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Photographing sketches

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#1 hbanich

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:36 PM

I've scanned my sketches for years but now I'm trying to photograph them to better capture the dynamic range of what I've drawn. I'm encouraged with how well this is working but I have one problem that so far I haven't figured out - hopefully someone here can steer me in the right direction.

The problem is that photos of my sketches end up having uneven lighting - one side or corner of the sketch will come out lighter than the other. I've surrounded my sketch with lights but the problem isn't completely eliminated.

I know the actual sketches aren’t the problem because scans of the same sketches have nice, even lighting.

The unevenness really shows when I invert the photo, and looks terrible. I can process some of it out but the final result is still so-so. I'd rather start with high quality photos of my sketches before processing them to better simulate what I've seen. Has anyone had this problem and figured out how to solve it?

#2 Chopin

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:31 PM

Howard, funny, I've been unhappy with the lack of dynamic range in my scans, and figured photographing them would be a great alternative. Before trying to remedy your problem I'll ask a few questions. What camera? Are you using flash? What lens, or if it's a compact camera what zoom setting?

I'm envisioning a setup for myself that includes a soft box with a vertical clipboard against the rear inner wall, and a tripod mounted dslr with a 200mm lens. No flash.

#3 Andrev

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:47 PM

Hi.

As for me, I'm taking photos of my sun sketches at daylight and outside with no direct sun light on them.

Andre.

#4 hbanich

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:38 AM

Howard, funny, I've been unhappy with the lack of dynamic range in my scans, and figured photographing them would be a great alternative. Before trying to remedy your problem I'll ask a few questions. What camera? Are you using flash? What lens, or if it's a compact camera what zoom setting?

I'm envisioning a setup for myself that includes a soft box with a vertical clipboard against the rear inner wall, and a tripod mounted dslr with a 200mm lens. No flash.


I'm using a Canon EOS Rebel T2i DSLR with a 18-55mm lens, no flash. I've tried using a single CFL light bulb 18 inches directly above the sketch, two on either side of of the sketch at the same distance, ambient room light and filtered sunlight through a window. They all leave a lighting gradient.

I think making a light box that has small bulbs around the perimeter might be my next step...

#5 PeterDob

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:43 AM

I've always taken pictures of my drawings, exactly because a scan will render a "flat" and monotone background. Actually, I believe the uneven lighting of a photo creates a more realistic drawing, so if I were you I'd exploit this rather than trying to solve it. If you look at my drawings they all have darker and brighter corners, just like I also perceive at the eyepiece. Well... this is of course my personal opinion. You can't say "right" or "wrong" when talking about beauty... :D

Peter

#6 Erix

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:41 PM

I prefer my lunar and solar sketches to be photographed as well. I do scan DSO sketches, though.

I struggle with the unevenness as well. The best way I've found to minimize it is to photograph my sketch in a bright diffuse natural light, such as inside near a window but without the direct sunlight shining on it. I see that you've already tried that method, though, so am sorry I don't anything better to suggest. :crazy:

#7 azure1961p

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 06:32 PM

For me daylight is by far the best lighting source. Indirect lighting however is also good indoors . Make sure you use full spectrum bulbs. Ill tell you my published drawings look AWFUL compared to the finished pieces. I haven't yet found a suitable way of reproducing it well online. My iPhone is about as good as my dslr and that's just wrong.

I lose a lot of finesse in the reduced drawings. I'm still bugged by that.

Pete

#8 Erix

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 06:50 PM

When using black paper, though, sunlight at certain angles can highlight the paper's tooth, creating a shimmer of light across the black paper when photographed. It's been the bane of tutorials that I've done for solar sketching. So exasperating when you take the time to photograph sketch sequences live at the eyepiece only to discover after the fact that they're useless because of the lighted shimmer.

#9 hbanich

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:30 PM

For me daylight is by far the best lighting source. Indirect lighting however is also good indoors . Make sure you use full spectrum bulbs. Ill tell you my published drawings look AWFUL compared to the finished pieces. I haven't yet found a suitable way of reproducing it well online. My iPhone is about as good as my dslr and that's just wrong.

I lose a lot of finesse in the reduced drawings. I'm still bugged by that.

Pete


Ful spectrum bulbs sound good - I was just starting to think about getting some to make a light box, thanks Pete!






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