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Review the scanning techniques graphics professionals and photographers use, while delving into workflow considerations and the advanced image-quality controls available in most scanning software. Author Taz Tally explains the core concepts, such as how resolution and interpolation affect scans; introduces the industry-standard SilverFast scanning software; and shares the settings to achieve the best results from a scan. The course also covers keeping your scanner and its parts clean and free of dust, and includes a variety of start-to-finish scanning tasks.
When you've completed the scanning process, you want to perform one more thing and that is to save your images, and in part of that saving process is choosing a file format. And one of the reasons why this is so important is, earlier in the course, we talked about things like interpolation and compression, and minimizing those to maintain the quality of your image. Well, in the spirit of at least doing no harm to your images, you want to choose the proper file format for how you want to use your images and be aware that certain file formats, such as JPEG will actually apply compression to your image and it can downgrade the quality of your image.
So let's discuss various file formats you might use to save your scanned images, and let's start with this really beautiful portrait of Isaac that was taken by Lucas Deming, the photographer at lynda.com. I love this picture, and we're working in Photoshop of course, because it's kind of a standard application and your dialog boxes may look a little bit different if you're using different applications and certainly from your scanning programs, but the fundamentals are the same. We're going to start off here by just using the Save As command, which brings up a dialog box that allows us to name our images and then choose a file format in which to save our images.
Let's start with naming convention. I suggest that you use something like the following: Choose a logical name so you can tell what the file is, and then I like to put in a mode like RGB, and then I like to put in the linear resolution of the file, and the reason for this is that this allows me to just get a lot of information about that file. Let's assume that we're going to be editing our image, and if you're going to edit your image after the scan, you've done what you wanted to do. If you make your mind during the scan, and you say, all right, I'm going to edit my image. Well, the best file format to choose is the .PSD or Photoshop file format and that's we've chosen is, the first one at the top of the Format menu. So .PSD, why? Because this is going to be a small file format, but completely editable, gives you all the functions of Photoshop.
So if you know you're going to be editing choose .PSD. As a general rule it's a good idea to go ahead and embed the color profile, because what this does is provide information embedded into your files, so when you open up your file in any other application, including a web browser, that there is information about where that color, or where the data came from, and it can be used in color management, which we'll discuss a little bit later. So .PSD, if you know you're going to be editing your file. On the other hand, if you know that you're completely done with your image and you're ready to go to print, you don't want to edit, well, then a good file format you might want to choose is the TIFF file format, and notice there is a whole bunch of different file formats you can choose from.
In fact, there are over 400 graphic file formats, but I'm just going to discuss four, the .PSD, the TIFF, if you want to print is the second one. That stands for Tagged Information File Format, which is not critical for you to know, but what you do want to know is that this is a full quality, full resolution, no compression, no down-sampling file format. All the quality of your file is going to be maintained, no damage will apply to your image and it will allow you to maintain the quality when you go to print on any quality device. So if you named your file, choose TIFF for your file format if you're going to go to print. Embed your color profile and then click Save, and you'll get this TIFF Options dialog box.
My recommendation is to keep things as simple as, than using a high quality as possible, is apply No Compression. You can apply some LZW and some ZIP which is lossless compression, but it takes a little bit longer for your file to process when it goes to print. So I generally choose NONE. Don't choose JPEG, because that's going to lower the quality of your image. For Pixel Order, go with the default which is Interleaved and for the Byte Order, that's the order in which the data is written on the disc, choose IBM PC, even if you're working on a Macintosh, because a Macintosh can read both with equal facility and some Windows machines prefer the IBM PC right Order format. Boom! There you go, and then you've saved your file out in a really nice high-quality print format.
What if you want to take an image to the Web? And to do that let's look at a different image in here an RGB image. Here is a picture of my GF, we're out shooting pictures of each other on Kachemak Bay with the beautiful Kenai Mountains in the background, and let's say we want to take this image to the web. Again, we're going to perform a Save As and we're going to name this file again with a logical name and then RGB in this case, and then 300, and we've already edited, so it's a .PSD file now, and we just want to take it to the web. Then this is one we'll go to, the JPEG format, and this is both a file format and a compression scheme.
Note that when you do this, you are going to be compressing your image in a lossy way. that is you're going to lose some data. Makes it very compatible for sending across the internet, because it's smaller and it will display for quickly on web pages, but you're going to lower the quality of your image somewhat. So choose JPEG, embed your color profile and then when you click the Save button you'll get this dialog box and there are two things you want to pay attention to here. one is the Quality options which is you're 8-10 and this goes up to a maximum of 12 in Photoshop, but if you're 8-10 that's going to be fairly high-quality.
If your image has high contrast edges in it, such as this high contrast edge here and the high contrast edge on the horizon, then I recommend going for the maximum, go for 10. If you go to low contrast image such as a portrait, and you can get by with maybe something like 8, but don't drop below 8 if you really want to maintain the quality of your image, and you don't want to have the chance of getting those really awful JPEG lossy compression of damaged areas in your image. The second thing you pay attention to is the Format Options, you can choose either Standard or Baseline Optimized if you want your image to pop up all at once on the web.
I recommend using the Standard option to give you maximum compatibility with all versions of web browser, everybody recognizes that one. The Optimized makes the file a little bit smaller and optimizes the colors, but isn't quite as compatible. Actually I never had problems with either one, but you want to make sure you get full compatibility, use the Standard. You would only choose Progressive if you have a larger file, say typically above 640x480 in which you want them to appear one, two or three times in order with the lower quality, medium quality and higher quality. When you save out to JPEG, pay attention to setting your Quality Options based upon the content of your images, set your Format Options and then you're ready to go.
One final format I like to talk about, because many people are starting to use this format and that is PDF format, and we'll choose Photoshop PDF and this is actually a graphic file version of the PDF format, and again, save your color profile, name your file and choose Save and when your dialog box comes up I'm going to make a recommendation to you. There is actually lots of settings here, but if you choose High Quality Print, which is one of the Adobe PDF Presets you're going to get a very high-quality PDF file and no alteration will occur to the color profile of your image at all.
So you choose High Quality Print and then you can just click Save PDF if you want to. Just a little side note here about what's actually applied here is there is down sampling that occurs if your image is larger than 450 pixels/inch. It will downsample it to 300, and there's a small amount of Compression, high quality JPEG Compression that is applied. You can turn these off if you want to. You can choose Do Not Downsample, and you can choose No Compression if you would like to. You'll still get the very flexible PDF format, which is Internet safe and very printable as well. So it's up to you.
Typically, if you're going with the High Quality Print, you'll end up with good quality images and they will print very well. Notice when we go to Output, there is No Color Conversion that takes place and that's why I prefer to use that as opposed to the Press Quality, which will indeed apply a color profile adjustment to your image. Then just click your Save PDF and you're good to go.
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