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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.


By Michael Antoniak

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Precision has scanned entire artists’ portfolios, old posters, and the expected mix of original paintings and sketches. “If an artist just wants a record of their work, we’ll scan it and give them a DVD,” he continues. “For the Web, we can get by with a low-res scan. When they want to reproduce the original on print, we need to know how large. It’s really about talking to that customer and understanding their needs before you scan.”

Precision’s largest scan to date: an expansive mixed-media mural measuring 42-inches x 14 feet. The scanner effectively captured every pencil line, and brushstroke. The large-format scanner also has helped with a relatively new service for the company – vehicle wraps.

“Someone will come in with a sketch or drawing on a large piece of paper of how they think they want their vehicle wrapped,” he explains. “We’ll scan that in, then blow it up to half- or full-size of the actual vehicle, and print that out to give them a much better idea of how it will look.” If needed, the print can include a sample band of the graphics in print to demonstrate how well the final wrap matches the color of their original art.
“We’ve been doing a little bit of everything with the scanner,” sums up Bitterman.

From the archive
Before the National Building Museum (nbm.org) in Washington DC received its Colortrac large-format scanner earlier this year, it had few options when architects and researchers requested the documents or plans from its extensive archive.
“It really was difficult,” says museum technician Bailey Ball. “They either could come into the museum and look at the original documents, or we could contract with some private company to reproduce them.” That could be an expensive and time-encompassing undertaking.

Since installing the Colortrac Smart LS GX+56 scanner, however, the organization has been digitizing those documents in-house, and providing them to scholars and professionals to view on a monitor or output as large format prints. The scanner’s 56-inch width makes it a practical solution for scanning plans, drawings, or blueprints.


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