Scanning tips: the short story....
Scan at 150 DPI for best results
Save black & white items as GIF files
Save photos / color items as JPG files
What do we already have? Click here.
Scanning cartridges: click here.
Scanning boxes: click here.
Scanning instructions: click here.
GENERAL SCANNING TIPS
DOTS-PER-INCH; what is the best setting to use?
The dots-per-inch setting of your scanner should be set to
150 dpi, for any scans contributed to this project. This results in larger
image files than would be practical in most other cases, but since this project
will have 630+ megabytes available, we'd rather go with the higher quality
if we have a choice. Experiments with other settings show that 150 dpi will
still allow fine print to be read, and picture details look great. Using
smaller settings loses far too much detail, larger settings waste space.
FILE FORMATS to use when saving images to disk.
Since this project will eventually be using web browsers and
HTML code to make the CD readable, there are only two major file extensions
we can easily use; these are ".GIF" or ".JPG" files. Why? Because those are
the two major types of files used on the Internet, which is what any web
browser is going to be most familiar with.
In most cases, the ".JPG" file extension works best. Why? GIF
files sometimes look better for small images, or relatively plain images,
but it is limited to only 256 colors. This loses far too much subtle detail,
with anything that looks like a photograph. (Some cartridge labels would
be ok, though.) Using the JPG file extension allows most images to look their
best. The only time I've seen JPG files look awful compared to GIFs of the
same item, is when bright, flat red tones have writing on them. And generally,
moving the brightness levels of the image up just a little fixes it.
Checking your saved images is not a bad idea; in other words,
until you really know your system well, after saving an image to disk, clear
it off of your screen, then load it back up from disk. If it changed, and
looks much worse now, double-check everything carefully. Besides the obvious
human-error type mistakes, the compression levels might have been set too
low. If you are able to change how much an image can be compressed, use the
default or baseline settings, and scan it in again.
SOFTWARE; scanning and painting programs
When you buy any scanner, it should include software to run
itself. You may find that this software is all you'll ever need. And then
again maybe you'll think it is, for some reason, not good enough. I bought
a scanner that was "twain compliant" so that I had the option to use other
software if I wanted to. If you are considering buying a scanner, it is a
good feature to have.
The set-up I currently use is a shareware paint program called
"Paint Shop Pro" ... in my opinion, it kicks butt! Up on top of my IBM
compatible's screen is an icon of a handheld scanner. One click on this icon,
and any twain compatible hardware is activated. My flatbed scanner's scanning
window pops open, and I just hit the "scan" button to scan in an item. Once
the scanner finishes scanning that item, the scanner's window goes away,
and the image is automatically inside the Paint Shop Pro editing mode. I
can then "crop" the image, rotate it any way I want to, adjust contrast and
brightness, and much more. If you have a twain compliant scanner, and an
IBM, I highly recommend Paint Shop Pro as alternate software. (Search the
net and download it.)
TIPS ON SCANNING
Boxes aren't very hard. As long as you are scanning
them with a dpi setting of 150 (or thereabouts) you should be able to read
any fine print, and the graphical details should look very good, too. Just
save the resulting image file as "filename.JPG" and it should work out just
fine. For this project, I see no reason not to scan both the front and backs
of all boxes. The CD should have more than ample space for everything, so
why not do them both?
THE SCANNER'S LID: Experiment a bit if you want to, but you
are probably best off just leaving your (flatbed) scanner's lid in the upright
position. It won't fit well over your box anyway, and why take a chance of
squashing a prized box? Leaving the lid up won't affect the scan quality,
it will only darken the wasted space around the box. Usually, this makes
the boxes edges easier to see when doing final cropping, so it actually helps
us out. (Unless your box is black; then, just put a peice of white paper
CROPPING: The term "cropping" just means to cut off the parts
you don't want. It is better to leave too much empty space around an image,
than to crop out some of the details. I figure they can always be cropped
closer later, but you can't put back details that were cut off, right?
ANGLED / CROOKED SCANS: Try not to scan things at too much
of an angle. If they are tilted, cropping them becomes a hassle later on.
Besides, straight lines pick up "stair stepping" or aliasing problems, if
they are scanned crookedly. (The problem is, almost no scanner is 100% "square,"
from what I've read and experienced. For our purposes, just try to put one
flat edge against the very edge of one side of the scanner's glass, and do
the best you can. Sometimes one edge is more square than another; so you
may want to experiment with that for awhile.)
TIPS ON SCANNING INSTRUCTION SHEETS
The instructions above, for scanning boxes, will work just fine. If you have
an instruction sheet that is totally black-and-white, you might want to scan
in "greyscale" instead of in color, but everything else applies. The main
thing on text documents is to be able to read them, of course.
TIPS ON SCANNING CARTS
For this, I wrote a full step-by-step text.
Click here to read it. Basically, we want to use
some blank space around the edges of the cart, to show its shape. Close cropping
saves some space but looks less good, so we are trying to avoid it. The other
tips are how to make carts look their best, as they are not flat objects.
With these tips you can make some really nice cartridge scans.
Text by: Ward Shrake, January 1998