|SCAN A PHOTOGRAPH OR DOCUMENT|
In this section I will show you how to scan a photograph and then shrink it, so that it is small enough to send as an email for example, as well as show you some of the common settings of a scanner in general. In this particular case I am using my Epson Perfection 3490 PHOTO scanner which I bought about 3 or 4 years ago. It cost £70 back then and is rarely used, but when it is used it does plenty of work. This is a typical scenario with scanners.
If you have not bought a scanner yet, as much as possible do not go for one of those nasty, cheap, All-In-One/3-In-1 pieces of ****. They are not worth the money in the long term. Instead. Go for a Separate Printer, Separate Scanner and Separate Copier if you can afford it.....over time. The reason I say this is because with an All-In-One/3-In-1 each item is sometimes too cheap and therefore have no real value. For example. If you buy one for £90, that is only £30 for each item. Minus the Tax, Manufacturing Costs and Profits each item is probably worth £15. So what quality, durable, parts has the manufacturer put into each item for £15 each? Not much. Whereas if you pay £70+ for each item the value of it after tax, manufacturing costs and profits should be around £40. Therefore the overall quality and durability will be better. So even if you do buy an All-In-One/3-In-1 at least pay £120 - £150 for it.
When buying a Scanner, or All-In-One/3-In-1, be aware that Print Heads and Scanner Components in general take a lot of wear and tear; purely because of the nature of the heads whizzing back and forth, the components being plastic, paper/roller problems and so on. With a scanner for example you need to pick one with good Hinges, otherwise the door/lid will come a part after a while (especially if you have children and/or use the scanner a lot). Another thing to be aware of is the Software. Some of them, by HP for example, are very heavy on the system. And some softwares scan the whole area as A4 even though you only want a 6 x 4 photograph area scanning for example, which means some softwares include the leftover areas as a blank/white space. Which in turn means you will probably want/need to edit out that leftover blank/white space. Better softwares just scan the 6 x 4 photograph area, like the Epson Perfection 3490 PHOTO scanner. So buying cheap can also mean cheap 'n' nasty software.
To scan a 6 x 4 photograph for example switch on your scanner, lift up the lid and then place your 6 x 4 photograph face-down on the glass. After that double click on the scanner's (or All-In-One's/3-In-1's) desktop icon to launch your scanner software.
With the epson scanner, if you do not have it switched on when you double click on its desktop icon you will receive the following error message. So make sure you have it switched on! Click on the NO button, switch on the scanner and then double click on the Epson Scan desktop icon to continue.
From this point on I will example and therefore only explain features of the Epson Scanner, but this section may still be of help to you regardless of scanner type simply because I will be explaining and exampling some scanner basics found in most, if not all, scanners and/or scanner softwares.
So with the epson scanner switched on the control panel will appear after doubling clicking on the desktop icon. The control panel has three levels - Home
Mode, Full Auto Mode and Professional Mode. Home Mode allows you to adjust the basic image settings for scanned images. Full Auto Mode is for straight
forward, no fuss, scanning (no complex settings or adjustments). And Professional Mode is the person who wants greater control over their scanning. You
can sharpen, correct or enhance your images before scanning them in the Professional Mode. I will explain some of the features in these modes later, but
for now I am in Full Auto Mode.
To scan a photograph simply click on the SCAN button to continue. The scanner will then begin by scanning the item inside the scanner in order to identify what it is - recognise it as a photograph in this case as opposed to a letter for example (Fig 1.3). Once the item inside the scanner has been identified (recognised) as a photograph the scanner then scans the item inside the scanner again (the photograph) but this time produces a photograph file (Fig 1.5), with preview (Fig 1.4). The scanner can produce a preview and a photograph file simply because it knows what it is scanning now - a photograph.
That is it! That is how you scan a photograph with the Epson Perfection 3490 PHOTO scanner in Full Auto Mode. The photograph file will normally be saved into your PICTURES folder, that is normally opened automatically after a scan, which you can later change if need be.
The scan was that easy because most of the default settings are set up to cater for common uses and the average user. However. If you want to do something more advanced you will have to play around with the default settings.
|CHANGE THE DEFAULT SETTINGS|
To change between modes simply click on the MODE drop-down menu in the top-right corner of the control panel. When you do this you will see a different control panel for each mode. Fig 2.0 below shows FULL AUTO MODE, Fig 2.1 shows HOME MODE and Fig 2.2 shows PROFESSIONAL MODE.
With HOME MODE you can change its settings via its CUSTOMIZE button and with FULL AUTO MODE and PROFESSIONAL MODE you can change most of their settings from their respective control panels, with extra/advanced settings available via their respective CONFIGURATION buttons. Below I have explained some of the more common settings found in all modes, which in turn can be found on many scanners these days.
DPI - Dots Per Inch
The DPI settings is normally set to 96 dpi for something that is scanned and destined for the computer monitor/screen (i.e. a photo for a web page) and 300 dpi for something that is destined for the printer (i.e. a Leaflet or Letter). You can adjust this to 600 dpi for example when requiring a professional printout. For example. If you design something that has really detailed artwork you might want to use 600 dpi instead of the normal 300 dpi. DPI, as its name suggests, is the amount of dots in one inch. The more dots per inch the better the quality. DPI also comes under the heading Resolution.
Image Type in HOME MODE is just a choice of Color, Grayscale (Tones of Grey) and Black/White but in PROFESSIONAL MODE you have the choice of 48 Bit Color, 24 Bit Color, 16 Bit Grayscale, 8 Bit Grayscale and Color Smoothing. Do not worry too much about what these settings are technically. Just remember that a graphics designer for example would use 48 Bit Color when wanting to scan/edit a colour photograph whereas the general public would use 24 Bit Color to scan/edit a, standard, colour photograph. 16 Bit Grayscale is used for black/white photographs that contain many shades of gray whereas 8 Bit Grayscale is used for black/white photographs that contain only a few shades of gray. And Color Smoothing is used for printing charts and graphs.
Descreening is used in conjunction with the Document Type: Reflective setting to get rid of moiré patterns (lines and streaks) from a photograph. moiré patterns are camera errors. For example. Taking a photo of a live tv screen with a digital camera might produce moiré patterns. As might a tv presenter with a striped suit on.
Backlight Correction automatically adjusts the amount of light that is lacking in shadows. Brightens up shadowed areas in other words. The settings to choose from are LOW, MEDIUM and HIGH.
Dust Removal automatically tries to remove dust marks from a photograph. It has three settings, which are LOW, MEDIUM and HIGH.
Target Size allows you to adjust the size of a scanned photograph before it has actually been scanned. So if you want your scanned photograph to be of a certain size, adjust the target size first and then perform the scan. The scanned photograph will then be trimmed to your required size, if possible.
Scanning Quality is usually a setting of BEST or DRAFT whereby draft is a rough scan and best is the proper scan. Draft (rough) scans are ideal if you are just wanting quick results for a template you are doing for example (i.e. a Photo Gallery website template). Quickly scan your photographs and preview them inside your template.
Color Restoration automatically tries to restore a faded photograph so that it has its original, bright, colours again.
Document Type allows you to select which type of document you want scanning. For example. You can tell the scanner you want to scan a Photograph, Newspaper, Positive (Colour) or Negative (B/W) Film, Illustration, Magazine and so on. HOME MODE makes this very simple. Click on the DOCUMENT TYPE drop-down menu and then select the type of document you wish to scan.
You can also tell the scanner what file type/format you want the scanned document saving as - PDF (document/booklet) file , BitMap (image/drawing/photo) file, JPEG (image/drawing/photo) file or TIFF (image/drawing/photo) file. The TIFF file type/format is sometimes a requirement of a professional print service, in your local high street for example. As is the JPEG file type/format, but not so much these days.
To choice a default file type/format click on the FILE SAVE SETTINGS button (FIG 2.4 above) and then select a file type from the TYPE drop-down menu in the File Save Settings window (FIG 2.5 above). From this window you can also choose which folder to save your scanned photograph files into. You could save them inside the PICTURES folder or DOCUMENTS folder for example or choose a folder of your own; by selecting the OTHER radio (circle) button and then clicking on the BROWSE button to locate your preferred folder. And if you want each scanned photograph file to have your prefered prefix added to it (i.e. img, picture, holiday, italy or whatever) simply type your preferred prefix into the PREFIX edit box.
Each scanned photograph file will also have a number attached to it that starts from the number specified in the START NUMBER edit box. Simply change this start number, if need be, to your prefered start number. Note: The start number increases each time you scan a photograph. When you stop scanning today the last number to be scanned today +1 will then be the start number for tomorrow. So if you scan 5 photographs today, tomorrow's start number will be 6 and not 1. The number does not reset automatically to 1 at the end of each day.
I have not mentioned every single scanner setting above simply because many of them are more advanced and technical and would take me a book to explain all of them. However. This should not stop you from experimenting a little with the scanner settings I have mentioned above, and perhaps a few I haven't mentioned, because doing so can mean the difference between a standard scan and a beautifully restored photograph scan. A lot of scanner softwares these days have a RESET button in them that allow you to reset the scanner, and/or individual scanner settings, back to their manufacturer's default setting(s). So do not worry too much if your experimenting goes wrong. Just remember which settings you changed and if necessary click on the RESET button.
|SHRINK THE SCANNED PHOTOGRAPH FOR EMAIL|
When you view a scanned photograph, with the Windows Photo Viewer program for example, it normally views/fits perfectly on your desktop screen. This is
because of the way that program scales down the photograph, in memory, in order for it to be viewable on your desktop screen. However. When you email
that scanned photograph to someone they may complain its file size is too large and/or the photograph size is too large. This is because many people do
not realise that a scanned photograph is Poster Size, physically, when it is scanned. The previewing program simply shrinks/scales it down to fit into
the preview/desktop area. So how can you shrink/scale it down yourself? Answer. With Microsoft Paint. It is built-in to Windows 7.
Begin by launching Microsoft Paint (START Menu >> ALL PROGRAMS >> ACCESSORIES >> Paint). From there. Click on the FILE menu and select the OPEN menu-item. A file requester will then appear, asking you to locate a file to open (your scanned photograph file in this case). Locate it, select it and then click on the file requester's OPEN button. With the scanned photograph file now open, inside Microsoft Paint, click on the RESIZE button (Fig 3.0 below) to bring the Resize And Skew window. It allows you to resize the currently opened photograph (Fig 3.1).
Entering 50% into the HORIZONTAL edit box will, by default, automatically enters 50% into the VERTICAL edit box for you. This is because, by default, the MAINTAIN ASPECT RATIO option is ticked and therefore keeps the ratios equal. Meaning. When you click on the OK button the scanned photograph will be shrunk by 50%, therefore halving its size of course. Once you are happy with the new size of your scanned photograph click on the FILE menu and then select the SAVE AS menu-item to bring up the SAVE AS file requester. From there. Give the newly resized photograph a new file name and then click on the SAVE button to actually save the photograph. In this example I resized my photograph twice, at 50% each time, before saving it.
What you should be aiming for is a photograph size whereby you can see enough picture detail but at the same time the saved file will be small enough to
email. I will give you an example. My original photograph of Rome, Italy is 1830 pixels wide by 1055 pixels high with a file size of 573.8kb when resaved
as a .jpg file, which is just over half a megabyte (too large). If I halve the photograph (Resize 50%) it becomes 915 pixels wide by 528 pixels high
with a file size of 279.1kb when resaved as a .jpg file, which is just over a third of a megabyte (that's better!). And If I halve the photograph (Resize
50%) again it then becomes 458 pixels wide by 264 pixels high with a file size of 86.2kb, which is approximately 10% of a megabyte.
So as these results show, just one resize of 50% can reduce a photograph's file size from half a megabyte to around a third of a megabyte, without shrinking the actual photograph detail too much. To be sending someone an email of half a megabyte is absurd, especially when you are sending 10 photographs for example (approximately 5 megabytes). You might clog up the recipient's Email INBOX and will definitely be using unnecessary broadband bandwidth.
Microsoft product screen shot(s) reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation. As stated here by the Microsoft Corporation.