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Scanning Artwork



    Different scanners may have slightly different features and controls, but they all work in similar ways. When you buy a scanner, it should come with an instruction manual and some kind of scanning software. The specific software provided may differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. One standard is called TWAIN, but there are others. Some of the most common programs include ScanWizard from Microtek, and DeskScan or PrecisionScan from HP. Follow the setup instructions for your particular scanner and install the recommended software.



    Place your artwork facedown on the glass scanner bed.

    Then open your scanning software. If you own a copy of Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Fireworks, you can always open your scanner from the File menu. In Photoshop, for example, go to File, and choose Import. Select your scanner from the list provided.

    Whether you use Photoshop or Fireworks or open your scanner software directly, a scanning options panel will open.


    Scan Settings

    Most scanners allow you to specify what kind of a document you are scanning. If you have this option, choose Photograph.

    You'll have the option of scanning in full color, grayscale, and possibly other color modes. Do all your scans in full color. Even if your image is black and white, the full-color option will give you better results.



    Now set the resolution of your scan. The scan resolution defines how many dots, or pixels, per square inch you want to capture. The higher the resolution, the larger the file size and the more detailed the image. For more information see About Image Preparation. 

    If you're scanning for print, scan at 300 ppi (pixels per inch) or dpi (dots per inch). If you're scanning an assignment to post to a discussion topic, set the resolution for 150 ppi. This will give you crisp details. Later on, you'll compress the image to improve its file size. For more information see Resize & Compress Images. 



    Next tell the scanner your target size. You will generally want to scan your piece at the same size as the original. You'll be resizing it later anyway.


    Preview and Scan
    Now click the Preview button. Your scanner will do a quick scan so that you can check your settings.

    Click and drag the mouse across the image, roughly selecting the section you want to capture. Then adjust the selection and your settings.

    Once you are happy with your image, click Scan.


    Save Your Scan

    Save your scan somewhere you can easily find it again. Choose a file type and save your file as a high-quality image with little or no compression. The file type is the way the information in the file is translated into data that the computer can understand. TIFF, JPEG, and PNG are all fine choices. Saving a high-quality original at this point in the process will maximize your flexibility when you resize and compress your image for use in the Class Discussion.

    For more information on file types see File Types. For more information on image resizing and compression see Resize & Compress Images.