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Accurately reproducing art is highly technical and requires specialized equipment, software and expertise to perform properly. Digital sensors, film and the human eye "see" differently, each having a different response to the spectrum of light. Moreover, the light used to illuminate art during capture has an impact on how color is rendered.

 

As a result, any art reproduction system that does not take into consideration the spectral responses of the camera, lights and spectral reflectivity of the art work itself cannot be assured of best capturing – and later reproducing – the colors and color relationships of the original.

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The art capture workflow I employ is the same technology used in producing the Archival Replicas for the Ansel Adams gallery, where the requirements for matching the tonality and subtle color of Ansel Adams' original prints is of the utmost importance.

The process begins by characterizing the spectral response of the sensor being used for the capture. In order for color to be accurately captured you first must know how your capture device "sees" color.

 

Next, the spectrum of the lighting used to illuminate the art must be fully known. Different light sources have different spectra and only by knowing the characteristics of the light used can accurate calculations for color reproduction be made. 

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Lighting is also balanced and corrected for lens fall-off.

Finally, measurements are made of the spectral reflectances of the actual pigments used in the art. This involves using a spectrophotometer to measure precisely which wavelengths of light are reflected by the art itself.

 

With the characterizations of both the camera and lights – plus the spectral reflectance of the artwork – specialized art reproduction software can now be used to calculate and render the colors of the original as accurately as possible and in the correct relationship to one another, resulting in the most accurate digital reproduction possible.