Author Topic: Picture scale and drawings  (Read 2206 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline bruce61813

  • Moderator
  • Meritorious Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 700
    • Gringgotts Coins
Picture scale and drawings
« on: September 12, 2007, 06:20:49 PM »
If they had cleaned the Fitzwilliam coin a bit before they photographed it. Unfortunately many of these coins were not cleaned first, even marginally, and printed at 72 lpi, or maybe 100 lpi, so they hold little detail.

That is one complaint I have about the SNG and other academic publications. they show the coins 'life size' , but at low resolution, so all you get is a 6 mm gray blob. When E.R.I.C. [Encyclopedia of Roman Imperial Coins] was published, the coins well all shown at an enlarged sized, and all the same size, about 30 mm.

People complained because they couldn't tell what size they were [even though the sizes and weights are published with the description]. But you could see the detail in all the coins. The pages were also printed at 300lpi, so the detail showed.

Bruce

Offline Figleaf

  • Administrator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32 174
Picture scale and drawings
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2007, 06:59:28 PM »
I took the coin to an Arabic speaking friend, an architecht and calligrapher, who said that he thought that the person who designed the coin was not a native Arabic speaker:  too many careless mistakes, misplaced dots, misspellings.  For example, "Sultan" was misspelled.  The reverse made no sense at all to him.

I think there's a connection between what you observed and what Bruce just said. Decades ago, a professor at Amsterdam university taught me to read old Dutch manuscript, by insisting that I would put in modern Dutch a letter from a VOC employee to his bosses in Amsterdam about news from the colony New Holland in the Americas. The beginning was surprising difficult, but once I had an idea of which shapes represented which letters the main difficulty was words that have since disappeared from Dutch (e.g. catlos, which turns out to be wild cat; compare loose cat). The point is, I have since seen the real document (the letter is famous) and the professor had sneakily copied it at a larger size, which facilitated reading enormously.

My guess is that your calligrapher friend had this problem in reverse: he was asked to read a script he was unfamiliar with in very small (real) size. I think this is also Oesho's secret. He has seen so many of these coins that what seems like warped letters to a native speaker are normal to him. Therefore, I sympathise with Bruce's remark. In fact, I enjoy all the enlargements you find on the net. They allow me to see detail I'd never noticed before.

Another solution is of course making drawings. While pictures flood the brain with information, drawings concentrate it on the essential. Plant is the only book I know that uses drawings of Islamic coins and it's a perfectly good illustration of my argument. Books that catalogue medieval coins often use drawings and I have one book that puts drawing and picture side by side.

Peter
« Last Edit: September 12, 2007, 07:01:03 PM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline bruce61813

  • Moderator
  • Meritorious Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 700
    • Gringgotts Coins
Picture scale and drawings
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2007, 07:55:35 PM »
Here is another solution. True it is a manipulation of the image, but is someone was trying to read it, the 'true' represenation is not always the best.

Bruce

Offline Rangnath

  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2 714
Picture scale and drawings
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2007, 09:07:20 PM »
I often think about this conundrum. Do I scan or photo copy the image of a coin such that it closely resembles the coin in hand, or do I manipulate the image so that reading the coin is easier?  When I trade or ask for a value of a coin, I aim for verisimilitude.  When I post in this web site, I do want to assist the viewer.
Drawings, either separate from the image of the coin or superimposed upon the coin, are straight forward honest approaches to this. While they could deceive us, intentionally or not, at least they don't pretend to be the coin itself.
On a well worn coin, I find that one photograph of it doesn't usually reveal as much information as looking at the coin in direct sunlight at different angles, letting the light caste minute shadows. 
I understand Bruce's criticism with digital images with little information.  My eye accepts about 300 dpi or dpc as being "photographic."  On the web, on this site, we often use far less; I've been using between 150 and 200 for two coins. When you blow that up, details deteriorate.

Offline bruce61813

  • Moderator
  • Meritorious Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 700
    • Gringgotts Coins
Picture scale and drawings
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2007, 09:37:25 PM »
Actually it is not the 72 dpi on a screen that don't show detail. It is the equivalent in the printing industry. Try looking at some of the small coins print 'life size', you will see what I mean. If the coin is under 10 mm, it is just mush, as the half-tone screens at 72 line per inch, cannot hold the detail, at 300 lines per inch, all the detail is there. But to use 300 lpi screens, printers need to use the slick glossy clay coated paper, they cannot us uncoated paper as the ink bleeds together. The SNG books are printed on uncoated paper [it is cheaper] although it looks more impressive as it is thicker.

Bruce

Offline Rangnath

  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2 714
Picture scale and drawings
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2007, 11:27:31 PM »
Right! I tend to get confused between printing and viewing on a monitor. Thanks.
richie