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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.
Here is an example of a great complex line art image and it almost looks like a photograph. In detail it is indeed line art. It's a pen and ink or pencil drawing. It's all black-and-white. When you look at this it's completely different than the simple line art. With simple line art the whole issue remember was the edge reproduction. Here we want to reproduce the edges in horns in the moose, but what's important here is the detail. That's what's really going on with this image. If you don't have a perfect or optical edge here, who cares? But if we don't get the detail captured in this image, it's a huge loss. So this image is all about capturing the detail.
If we go back to our scanner interface now and we'll set this up pretty much the way we did the last line art scan. We'll start in 1-Bit Line Art mode and many people who do this, they will think, oh, it's line art I need to be in line art, because the scanner interface says Line Art. Let's just get right to resolution and get that out of the way and then move back to the mode, because the mode is one of the key selections here is are we going to go 600 or 1200? Well, for a detailed line art like this we are almost always going to choose the full optical resolution and the scanner like 1200 pixels per inch.
The 600 will work okay, but it really doesn't give you enough definition of the detail. Unlike the simple line art image that were taken the vectors where the 600 was not only fine. In fact, it was preferable. Here we're going to go in the other direction. We're going to want more detail. So we want a higher native resolution of the scan. It's always good to use the optical resolution if you can, far less interpolation. So 1200 pixels per inch. But notice when we choose 1 bit black and white Line Art as a scan mode, look what the image looks like even in the preview.
If we would to complete a scan like this and just to save a little bit of time I've predone the scan. Let's go back to Photoshop and take a look at this image. Here is the Moose_BW_1200 pixels per inch and this is what happens when we do that. Instead of having all the detail like you saw in the original image all of the darker areas went to pure black and all the lighter areas went to pure white. That's what 1 bit black-and- white line art scanning does. You're forcing the scanner to make a decision. Is it black? Is it white? Now true enough, you can come in and you can adjust the Threshold value, where the pixels go black, and where they go white, but when you go lighter than some of the darker pixels go pure white and the black ones lighten up a little bit, but you end up with this real bimodal image.
So this is certainly not the mode in which you want to scan. Let's go back to the scanner interface and look what happened to even to the preview when we go to Grayscale mode. Now we've got two choices here. We can go 16 to 8 bit grayscale or we can go to true 16 bit grayscale. We can argue for days and weeks and months over whether 16 bit is worth it or not. If you're someone who likes to work in high dynamic range images with extra bit depth and you maybe even like to print these images in 16-bit, because more and more we have printers that will actually print 16-bits of grayscale.
Feel free to scan this in 16 bit grayscale. To either one of these would be fine and then you can convert to 8 bit later if you want to for simple or faster printing or if your printer doesn't handle 16-bit prints, or we can just choose to scan in 16-bit and then downsample to 8-bit by the scanning software and that's what we're going to go. But notice on the preview what happens, boom, now all that detail is there. For detailed line art the trick is to don't scan in line art mode even though it says line art, treat this as if it's a continuous tone image.
All that detail we want to capture that grayscale value in order to capture that detail. So go to a grayscale mode and then set your frame up to create the image at the original size that you want, or if you want to scale this image up now it's the time to do it. If you want this image to be a 200% then puts your 200% Scale in here. I'm just going to go at 100% we're just going to capture the image at the original size. My suggestion is there is the edge of the original image right here. Make sure that the frame is up above that. Make sure you've got room all the way around the image so that there is nothing to cut off.
Pay attention to that. Set your resolution to 1200. Remember we're going with pixels per inch instead of dpi here in terms of how we think about this, because we're actually creating pixels. Then go ahead and click Scan. Once again just to save some time I've gone ahead and done the scan for you and I'll show you what the results are, because this takes a long time to scan, because not only are we quadrupling the file size by going from 600 to 1200, but we're going from 1-bit to 8-bit which then multiplies that number by 8. So notice we end up with a 37 megabyte file. Not a 1 megabyte or 6 megabyte, but a 37 megabyte file.
It takes a little while to scan, but let me show you what you end up with when you complete that scan. Here is the image right here. We'll just enlarge that and look at the huge difference we have between this image which is the 1-bit scan and then the 8-bit scan. Notice that the scan has much the same detail that the original image does. When we zoom in here we see we've got lots and lots of pixels with grayscale values going on in-between. What this allows us to do is not only capture that individual grayscale value as we're doing here, but notice this gives us full editability in the post-scan.
So if we bring up our Layers panel and we use an adjustment layer for Curves and it's good to use adjustment layers, of course, because they're fully editable and nondestructive. Notice that I can change the brightness of the image I can darken it up, push some of the pixel more to dark by moving the highlight. Although in this particular image I'm more likely to come in here and lighten and darken the image by adjusting the midtone. See, this gives me full editing capability of those grayscale values once I'm inside that image. Skip back to the scanner interface for just a second here.
We set the frame, we set the resolution, and we're going to call this grayscale and then if you want to put the dimensions here and it's about 5x5. It doesn't have to be exact. It just reminds me what the dimensions of the image are. Set this at 1200 so we've got plenty of detail. Set this to Grayscale. Now sure enough we could come in here for instance and we can come in here there is a curves tool and we can come in here and adjust that curves tool prior to the scan just like we were doing in Photoshop. Yes, that's absolutely possible for us to do, but I typically don't do that. We've got some great editing tools here right in SilverFast.
Frankly, if you want to do this quickly and you didn't have time to work in Photoshop you thought ooh, that's a little bit too dark, let me come in and let me lighten this image by working the midtone here in SilverFast, fine go after to your heart's delight. It's no problem. But typically I like my workflow. what I like to do is scan the image, get all the detail in there, and I might lighten it up a little bit working inside of SilverFast, but then I really want to do my editing here in Photoshop, or if you're working in Photoshop Elements, or another image editing program. Why? Because, I get to see all the pixels here.
When I'm been working in my scanner interface I just have the preview pixels to work with. Here I can see all of pixels and I can make any kinds of edits that I want and I get to work nondestructively by working in an adjustments layer. So that's my recommendation, capture in 8-bit grayscale, go for the higher resolution around 1200 so you get all the detail in the image, save it out as Grayscale. You can do maybe it's overall lightening or darkening in the original scan, but then save most of your image editing working in the post-scan. And I strongly recommend that you work on copies of the image and certainly use adjustment layers when you're working inside of Photoshop.
So that's how I work with complex scans and the final question to chat about and we're going to get to this in more detail when we talk about the projects in the last section, is do we keep this as grayscale or to be go to 1-bit black-and-white, and we can go either way and we'll come back and talk about that a little bit later.
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