DIGITISATION TECHNOLOGY  |  recom ART carries a diverse range of technology to produce high-quality digitisation of pieces such as photographs and negatives, paintings, maps, collages etc. The method of digitisation depends on the piece to be scanned. The range of options available include our HEIDELBERG drum scanner, our CRUSE scanner, as well as our mobile DOM. Regardless of the chosen technology, we ensure that all digital copies are produced with accurate color and in high resolution. The files of these digital copies are processed and prepared in such a way that they can be used for a variety of printing and online applications. Digitisations provide the foundation for dealing with cultural heritage and is aimed at institutions such as museums, galleries, and auction houses, as well as individuals such as artists and collectors. Following in the same vein as the guidelines developed by conservators for time-based media works, we have similarly adopted practices for recording our procedures; this involves the careful documentation of the conditions of digitisation such as the type of device, the technology, and the software applications used. These comprehensive records will, hopefully, ensure the relevance and ease of reproducibility of the digitised pieces. We would be glad to share our expertise in this area with interested parties and are available to assist in the development of relating guidelines and standards.

We invite you to take a look at our available digitisation methods so you may discover the most suitable method for your needs.



DRUM SCANNER  |  For the digitisation of negatives or positives we use a drum scanner by HEIDELBERG. We optimised the scanner’s technology and researched the best way to achieve high-resolution scans. The negatives or positives are mounted temporarily onto a transparent cylinder and scanned in high resolution. The maximum resolution of the scan file correlates with the size of the piece. Negatives or positives can be scanned up to a size of 10 x 14 inch.



CRUSE  |  Our CRUSE scanner is optimal for scanning pieces with sensitive surfaces, because the piece is oriented upward during the entire scanning process. Further, the process is completely contactless, which ensures that the scanning is gentle on the piece. We have chosen to illuminate the piece using LED lights, which have no UV light in their spectrum. Through applying different light combinations, textures and structures can be captured three-dimensionally. With the CRUSE scanner, scans can be made directly from the piece, including framed, glazed, mounted, and non-planar work. If the work happens to be curved or curled, the use of the vacuum table is available to create a gentle suction to improve the flatness of the piece for optimal scanning results. The size of the scan table allows for a maximum scan size of 150 x 250 cm. However, larger pieces can be captured in parts and then digitally assembled (stitching). The object height may not exceed 32 cm. The image resolution is variable between 150 and 1,600 dpi.

In a digitisation project with the Kunstmuseum Bern under the supervision of Dr. Nathalie Bäschlin, measurements using the Blue Wool Scale and recordings made with the ELSEC 765C light recorder have shown that the light exposure of the piece during a scan with a resolution of 600 dpi corresponds to an exhibition illumination of 50 lux for 3 calendar weeks (6 days of 8 hours each).


DOM  |  The DOM, developed by recom, is a self-contained reproduction system for digitising works of art photographically with a digital camera. It is a portable miniature photo studio, which can be used to create classic product shots, as well as, reproductions of works of art such as paintings. Surfaces and objects are reproduced in detail and faithfully to the piece. The alternating use of the 75 individually controllable and dimmable LEDs allows one to implement their own lighting concepts and styles and offers the unique opportunity to visualise the haptics of structures (see also D-DACE). We have created our own software to control the individual LEDs with the option to create various lighting setups for different objects, which can be saved in a database. This allows reproducibility and efficiency. The DOM is space-saving, can be positioned almost anywhere, and can be operated by only one person. Its closed construction means shots are independent of ambient light influences and thus allows for precise control over the workflow. An optional concave plexiglass ‘infinity cove’ is also available for combined use with an additional bottom light – designed to give the impression that the background of an object extends to infinity – and a commercially available software, enabling the automated masking of objects, which again saves time and money. Additionally, it allows for time-efficient digitisation of larger volumes of smaller sized pieces. We apply the same working method to the DOM as we do with our CRUSE scanner, this involves the precise measurement of color values to produce a color accurate reference scan. The maximum scan size is 70 x 100 cm. The image resolution depends on the piece and the camera lens used.

With the DOM we offer a scanning option for use on-site, either with our experienced technicians or, alternatively, available for rent with just the device. In the case of renting, it is advantageous that the time and money spent on servicing, maintenance, and software updating of the device is eliminated. Additionally, the mobility of the DOM means that the scanning technology travels to the location of the pieces to be scanned, rather than risking possible damage which could arise during transport of pieces. Once a piece is positioned in the DOM, three shots can be taken using different light settings (repro, streak light, D-FACE) without moving the piece or repositioning the DOM. Shots using different directions of light allow for a documentation of the object’s surface, which can also be used as a condition report or, if necessary, damage report for use within conservation and/or restoration applications. Naturally, if you choose to rent and use the DOM on your premises, we offer you by our company transport as well as assembly and dismantling, comprehensive instruction, and also support for all questions arising during the entire period of use. Additionally, if advice and assistance is required in preparing the originals for digitisation, e. g. securing, uncovering, cleaning, or framing, we can also name qualified staff from our network of conservators and restorers.


REFERENCE SCAN  |  Using the CRUSE scanner and the DOM, we create REFERENCE SCANS or texture scans of pieces, often original works of art. REFERENCE SCANS digitally record all aspects of the piece including color and texture. We record Lab color space measurements from the piece and include them in the digital file. These recordings document the exact appearance of the piece at the time of its digitisation. From this, an accurate digital proof is created, which works in conjunction with the measurable values and therefore, retains its accuracy in the long term. If needed, slight color adjustments are completed on the digital file by comparing the Lab values measured on the piece with the spectral photometer. The result is a color-true file. In this process, it is possible to achieve a tolerance of less than ± 2 % with 90 % of all templates, depending on the material of the templates and the tolerances of the scan and print process. Henceforth, this file serves as an accurate reference for reproduction. With works of non-digital origin, this is clearly the only possibility of a digital reference. Of course, it is only possible to document the condition as it is on the day of the scan. It is not possible to draw inferences about the initial condition of the physical piece at the time of its creation. In the case of works of digital origin, the measurements are recorded immediately after the initial production. Taking this into account, a new digital version of the piece is created with its specific color and contrast values. Thereby it is ensured that the measured values of the reference file are identical to those of the output. The digital copies produced with the above-mentioned devices are primarily intended for use in the printing or online sector.

However, they are also valuable from a conservation point of view, e. g. as a condition report of the surface that can be used over long periods of time as a basis for indicating any subsequent changes or damage to the original. We also applied our REFERENCE SCAN in our research project “sustainable framing of large-scale prints” in cooperation with the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design, course “Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art on Paper, Archives and Library Materials”. This project involved the testing of all the materials we use in our productions using the Oddy test, as well as, studying the effects of ageing from specific and controlled climate and lighting conditions. We made REFERENCE SCANS – including the recording of specific color values – of all the samples before and after the tests so we could measure the changes which occurred.


D-FACE  |  The D-FACE technology developed by recom is a unique technical capability which is able to photographically  visualise the haptics of structures. In order to achieve this, we photograph the surface of each object multiple times employing different light angles each time with the DOM. We then composite 75 of these images in a single file which may then be shown interactively online. Using the pointer guide, the viewer is able to move over the object, activating the multiple images of the various angles and lighting conditions which make the object perceptible in its visual entirety. It behaves exactly like a physically present object whose surface reaction is observed by moving it back and forth in different positions and light situations. As is often assumed, the base calculation is not a conversion with CGI, but rather, is carried out with floating-point numbers.

You can try the D-FACE viewer here for yourself:


REANALOG NEGATIVES AND POSITIVES  |  Our established workflow, like many of our processes, is centered on a “best of both worlds” approach in combining both analog and digital processes. We cherry-pick, so to say, the best aspects of each, resulting in a superior workflow. Our REANALOG workflow involves the creation of high-resolution negatives by exposing the digital file onto film ranging up to size 8 x 10. Color negatives are exposed onto Kodak Ektar 100, black & white negatives are exposed onto Ilford Delta 100. The negatives produced in this way are ideally suited for use in analog darkroom work. From these negatives we make hand-made gelatin silver or chromogenic prints. We output slides up to a size of 8 x 10 inches onto Fuji Provia 100. The resolution is in no way inferior to that of the original photograph. In the case that there is no existing digital file, we first make a high-resolution scan of the negative, positive, or other originals at 1:1 scale. Naturally, all of our film material has been tested and chosen for its archival quality. Since 2019, we also offer the exposure of the red, green and blue channels on negatives (color separations) onto black & white slide material (ortho film) for the long-term archiving of color motifs. To be able to evaluate the desired result of prints in advance, there is the possibility of simulation via inkjet proofs. Possible prior digital editing of the motifs can be retouching of dust and scratches, adjustments in lightness as well as color gradations.


GLASS NEGATIVES  |  With the help of a modern color controllable LED head as a flat light source, glass negatives or other fragile transparent originals such as glass slides and paper negatives can be photographed in high resolution or captured as a scan by various methods. In the case of negatives with an already existing silver layer we recommend a scan before the start of any restoration measures in order to secure all information. This scan can then be repeated after the negative has been successfully restored. We would be glad to help you find the right contact for this, as we have an extensive network of contacts within the restoration field.


DIGITAL RESTORATION  | The basic idea of a digital restoration is not to retouch the original in an analog way, but to create a new, digitally restored negative or positive using the REFERENCE SCAN. First, a digital copy is created by scanning the negative or positive. Next, depending on the state of the original and the wishes of the artist or client, we complete a digital editing to restore. This often uses supporting documents such as other prints, written text from the artist, reproductions in artists books, etc. to determine the extent of restoration. Possible further digital editing can be retouching of dust and scratches, adjustments in lightness or even color gradations – for instance if the print has been yellowed or the negative improperly stored. The digitally restored motif is then exposed and enlarged as a REANALOG NEGATIVE or POSITIVE ideally on the same material (film, paper type, etc.) as the original before.


REPRODUCTION  |  Our CRUSE scanner forms the basis for potential art reproductions, which can then be produced in-house. Whether the piece is a painting, graphic, or other medium, the special characteristics pertaining to the surface and its structure are able to be captured using different lighting setups dependant on the piece while scanning. A reproduction of the piece can then be created while maintaining these characteristics. Options for in-house image output include our DITONE prints available on a variety of fine art papers, which can be waxed, mounted, and framed on request. Through deploying different light combinations, textures and structures can be captured to appear almost three-dimensionally. Thus, for example, the clumps of paint or grooves of the brush strokes of an oil painting can be captured and reproduced so realistically that the eye is deceived into believing a flat print is the real physical painting.


REPRODUCTION OF PHOTOGRAPHS  |  In contrast to reproductions of other pieces, when it comes to reproductions of photographs, our focus is concerned with the repeated production in a manner that is as similar or closest to the initial one as possible. This process is based on the previous and detailed recording of all the specific elements of the photograph, which, in the best-case scenario, happens during the initial production process. These include factors such as dimensions, materials used, color values, and the photographer’s intention – which are summarized in our specialized documentation of production. All of this information informs any future repeated productions and ensures that a true and authentic photographic production is achieved – which is why we view this as the ideal starting point. With all this being said, if it is not possible to access a negative or a digital file and re-issue it with the help of the production documentation, the CRUSE scanner offers a further possibility of reproducing a photographic original. The advantage here is that all manual processing that was done during the production of the photograph, for example post-exposures or retouching, is already captured during the scanning process and thus becomes part of the scan file and thus also part of the image output.


BOOK PUBLISHING  |  We work with the printing sector for the high-quality production of printed matter, such as books or catalogues. We are able to create digital files of works of art through scans as well as complete professional image editing on already existing files. If, when publishing work and art volumes, there is a desire to add a print as original, the digital file produced or edited can also serve as the basis for the image output, which can be processed in-house. Furthermore, by using GMG software, we can produce inkjet proofs in advance for offset and digital printing in all ISO standards.



AUCTION HOUSES  |  The application of digital copies in auction houses is manifold. They are used for a wide range of applications in the print or online sector, including auction presentations and associated catalogues, the website, as well as, inventory and archive management. This process begins with the scanning of the pieces – paintings, graphics, and photographs – as well as the image editing of the files and then output of proofs. To produce  REFERENCE SCANS – always with accurate color values – we have two options. In the case of large-format works we have available our CRUSE scanner and in the case of small-format works we use our DOM reproduction system which is able to be used on-site.

If you are interested, we would be glad to explain this in more detail on the basis of our work for the Grisebach auction house.



VIRTUAL REALITY  |  Based on our established digitisation and image editing we are expanding our reach into the field of Virtual Reality. We have been experimenting with different forms of display which includes VR glasses used in conjunction with multimedia displays and touch screens, to simulate a very unique exhibition experience. In the bachelor thesis of a recom ART employee the architecture of an imagined museum was virtually built and filled with reconstructions of real art objects. This video shows a walk through the exhibition.


MULTITOUCH TABLE  |  An example of our involvement in the topic of Virtual Reality is a multitouch table for the Kirchner Museum Davos as part of the exhibition “Kirchner’s Sketchbooks. From Pencil Stroke to Hologram”. The interactive multi-touch table offers, in contrast to the conventional exhibition in a showcase or on the wall, the possibility to present a large bundle and a wide range of media. The objects can be actively experienced thanks to a high-quality presentation and comprehensive keyword linking system through a self-developed software that has interfaces to common museum databases. Unlike the original, you can ‘touch’, shrink, enlarge, arrange, stack, add, reduce, and much more.


LONG-TERM ARCHIVING  |  The archiving of digital data is primarily subject to the risk of loss of this data through the use of unsuitable or even obsolete file formats and often in the absence or lack of technical support and maintenance, for example by regular data migration. This results in data that can no longer be used after a certain time, because the files can no longer be read, for example. Furthermore, private companies specialising in the archiving of digital data run the risk of losing entire data sets, of being denied access or of no longer being able to access them due to unforeseeable, mostly economic, but also technical problems. For these reasons, preference should be given to cooperation with government and research institutions. We would be glad to help you arrange suitable long-term archiving under state supervision. We also support you with the necessary data migration and maintenance of metadata as well as keywording. For the handling of larger data volumes recom ART has established workflows such as the one we developed for use with digitisation projects completed with our DOM. At Zentrum für Kunst und Medien in Karlsruhe and at the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design we also lecture on these topics.