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Author Topic: The x-y Easel - stepping easel for art repro  (Read 31250 times)

John Nollendorfs

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Re: My x-y easel - stepping easel for art repro
« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2014, 12:31:13 pm »

Ted:
I have a Foba camera stand. Works great for up & down movements. The cross arm also has good range, but you have to make sure it's parallel to the wall. I like to have my lights at least 6' away from the art. Move them up and down to sync with camera if it's a large piece of art.
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Some Guy

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Re: My x-y easel - stepping easel for art repro
« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2014, 02:17:32 pm »

I wonder about using some LED light panel maybe with a shoot-through hole in the middle (Like a beauty dish.) and moving it in conjunction with the camera on a rail (or pipe track laid out on the on the floor)?  Maybe two panels with LED wings on both sides of the lens?

I just did a UPS freight calculation on shipping a canvas-wrap of 10 feet long by 3 feet tall wall mount (40 pounds) and it ran about $490 one-way with UPS freight, then another $490 to get it back.  Don't know, but $1,000 for a photo of it seems a lot even without the photographer's charge.  I'd rather them to shoot it on the wall than deal with shipping the thing.  Would probably be less too and less damage may occur that way.  Trying to get it into a boxed/fitting crate is another matter.
 
Seems easier to have someone shoot it on location with some sort of camera and light moving gear.  Maybe even a shift lens would suffice.

SG
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John Nollendorfs

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Re: My x-y easel - stepping easel for art repro
« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2014, 04:36:12 pm »

SG:
Obviously you haven't done much copying. To have the light source so close to the lens, you are asking for a lot of reflection problems. Yes, you could couple the lights to the camera, but you should have them at least 45 degrees off lens axis, the further from the art, the less likely the reflection problems.
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teddillard

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Re: My x-y easel - stepping easel for art repro
« Reply #23 on: August 27, 2014, 05:20:03 pm »

Well, John - there you went and put your finger on it, however maybe unintentionally.  It's all about the lighting, and traditional "copy" lighting, though always what we were taught, is just not the best.  You've got to consider the art as a 3D subject like anything else, and light it accordingly.  Back in the days of film, we didn't have much choice but to shoot that way, and it was the only way to get even coverage of a big, mostly flat field, but digital photography allows us to take small samples, lit precisely, and apply that lighting evenly across the field of the subject.  

And that's where the x-y easel comes in, along with stitching and field-evening software.  

I've written a bunch about it, which you can read here - this is a good introduction with some samples: http://teddillard.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/lighting-in-the-artists-studio-fine-art-reproduction-as-photography/  

But the whole mess is here: http://teddillard.wordpress.com/category/fine-art-reproduction/

Probably the best place to start is here: http://teddillard.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/on-fine-art-reproduction-or-youre-doing-it-wrong-part-1/
« Last Edit: August 27, 2014, 05:22:21 pm by teddillard »
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Ted Dillard

Some Guy

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Re: My x-y easel - stepping easel for art repro
« Reply #24 on: August 27, 2014, 05:32:02 pm »

SG:
Obviously you haven't done much copying. To have the light source so close to the lens, you are asking for a lot of reflection problems. Yes, you could couple the lights to the camera, but you should have them at least 45 degrees off lens axis, the further from the art, the less likely the reflection problems.

Irrelevant argument as to Ted's idea of "Moving the art to the fixed camera," verses the opposite of "Moving the camera to the art."  Who is going to submit "wall art" to a guy with a camera and pay all the freight costs to do so verses someone who can do it on location?  Think of cinema:  Actors can remain on the stage set while the camera boom moves around them, even if it has lights on it as well.

Having used old copy stands with 10" polarizers over the lamps and lens, it's not a problem moving the work under the fixed camera and lights on the table, be it lights on two or four on goose-necks.  Exposure is already set.  Simple snap-and-go.  One could do it with bat-wing LED panels as well.  Most pro camera shops already have that same setup.

However, having a customer take something large, and possibly costly off their wall, pay the high shipping costs and insurance and allowances for breakage, makes it a bigger problem than having someone shoot it on location and not bother the art at all.  Think of shooting art in a gallery.  I doubt if the Huntington Gallery in LA will ship you their "Blue Boy" painting, against them allowing you to shoot it on location.

Hollywood long ago figured it was easier to move the camera than the mountain.

SG
« Last Edit: August 27, 2014, 05:40:52 pm by Some Guy »
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teddillard

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Re: My x-y easel - stepping easel for art repro
« Reply #25 on: August 27, 2014, 08:17:46 pm »

Just to clarify, the whole idea is based around shooting on location, not shipping the work to the photographer.  The latest design is only 40lbs, and folds to 26x26x6".  No tracks, no sets, no rigs, just the easel, a tripod and your lights.  Because I'm shooting a small 16x20 frame, the lights at most amount to 2 or 3.  I carry the whole thing in a compact sedan with a fold-down rear seat.

Take a look at my links regarding your lighting ideas.  I just don't see it as the way to light the work.

As far as moving "the mountain", I can't figure that something mounted on a wall can be that difficult to take off the wall, except in some very unusual circumstances.  Certainly not to the point of justifying building an entire movable set...  for only one painting.   ::)
« Last Edit: August 27, 2014, 08:22:20 pm by teddillard »
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Ted Dillard

JohnAONeill

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Re: My x-y easel - stepping easel for art repro
« Reply #26 on: September 24, 2014, 04:14:02 pm »

Thats amazing! You actualy just build a design that's been in my head for the last year:-)  :P
I do a lot of this sort of work and this does seem to address a very specific issue. I also thought about a wall mounted version that would keep the artwork parallel to the sensor plane.

Nice build!

John
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teddillard

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Re: My x-y easel - stepping easel for art repro
« Reply #27 on: February 27, 2016, 06:37:13 am »

Thanks John! 

Funny thing, the interwebs...  In the last two weeks I got two emails asking about this.  Here's a little update. 

I've refined the "Basic" design a little, with better wheels.  The wheels mount on the sides, so they don't interfere with the folding, and one has a light brake on it to keep the thing from rolling unintentionally.  I added some updated photos here: https://xyeasel.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/the-x-y-basic/

The "Servo" model still doesn't have programmable automatic controls, but it does have remote control of both axes now.  I'm absolutely totally spoiled by that.  I use it almost every day in the studio, and being able to position the easel and painting while peering through the camera?  Just awesome.  Right now it's a key-fob control, but I'm working on a joystick.  Because, you know.  Joystick. 

There's video of that in use here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TKmXbjIO5M

The Basic is about 95% of where I want it to be to go into any sort of limited production, and I did end up selling the prototype to a photographer who was very eager to use it...  This gives me a chance to get some feedback on the design, from someone other than myself.  :D 

Stay tuned, I'll update as we go.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2016, 06:44:06 am by teddillard »
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Ted Dillard

AFairley

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Re: My x-y easel - stepping easel for art repro
« Reply #28 on: February 28, 2016, 01:03:03 pm »

Ted, I think the idea would be to light only the portion of the artwork covered by a single shot (well, there would be some spillover to ensure even coverage).  This would be closer to a copy stand flavor of lighting, of course.
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teddillard

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Re: My x-y easel - stepping easel for art repro
« Reply #29 on: March 02, 2016, 07:06:15 am »

Um, sorry, I'm not getting your point.   (Didn't I say that?  Oh yes, on my OP: "The short pitch is, by virtue of the camera remaining static, focused on a fixed frame, and the subject moving through that frame, that frame is the only area you need to light."   ;) )

Yes, of course you're only lighting the area covered by the shot, that's the basic idea that makes this such a powerful tool.  ...but copy stand shooting?   :o
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Ted Dillard

teddillard

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Re: My x-y easel - stepping easel for art repro
« Reply #30 on: March 27, 2016, 07:42:08 am »

Push came to shove and I just put in orders for parts for the v2.0 easels - both the Basic and now what I'm calling the Power Easel.  Stay tuned for the update.   

The Basic has a front crank for the up/down movement, with a dolly for side movements.  I'm going to make the dolly available separately too, so you can use it with your existing easel if you want.  I'm also going to have a remote-control powered version of the dolly. 

The Power Easel will have remote side-to-side and rise-fall, controlled by one keyfob remote.  It's going to take me a bit more time to fab this up, I'm hoping for a month or so before I have a working prototype...  I'll update with progress. 

Thanks for all the support and interest! 
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Ted Dillard

Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: My x-y easel - stepping easel for art repro
« Reply #31 on: March 27, 2016, 09:15:37 am »

Push came to shove and I just put in orders for parts for the v2.0 easels - both the Basic and now what I'm calling the Power Easel.  Stay tuned for the update.   

The Basic has a front crank for the up/down movement, with a dolly for side movements.  I'm going to make the dolly available separately too, so you can use it with your existing easel if you want.  I'm also going to have a remote-control powered version of the dolly. 

The Power Easel will have remote side-to-side and rise-fall, controlled by one keyfob remote.  It's going to take me a bit more time to fab this up, I'm hoping for a month or so before I have a working prototype...  I'll update with progress. 

Thanks for all the support and interest!

Ted, thanks for keeping us up to date with the developments. I'm following the progress with interest.

Cheers,
Bart
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== If you do what you did, you'll get what you got. ==

teddillard

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Re: My x-y easel - stepping easel for art repro
« Reply #32 on: April 02, 2016, 09:12:28 am »

Thank you sir!  A little tease - here's the easel, without the drive mech: https://www.instagram.com/p/BDqAgr6tbYU/?taken-by=lifeinflux and the screw feed: https://www.instagram.com/p/BDqAngHNbYi/?taken-by=lifeinflux

Parts for the drive system are coming in from Hong Kong  ;D
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Ted Dillard

teddillard

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Re: My x-y easel - stepping easel for art repro
« Reply #33 on: April 10, 2016, 07:53:08 am »

Progress!  I have the dolly put together and testing in progress.  Got some goofy vids up on the Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BEBMUuGNbeJ/?taken-by=lifeinflux
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Ted Dillard

teddillard

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Re: My x-y easel - stepping easel for art repro
« Reply #34 on: April 16, 2016, 08:32:42 am »

OK, I have the Basic model together and going through testing.  Here's what it looks like:



This is a HUGE improvement over the original design, using a classic front-crank with an acme screw feed for the vertical movement, and much stronger, more rigid support for the wheels.  The guide track is also a lot slicker and simpler, and easily expandable, though not even as necessary with the new wheel configuration. 

A lot of the drive upgrades come courtesy of the burgeoning robotics guys, and the direct-drive motor for the wheels, and geared motor for the screw feed is straight out of Battlebots.  :D  I've got the horizontal drive working like a champ, and the vertical screw drive just needs the coupling machined and it will go into testing. 



If anyone's interested, the Basic can be delivered in about two weeks, for $600 plus shipping.  PM me, or email me at ted (at) teddillard (dotcom)

Read more here: https://xyeasel.wordpress.com/, and the accessories should be posted in a few days. 
« Last Edit: April 16, 2016, 09:48:36 am by teddillard »
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Ted Dillard

teddillard

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Re: My x-y easel - stepping easel for art repro
« Reply #35 on: May 01, 2016, 09:09:15 am »

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Ted Dillard

Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: My x-y easel - stepping easel for art repro
« Reply #36 on: May 01, 2016, 11:03:02 am »

Got the radio control module working:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BE06ex3tbTa/?taken-by=lifeinflux

Hi Ted,

It's looking great. Is the wheel drive a single or multiple wheel construction. If multiple, which wheels (diagonal)? I could imagine that with enough friction between the wheels and the floor, the rails are of lesser importance, but with a single wheel drive the parallel motion is at risk.

Cheers,
Bart
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teddillard

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Re: My x-y easel - stepping easel for art repro
« Reply #37 on: May 01, 2016, 03:40:21 pm »

Thanks again! 

It's a small single wheel drive.  It takes a much smaller, less powerful motor than I first used, which makes sense since it's pretty easy to roll around on those wheels.  ...but for a piece that needs several captures it will crab-walk whatever you do - no matter how much care you take with aligning the wheels.  The track is pretty much essential.  Also it makes up for any unevenness in the floor, and allows you to use it on a carpet.  I decided on a 4' basic section, with the ability to add sections and add a back track too.  I can supply 10' sections too, but in the years I've used it I've found that large horizontal pieces are pretty rare. 

About the only way to get a good synchronized more-than-one-wheel-drive is to use an axle, but then you have to run belts or chains, and all that mess.  Matching two motors independently is really hard (edit: actually, impossible).

The only thing that's holding me back at the moment is the coupling for the vertical screw drive to the motor.  There are about six ways to do it, just trying to decide the best. 

I also think I'm going to opt for a bit faster horizontal travel.  I erred on the side of slower, with my calculations, and I'm going to see how it handles a painting, but at this point it seems a little slow. 

I'm also working on a battery option that will let you use a 12V DeWalt power tool battery instead of the plug-in power supply I'm using now.  The cord is a pain in the butt. 

« Last Edit: May 01, 2016, 06:11:12 pm by teddillard »
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Ted Dillard

teddillard

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Re: My x-y easel - stepping easel for art repro
« Reply #38 on: May 15, 2016, 01:24:48 pm »

I just figured out a solution to this problem that's been bugging me since day one.  When you're setting up the camera and the painting, the best way to go about it is to drop the painting down to the lowest position and frame the camera on the top of the painting for the first row of captures.  That keeps you from having to raise the camera if you do it in the reverse order and at the end, you've miscalculated and the camera can't reach the top of the work.  (Clear as mud?) 

This makes using any sort of a scale a problem, since paintings of different sizes with require different starting points as you raise the painting - the bottom rail starts in a different place. Solution?  A sliding scale, using a simple tape measure and some of those super-disk-magnets.  Check it out:



These are the magnets:



Line up the work in the camera, slide the tape to whatever mark you use to reference the position of the bottom bracket, and step in whatever increments you want - if you do 10" or 12", it's a slam-dunk. 

 
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Ted Dillard

John Nollendorfs

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Re: My x-y easel - stepping easel for art repro
« Reply #39 on: May 17, 2016, 12:57:00 pm »

Hey Ted:
Did you see what Google has come up with? The "Art Camera"!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOrJesw5ET8

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