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 Scanning 101  Part One  Here
 Scanning 101  Part Two  Here
 Scanning 101  Part Three  Here
 Scanning 101  Part Four  Here


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Scanning 101 Part One

If you are new to using a scanner than read on. If you know everything there is to know about scanners than read on too. This project is dedicated to Tom and the many others who bought a scanner but have know idea how to get a good scan of anything. So I'm going to start off explaining what the properties of a scanner are and than the how to later on.

A good place to start is

1. "What do I want to use my scanner for?" This will give you an idea of how much money you will want to spend towards purchasing a scanner. Prices range from under one hundred dollars to many thousands depending on the type of scanners. There are a half a dozen different types of scanners on the market to day such as the: flat bed, slides only, video digitizer, and drum. Many home users perfer using the flat bed scanner.

Another good question to ask yourself is,

2. "Will I be scanning images or slides?" You could purchase a transparency top for your flat bed scanner if your going to use them for the internet. However if you want images for a magazine you'll be looking for a specialized slide scanner which creates small but excellent quality images.

Your next question will be

3. "How large do I want my photos to be?" If you are going to make color prints 4 by 6 you can buy yesterdays technology, however if your looking for 8 by 10 todays standard technology will work fine. To get a good resolution you want your scanner to be able to scan at no less than 72 dpi (dots per inch) for the Macintosh and 96 dpi for Windows). Dot per inch at this resolution will give you images good enough for placing on your web page or to send in your email. You will want a 300 dpi for any typed print and 600 or higher for printing images from your ink jet printer. But remember the sharper the image the higher the dpi you will want. Another thing to remember is the more dpi you use the larger the file size will be. With a larger file size your computer cpu should be fast with as much system ram possible or expect to wait a few minutes or longer.

Another suggestion is to start with a large image to scan and than reduce it later. This will preserve the sharpness of the image, apposed to scanning a smaller image and blowing it up later. Scanners used for home use are generally good for over all uses. But if you are using your flat bed for slides you will want a scanner with a higher Bit Depth. Bit Depth is basically the shadow details and is listed in the scanners specs as 24 bits,30 bits or higher. The higher the number the more color information is included in the scan. The 24 bits and 30 bits scanners give excellent images for printing from your ink jet printer.

All scanners come with imaging software. The more expensive your scanner is the better the software is that will accompany it. I use the software that came with my scanner and than transported into Photo Shop 5.5 via their plug ins. The good thing is that Adobe provides a limited version of Photo Shop which works really well and cost about, $150.00 dollars Canadian compared to a thousand for the full version. The imaging software will allow you to clean dust that may have been on your scanners glass during the scan. It will provide you with special filters for creating moods. Brightening or adding contrast and color correction. Most of the mid range scanner come with Photoshop LE and a limited edition of OCR software for reading and coping text material.

Your Project

Now that you know what the values mean on your scanner try scanning a small color image and than scan a larger image and compare your results. Try setting different dpi, but do not go past 600 dpi if your computer is slower. Another piece of advice is when it comes to printing the larger your image and file size the longer your printer will take to start printing. Next time I will talk more about how to scan an image properly

If your not sure how to scan an image come back here soon for part two.

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