Large Artifacts

Type of Artifact

Examples:

  • Painting
  • Poster
  • Furniture
  • Other

Mandatory

  1. Black or neutral grey background
  2. Artifact catalogue number
  3. Colour or white-grey-black scale
  4. Artifact placed straight
  5. Ensure that the catalogue number and scale can be excluded if necessary
  6. Ensure uniform lighting and background

Procedures

  • Shoot the object from above, stabilizing the camera on a solid structure, such as scaffolding or tripod.
  • To avoid distortion of the object, the back of the digital camera must be level and precisely parallel (180┬░ angle) to the artifact.
  • A painting or piece of furniture can also be placed so that the corners are 90┬░ to the camera's viewfinder.
  • Additional views are acceptable. For views of details, since framing of the image is restricted, inclusion of a colour scale is not required.
  • Use a digital camera capable of capturing a minimum of 3,000 pixels for the longest measurement (8 x 10, 300 ppi), in either RAW or TIFF.
  • Use a regular lens.

Recommendations

In the Studio

  • At the beginning of each session with new lighting, adjust the camera's white balance and for reference purposes, photograph a Kodak Q-14 colour scale.
  • Import the image into image-processing software (e.g., Photoshop┬«) and adjust the "levels" on the colour scale with the points of reference as indicated in the general guidelines.
  • Save the data in ALV format, since this information will apply to all photos taken during the same photography session.

Taking the Picture

  • Place the colour scale (showing measurements) at the foot of the artifact. Save space on the lower right to record the artifact's catalogue number.
  • Photograph twice with the scale: one front view and one back view and, if necessary, one or two views of details.
Colour photo of a wooden piece of furniture with drawers and cupboards, with catalogue number 78-409 on a grey background.
CD2005-0767-D2005-10447
Front View
Colour photo of a wooden piece of furniture, viewed from behind, with catalogue number 78-409 on a grey background.
CD2005-0767-D2005-10448
Back view

At the Computer - Image-Processing Software

  • Apply the ALV information to all images within the same studio session.
  • Works well for batch digitization and improves productivity, but does not offer optimal rendering of individual images.
  • With the help of the image-processing software, rework the photo by copying and expanding the black or neutral grey background to fill the canvas evenly.
    Initial view of a wooden canoe with partial neutral background.
    CD2005-0771-D2005-08312
    Initial view
    Final view of a wooden canoe with neutral grey background, with catalogue number III-X-141 on a grey background.
    CD2005-0771-D2005-08313
  • Type the artifact's catalogue number in the lower right - in white if the background is black, and in black if the background is neutral grey (font: Arial, 40 pts.).
  • Flatten the image (i.e., flatten layers).
  • Convert in Adobe RGB 1998 profile, 8 bits per channel (total 24 bits).
  • Save the image as an uncompressed TIFF, named to standards established by the Corporation's Photo Archives.
  • Produce a JPEG version as described in the general guidelines.

Contact information for this web page

This resource was published by the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN). For comments or questions regarding this content, please contact CHIN directly. To find other online resources for museum professionals, visit the CHIN homepage or the Museology and conservation topic page on Canada.ca.

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