Another vintage silver palace

Cleaning up from a positive film scan – Another step in painting reproductions

Richard Charpentier Photography, Photoshop, Printers, Prints, Tech Reviews, Wide Format Printing Leave a Comment

Recently I posted about part of the process in creating reproductions of paintings.  Today we’re going to talk about another part of the process. Positive film scans

Often painters have their large paintings photographed on 4×5 positive film.  My partner here at the gallery has been doing reproductions of his paintings for years with 4×5 positives.  And I’ll tell you, the results are normally stunning if the photographer knows what they’re doing.

Even if the artist has a great photographer things can go wrong.  Artists are…… well, artists.  That being said, often they don’t take the best of care of their film.  Ian for example doesn’t store his film in a sealed safe or anything.  They’re in little cardboard boxes.  They’ve been handled, covered in dust, abused, scratched, beaten, and abandoned on the side of the road left for dead.  Poor 4×5’s!

What I’ve found is that most painters are like Ian.  Those super expensive shots of their paintings just don’t get the care and consideration they should.  And then those artists show up to see me about a scan and printing.  All good.  Well, all good until we get a look at the scan……..

Ummmm.....that's not okay

Messy eh?


Yes, before I actually scan the film I do blow it off with canned air at a distance.  And yes, I take a look at the film before scanning.  Usually when I look at the film I cringe, show the scratches to the artist in question, and tell them there will be some cleaning involved.  Normally they don’t cringe when they look at the film.  They know I can fix it all up for them.

So, what do you do?  Well, scan the piece in and assess the damage.  Once you stop sweating about the dust spotting you’re going to be doing you dive right in…….

Photoshop, the clone stamp tool, the patch tool, the healing brush, and the spot healing brush.  All favorite tools when it comes to fixing these blemishes.  And sure, it’s not rocket science but it is time consuming.

Today for instance I spent 45 minutes cleaning up the latest George Molnar scan.  Zoom in at 100 – 200% and start looking for junk on the image.  Remove and move on….repeat over and over again.  And when you’re done?  A great proof for your client.  🙂

There you have it.  Another part of the processing I do here to make amazing reproductions of amazing paintings!

Now if I could only get those “artists” to start taking care of their film!  Man, averaging $100 per shot you’d think they’d be stored away like gold!  And yes, I do scold painters every time I see brutalized films being brought it.  I guess they know I can deal with it, so no biggie (until they get the bill…….).  🙂

Leave a Reply