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Solutions for Flat Artwork


Art Reproduction and other forms of flat artwork digitization is especially demanding. The range of materials is large: everything from paintings, sketches, and manuscripts to letters, musical scores, and postcards. The requirements for color accuracy are extremely stringent, and the material itself can be priceless. This requires a solution that delivers conservation handling, preservation image quality, production speed, and extensive flexibility. DTDCH has several systems that meet these demands and are ideal for digitizing flat artwork.

The Morgan Library & Museum, New York. Mary Flagler Cary Music Collection. 



Conservation Handling


Priceless flat artwork requires careful handling to ensure the process of digitization does not degrade their condition. This is especially important for drawings made with delicate media, paintings already in degraded condition, and items of priceless value. Each of our systems provides a range of handling options to put the operator in control of the material, ensuring their safety.

Copy Stand vs Easels

Laying fine art such as a painting on a copy stand provides a rapid and simple way to ensure planarity to the camera, even focus, and controlled repeatable lighting. The DT Element (with hard top in place) and DT Element provide an excellent matte black working surface for a variety of flat artwork sized 30” x 40” or less.

There are circumstances where it is beneficial to capture flat artwork vertically. For these situations there are wall mounted and free standing easels and easel type devices that can hold artwork in place during digitization. These options include vacuum boards, magnetic boards, and systems that use positionable clamps or clips to hold the artwork in place.  When using such devices we recommend that a DT RCam or Phase One XF camera body is placed on a tripod. For added versatility, the camera can be rotated 90° within the copy stand mount on the DT Element or DT Versa so the vertical movement of the column can be used for stitching.

The Morgan Library & Museum. RvR 53. Photography by Graham S. Haber

Preservation Quality

DTDCH solutions exceed FADGI 4-Star and Metamorfoze-Strict standards. At the heart of all of our systems is a Phase One digital back that provides up to 100mp of resolution at 16 bits of color depth. Coupled with illumination with high spectral qualities, high resolution lenses, and ultra-low vibration shutters this results in true Preservation Digital Objects with accurate color, tone, and detail. Many manufacturers claim their equipment attains FADGI 4-star or ISO ISO 19264-1 A-class quality, but very few others do. Leveraging Phase One’s raw processing with its class-leading debayering algorithm DTDCH solutions extract pixel level detail and color accuracy previously only seen in cumbersome multi-shot systems.

Color is often especially important when it comes to fine art reproduction. Capture One Cultural Heritage Edition comes with a set of diligently measured, created, and validated ICC color profiles for each DTDCH camera lighting configuration. We also support the use of third party profiles created by software such as BasICColor or Profile Maker. In addition, Capture One CH 10 provides a tool called Color Editor that allows customization of the color profile within Capture One so that the resulting edits can be batch applied, thereby saving time on post-production as no more fine-tuning each image in Photoshop is required. Resolution is also very important to the accurate reproduction of fine art. On the DT Versa, DT Element, and DT Atom XY stitching can provide any resolution for any size material. For oversized artwork this is invaluable for creating immersive Preservation Digital Objects or high quality reproductions. For instance, an easy four-position stitch provides a 50” x 70” file at 240ppi. Leveraging the raw processing in Capture One Cultural Heritage Edition software, and its class-leading debayering algorithm DTDCH solutions extract pixel level detail and color accuracy previously only seen in cumbersome multi-shot systems.

Production Speed


In some flat art reproduction applications the speed of capture is not critical. For example, when digitizing large paintings on canvases the time to handle the artwork will greatly exceed the capture time. In other types of flat art reproduction such as a large collection of sketches on paper production speed is critical – both during capture and post-processing. DTDCH solutions are able to deliver unsurpassed speed in both categories.

Capture Stage

Our systems capture in a fraction of a second and display almost immediately. Therefore the capture rate is limited only by the condition of the material and how quickly it can be handled. When capturing a large collection of sketches on paper, for instance, it is reasonable to expect capture rates of over 1000 items per hour.

Using the Multi Crop tool in Capture One CH can increase productivity even further. A project to digitize a large collection of hand drawn postcards in good physical condition could capture multiple cards per frame, increasing capture rates to over 3000 items per hour.

Post-Processing Stage

DTDCH offers two excellent post processing suites.

Capture One CH is a modern solution built on the venerable and widely used Capture One software. It is designed for cultural heritage workflows, supports all modern operating systems, is frequently updated, and can handle massive numbers of files with ease. Checking focus, zooming in on high resolution images, and scrolling through pages for quality control is lightning fast. Capture One CH is ideal for art reproduction and features tools such as Autocrop and AutoDeskew, Multi Crop, LAB Support, Resolution Ruler, Batch Processing, as well as Raw-Stage Quality Control. These tools enable the automation of tedious post-production tasks that are inherent to the post-processing stage of art reproduction. The included Cultural Heritage ICC color profiles also greatly cut down post-processing time by providing excellent color accuracy without the need for time consuming and error prone in-situ profiling. The included Color Editor provides rapid fine tuning of color as needed at the raw stage.

The Morgan Library & Museum. Photography by Graham S. Haber

Extensive Flexibility


The encyclopedic collections of cultural heritage institutions are rarely homogenous. Our systems are versatile, interoperable, and modularly upgradeable to ensure you’re not stuck with a limited tool box. They are also flexible in their use, allowing techniques that are impossible on competing systems.

Interoperable and Modularly Upgradable

Our solutions for digitizing flat art comprise either an all-in-one format or a modular format. Our modular systems include a reprographic system (such as the DT Element, or DT Versa or DT Atom), a capture head (such as the DT RCam), and lighting. Each of these components can be purchased and upgraded separately. For instance, an institution that purchased a [DT Element & DT RCam] for flat art reproduction would only need to add the DT Film Scanning Kit to scan an encyclopedic transmissive collection. Likewise, an institution that purchases a [DT Versa & DT Rcam] for book scanning already has everything they need to begin scanning flat art.  

Creative Lighting

Most of the time Cultural Heritage imaging is done with very flat proscriptive lighting, typically two lights mounted 45° from the subject. However,  there are situations where more creative lighting is required, for instance, to rake light across an embossed cover to enhance the dimensionality of the embossing. DTDCH systems can provide this creative lighting. With the DT Versa and DT Element the lights are always on light stands and can be easily raised or lowered without limitations. With the DT Atom the DT Photon lights can be removed from the fixed arms and placed on stands in any position. 

The Morgan Library & Museum, New York. Mary Flagler Cary Music Collection. 


The DT VERSA is a multi-role copy stand that allows the digitization of many different types of material sizes. From books (using the glass top plate), film (partnered with DT FSK), loose manuscripts and flat art. The DT VERSA is a fast and versatile digitizing machine that is a great compliment to any institutions preservation needs.


Legacy copy stands were designed to meet the relatively loose precision required for film capture. The DT ELEMENT Reprographic System was built from the ground up for the era of digital capture.


This is the Cultural Heritage industry’s first 40” x 60” digitization system that features the same level of precision, robustness, and workflow integration as the rest of DT’s product line.

Have more questions about our solutions or looking for something more custom?