Almost all* librarians and archivists know how to operate a scanner. Scanners have been around for over twenty years now–and it’s no excuse for me. Somehow, I have not gotten nuanced skills (or patience) with tweaking images in Photoshop.
How do I take out those unattractive shadows cast in the gutters of a book? Rip the book open? Tear the spine? No way. I’m still sketching in it. But, I hear that’s what I have to do to get the images to lie flat on the scanner bed. See?
It’s not that I can’t scan–it’s that I don’t have all the tools. Man, I can scan like the devil. I scanned this on my HP. I saved it in .jpeg format and made the setting at around 300 dpi. I selected/cropped the area I wanted scanned in the preview and, I’ve tagged it using Microsoft Office 2010’s Office Picture Manager. I know that I’ve done all this because I’ve right clicked on the image in Picture Manager and the metadata popped up. It looks like this in the right hand side task pane:
If you have Office Picture Manager the icon looks like this in Windows 7:
Picture Manager is the program on your PC that you rarely use. I am guessing that they won’t make a new version of this once Windows 8 comes out. With Picture Manager (like Windows Live Photo Gallery) I can adjust brightness and contrast–and mid-tones. I can move the scales up or down until I get the right balance.
Mac people don’t have to worry: they have the fully integrated iPhoto–which is like Paint/Picture Manager/Gallery all rolled into one.
Yet, Picture Manager a great tool–I scale down all my photos I’ve taken off my Cannon with it. I even use the “auto fix” on there too. But, I can’t fix the image the way I would with MS Paint–which I use in conjunction with Picture Manager. “Fixing” this scan wouldn’t do the work justice either. If I went into MS Paint and used the eraser tool to erase the grey areas (that represent the shadows) then I’d have something, but I would be changing the original scan! See here:
What’s MS Paint? It’s Microsoft image painting program that has been in existence since the beginning of time. It used to be called Paintbrush for Windows. I don’t think the Windows team will resurrect this for Windows 8, although I really liked this little program for creating pixel art! The icon looks like this in W7:
Oh dear. I mentioned Gallery earlier. Forgot to tell you, that program needs a little more umph. “Gallery” is short for Windows Live Photo Gallery (running in the Windows 7 environment) and its icon looks like this:
Okay, so you can see from the image that I scanned, I didn’t do a good job. Maybe my next attempt, I will weigh down the book so that there are less shadows. Maybe it is time to learn Photoshop. Maybe it’s time I get at least the basics down–like masking areas so that only the image is exploited. At this rate, too much contrast or adjusting too much brightness makes reduces the integrity of the piece. Perhaps I’ll scan it at a higher resolution and, reduce some of the noise. Or maybe I should just break down and get me Photoshop?
*I have yet to meet a librarian or archivist who is a Luddite and can’t operate a scanner. Basically, if you can figure how convoluted pay copy machines work nowadays, you can use a scanner. Right?