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TUTORIAL 2: Scanning work


It's important to be able to transfer your pictures into a digital format on the computer without losing any of the original quality. I's also good to know how to enhance your images to make them look cleaner and sharper than your orignal artwork. For the examples below I'll be using a Plustek OpticPro scanner with PhotoShop 5.5 as my graphics software. Go to: -File -Import -Twain 32.

Fig 1.

A scanning menu or window appears (See Fig 1.). Set the scanner to 300dpi (dots per inch) and 50% or 100% print size. I usually use 50%, as I only have 120MB of RAM on my PC. Unfortunately PhotoShop has a tendency the crash if you have really large files and not enough RAM. There are two reasons for scanning at 300dpi instead of 100 or 70. Firstly, the scanned image will show up clearer because the scanner is picking up more individual dots from the artwork, and the more detail is picked up, the more accurate the image is. Another reason is if you intend to colour the work - it's always best to start out with a large sized picture so you can colour fine details close up and at a decent image resolution. You can then later adjust the size of the image if you intend to publish it on the web etc.

If the scanned image is very small, it'll be a lot harder to colour, the final image quality will look worse and if you intend to print the image, the bigger the initial size the better, so the printer doesn't need to stretch and distort the image. Make sure when scanning, the scanner lid is firmly down. I usually just leave a heavy wieght on it while it scanns, so there's always an even pressure being aplied to the scanned piece of work. If you were to hold the lid down manually and you were shaking, the scanned lines might come out looking crooked. The closer the image is the scanner's glass, the more detail the scanner will be able to pick up.

Sometimes if the scanner lid isn't shut, outside light can get in and reflect on the to image, which furthermore reduces scan quality. If scanning black and white line art set the scanner to either Gamma 1.0 or Gamma 1.5. You'll get slightly better results depending on what scanner and what type of work you are scanning. Make sure the scanner is scanning in GRAYSCALE and not B/W (black and white) or RGB /CYMK (colour) The bad thing about B/W is that the scanned lines are black and white pixels only, and the lines are not anti-aliesed (which means the lines not be jaggy). The Bad thing about RGB is that the scanner will pick up unnecessary colours, when all you want is the black and while line art.

If your picture takes up more than the scanner's surface area, you will need to scan it in two halves and join it up later. Once again, while scanning, make sure the lid is pressed down where the second half overlaps or you'll end up with a big, faded gray area near the edge of the scan. Though this is important, don't press down REALLY hard so it leaves a great big crease in the middle of the work. After scanning the first piece, scan the next with exactly the same settings as the first (300dpi, gray scale etc)


  • Set scanner to 300dpi at 50 or 100% print size.
  • Make sure the scanner lid is firmly down
  • Scan at a Gamma level to suit your artwork, usually Gamma 1.0 for ink work and 1.5 for pencil
  • Scan in grayscale




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