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Let's discuss the features of a good scanning location. The two things we want to emphasize is maintaining high image quality and having an efficient scanning workflow. First and foremost we want a good flat, stable surface, and this is particularly important if you're working with a flatbed scanner that has large scanning elements that move back and forth, the scanner tends to move a little bit and if your surface is moving, that in turn moves the scanner and you end up with lower quality scans. Secondly, and this is so important, so many people don't do this. Have a large enough scanning surface for staging your whole scanning workflow, particularly your images that most of your surface should be of your images, the scanner is going to take up relatively small portion of this.
Can't tell you the number of times I see people put their scanners on their roll-around carts which are not stable to begin with, but there's no place to stage and manage your scanned images. So give yourself some room here to move out and dedicate that space for your scanning. Third, and this maybe the most important thing of all. You want to work in a dust-free environment. The first thing to make sure that happens is, work on a solid surface. No cloth, I don't care how bad you think the surface looks, and this one looks pretty good, but no cloth because cloth gets static electricity and static electricity attracts dust like nobody's business.
And particularly when you are working with film, you can put that film down on that cloth surface, boom, the dust jumps on that film and that's it. That's all she wrote in terms of your scanning efficiency workflow because you can spend lots of time to clean off that dust and you never get it all and then when you get it on your scanner it's still going to be there. All right, so if we want to work in a dust-free environment the first thing is no cloth, secondly, we want to avoid moving air. Things like manufacturing and shipping environments where a lot of dust is generated, you want to stay away from heating and air-conditioning vents, doorways, open windows.
It's really even worth installing air filter. They are very inexpensive and they can really keep the dust away from your scanned images. I want to emphasize this whole thing about dust. When you take dust and it gets into your scanner or it gets on your images, when you scan it, the scanning process is actually going to magnify the impact of that dust. Particularly if you are starting with a small piece of film like a 35 millimeter slide or 120 film, you have to magnify that a lot in order to get up to a useful size. 35 millimeter, to 5x7 or 8x10. You are not just magnifying the image, you are magnifying the dust and then when you go to apply Unsharp Mask, what does Unsharp Mask do? It enhances high contrast edges.
What is a piece of dust? The dust is a high contrast edge. So the process of sharpening your image actually exacerbates the impact of that dust. So avoid at all cost. Another issue that you want to address is constant temperature. You want to keep your scanner away from heater and air-conditioning vents and open windows, any place where you've got a lot of change in temperature. Certainly stay away from south-facing windows. north-facing windows are okay, but stay away from south facing windows where you can have temperature changes of 40 or 50 degrees. The reason for this is that your scanner changes it.
How it performs changes with temperature and if you are calibrating your scanner which you want to do, you calibrate it in the morning when it's cool and then by mid afternoon it's 40 degrees warmer in the scanner, your calibration is gone and the consistency of your scans have changed, all right, completely dissolved. All right, so just a review, for your scan location, good flat, stable surface, adequate dimension, nice and clean, no dust, constant temperature. These are the keys to setting up your scanner for high-quality efficient scanned workflows.
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