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Basics Of Scanning

   By: Carla Ballatan

Are you getting exasperated with all the stacks of negatives and prints warping into unruly shapes and colors that’s been holding your desk drawer hostage but haven’t got the heart to deposit them into the dark recesses of your attic/basement?

Fret no more! By scanning your pictures, you will be given an opportunity to edit and organize your pictures. Once your images are digitized, you can export it into Photoshop to make adjustments. Also, by having your prints or negatives get digitized, you get to archive, e-mail, fax, save them to a CD or even publish them on a website. You may even get to build a photo gallery and let your whole family and friends access them.

Scanning technology has come a long way since being introduced. With only about US$150, you can already have a fine scanner with all the software you need. Of course if you fancy a scanner that handles slides and negatives, you’ll invest a little bit more than this amount.

Before rushing out to buy a scanner, do some research on the gadget, first, like figuring out the features you need and how much you want to spend. Then, know the scanner jargons that describe it’s factors and features. There are two crucial measurements when it comes to scanners – bit or color depth refers to the number of bits of image data the scanner will use for each pixel, and resolution/DPI, which tells you how many spots of information there are in a given area.

You have to consider other features, too. Like the scanner’s speed, ability to scan negatives/slides, software bundles to manage the scanning process, interface between your computer and scanner, and scanner size.

So, now, if you have your scanner already, it’s best to start with a low resolution setting and work your way up from there. The default resolution of 150 DPI might not be a bad place to start. Then, the next important setting is the “output type” which describes what type of image you’re scanning. Save space and time by cropping the pictures before scanning them and closing some other applications on your computers. If you’re having trouble with the scanning software, consult the manual.

To top all scanning basics lessons, remember that scanning is a two-part process. The first part is setting of the resolution and output and making the scan, and the second is saving and editing the file. Saving is an important process and it’s a good option to save your files in BMP or TIFF, especially if you plan to import them into Photoshop for adjustments. Try keeping images bound for website under 40 KB. And for images that you want to print out, save them as TIFF uncompressed or BMP and use a high DPI setting (300 and up) when scanning them.

Have fun editing your image once you’ve scanned them…Remember, if you foul up, you can still start the whole scanning process – as long as you have your scanner handy!

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