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Darth Paradox

[ website | Pyrlogos - a fantasy webcomic ]
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[Jun. 2nd, 2006|01:00 pm]
Darth Paradox
Can anyone recommend a large-format scanner to me? I can't find any commerically-available ones that exceed 8.5" wide, and I need at least 9" wide (and preferably more, in case I start working at 11x14). While I can try to scan things in pieces, I really consider it a suboptimal solution. I've found some in a price range of $2-3K, but I think that's a little much considering I can get an 8.5x11 scanner for under $100.

I know a lot of cartoonists work in a wider format. I can't be the only person who's had to deal with this. Or does everyone else just scan in pieces?
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: mizufae
2006-06-02 08:08 pm (UTC)
i am having the SAME problem, except that i want to scan in large sketches, or paintings, or collages. if you find and answer, dont forget to inform me!
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[User Picture]From: darthparadox
2006-06-02 09:21 pm (UTC)
Yep! Of course, I have an answer for you already if you've got a spare $2000 lying around.
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[User Picture]From: petie_s
2006-06-02 08:09 pm (UTC)
I can't remember the model number, but I had a Microtek legal pad scanner for the longest time. It was $150 at Office Depot a few years back.
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[User Picture]From: petie_s
2006-06-02 08:35 pm (UTC)
The Microktek ScanMaker 5950 is $199, according to Office Depot.
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[User Picture]From: nightsinger
2006-06-02 09:06 pm (UTC)
Legal pads are 8.5x14, though, no? :-/
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[User Picture]From: petie_s
2006-06-02 09:13 pm (UTC)
Ah, yeah, nothing 9" wide about that.
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[User Picture]From: darthparadox
2006-06-02 09:20 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I've seen those. My scanner actually has a surface more than 12" long, and appears to be capable of handling A4 paper. But the width is still a problem.
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[User Picture]From: inspectorzutto
2006-06-02 10:24 pm (UTC)
www.boltcity.com

Kazu Kibuishi has little online walk-through of his routine for drawing Copper. He draws that comic at humongous size -- and scans it in pieces on a 8.5x11" flatbed.

My guess is there are bigger scanners out there, but it's possible to do without. You might save yourself a prohibitive expense, depending.

I can get what I consider a lot of detail into my strips working at 10" x 6.25" and scanning/inking at 300 DPI. (I then shrink it to 800x500 pixels though.) It might be time to just play around some and see what space you're comfortable with. :)
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[User Picture]From: darthparadox
2006-06-02 11:14 pm (UTC)
Yeah, drawing comics in pieces isn't so bad. I've contemplated several different methods for my next comic - basically, my previous method, Howard Tayler's method, or Scott Kurtz's method. My previous method had the comic laid out on paper as it would be on the finished page, but without frames or word bubbles or anything. Howard actually creates the comic's layout in frames and text and prints it onto paper, then draws the art into the frames. Scott just draws a collection of figures, and then arranges them into the panels. I haven't quite decided what I'll do yet - it really depends on the art style (and really, complexity) that I end up using.

At the moment, though, I'm creating single full-page pictures on 9x12 pieces of bristol, which is where the trouble lies. Knitting them together is a pain, but it might indeed be better than spending a lot of money on a new scanner.
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[User Picture]From: inspectorzutto
2006-06-03 01:34 am (UTC)
K. Just to say it: as long as the hand drawing isn't TOO small, I can scale the image up or down in the PC because I ink it digitally. I only use the drawing to get the good drafting and construction that I can't do with the Wacom, and then ink in the PC for the resolution I want with very crisp edges. It's extra work, but it gets around this scale issue -- and the results are always proper print resolution and line quality.
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[User Picture]From: inspectorzutto
2006-06-03 01:34 am (UTC)
Also, what news of your next comic? :D
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[User Picture]From: darthparadox
2006-06-03 01:44 am (UTC)
Well, it's in the planning stages right now. Going to Balticon this weekend really reenergized me creatively... but on the other hand, if I start devoting time to the comic right now, the Scatterplot books will never get done. So, I'm constructing the world, and planning, but that's about it right now.

As for inking on the computer, how do you do it, exactly? I have trouble using my tablet for initial drawing, but then I've never really tried inking on the tablet over scanned pencils. And of course, I have trouble because if I zoom in close enough to be at the correct resolution for drawing, I don't have a good view of the big picture. That might be a problem with my graphics application, though - in that, when I'm zoomed out to 1:3 or 1:4, the program only lets me center my brush on every third or fourth pixel, and so the drawing gets increasingly jagged as I zoom out.
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[User Picture]From: inspectorzutto
2006-06-03 08:14 pm (UTC)
I rarely ink that far zoomed out. For me, inking is all about perfecting the results. Even though the input document is 3000x1875 pixels (and the output is 800x500), I only zoom out to 1:4 to get an adequate preview of the final product. Usually I ink at 1:1 or 2:1. That way I have the option to cram detail in every crevice.
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[User Picture]From: darthparadox
2006-06-03 08:44 pm (UTC)
Yeah, but then I have trouble doing the larger-scale work - like the line of someone's arm or shoulder or back, lines that are fairly long and continuous even in the smaller format.

We'll see. Maybe it's possible.
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[User Picture]From: captain_flannel
2006-06-03 03:14 am (UTC)
I use the photo merge feature in Photoshop CS and CS 2. I hate to have to scan in something more then twice.
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[User Picture]From: fiercekitty
2006-06-03 12:33 pm (UTC)
I would suggest calling a professor in the graphic design/advertising department at your local university/college.
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[User Picture]From: fiercekitty
2006-06-03 12:33 pm (UTC)
Also, they may be willing to let you come in to their lab and use their scanner for a donation to the university or something.
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[User Picture]From: fiercekitty
2006-06-03 12:33 pm (UTC)
Or if you offered to tutor a student. I'll stop posting now :)
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[User Picture]From: inspectorzutto
2006-06-03 01:54 pm (UTC)
Is a good point, though. The Duderstadt/Media Lab on UM North Campus has a large document scanner, for scanning huge old maps and things. Darthparadox, You can get permission to use it. But sadly, I know you're either leaving AA soon or already have, ja?
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[User Picture]From: darthparadox
2006-06-03 06:38 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I've been living in Seattle for the last 11 months. The day I came to pick up that t-shirt was one of my last days in town.
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[User Picture]From: inspectorzutto
2006-06-03 08:03 pm (UTC)
I knew I was going to stick my foot in my mouth on that one...
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[User Picture]From: darthparadox
2006-06-03 06:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that'd all be fantastic if I only had a few things to scan. But I'll be needing it on a pretty regular basis, so I'd really rather have it at hand. I have contemplated going and scanning things at Kinko's or something like that, in once-a-week batches, which would work if I'm working far enough ahead on my comic... all the same, that's vastly inconvenient. Thanks for the ideas, though.
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[User Picture]From: fiercekitty
2006-06-03 08:04 pm (UTC)
Ah I see. Then I am at a loss and suggest you just go for the $2000 large format scanner and revel in the quality of it.
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From: dacut
2006-06-08 04:14 pm (UTC)
Three alternatives that come to mind:

1. Kinko's. Not terribly great, though, if you have to do this on a regular basis.
2. eBay.
3. Create a rig to take a snapshot of the piece using a digital camera. We used this technique quite successfully -- with a standard camera exposing onto resist plates instead of film -- for drawing out microwave circuits back at Caltech.

The upside of #3 is you can play with the lighting to get different results. The downside of #3 is that playing with the lighting will give you different results.
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[User Picture]From: darthparadox
2006-06-08 05:28 pm (UTC)
I've contemplated 1 - there's a copy-shop-type place a few blocks from my apt. I intend to check out their rates, and maybe try taking stuff there on a weekly basis to scan (which I can do if I'm working far enough ahead on the comic) if it's cheaper enough than buying a scanner to justify the loss of convenience.
I don't trust computer stuff off of eBay. But maybe I can find a seller with a good rating. I'll look into it. I've contemplated craigslist too...
The problem with 3 is that I want to be able to scan a 9x12 piece at 600 DPI. So that would require me to take a 39 megapixel picture. I don't know if there are cameras that can do that, and if there are they'd be more expensive than a large-format scanner.
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From: dacut
2006-06-08 05:33 pm (UTC)
Hm. Yeah, 600 DPI and 39 megapixels makes #3 a bit more complicated. But not impossible! The rig would need to be able to move the camera along using stepper motors and stitch the final result together. Unfortunately, we're now talking about the same expense as getting an actual large-format scanner...

But it'd be fun! :-)
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[User Picture]From: darthparadox
2006-06-08 06:06 pm (UTC)
It would be fun if I had any clue what the hell I was doing. (Come to think of it, I need a Mindstorms set.)

Anyway, I've placed a bid on a good-looking candidate on eBay. So we'll see how that pans out.
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