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Old 07-25-2002, 08:57 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Buffalo NY
Age: 54
Posts: 1,646
How to Scan images for use on the Web
by A. Bates

What this small guide will do is to teach you how the basics on scanning for the web. Ultimately, the best way to learn is to take an award, scan it with all the different settings your scanner driver provides, and then open each image in an image viewing program. You will definitely notice a difference in an image scanned at 600 ppi, and an image scanned at 72 ppi. I’ll try and cut through all this and give you the fastest, easiest way to get those images on the web. If you want to really learn about why 72 ppi is the best for the web, or how image compression works, I’ve included a small list of links you may want to explore.

1. Flat Bed Scanner.
Can be anything. My scanner is cheap and I love it because it works great. You can find a cheap flatbed scanner for $50-75 on Ebay, or any other computer store on the web. This is the low end of the price range, prices go up as features and accessories, such as bundled software, increase.

2. Image Editing Software.
Many scanners come bundled with an assortment of software utilities for editing your images. Based on what you paid for your scanner, these programs rate from adequate to barely usable.

3. Awards to scan.
Pick something easy to start out with, a flat medal is great.

Assuming you have a scanner and you have it installed and working properly, we will talk about how you scan correctly for use on the web. Here are a few rules of thumb to follow:

1. Scan big, then shrink.

2. Selectively crop your image.
Don’t waste space. Every pixel in your image counts towards the precious file size. Keep unused area to a minimum. You want your image to show as much award as possible.

3. Always optimize your image.
This is called optimizing by some, image compressing by others, and quality level adjusting by others still. It all means the same thing, reducing the file size of your image by loading it into a program which looks at all the adjacent pixels and by throwing out unneeded information.

continued in part 2...

O.K., first, lift the lid of the scanner, and place your award right in the centre. Next, take a clean piece of white paper and lay it over the top. If you have a clean white background on the back of your scanner “lid” then you can eliminate the white paper. Mine is black, which should be avoided because with a dark background, it tends to make the edge of the award hard to see. Close the lid. Scan your image. There should be a preview feature which will scan the whole bed super-fast, then allow you to select what area to scan. For your final scan, adjust your PPI setting so that is reads 300 PPI. Scan the award at 300 PPI. Notice how massive this image is when your done? That is good. We want it that big so we can adjust the brightness, contrast, etc. Now, start up your image editing software. I use Adobe Photoshop, which may be a little high-end for a beginner, so pick anything that’ll let you change the resolution of the image when you re-size it. If you can do this with the software included with your scanner, go for it. Otherwise, look around the web for good image editing programs. Ulead has an excellent selection of programs, see the bottom of the article for a link to reviews of image editing programs on from so here is a good opportunity to play with these settings. After you are happy with the brightness and contrast ( hint, make the image look as close to the original as possible ), crop the image so that the image is mostly award, with only a little white border around it. After cropping it, resize it. I have certain sizes I stick with when I work with the website. For the forum, I’ve come to stick with 400 pixels wide as a perfect width. So, find where you resize the image within your image editing software. Make sure that the resolution, PPI, DPI ( it’s called several things ) is changed from 300 ( your original scanning resolution ) to 72. Now enter the width of the image as 400. There should be a setting in the same area to “constrain proportions” make sure this is activated. If you wind up with an image that looks very tall and skinny, you’ll know you don’t have it activated. That is it.

Image Compression.

There are several ways to do this. Some software packages have this bundled together as a utility to run within the main program ( Photoshop does this ). What it does is it strips out non-essential pixels in order to make the file much much smaller. This has to be tried out to really be appreciated. I can tweak an image to make a 100K image into a 40K image. How? well by using a white background for one. You see, the software will always try and give you the most acceptable level of detail it can. If there is no detail ( say for example pure white ), the software can eliminate dedicating any pixels to this area. Less pixels equals smaller file size. Sound confusing? Don’t worry. Take a look at some of the images on the forum. You can tell when image compression software has been used because the pictures will appear “chunky” or “blotchy”. This is the software at work. It used less colors ( less colors=less pixels) so that the you will see abrupt changes in tone and color. It is used more effectively in some images than in others. Images with a lot of fine detail and a lot of different colors will be the most noticeable, and best results are obtained with black and white images It all depends on the lack of detail you are willing to accept.

That’s it. Practice makes perfect so the saying goes. Keep playing. Keep notes about what settings do what. If you need help, feel free to email me.

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Last edited by CtahhR; 09-08-2015 at 05:11 PM.
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