It may be the future of reproducing original paintings; new 3D technology could change the way we look at prints forever.

3D technology enables reproductions to completely replicate originals

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Currently not available in the mass market, the scanning technology was devised by Dutch researcher Tim Zaman, who uses a specialised scanning system to capture 3D images at a high resolution. Canon OCE group printers then use a data-to-print process to reproduce the painting meticulously, including all 3D textural elements.

The scanning

During the scanning process paintings are scanned using a hybrid system which utilises two cameras in addition to fringe projections. This allows for speed and detail at an unprecedented level and means it captures 40 million full-colour 3D points on every shot. When this data is viewed on a computer up close, the topography of paintings is so precise and so multiplied that it looks like shots of a planet such as Mars.

The printing

Printing is then done on one of Canon’s OCE group printers which produce meticulously precise copies of the data. Most importantly, the printing process includes the textural build-up of paint from brushstrokes. This makes it a great choice for the reproduction of painters who used texture heavily in their paintings such as Van Gogh. One day the technology may be able to reproduce at a mass level, creating absolutely perfect reproductions, at a low cost.

3D technology enables reproductions to completely replicate originals2

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Problems with 3D technology

The ability to reproduce paintings to such as unbelievably accurate level does raise the question of how easily fakes can be made and then sold fraudulently. It may also be a costly option that isn’t ready for a long time, leaving plenty of room in the market for current top quality options such as Giclee printing services, like those from http://www.river-studio.com/fine-art-printing/fine-art-giclee-printing.php.

Giclee prints are still likely to be the most popular choice for quality reproductions for some years yet, although this new technology may eventually be taken on by online print services so that it becomes available to all. The texture of certain paintings has for some, always been at the heart and passion of a painting, and when this is lost in reproduction, for some art lovers, the soul of the painting is missing, making this new technology an incredibly exciting proposition. The worries of fakes and forgeries, however, will also loom over its development.