How to Scan a B&W Print?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Tom Duffy, Apr 21, 2003.

  1. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    My daughter has an Epson 2450 flat bed scanner that she uses to scan her drawings (I say this to establish my bona fides as an analogue photographer :smile:). I tried it with some 5x7 contact prints, thinking to make some contributions to the APUG gallery.

    I tried an actual size scan 5x7 at 90 dpi, having read that this is sufficient for web use. I even auto sharpened using the silverfast software that came with the scanner. results were pretty mushy. I kept increasing the dpi setting on the scan, producing only slightly better results. the results at 1200 dpi, were ok, but, by then I was producing a 42 meg file. I'm sure Sean would not want to be on the receiving end of one of those!

    Anyone able to help? What am I doing wrong?
     
  2. fingel

    fingel Member

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    Hi Tom,
    What I usually do is scan the photo at 600 dpi and then reduce it to 300 dpi in photoshop, then sharpen it adjust the tones to match the print as closely as possible, then I will reduce it again to my final res, usually about 100 dpi (I like to leave a little extra just in case). Use unsharp mask, and adjust the sliders until the image is sharp enough, but not too sharp, and save as a jpeg/high quality.
    Hope that helps.
     
  3. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    Depending on the size of the print, I would scan at about 300dpi with no unsharp masking on in the scanning software (I find they are always way to aggressive). Do your cropping and tonal adjustments (curves, midpoint, etc) then unsharp mask just enough to be able to pick the difference when either 'previewing' the effect, or jumping between the 'undo' command and 'redo' (depending on software being used). Resize the image to how ever many pixels you want (I change the dpi to 75 but in reality the screen dosn't care what that says). Aim for about 450-500 pixels high and/or 700-750 wide. People with high resolution screens will get to see a reasonable size pic, people with low resolution won't have to scroll too much (a big turn off when viewing pics online). Do another unsharp mask, watching that you don't introduce highlights that appear from over sharpening. I also expand the 'canvas' size by 1 or 2 pixels using black to give the picture a border to differentiate it from white/light backgrounds. Save the picture as a jpg, altering the quality to match your size/quality expectations. View the jpg in your browser, as you might be surprised how different (usually darker) the browser presents the pic (you really need to calibrate your image software to your browser, although everyone else will see something different anyway!). Post it to APUG and we can see your handiwork!
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I do pretty much what Nige does, though I may start with a 600 dpi scan. The results always feel unsatisfactory next to a print, but it's a way of getting some stuff out there.

    Sometimes I'll make a digital dupe of the negative using a Coolpix 990 on a copy stand with a light box, invert it to positive in Photoshop, and then try to reproduce the quality of the print from there, and that usually works a little better.

    For 35mm I have a film scanner (Minolta Scan Dual I).
     
  5. nightphotohunter

    nightphotohunter Member

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    Hi, my school uses S&C printing for black and white photos and color. When i am editing pic's for the newspaper, i have some tips to use. First: ALWAYS scan the original at 300 or more DPI becuase then it gives you the better quality when use reduce the quality to 150dpi or so. Second, in photoshop, open the image, go to "Image" then "adjustments" then select levels at the top of the menu, select either auto or play round with it yourself (this is best for repinting the picture) I got to go so PM me ifff i dont write the rest of this buy tommorow. bye......
     
  6. dr bob

    dr bob Member

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    Good Lord! I don't know _any_ of this stuff! Maybe that is why my scans look so - "different" - on APUG. As a retiree, I cannot afford the photoshop et c. et c. et c. which is the major reason I do no d----al. (Well, certainly not the _only_ reason.) Maybe I cannot learn new tricks - or maybe I should just stop submitting my trashed images all together and stick to kibitzing....
     
  7. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Please don't do that - then I'll be all alone with my non-photoshopped scans.

    I usually use IrfanView. Very good little program for the price - it's free...
     
  8. nightphotohunter

    nightphotohunter Member

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    I DEFINATLY agree that photoshop is very expensive (that's a reason why i have a, well, "free" version of it from a friend). befor that, my computer came with JASC software.
     
  9. ian_greant

    ian_greant Member

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    now, now, now.. Just because you don't want to shell out big bucks for photoshop doesn't mean you have to be or feel left out.

    http://www.gimp.org

    My scanner came with Photoshop elements which only grey scale scans in 8bit. or color in 24bit (ugly, ugly)

    GIMP to the rescue! (it's free) Now I scan in the highest bit mode possible. It makes a substantial difference. See July View Camera Magazine.

    Cheers,
    Ian
     
  10. pierre

    pierre Member

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    As a new member here, I just thought I would give you some thoughts on this. I'm not a scanning expert mind you, but I have been scanning things for many years. The idea, I think, is to always scan at the scanner's best resolution (it's real optical resolution that is, not an interpolated one), 300dpi output resolution (this is just a tag in the file that the printer uses - it changes nothing in the screen display), and at the same time, adjust the output or print size settings so that a print of the scan would be the same size as the original you scanned (usually, 100% magnification). Unlike with scanning a negative, there's no point in magnifying a print. Then, just adjust the image size in Photoshop Elements to whatever you like for displaying on the web (just plug in the number of pixels you want either horizontally or vertically, and the other one follows - for example, if a horizontal composition, anywhere from 500 to 750 pixels, and if it's a vertical composition, under 600, so that it will fit on a standard monitor).

    You really don't need the full Photoshop to do the kinds of things you would do to a scanned print (sharpening, adjusted levels, adjust toning, spotting, cropping, etc.). The rest of the stuff in Photoshop is more useful to graphic artists, and to photographers who like to heavily manipulate the image (presumably, not many members here fit that category, including me).

    If it's a B&W print, I scan it as if it were colour, and then, in PS Elements, I desaturate the master channel, rather than just using the "remove colour" or the "greyscale" commands. That way, it remains a colour image even though no colour is visible, and it can be easily "toned". If the original print has been toned, then of course, you have to scan in colour if you want to preserve the tone. The key is that, if the original is a B&W print, and you want to keep it that way, scan it in colour, but then desaturate the master channel in the colour settings (easily done in PS Elements).

    I've also used Picture Window Pro, but it really doesn't present any advantage over PS Elements when working on scanned prints, in my opinion, and it's harder to use than PS Elements. If scanning negatives, it's a whole other story, though.