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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Vision To Visuals: Preserving Image Quality

Staying true to the originals through successive generations or reproduction

It helped to know in advance that Rassin wanted to use the photographs of his paintings in multiple applications—a book, a website and a fabric reproduction. So being able to prepare the files for a true-to-the-original output on varying media required our image engineers to analyze every inch of the final file for any detail or color inaccuracies.

We often contend with a low-quality image that our clients bring us because pixels in their files just “fill in the gaps” of lost highlights, which occurs as a result of poor capturing systems. Our new Digital Capture System (DCS) removes this problem by allowing us to control the quality of an original through every digital iteration of the image. We’ve designed our entire process chain at Duggal around all potential errors by connecting original capture to the final print in a single seamless process.

From the time of the capture of Rassin’s works, to the layout, color matching, proofing, printing and binding, my team took less than a week. Moreover, we were asked to make a last-minute change as a result of a budget restraint less than 24 hours before the exhibit was supposed to open, so the images had to be reduced in size and laid out again to accommodate two images per page. My team met this difficult deadline by working overnight and printing, collating and saddle-stitching through the night to meet the unexpected time frame.

Although we’ve been able to offer in-house fine-art reproduction services for many years through our high-end scanning and capture systems, our mobile fine-art studio with Broncolor lighting systems and Hasselblad cameras is the first-ever door-to-door service for museums, galleries and production houses that are constrained by high insurance costs and risks associated with transporting delicate works of art. I’m proud to have created this service for artists like Laurance Rassin to give them the choice of being able to preserve their works in the most life-like, accurate forms as possible. With a small footprint, our Digital Capture System’s portability also means that any technical data or notes can be added per image to ensure an accurate back-read to conversion and postprocessing in real time. The color temperature easily can be adjusted for accuracy based on the specific lighting circumstances and environment of the location. The color accuracy of this lighting system is second to none—giving us totally smooth coverage of the art without obvious light transitions. The neutral-gray zone—or white balance—easily is set for daylight-capture viewing with the on-board digital controller on the packs themselves, regardless of what ambient light system is installed at the location. This is one of the key elements in this lighting system for accuracy. Due to the ease of use and the invisible sophistication of this system working in the background, it’s possible to shoot blind, convert the files to usable content and burn a disk, all on location without any postshoot processing, saving time and money compared to other systems on the market.

As Laurance Rassin prepares for his historic flight into space, I’m proud to say that we’re also able to challenge the science behind printing by capturing images at the molecular level—the nanoscale on which the world of today operates.


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