Advanced Scanning


There are some adjustments which can be made to the image during the scanning process. We will look at several of them in the figure below. After scanning, take a careful look at the results so that you can re-scan if necessary.

Figure 2

Unsharp Mask actually means "make it sharper." It is usually checked by default. Uncheck it only if it makes your end scan too "grainy" looking. Descreening is used only when you are scanning a photo which was "screened" for printing in a book or other publication. Screening is the process of converting a B&W photo into a series of dots for printing. You don't want this unless you are scanning newspaper pictures or pictures from some books. Floy's Album contains screened prints.

Color Restoration is very useful for color photographs which have faded or changed color. It doesn't always work. Some photos are so bad that they cannot be salvaged with this enhancement. If I run into an extreme case which cannot be fixed, I usually scan the photo twice, once to color and once to Grayscale. Backlight Correction is for photos that are very dark except for the subject. Sometimes it produces good results.

Dust Removal is a good option, but it sometimes takes a very long time to process. You can usually avoid this one by carefully cleaning the photo or slide/negative before scanning. Also keep the scanner glass clean and dust free, and handle photos and slides/negatives by the edges.

At the bottom of Figure 1 you probably saw a button with a folder on it. That button opens a File Settings window. Your program should have something similar. It allows you to decide where to save the scans, and also decide what file type they should be.

Figure 3

It is important to understand the output file types that we use in archiving. Figure 3 shows the file type ".TIF" chosen. The file type .TIF is a "lossless" format. When you make a change to the image in a photo processing program, you can save the image as a .TIF without losing any quality. On the other hand, if you save the image as a .jpg (jpeg) it diminishes the quality because .jpg is a compressed format, in which information is removed to make it smaller in file size. After ten or so saves, a .jpg image starts to be noticably lower in quality.

Jpegs have become almost a standard in our cameras because the files are smaller. On average a .TIF of the same photo will be at least two to four times as large. So why use .TIF? I use it because I am archiving what I hope is the best copy of the photo I can get. If I make changes to the photo, to the contrast or brightness, or remove blemishes, or crop the photo, I don't want to lose any quality by saving it as a jpeg. And when you make corrections, make them to a COPY of your original. Only replace your original when you are sure the copy is better than the original.