Modern digital technologies will help us protect our favorite photos from the merciless and destructive influence of time. It became possible due to the process of scanning - converting an analog image into a digital one which then is to be used by the computer. It is a very important stage because the quality of further processing in the graphic editor depends on the quality of scanning.

This article appeared due to my clients' questions, who scanned the images by themselves and wanted to know more about this process.

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Scanning photographs

This article is aimed at helping you scan photographs correctly without any outside help for further digital manipulation. I have been working in the field of digital technologies for several years already, and sometimes I notice my clients make a rather typical and very disappointing mistake. They tend to treat scanning their images incorrectly and even carelessly. This bad mistake results in considerable loss of restoration work quality as well as other digital manipulations with images.I’ll try my best to give an account of the main criteria of high-quality scanning in the most popular way. If you follow my recommendations, you will undoubtedly get perfectly digitized originals. Still, here in this article we first of all deal with scanning photographs intended for further editing.

Before placing the original photo on the exposure glass of your flatbed scanner, state what condition it is in. The glass should be kept clean. Dust, grease spots, finger prints should be removed with a piece of soft fabric wetted in special liquid. Never use ordinary tissue paper or coarse fabric. This can lead to scuffing. Also mind that there is no dust on the photograph you are going to scan. You can remove it with a soft wide brush or a piece of dry soft fabric. On no account use any kinds of liquid to clean your photographs! These simple operations will save you a lot of time in digital manipulations with your images.

It is necessary to place the right side of the photo print on the glass of the scanner in parallel with the sides of the work surface. A photograph is usually placed on the inner edge of the frame pressing it to the ruler. However, the glass surface of many flatbed scanners is lit unevenly along the full length, which is clearly seen along the edges. So you will be absolutely right if you place the original photo print with a certain indention from the edge of the frame or in the center of the plane-table of the scanner.

Switch on the scanner and allow it several minutes to warm up. Meanwhile let us discuss one of the most important characteristic features of the future image – scanning resolution. The term dpi (dots per inch) is often used to describe scanning resolution, though from the technical point of view the term ppi (pixels per inch) is more correct. It describes the compactness of information (pixels) which the scanner can introduce into an inch. That is why when using a scanner, a digital camera, video camera and a monitor the term ppi is used. However, ordinary users prefer the term dpi which can be found in technical descriptions of some scanners. But this fact shouldn’t mislead you; each time you see dpi or ppi in the scanner’s interface, you should bear in mind that this feature shows its resolution. Nevertheless in further descriptions we, like the majority of users, will use the term dpi, in which by the way the resolutions of printing devices, e.g. printers, are measured.

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