The question has been asked a lot lately here at OC Designer Source, as we’ve been bringing quite a few new artists on board. “What’s the scoop on digital imaging?”
Please excuse my use of technical jargon, I have tried to break this complex subject down as simply as I can. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments and I will be more than happy to respond with an answer for you.
First of all, in case you’re unfamiliar with the term, digital imaging is capturing a physical painting or work of art to a high resolution digital format (usually a TIFF file), from which you will be able to reproduce that painting as a print. It’s the bridge between an artist painting something, and then being able to make large prints of their work to sell. Basically, if you are an artist hoping to break into the licensing industry, you will need to have your work digitally imaged before anyone can reproduce it or sell it.
There are essentially two methods of digitally imaging a painting. You can either take your paintings to a professional art scanner, or to a professional photographer who does digital imaging. They have the special equipment that allows them to capture your work at an extremely high dpi (dots per inch – 300+ dpi) and size. This high resolution file is necessary in order for the reproductions of your work to look good.
Images taken with 8 MP point and click cameras are not a high enough resolution. They typically take photos at a resolution of 270 dpi (3669 x 2446 pixels.) This would be large enough to reproduce a high quality 8 x 10 print, but would become pixelated as it gets larger. To put this into perspective, a decent sized web photo is usually 72 dpi (750 x 750 pixels.)
In this way, a photographer who sells his photos is lucky – he never has to have his work digitally imaged because every photograph he takes is the file that is used to create the image. But artists and painters who hope to reproduce their work will need to have their work digitally imaged, and the cost for that is always the responsibility of the artist.