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On Scanning
(30 Sep 2007)

I have a confession to make. I've been sloppy. If you look at the background image to my LiveJournal, you can see that I do not always present my best work in the best way. It is fuzzy.

This has drawn some unsolicited advice from more than one of my friends who are rightly concerned about my draftsmanship. I really do need to improve my presentation, especially if I want to attract the kind of business I'd like to do.

Now, I think I know what I'm actually doing wrong, but the key bit of advice I have been getting has been to do a better job of scanning my artwork.

The advice is to scan my inked drawings in straight-up b/w at a very high resolution (600 minimum) and then convert it to greyscale before downsampling it to my desired resolution. The idea being that the blue pencil I use to do my underdrawing is designed to be filtered out by the b/w setting of the scanner.

The way that I have been treating my artwork is to scan at my desired resolution in RGB, and to then in PhotoShop select the Blue Channel and copy it into the other channels, thus magically filtering out the blue pencil. Then convert to greyscale before saving it.

I've decided to perform an experiment to see which method works best on my own equipment. Here are the results:

click on the above image to see it at the original resolution. It is a 256 color png.

Keep in mind that I'm using a SCSI AGFA SnapScan 1236 that I purchased in 1998. It has an optical resolution of 1200 dpi, and it's driver software hasn't changed much since Windows 98 SE. In my experience, the quality of scanning software varies incredibly from make and model as well as from company to company. While the AGFA SnapScan software is the best I've ever used, I still find that I have more control editing the image in PhotoShop after a good clean RGB scan.

Your results may vary. If you are using a cheaper or more expensive scanner, or simply one created in the last four years, you may find that scanning as LineArt or straight B/W still is best for you.

It's certainly faster to do it that way. But if you are concerned about quality, you should probably try both methods, because they are clearly both viable, and you should use the one that is best for you.


Posted by Fenmere

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