Join Taz Tally for an in-depth discussion in this video Cleaning your scanner, part of Scanning Techniques for Photography, Art, and Design.
Let's chat about caring for and cleaning your scanner. Well, first rule of engagement is prevention rather than cure, as we already talked about, but just to review. Locate your scanner in a dust free environment, away from drafts, away from any sources of dirt and dust, no moving air, windows, doors, vents, fans, avoid them. All right, and then set up your scanner on a nice hard surface, no fabrics, all right, because fabric has static electricity, which attracts dust and dirt and therefore that gets on your scanner and your images. So stay away from that completely. And you may have noticed I've been wearing these lint-free gloves the whole time we've been talking about scanners and I've been handling my scanners and my images, always, always wear these, and it's critical, because your figures have oil on them, no matter how much you wash your hands, you've got oil on your fingers, and that oil gets on your scanner, gets on your images and then that attracts dust and dirt and boy! It's just awful to keep clean. Don't believe me? Take a look at this keyboard that hasn't been washed in a while.
See all that gunk on there? That's from oil on the fingers that has attracted dust and dirt. Think about getting that on your images or on your scanner. Now we want to avoid that whenever possible. And since these gloves are so important, and I don't know about you, but I don't wear these all day along, all day. It's not the kind of environment that I'm work in, I typically use them just when I'm working on my scanner or touching my images. So I'm likely to, if I don't already have my gloves on, is I'm likely to walk to my scanner and start handling my scanner, and then I remember, oops, all right! So what I do is I put a pair of these gloves right on the top of the scanner, and that gives me a visual reminder that, oh, I need to put on my gloves before I even touch my scanner, and it really works for me.
Couple of other details about gloves, is I recommend you get the good quality ones like these. See how nicely that fits. It improves the dexterity that you've for handling your scanner and your images and loading and unloading and so forth, and I buy them by the bag or the box and I recommend getting it from a company that has the good quality gloves, not just the inspection gloves, but the really good quality gloves. I get mine from gloves-online.com, and it's gloves-online.com and these right here are the all day gloves. So that's what I recommend in terms of the gloves.
And then of course, leave the gloves in the plastic packages until you're ready to take one and use it, so that you are not collecting dust. So but, no matter how careful you are, you're going to end up getting some dust and dirt on your scanner or images, so let's talk about some tools and techniques to help you clean your scanner. First tools, well, what's the first tool? Well prevention. Second tool, the gloves for sure. All right, no question about that. Then some other tools here are these little PEC PADs here. These are dust-free, lint-free pads. You can go and buy the PEC PADs, a lot of people sell these, and they are kind of the industry standard.
There are some other varieties as well, but make sure that they are lint-free and very, very soft. And then a little brush here, little fine brush, this one with a little air pump on it. And then lens cleaning solution. You want to get some of that for when you can't just wipe things off, but make sure you don't use your household or industrial cleaners, because of two things. one, they will leave a film, and two, sometimes they will actually corrode the plastic on your scanner. Then some judicious use of canned air can sometimes be helpful as well. All right, so these are kind of our tools, now let's talk about the actual cleaning process.
When you want to clean your scanner? Well, just prior to using your scanner. Don't clean your scanner and say, oh it's time to go lunch and then come back and start scanning. No, you want to clean it just before it. So get everything all ready, organize your images and then clean your scanner, and I'll be go about doing that. Of course, you got to get your gloves on all the time. Open up your scanner, we're going to talk about cleaning this kind of a scanner, the Flatbed Scanner or the multipurpose scanner, why, because there are lots of surfaces that can get dirty here. We'll do the film scanner in just a little bit. That's easier to kind of handle. So get your gloves on and then we're going to grab a lint-free pad here.
Notice I'm taking it out of the bag, because after you use these ones, toss them, because they are going to get dirty, they will collect lint and when you start using, you put lint on the scanner. Not a good idea. Okay, so grab your gloves, grab the lint-free pad and then your initial inclination is to start cleaning the bottom, because that's the key surface. Don't, because, one, you'll either forget to clean the top, or then you'll go clean the top and knock all the dust onto the bottom. I know it's silly, but it happens all the time. So clean the top surface first, all right, and I like to wipe away from me, away from the scanner, away from the images, all right, and then you can come down and do the bottom, same thing like this.
Sometimes that's all you need to do. But you know, I don't know how it happens? But I looked down there, I cleaned it off and there is somebody's thumbprint, certainly not mine, all right. I know somebody has been touching the scanner while I had been away. So when it's like that, don't just push harder. That's when you want to use your lens cleaning solution, all right. So you open this puppy up, and then don't spray this right on the platen, spray it on the cloth here and then easy circular strokes like this and then I end up going away from me, away from me like that.
You can do the same thing on the top of scanner, and you know, if you don't have this foam part, and if you've got a transparency adapter on top of your scanner, you'll be cleaning the glass on top. Either way, start on the top. All right, so do the pad, and then you'd be working with your image, and you may notice, oh, this one little piece have dust in there. That's when this comes in handy. Always away from you, away from your images, away from the scanner and then sometimes a little bit of canned air is useful and helpful to you, just blow a little bit off.
But listen, if you're working in a dusty environment at all, all the canned air does is blow dust into the air and covers everything. So I tend to use this rather than the canned air, because sometimes the canned air is just too hard and too strong. All right, and then finally, I want to tell you not to do what I'm doing, and that is don't talk while you're cleaning your scanner or your images. All right, because what happens is when we've got a pedi pad, right, and we're over the top of the scanner and I'm cleaning the scanner like this, what am I doing, I'm talking and I'm spitting on my scanner, all right.
I don't intend to, but that's what happens. Same thing when you're clean your images, silent process, all right. So that's for cleaning your flatbed scanner and your multipurpose scanner. Now for film scanners, actually these are a little bit easier to deal within a way. What you don't want to do is what I've done right here. All right, see how I've got my film holder and it's still in the scanner, maybe I scanned this morning or last week and the film holder is still there. That's going to cause the problem. Why? Because most of these film holders - I've got these windows on them like this and that prevents dirt and dust from getting inside the scanner.
If you keep the film holder in the scanner for long periods of time that opens it up to dirt and dust. Can you clean dust way if it gets inside? Oh, sure, you can kind of take your canned air and put in here. So all that really does is blow the dust around inside. Hopefully you blow it off, maybe the scanned surface. But yeah, cleanliness and prevention is really the way to go with these, because if you get much dust or dirt, then you have to open them up to actually clean them. And then when you get done with the scanned process, close everything up, all right, so that you prevent dust and dirt from getting on the scanners, and then, what I like to do at the very end, you'll notice in the end of my scan bench here, I've got this cloth.
We'll put that down, so we don't knock it over, and I fold that cloth back on top of itself, so at the end of the scanning process, I can take this and just drag it all over everything on my scan bed. That prevents any dust from collecting while I'm not using my scanner. I don't scan every day. All right, I scan you know maybe I have a scan session a couple of times a week, but I keep it covered like this, and then when I take it off I just fold it back on itself, so that the dusty surface is never facing towards my scanner or scanner equipment images and cleaning equipment.
So that's how to keep your scanner clean.
- Understanding grayscale values and channels
- Evaluating and correcting images with histograms
- Saving to different file formats
- Managing color
- Cleaning the scanner and images
- Reproducing versus assigning colors
- Recognizing contone versus dot pattern images
- Understanding bit depth
- Scanning logos and line art
- Scanning transparent film, positive or negative
- Capturing high dynamic range (HDR) scans