How to digitize artwork for printing as a Giclee print like a boss

As an artist, you may want to create a giclee print of your work. A giclee print is a high-quality reproduction of original artwork, often used for fine art and photography.

Digitizing artwork can be done using various methods but for this post, I will cover the two that I use. Scanning and photographing the artwork.

Scanning artwork

Scanning artwork is the process of using a scanner to capture an image of the artwork which is then saved as a digital file.

This is often the preferred method for digitizing artwork as it captures a high-quality image that can be easily edited if needed.

To scan your artwork for a Giclee print, you will need a scanner and some form of computer software such as Photoshop or Gimp (I use Gimp as it’s free and I’m cheap).

Once you have your artwork set up on the scanner, you will need to adjust the settings to ensure that you are scanning at a high enough resolution.

I recommend scanning at 300dpi (dots per inch) or higher.

The scanning process may take some time depending on the quality of your scanner and the size of your artwork. Be patient and take your time to get a high-quality scan.

I have a post that covers the best scanners for artwork if you wish to see some recommendations.

What if your artwork is larger than your scanner?

No problem! You can stitch together multiple scans in Photoshop or Gimp to create one large image. I have found a tutorial on YouTube that will show you how.

How to flawlessly stitch multiple images

Once you have scanned your artwork, you can open it in your chosen software program and make any necessary edits such as color correction, brightness, etc

Photographing artwork

Photographing artwork is another option, although you will need to be sure to use a high-quality camera and take care to avoid any glare or reflections.

Once you have your image file, you can save it in a variety of formats such as tiff, jpg, or png. I recommend saving in a lossless format such as tiff to avoid any degradation of quality.

If you want to learn more on how to photograph artwork I have an article right here.

Now that you have your artwork digitized, you are ready to correct any colors, contrast or lighting before you print it as a Giclee!

Choose the right software to correct digital scans

When learning how to digitize artwork for printing as a giclee print the first thing you need after scanning is to get access to image editing software. Most scanners come with access to simple image editing software.

While this software is usually ok for everyday purposes, you’ll need to use something a little better to perform image corrections for Giclee printing. Specialized software will maintain the quality of your artwork scan. I recommend using Gimp or Adobe Photoshop for this purpose.

Crop and resize the image as needed

The next thing you need to do is to crop and resize the image. For example, if your artwork is 8″x10″, but you want to print it as a 5″x7″, then you’ll need to crop the image down and resize it accordingly.

You can easily do this in Gimp or Photoshop but be sure to save or export the image as a high quality image file format such as TIFF or PNG.

JPG files are great for the web as they are small in size and load fast but for Giclee printing, we want the image format that will not lose quality and these tend to be large files.

TIFF and PNG formats will maintain the quality of your scan and ensure that the colors are reproduced accurately when printed.

Now it’s time to correct any color mistakes.

Correct colors, brightness, and other quality issues

Once you have digitized your artwork, you’ll need to make sure that any color mistakes, brightness, or other issues are corrected. Adobe Photoshop is a great tool for this purpose.

Why do you want to make color corrections?

Color corrections ensure that your Giclee print will look as close to the original artwork as possible. Colors may appear different on your computer screen than they do when printed, so it’s important to make any necessary adjustments before sending your file to the printer.

How do you make color corrections?

There are a few different ways to make color corrections in Photoshop or Gimp. You can use the Levels tool to adjust the brightness and contrast of an image, or the Hue/Saturation tool to adjust the colors. I actually like to use Adobe Lightroom for this as I can run the images through some predefined filters which saves me time.

Adjust the contrast if needed

You can use the Levels tool to make global adjustments to the contrast of an image. To do this, open your image in Photoshop or Gimp.

In the Levels dialog box, you’ll see a histogram of the image’s tonal range. The left side of the histogram represents the shadows, the middle represents the midtones, and the right side represents the highlights.

To increase the contrast, drag the black triangle on the left toward the center of the graph until it reaches the point where there is a noticeable change in tone. Then, drag the white triangle on the right toward the center until there is also a noticeable change in tone.

You can also adjust individual colors by selecting them from the drop-down menu at the top of the Levels dialog box.

If you’re not happy with the results, you can always undo your changes by pressing Control + Z (PC) or Command + Z (Mac).

When you’re finished, click OK to close the dialog box.

Basic color correction with gimp

Once you’re happy with how your image looks, save it again in a high quality format such as TIFF or PNG.

These formats will maintain the quality of your scan and ensure that the colors are reproduced accurately when printed as a Giclee print.

Now you are ready to send your fresh digitized artwork for printing to the giclee printer.

What are not high-quality image formats for printing as a Giclee?

JPEGs are not high-quality image formats for printing as a Giclee. This is because JPEGs are compressed file formats that lose detail and quality when saved at a lower quality setting.

When printed, this loss of detail and quality will be evident in the print. To avoid this, save your scan in a TIFF or PNG format instead.

Remember, when digitizing artwork for printing as a Giclee print

When learning how to digitize artwork for printing, remember the 3 main rules:

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