ScanAddict – Jenz Scan How-to

2000 NUMBER 13 |
Posted: November 3, 2000 | LAST UPDATE:

The best you can get.


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| PART 3:


This scanning primer was written by the scanner responsible for the
JenzScans collection.

The content was taken from other Internet sources. It has been formatted
to conform to the display conventions of this site. The actual content has not been
altered or edited in any way.

JenzScans Scanning Tips
Tuesday, May 27th, 1998

Via Email:
Newsgroups: Alt.Binaries.Pictures.Celebrities
http:// Coming Soon
ICQ: 2545966


All, thanks to everyone for replying. If you have questions/queries on
these or other areas mail them away.

Here is the first set of tips. It is fairly basic but I want to get
everyone up to the same level of basic scanning.

Some simple steps can improve the scans considerably. Some Advanced Tips
are at the end. I have assumed that you will save the image at regular intervals!


1) Some Very Basic Scanning Tips
(amazing how many people miss these)

1. Keep the scanning surface of the scanner very clean. This saves
considerable time cleaning the images later on. Occasionally wipe the surface with a soft
cloth. Refer to your scanner documentation about cleaning the surface. Similarly make sure
that the image to be scanned is free of dust, specs, pizza, etc.

2. Choose pictures carefully – a little planning can save hours of work
especially when trying to merge images
together to create fakes.

3. Always scan only the area you need for your final output. It saves
time and memory.

4. Try to scan at a high resolution around 300dpi. Scanning at a high
resolution helps avoid the color banding ( yellow streaks ) that can be seen on some
scanners. This is a result of the way in which the printing process affects paper. You
should not see this problem on proper photographs. If you consistently get yellow streaks
drop me an email to discuss further. This problem is often seen in scanners that have a
3-light head rather than a pure white scan head.


2) The Actual Scan

1. Place the image face down on the scanner. Make sure that the image is
as straight as possible, as any rotating afterwards will decrease the sharpness and, for
the same reason, use the controls in the scan software to alter brightness, contrast and
Gamma if available. Goto FILE -> IMPORT (some programs use FILE -> ACQUIRE ->
TWAIN ). This will bring up your scanners Twain Driver Dialog box, to scan the image. Make
sure that the image type is set to RGB (or Color) and that the resolution is set to the
required dpi. ( I always use 300dpi ).

2. Click on the PRESCAN button to scan in the twain window in order to
select the section of picture you want to scan.

3. If the image looks dark, click on the GAMMA button, then either drag
the slider, key in a value or drag the arrows to change the gamma setting and click OK.
The main part of any image is made up of mid-tones, and gamma is the tonal contrast in
this area. It is very important to correct the gamma at this point. This setting can make
dull, washed-out scans look vibrant, and it is faster and easier to correct at the scan
time rather than later.

4. Drag a box around the scan area in the preview window then click SCAN
to make the final high resolution scan.

5. If you can avoid it do not run other applications in background
whilst scanning unless you have a fast processor and/or tons of ram.

6. The finished scan is automatically loaded into your image software
for editing. Save it immediately. You can now throw away or file the original. DON’T THROW
IT AWAY before you’ve saved it.    🙂


3) First Steps in Editing

1. You are now working with a large scan. If you have scanned from a
magazine, the resultant image will have small "speckles" on it as a result of
the printing process. We need to remove these speckles in order to smooth the image and
get it ready for reducing for screen size.

2. Under the FILTER option of your graphics package will be a filter to
"despeckle". In Photoshop this is FILTER -> NOISE -> DESPECKLE. Run the
Despeckle Filter. This smoothes away the specs.

3. You can now either resample the image ( i.e. reduce it to screen
size) or edit the image. I personally prefer to resample the image down to the size I
want. I always resample to a resolution of 1024 pixels by 768 pixels. You do this by
changing the image size. In Photoshop this would be IMAGE -> IMAGE SIZE. Make sure that
you select RESAMPLE IMAGE BICUBIC if you have this setting. This is an intelligent way of
working out the resultant image and yields the best results.

4. Now that the image has been shrunk to our final size we can begin to
edit it. First of all we set the image highlights, shadows and mid-tones. To do that we
use the LEVELS option. What we are doing is changing the image to have a good of color.
Choose IMAGE -> ADJUST -> LEVELS. The resultant dialog box shows a Histogram of the
spread. We first want to eliminate any area to the far left or far right of the histogram
that is empty. A picture with a good range of all the tones will extend almost to both
ends of the graph. The graph is actually showing the number of pixels for each tonal
value. A low contrast image shows a large gap at the dark end of the spectrum ( left side)
and a high contrast image shows a gap at the light end of the spectrum (right side).

5. To improve the image slide the left most slider (controlling the
shadows) to the right. This has the result of darkening the shadows and therefore removing
low contrast. Slide it to the first point where the Histogram begins to curve upwards. –
i.e. it’s not flat/empty.

6. Similarly, slide the right most slider (controlling the highlights)
to the left. This has the result of darkening the highlights and therefore removing high
contrast. Slide it to the first point where the Histogram begins to curve upwards. – i.e.
it’s not flat/empty.

7. Observe that the midpoint (mid-tones) automatically moves based on
the left/right sliders. The whole image should now have improved and you have better tonal
balance. It is amazing how many scanners do not do this. And, invariably, it is the
biggest single improvement that can be made to a scan. Occasionally, particularly with
very dark images, you may feel that you have lost some detail in the image. This can be
brought back by experimenting with moving the middle slider. It is often a good idea to at
least try sliding the middle slider left and right (using PREVIEW ON) to see the result.
Experimentation is the key. When you are happy with the tonal range click OK.

**Advanced Tip: Some Scanner software supports Level Histograms. It is
better to use the scanner software. Try to get the best initial scan using advanced
settings in the scan software, because every change made afterwards involves processing
power, and some operations require a certain amount of interpolation which can result in a
slightly less sharp image.

8. You are now ready to correct any errors on the image such as cracks,
scratches, spots, text removal etc. We’ll cover these in more detail later. Practice using
the Levels and Histogram.

9. Finally use an UNSHARP Filter ( set at 15%) TWICE on the image to add
sharpness back in that was lost during resampling. 15% is my favorite figure but you
should experiment. You may like to try very large figures such as 80-110%. I personally
don’t like images that have been sharpened too much.

**Advanced Tip: Sometimes if the image has a background of one color,
say black or white, it can affect the histogram. Therefore, make a selection around the
detailed image that does not include the background. Then use the levels adjustment
histogram. This changes the selection, not the entire image.

**Advanced Tip: If your graphics package supports adjustment layers
(like Photoshop 4 & 5) use these to make your changes. This way the underlying image
is not altered, which makes reverting changes back much easier. Similarly, in Photoshop 5,
use the History list to remove unwanted changes.

**Advanced Tip: If you are scanning an original 35mm photograph you
don’t normally need to run the "despeckle" filter.

**Advanced Tip: If your graphics package supports Actions or Macros, set
one up to automatically run Despeckle then Resample down to height 768. For narrow width,
tall height images. Set another one up to automatically run Despeckle then Resample down
to width 1024. For large width, short height images.

**Advanced Tip: The TAB key toggles all on screen palettes ON or OFF.
Handily the Shift+Tab combo does the same but leaves the Tool palette active. Great for
making space.


You should now be able to scan, despeckle, and image size your pictures.
In turn by using the levels options you can improve the tonal range and bring the colour

1) Fixing Problems on the Image (Cracks, Rips and

Get to the point where you have scanned, despeckled and resized your
image. Do NOT change the levels or Unsharp at this point (we can leave this until the end
when we are happy with content).


1a) Removing Cracks or Joining 2 page images

Cracks should be considered as very large areas of the image that are
missing. This may be because the image is ripped or more commonly because the image
spreads across two or more pages. The problem with a crack is that you have to replace a
large volume of missing image with content that isn’t there!

A note on images that spread across two pages. Scan each page separately
into your graphics package at a high resolution. Do not use despeckle, or image size yet.
Check the size of both images and change the canvas size of one to be large enough to have
the other image copied in. e.g. if you have two images 500×500 and the overall image
should be side by side, change the canvas size of one to 1000×500.

Copy the smaller image into the newer large canvas. Close and save the
smaller one (just in case). Now use the move selection to carefully align the copied image
against the other static image. Make sure that strong lines that cut across both images
are aligned. (For example arms against a background are often a good guide, Hair also).
Save the image ?

**Scanning two images will use a lot of RAM, therefore close all apps
that you do not need.

If you have scanned the images from a magazine you might have a grey or
white mark on a side of the image that is carried across into the new joined image. If
this is the case use the magic wand with a tolerance setting of between 20 and 30 to
select the edge. Once selected, delete it or clear it to transparent depending on your
tool. You will then have to realign the image to ensure that the joins match. Save the
image ?

When you are comfortable that the images are joined as best as you can
crop the overall canvas so that it contains just the picture, deleting any non-essential

Depending on your package link the 2 images together (in PhotoShop this
would be by linking the layers), then run despeckle and resample the image size down to
the correct final setting that you want.

Depending on a number of factors (Quality of original image, Quality of
Scanner) you will find yourself with either a) colours that match correctly across both
sections of the image or (more likely) b) colours that do not match or are to dark.

If the images match and you are happy skip the next paragraph.

When the sections of the joined image do not match there are a number of
tools that can be used. The tools are: Levels, Color Balance, Hue/Saturation and in
Photoshop the variations palette. The best way to make use of these tools is to play with
them and see the effect they have on the section that looks the worst.

Use the Levels tool to darken/lighten the overall image and alter the
midtones to try and match the other section. The Levels sliders let you gradually adjust
the brightness, contrast, and midtones in an image. By adjusting the midtones, you can
change the brightness values of the middle range of grey tones without dramatically
altering the shadows and highlights.

The Colour Balance command lets you change the mixture of colours in a
colour image. Like the Brightness/Contrast command, this tool provides generalised colour
correction. For precise control over individual colour components, use Levels, Curves, or
one of the specialised colour correction tools: Hue/Saturation, Replace Colour, or
Selective Colour.

The Hue/Saturation command lets you adjust the hue, saturation, and
lightness of individual colour components in an image. Like the Colour Balance command,
this command relies on the colour wheel. Adjusting the hue affects and changes colour,
representing a move around the colour wheel. Adjusting the saturation, or purity of the
colour, represents a move across its radius. Practice with Hue and Saturation because they
take time to understand but are VERY useful. They are perhaps one of the most ignored

The Variations command lets you visually adjust the colour balance,
contrast, and saturation of an image or selection. This command is most useful for
average-key images that don’t require precise colour adjustments, or for fun changing
areas of an image to different colours. By using these tools you can correct the image to
match colours.

Now that the colours are matched you will still have the crack running
down or across the image. To remove this crack you should make use of the Rubber
Stamp/Clone tool. Use a fairly large brush, and then clone sections of the image into the
crack. Pick areas that are close to but do not contain the crack.

Try and follow the flow of the material that you are cloning. For
example if you are cloning a bed spread into a gap on the bed and the bed spread folds run
left to right, use the clone/stamp tool in left to right movements not up and down. This
is particularly relevant for rebuilding skin. When you have filled the crack use a small
brush with a feathered edge to clone along the edges. The feathered brush blurs the edges
and blends them together giving a more natural look that is not sharp. This the area where
a lot of fakers go wrong they do not use the levels, contrast, variations nor do they use
the feathered brushes!

Save the image often as you make these changes or take history snapshots
if you’re using PhotoShop 5.

Move onto removing rips below.


1b) Removing Rips and Scratches.

To fix a rip use a small feathered brush and slowly clone using the
stamp/clone tool areas either side of the rip onto the rip. This technique should also be
used for improving repaired cracks in an image that were repaired as above. Do not use a
sharp edged brush.

You should use a small brush because the "fixed" rip tends to
show up worse if you use a large brush.

Textures that can make fixing rips difficult include lace, fishnet ? and
detailed skin. Easy ones include water, metal, latex and leather <ooer>.

If you use the brushes on either repairing the cracks or rips and it
still appears artificial use a small – medium brush and the smudge tool. Set the smudge
tool to an opacity of approx. 20% and gently run the brush along the "fixed"
rip. This blends the rip edges into the background and improves the image.

Scratches can be fixed in the same way as rips using an even smaller


2) Removing Spots

Sometimes the difference between a good scan and a great scan is the
cleanliness in the detail. Often I get scans where you can clearly see spots of abstract
colour that should not be there. The deep black spot on the end of her nose for example!
More often than not this can be very quickly fixed. To fix tiny spots select a tiny
feathered brush. Choose ole faithful the Rubber Stamp/Clone tool. This time make sure that
the Clone tool is set to "aligned" mode. The rubber stamp tool takes a sample of
the image, which you can then apply over another image or part of the same image. Each
stroke of the tool paints on more of the sampled image. Cross hairs mark the original
sampling point. If Aligned is selected the sampling point stays relative to the clone tool
i.e. it moves with it.

The trick here is to zoom into the image to 400% so that the image is
enlarged on the screen. Now methodically moving down and to the left move across the
entire image cloning out any tiny spot that
stands out. In this zoomed in mode the spots will be quite large and are easily replaced.
Reset the Cloning tool sample point if the spots are close to edges that might otherwise
get distorted. Don’t be afraid of the zoom tool it is after all there to work in close-up
on the image.


3) Improving Specific Colours and Unsharp.

Now that the actual content of the image is correct you can modify the
colours and levels of the complete image as outlined in tips 1.

In addition experiment with the colour balance, variations and level
tools to improve the overall colour of the final image or selection. Have a try with the
Hue/Saturation tool as this can fixed "washed out" colours.

Run the Unsharp filter on the image twice as outlined in tips 1. This
time use the selection tool to select the background areas, inverse the selection and run
the filter on just the main area of the image. Is the background still taking away from
the main image? If so select it and run a blur filter, or play around with the settings of
a smart blur filter.

If you find that the overall image is quite spotty try this technique:

Select a huge feathered brush. Say the 100 one in Photoshop. Choose the
smudge tool set to an opacity setting of 10%. Place the smudge tool on the spotted area.
Press the mouse button down and with a VERY TINY movement rock the mouse back and forth a
VERY SMALL distance. This smudges the picture together, removes the tiny spots but doesn’t
destroy detail. Add the detail back in by using a small feathered brush and the Sharpen
tool. Run the sharpen tool along the areas that you want to add detail back into. I don’t
think this works on eyes particularly well tho’.


4) Removing Text

The techniques that have been used above can just as easily be applied
to removing text. Again you have to use a variety of small – medium feathered brushes to
clone away the text. If the text is on a single colour background then use the eraser
tools to delete it. Save regularly.

The big difference here is that text often covers materials and change
in colour of a single material. For example in the Rolling Stone Cover of Sarah Michelle
Gellar as Buffy The Vampire Slayer the text covers a blue mesh cape that changes in colour
from Dark blue black shadows to light pale blue.

Remove the text as best you can with the clone tool. Then use the toning
tools (Dodge and Burn Tools) to correct the colouring. The toning tools consist of the
dodge tool and the burn tool. Used to lighten or darken areas of the image, the dodge and
burn tools are based on a traditional photographer’s technique for regulating exposure on
specific areas of a print. Photographers hold back light to lighten an area on the print
(dodging) or increase the exposure to darken areas on a print (burning). By using a small
brush, low – medium exposure settings you can blend, darken and lighten the image so that
the textures look correct. This does take practice so don’t give up the first time!



OK now onto more specific tips.. Not all may be relevant to you but I
hope that some will be. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day so practice a lot.

Fixing Images of People in all body part cases make sure that the
selections are "Feathered" in Order to improve blending.

1) Teeth:

Let’s face it we don’t all have perfect teeth. Perhaps they could be
straighter and whiter? Using the Lasso tool you can cut out any that need straightening,
then paste them back and rotate slightly, usually be Dragging the handles that appear when
you use the rotate command. To whiten the teeth, select them with either the magic wand or
Lasso tool, then change the color balance, remembering that the blue end of the Spectrum
is cooler, so increase blue or cyan. Or try increasing the brightness if you increase
contrast as well they may turn yellow.


2) Noses Lost in Shadow:

This technique can be used to remove heavy shadows in Flash photography.
Copy the photo/image and flip it. Then zoom in and then use the clone tool to replicate
areas of the duplicate onto the shadow of the original. Use the smudge tool (also called
smooth or smear) carefully dragging in and down, toward the middle of the nose. Use short
smooth strokes don’t forget that the Undo command only works on the very last stroke
(unless you’re using a new package with multi-undo or history). Experiment with different
Brush sizes for the best effect.


3) Lips Changing Color:

There are different ways to do this most programs allow a color change
facility, but first a selection must be made. Either use the Lasso tool, again feathered,
or the Magic Wand. Newer tools also have the Magnetic Lasso, which detects edge colors as
you click and selects the borderline pixels. With the selection made, change either the
color balance or hue. Or paint over the lips with an Airbrush, but to be effective you
must allow some of the texture of the lips to show through do this by reducing the opacity
of the airbrush. Vary the opacity until you get a good balance of the new color and the
background texture. This approach can be used on various parts to alter color.


4) Ears (Chop them down):

Ears aren’t too difficult to reduce or reshape. You can cover them with
hair using the Lasso tool to select an area the shape and size required, then copy and
paste or use the clone tool, but be careful to match up the hair color its no good taking
brightly lit hair from the top of the head and cloning it in a lump at the side of the
head! You can also smudge the background or select the ear with the Lasso tool and use the
Distort Tool to make the ear flatter. Then clone in the white space that’s created adding
more background. When you are dealing with body parts that are not smooth such as the face
always use a small brush and short smooth strokes. This stops streaking on the image and
preserves detail.


5) The Opacity Setting When Cloning:

Alter the opacity setting of the Clone Tool from time to time to get a
softer edge and to enable blends that look more natural. A degree of practice may be
needed to get the feel of the Clone tool. How far you take This process is down to choice
and good taste. Always work on a layer copy of the image then if you don’t like the
results just delete it.





All written content is
Copyright 1997 .. 2000 by Tom Henthorn