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Scanning for a New Life in Print

(December 2011) posted on Tue Dec 13, 2011

How large-format scanners are driving new demand for print services.

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By Michael Antoniak

It’s the capability of the scanner to capture that much image data, along with the discerning eye for color he and his staff bring to each project, that has enabled the company to build its reputation in fine-art reproduction. “Color management is still the toughest part of this work,” Rawlings admits. “It’s a lot of work to keep all the equipment and scanners calibrated, to understand how what you see on the screen might appear when it comes off the printer.”

The company’s success has been in delivering perfect prints, without compromise. “We might proof something three to five times before we’re satisfied the color is right,” he points out. “Some artists insist on a dead-on match with their original, while some aren’t as critical. What we’re selling is an accurate reproduction of their original, and our ability to achieve that.”

American Litho has several HP and Epson wide-format printers for fine-art printing, and swaps between them, depending on the required size of the reprint. “Most of our work is done on one of our Epson Stylus Pro 9800 printers,” he says. “Anything over 44-inches is usually printed on an HP 5000.” Some artists want a digitized record of their work they’ve sold, others to resell their work through as a limited series of digital prints.

“This gives them a way to sell the same work over and over,” notes Rawlings. “When we scan a picture in our 3D texture mode, it’s hard to tell the difference between the original and our fine-art print, even if you’re holding them side-by-side.”
The combination – super-large format flatbed scanning combined with large format fine art printing – opens up new markets for the company and its clients. “We’re now working with artists from all over the world,” he reports.