When reproducing artwork, whether 2D (paintings, drawings, illustrations) or 3D (ceramics, sculpture) the objective is always the same—to faithfully reproduce the artist’s intent.
This image, a photograph of the sculpture Inverted Collector, by artist Miriam Ellen Ewers, was needed for a gallery exhibition in Amsterdam. In lieu of displaying the actual sculpture, the photograph of the sculpture was exhibited instead.
Getting To Exhibition Quality
Three things needed to be done to get the photograph to exhibition quality. The first, and most obvious problem, was the severe color-cast. The second task was to eliminate the distracting elements in the background, as indicated on the “Before” image. Finally, the sculpture needed to be re-lit. The available light in the gallery, under which the image was captured, did not sufficiently showcase the piece. The contrast and tonal range needed improvement to describe the shape and form of the sculpture.
The imaging work to perform these three tasks was fairly involved. Nine adjustments layers, most with selective masking, were created in Photoshop to accomplish the color correction, contrast, and lighting modifications.
The retouching done to remove the lines in the ceiling, frames on the wall, and the imperfection in the floor was not especially difficult, but it did require a fair amount of time and attention to detail. Ensuring the retouching was invisible to the eye was my goal, making the time and effort well spent. The “After” image, below, represents the piece in a commanding way, worthy of display in an Amsterdam art gallery.
The Good News, Color Can Always Be Improved
Should you find yourself in a similar situation, with a photograph that has severely compromised color, the good news is color can always be improved. When the starting point is a good capture in terms of resolution, sharpness, and composition, then the color-balance, exposure, and lighting can always be refined. That is, when the image is in the hands of a skilled Photoshop Specialist. (Okay, a little shameless self-promotion tooting my own horn; but color is my speciality. :-)
Artistic and Technical
Art reproduction done well, is the intersection of artistic and technical skills. The measure of success is whether or not the reproduction is flawless and communications the artist’s vision. The Photographer and Digital Imaging Specialist must be mindful of the fact that each color in a piece of art is not by happenstance, but rather, a deliberate statement by the artist. In addition, when reproducing three dimensional artwork, an understanding and command of lighting, along with a keen eye for composition, is essential.
The process of art reproduction is highly technical requiring expertise in photography, lighting, color management, color evaluation, color correction, digital imaging, and printing. Nevertheless, when done to the highest standards, the benefits are tremendous. We, the viewing public, Art Lovers everywhere, are given the opportunity to enjoy and experience artwork as the artist intended.
Publishers & Artists
If you are a publisher of art books or art catalogs, an editor of an art-focused magazine, or an artist needing unrivaled reproductions of your work, ChromaQueen can help. See the “ChromaQueen, lets talk” contact links below to get started.
More Before & After Fine Art Examples
Be sure to visit the Art Reproduction portfolio gallery to see more Before & After examples of fine art reproductions.
About the Artist
To see more sculptures by Miriam Ellen Ewers, visit her site at MiriamEllenEwers.com
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Tags: art reproduction, color correction, photo editing, retouching