Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Single leaf x two, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.
I have had a few inquiries regarding the image on my blog yesterday of the spider plant. I will tell you a little about how I made it.

The other day I stumbled upon a scannography web site with some incredible imagery. Much to my delight, it was all done using a scanner. Now, as a graphic designer, I have a wonderful scanner. But I have only ever used it for scanning photos. And now that nearly all the photos are digital and no longer need scanning, my scanner has been collecting dust in the corner.

I have always known that you can place objects on the scanner but I never had much luck with that. I tried putting my jewelry on it but metal looks really terrible on a scanner. Too many reflections. You can see that in the bead work I have tried to scan. The colorful beads look fine but anything with any metallic sheen looks awful.

What I learned was that if you turn off all the lights in the studio and leave the cover of the scanner off, you can lay things on the scanner and get some really interesting effects. So I went all over the house, stealing leaves, both dead and alive from some of my houseplants. I got some interesting effects. On this one, I scanned in a leaf and then in Photoshop, duplicated the layer, flipped it and set it to multiply. Voila.

You can create many interesting effects this way. Some people even take the scanner outdoors and use the sky as a background instead of the darkness of a room. I think this has endless possibilities and am looking forward to trying other things with it.

Is it cheating? I guess so. But I take imagery where I can find it. Especially when it is too cold to go out with my camera.


Bobbie Casey said...

Years ago, using one of my first computers, I attached a modelof a scanner that was hand held. I started drawing with the lines of information I scanned, be it fabric or furniture or textural surfaces. It was wonderful and I miss it. Needless to say, new tech overtook that scanner.
I discovered so many ways to manipulate an image. I used Corel Painter and Corel Draw when they were in their infancy. Painter was owned by another company then.
I love your post because you took the time to explain several things to readers. You said it all very well. I appreciate that. Thank you.

KatieHanrahan said...

It's not cheating... it's art!

Robbie said...

Clever!! Just something else to try (in my spare time!). Thanks!! I did scan in some fruit for a class I was teaching on printing on fabric. i thought that was pretty cool but not exciting like your leaves!

Roberta Warshaw said...

I know, another endeavor to get lost in!