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Author Topic: Scanning Tutorial  (Read 10878 times)

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Offline Geo (RIP)

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Scanning Tutorial
« on: March 29, 2010, 11:44:39 PM »
A couple of questions we often get on DCM are -
Can I scan and share a book that is already on DCM?
If want to please, feel free.  Especially if your copy is in better condition or the existing scan is incomplete.  We have many books with more than one version.  We just mark it as (diff ver) in the title.  There are a ton of scans on DCM that could use a better version done.  All fiche, all incomplete or super small scans, and many just plain bad scans could be improved on.  So never worry about duplicate books.  If you want to scan something do it.  Many just look to fill the missing holes and that's fine too.

"Can I just scan the missing pages and add them to an incomplete scan on DCM?"

Absolutely.  Just make sure whatever missing pages you add are named so they are in the proper order and to give the original scanner full credit for their work in the description area.



This information is from the Z-Cult, but I thought I would post it up for all here since we get a lot of questions about this subject.

Here's part 1:

Scanning Materials

For the purpose of this tutorial, you will need:

   •   A PC or a Laptop
   •   A Color Comic (Trade Paperbacks, B&W comics, and Graphic Novels will be addressed separately)
   •   A heavy book (for weight purposes, but careful as to its weight, as you do not want to break your scanner)
   •   A towel or a cloth (to cover the scanner as you scan, but this is an individual choice)
   •   A black piece of stock paper or something similiar
   •   A scanner capable of at least 300 DPI scanning, TWAIN drivers, and DESCREEN option (refer to manufacturer’s manual if you are not certain your scanner has these options)
   •   Adobe Photoshop CS

NOTE: The software used varies from person to person, but we will only use Photoshop for the purpose of this tutorial

Pre-Scanning Preparation

   1.   First thing you need to do, if verify the scanner’s plate glass surface is free of smears, smudges, marks, spots and streaks. If the surface needs to be cleaned, then please refer to the manufacturer’s guide for proper cleaning instructions, as some scanners require specific materials to clean and maintain the glass surface. For the most part, a warm, damp cloth is the simplest and best cleaning solution. Wipe the glass gently and thoroughly, then wipe it dry with a separate cloth. Leave the scanner’s lid open for at least 5 minutes, to let whatever dampness and moisture evaporate, before placing the comic book onto the scanner’s surface. If the surface is still moist when placing the comic book, it may damage the pages of the book itself.
   2.   Open Adobe Photoshop CS
   3.   From the FILE menu, select ACQUIRE, and the scanning application will appear.
   4.   Place the comic book onto the scanner’s surface. Place the book at the base, to allow the scanner (scanning from bottom to top) to scan the bottom of the page first. This allows for the page to appear right side up on the screen. Then slide the book over (not flip it upside down) to scan the other side of the book. This will ensure continuous flow as you progress through the comic book. Not only will you save time by not having to “flip” the picture to have it appear right side up, but also, pages are rarely missed when scanning using this method.
   5.   If needed, once the comic has been placed to your satisfaction, close the lid, and place a book on the cover (some scanner chose to leave the lid open and place the book directly on the page being scanned) to ensure that the edge of the page, closest to the binding, will not appear “blurry”. This method allows to easier editing and crisper pictures once the whole process is complete. Some scanners also place a towel or cloth over the scanner and it’s edges, to prevent outside light from affecting the quality of the scan. Again, this is an individual choice, as not all scanners use these options.
NOTE: It may be beneficial to use a black piece of paper or cardboard to place behind the page you are scanning, to prevent images from the other side of the page from coming through. Experiment to see what is best for you.

Scanner Software Settings

   •   Establish your Scanning Resolution, as well as your Output Resolution. Ensure that 300DPI is selected for both options.

NOTE: Not all scanning applications have the output resolution, but will contain the scan resolution as a single option. The selection remains the same, regardless. 

   •   Turn on your DESCREEN option. Some scanner models will scan the darker colors in various shades. DESCREEN helps to cut it this down considerably, and normalize the darker shades more consistently. There are other rationales for allowing this option to be turned on as well, such as lines and dots appearing on the scan, and so forth. DESCREEN helps eliminate these unwanted effects, which will allow for less editing later on.
   •   Choose your color setting. Most scanning application have True Color as the highest option. If True Color does not appear as an option, then simply select the highest color option available, listed in the setting menu of your scanning software application.

Previewing The Scan

Most Scanning software has the ability to preview a scan. This is extremely beneficial, since you can get a first hand look at what your scan will look like, adjust it if it’s crooked, select a specific scan area, and in identifying the quality of the scan such as blurry areas around the binding. 

   •   If the scan is crooked and needs adjustment, you can choose to either adjust it later on within Photoshop, or adjust the comic on the scanner and continuing to preview until you are satisfied with the results. It’s preferable to try and make sure that your scan is as straight as you can make it. You can do this a couple of ways, by aligning the comic with the bottom, top, or the side of the scanner. This will allow you to have a straight edge to work with later on, when editing.  
   •   If the side closest to the binding looks a little blurry, or the shade is a little off compared to the rest of the page, then you will need to readjust the page placement, and the book you are using for weight, and continue to preview until you are satisfied with the results, and you feel you are ready to edit the page itself.

Once you are satisfied with the alignment, and have ensured that all areas of the page look satisfactory, then the last step is to select the area you wish to scan, using the ellipse tool on the preview window directly. Do this by clicking in the preview area, and dragging until you have encircled the area of the scan, and adjusting the height and width as you see fit. It is suggested that you expand the area a little, to give room to the scan, where the actual cropping will occur later on, during the editing phase. 

NOTE: There are some scanning software that have the ability to auto-select the scanning area. Always verify this area prior to scanning the final result, as it may not always be accurate. 

NOTE: If your scanner is a Canon scanner, with Scangear and Arcsoft, this preview window will give you the ability to do much more that the average program. 

Scanning The Image

Now you are ready to scan the page, so go ahead and scan it. Once finished, you will experience one of two things, which relate directly to the software you are using to scan from, and the software you are using to scan with: 

   1.   Once the scan is finished, close the preview window, and the scan will be directly within Photoshop, ready for editing.  
   2.   Or, click on the SAVE button in the preview window, which will then automatically close it, and place the scan directly within Photoshop.

Either way, the scan will end up in Photoshop, and will be ready for editing. But, there is one more thing, which needs to be done, before you can start editing your scan.

Saving The RAW File

There is much discussion surrounding the format in which to save the scan you will be working on, as some scanners want "no loss" of image quality. The only way that this is truly done is by saving the initial image in a lossless format (TIF, PNG, PSD, etc.) and editing it that way until you are completely done, and THEN converting it into a JPG file. 

“Considering that you have to transfer the files (as a scanning group), I would save the raw scan as a JPG. Then, also group several JPG’s together and compress them into files that are "under" 10 Mb. So, a file for pages 1 to 5, one for pages 6 to 10, etc. You won't lose any more quality IF the first step that the editors do is covert the JPG’s into a lossless format. I have a Photoshop batch job that just takes JPG’s and converts them into TIF and saves them.”

Provided that the final result is a scan you are completely happy with, it makes no difference which steps you take to get there. It’s an individual choice. If you are just starting, then perhaps the simplest solution for you, would be to save the scan as a PSD, since you are already working within Photoshop. But again, this is your choice. 

Once you have completed your editing, and have saved the final result, there really is no need to keep the original RAW file (in whatever format you saved it as). They are fairly large in size, and accumulated, could take up much space on your hard drive, or occupy many DVD-R’s. 

“Most scanners I think don’t save their RAW files. They generally edit and save over them, which is one reason I think some scanners work with JPG instead of TIF and then convert to JPG. I only know of one person that "considered" burning RAW files, and that person was only going to do this as practice or some kind of benchmark so that the same scan could then be done again perhaps with different techniques, or when the respective scanner was more experienced.
Personally, I scan as high resolution JPG, sometimes as TIF, then do my crop/rotate and save as separate set, and then do my color edits, which are also saved as separate file. After final audit, when everything looks good, I delete the edits set because I have the CBR file, which I will eventually burn to disk.
For one book, 2 sets (RAW, plus CBR) exist, and when I’m closing in on 300 scans, I’ve probably wasted a lot of CD-R’s and DVD-R’s. I think I may stop saving all my RAW files, except maybe only for specific books I want to save. My thinking is that if I have the RAW files and CBR set, I can maybe re-edit, if the standard goes to 1280, as 99% of my scans are 1024. I keep the RAW files, just in case I make a mistake. If I did, at least I would have the RAW files.”
Again, this is your choice, as you are the scanner, and it is your comic that you are sharing. 

Everyone has their own method of doing things, but it is suggested that you do your entire scanning first, and THEN do your edits. This way, you are not distracted while you edit, or scan. Mistakes, while not life or death, may cause major delays to your scan.

Pre-Edit Preparation

Editing is the process by which the final result is judged. This consists of several steps and categories, from color adjustment, to cropping, to joining two pages together. Each step is as important as the next, and integral in producing the final picture. 

Remember that, others will be viewing your scan, and they will appreciate the time and effort you have taken in producing such a fine scan. So please, take your time, be patient, and never be afraid to start over if you feel justified to do so. 

The rewards of a thorough scan far outweigh those of a rushed scan, and are appreciated by the community. 

Before you start editing your scan, make sure that Photoshop is set with the following: 

   1.   From the VIEW menu, make sure that RULERS is set to ON
   2.   From the VIEW menu, make sure that SNAP is set to OFF
   3.   On the right, you should see 4 smaller windows: Navigator/Info/Histogram, Color/Swatches/Style, History/Action, Layers/Channels/Paths. If any of these are not displayed, they can be turned on from the WINDOW menu and selecting any of the options from the specific missing window

You’ll also need to know certain other tools, which you will need as you progress with your edits. If you look on the left side, you will see a narrow window, which is called the Control Panel. 

   •   The top left tool (the one that looks like a dotted line box) is called a Marquee. It selects certain parts of the page for editing.
   •   The top right tool (looks like a pointer) is called a Move tool, and can move objects around on the page.
   •   About halfway down, you'll see the Hand Tool. This won't edit the book at all, but instead will move the page when you are zoomed in for editing

Now, you are ready to start editing your scan.


   1.   The first thing you need to do is set the VIEW to FIT SCREEN. This is done by double clicking the HAND tool. Or, you could simply ZOOM IN or ZOOM OUT yourself until you are happy with the view of the scan on your screen.  
   2.   Next, find a horizontal or vertical line within the image, which should be straight. This should NOT be one of the scan’s edges, as the books aren’t always printed perfectly, nor are they always cut perfectly. Sometimes, the edges of other pages will show up on the scan, which can also have an effect on how straight the page is. Typically, the panel borders are a good choice, although some artists will use crooked panels. Sometimes it's text, or the text balloons. Sometimes, it’s simply the outer image of the page. There’s no rule, so use whatever looks reasonable to you.  
   3.   Next, select the MEASURE tool. This can be found in the EYE DROPPER tool’s menu, located on the Control Panel. Click on the eyedropper until it displays the other tools, and then select the MEASURE tool. It should look something like a ruler  
   4.   Once you have the MEASURE tool selected, zoom in towards one edge of the straight line you’ve selected. Note: If part of the panel border isn’t clearly visible on the edge, you can use a different part of the line. That being said, the longer the straight line is, the more accurate this procedure will be.  
   5.   Now select one specific part of the straight line – for example, select the topmost dark line of the panel, as shown here:  
   6.   Now that you have selected one point of the line, click and drag the MEASURE tool, towards the other side of your straight edge, stopping once you reach that point. The trick with this is to select the exact same part of the border, therefore, as you drag, the MEASURE tool will display a line, and this line can be used as a reference point.  
   7.   When you are done, zoom out. The line left by the MEASURE tool should parallel the straight edge at the same point, across the entire edge of the line you have chosen.  
   8.   Go to the IMAGE menu, and locate ROTATE CANVAS and select ARBITRARY. When the dialog box comes up, there should already be a value entered in the ANGLE text box, and the appropriate CLOCKWISE / COUNTER-CLOCKWISE button should be selected.  
   9.   Click OK and the page should straighten out.  
   10.   To verify your straightening job, use the MARQUEE tool. This tool only makes straight lines, so the straight line from the MARQUEE should always line up perfectly with the entire straight edge you’ve selected. If it doesn’t, then you made a mistake.

If you’ve made a mistake, then either go to the HISTORY window on the right, and delete each of the prior steps until you’ve reversed the rotate, or go to the EDIT menu and select UNDO (Hopefully you didn’t do anything else in between then & now). Try again with either a new line, or the same line, following the same steps as before. Continue until you are satisfied with the results. 

NOTE: Please be aware that the more you rotate continuously, the more loss in quality your scan will suffer. Always UNDO your Rotation before making another, to avoid any serious degrading of quality to your scan.


Once you have successfully rotated the image, the next step before actually editing the image is to crop it. There are 2 trains of thoughts with regards to cropping: 

   1.   Some choose to crop very little, in order to preserve the page as it was printed.  
   2.   Others choose to crop as close to the panel borders as possible, leaving only a small amount of white space, in order to have the art fill the screen more, rather than a large amount of white border.

How you choose to crop your image is your choice. If you choose one over the other, and you realize you prefer the other option instead, there’s always the UNDO command. So experiment as you go, and find what works best for you. 

One more thing you need to be aware of before cropping, is that the height may vary in the final result. The width will always remain the same, but no amount of cropping or resizing will affect the height to a pre-determined height. It will usually be consistent, but there may be times where it may be more or less than the rest of your scans. This will occur no matter what is done during the editing / saving process. Regardless of whether one page is a little higher or a little lower than the next, because the width remains constant, they will still look great. 

Should you choose to keep the aspect ratio for both height and width, the image will appear somewhat stretched, thus the recommendation is to avoid doing such a thing. 

NOTE: There are cases where artists have borders but extend an object (arm, leg, weapon, etc) outside of the comic panel into the border so the image becomes larger to include that item. Therefore, the image border and display size may vary from one page to another. 

So let’s go ahead and crop your image. 

   1.   First, enlarge the view on your screen to 100%. This is suggested, as, once the crop selection is made, and should you need to make any adjustments and require to zoom in a little closer to the edges, you will need to leave cropping mode to select zoom mode. If you enlarge first, it saves you that extra step.  
   2.   Select the CROP tool, located on the control panel. Start on one corner, and drag the marquee down towards the bottom opposite corner and release.  
   3.   Scroll the edges, to make any adjustments, to either enlarge or minimize the crop area, and drag the line to make the adjustments you wish.  
   4.   Once you feel you are ready, and that you have verified the crop area, then simply double-click within the area to crop.  
   5.   Zoom out until you can see the whole image on your screen, and verify your results. If they are satisfactory, then your crop was successful.

NOTE: At this point, you should probably save your RAW file. Saving as you progress is always a good idea, as you do not want to repeat what you have done if, for some reason, your program freezes or crashes on you.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2015, 01:32:37 PM by Yoc »
Filling holes, by ONE book at a time

Digital Comic Museum

Scanning Tutorial
« on: March 29, 2010, 11:44:39 PM »

Offline Geo (RIP)

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Re: Scanning Tutorial
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2010, 11:46:32 PM »
Part 2 of the Scanning Tutorial:

The Cover

The approach to editing the cover, is generally different than editing the interior pages, as the quality of the paper used is better, and produces more vibrant colors. Since this will be the first thing that people will see when viewing your scan, it will be best to produce a similar type of quality.

   1.   While the image is selected, go to IMAGE, then to ADJUSTMENTS, and select LEVELS. A new window will appear. (This can also be done by keyboard shortcut: CTRL + L)   
   2.   On the right side of the LEVELS window, you will see 3 eyedropper tools. Select the first one, locate a black area on the image and click. (You can select as many areas as you wish, but only the last one you clicked on will be chosen)   
   3.   Now, select the third eyedropper, locate a white area, and click. Make sure the area you choose is the whitest part of the page. If there are off-white or yellowish spots, select within those areas, or between them to find the better white area.   
   4.   Close the LEVELS window.   
   5.   Go to IMAGE, then ADJUSTMENTS, and select HUE / SATURATION. (This can also be done by keyboard shortcut: CTRL + U). Another window will appear.   
   6.   Choose a SATURATION level of 30. This will bring out the colors on the image, making it more vibrant. You may wish to adjust the level according to your preference, as this is your scan, and you are editing according to your standards.

The Interior Pages

The steps to editing interior pages of your comic are the same as those taken while editing the cover, with one small exception. For STEP 6, instead of selecting a SATURATION level of 30, using a level between 15 and 20, for best results.

This is, of course, at your discretion, and again, you may wish to play with the level until you are happy with the final result.

NOTE: While these steps are the simplest and easiest ways to get good results, there are other tools that you can use at anytime during the editing process, which may be beneficial towards producing a better final result. There are, and will be times, when these tools will become necessary, depending greatly on the quality of the comic book and the paper that you are scanning and editing, to produce a better and more acceptable result. These tools are outlined below.

DESPECKLE is a noise reduction filter which is used to provide a more detailed look to your image. Not all scanners use this tool, but there are some that do, for various reasons. But, if you feel the image is either too smooth, or too blurry, then DESPECKLE may be a viable option to give your image a more satisfying look.

DESPECKLE is accessible via the FILTER menu, under the NOISE submenu. There is no standard level to use, as every image you encounter, where you determine DESPECKLE needs to be applied, is different, some being more severe than others. As always, play with the levels until you are happy with the results.

Generally, DESPECKLE is used prior to using another helpful tool – SMART BLUR.
Smart Blur

SMART BLUR is a questionable tool, which can be both good and bad when editing your image. It is generally used to smooth out images, but can also affect text, especially on older and more faded comic books.

On the older books, it can be used to create a more uniform gradient across different colors, as well as different types of shades, by blending them together. This is especially apparent when you see those “mini-dots” appear once you’ve adjusted you’re levels. But then again, you may choose to bypass SMART BLUR altogether, and preserve the gradient “mini-dots”.

But, by using this tool, your image may lose some of its quality, which, in turn, will reduce pixel size, since the pixels in question are being blended together.

The only way for you to decide if this tool is a viable option is to experiment. In any case, SMART BLUR is also accessible via the FILTER menu.
Dust and Scratches

Available under the NOISE submenu, this option may come in handy if your book does show apparent scratches and /or dust damage form the years. Play with this option to get a good feel as to what it can do, and the types of results it can bring to your image.

There will be times, where a comic book has either been subject to its environment, or aged considerably, and the pages have faded in color and quality, or a yellowish tinge occupies the overall look and feel of the pages. This is called fading. Restoring these books with these types of conditions is an art form in itself, and many scanners specialize in doing so.

Some use special programs or plug-ins to do their work, while others use the given Photoshop tools at their disposal.

It is suggested that, prior to actually adjusting levels on your image, to use a tool called FADE, which is accessible through the EDIT menu. This is only an introductory tool, and will not fully edit your image. You may also use this tool in conjunction with the levels, as described in the INTERIOR PAGES section.

But when using the eyedropper tools while you have your LEVELS window open, there are two colors that is suggested you should ignore: Pale Yellow, and Pale Blue. These colors are used to enhance text in balloons, and are often not very visible in the final product.

But it may be a good option to select some of the darker shades in white spaces which can easily be found in the border area or, in the space between the panels on the page, since the yellow tinge often appears as a dark brown or a dark purple.

So, by using the eyedroppers approach, since it can adjust multiple colors at once, it will usually remove some the darker colors, and by doing so, you should get a more vivid and more colorful image, which you can more easily edit to your satisfaction. Whereas, by removing a color similar to a pale yellow, your image may appear more bleached.

Feel free to experiment with some of the filters available to you, and by doing so, you will know which tools will become helpful as you gain more experience as a scanner.
Joining Pages

There are several ways to join 2 pages together.

   •   You can simply merge the 2 pages together, then adjust your levels, then save it, which is the quick shortcut way, but will not look pleasing, especially if they do not line up together.   
   •   You can line them up, and then adjust the levels on both pictures, so that the colors on each page match as closely as possible, and then save. Your image will look better, but if the image isn’t seamless and smoothly integrated, it will look like something missing in the middle.   
   •   You can go the extra mile by lining them up, then matching their levels as closely as possible, and then merge and/or reconstruct the middle, to make it seamless.

If you are able to create a join where a reader cannot tell where the join was made, then that, in itself, is an excellent achievement. The process to get that “perfect” join can be time consuming, and at times, frustrating, but very rewarding when finally completed.

For this tutorial, we’ll choose the last option.

   1.   Open the first page of the join and align it properly by rotating it until it looks satisfactory, and then crop the image as close to the middle of the actual page on the right side, leaving the top, bottom and left borders intact. These will be adjusted later on.   
   2.   Go to IMAGE, and then under the ADJUST submenu, select CANVAS SIZE. Enter 6500 in width, and 4500 in height, and click OK. Move your image towards the left side. This will expand your working area for the next step, with the main picture displaying.   
   3.   Open the second image, via the FILE and OPEN menu, which will display the second image in a separate window. Align that image as you did with the first one, and then crop the image as close to the edge of where the second page is to start, as possible, without cropping the top, bottom and right borders. You will crop those late on. Now, go EDIT and COPY, while the image is still selected.   
   4.   Go back to the first window, go to EDIT and PASTE, which will place the second image onto the massive canvas of the first one. At this point, you will notice that, on the right, in the LAYERS window, you will see 2 entries for each image. This will be helpful for the next step in merging the 2 images together.   
   5.   Increase your zoom to 200%, and select the second image. Bring it closer to the first image and start aligning them together. If it is obvious that there is a small amount of space missing, then compensate by providing a little bit of space, as you will rebuild this area later. You should see it line up perfectly, regardless of whether there is white space or not.   
   6.   Once this is done, you may need to adjust the levels of each image, by selecting one at a time, so that their shades match on either side of the joins, as closely as possible. This is done to ensure easier editing when using levels later on.   
   7.   On the LAYERS window, select both images using the CONTROL key, so that they are both highlighted, then click on the LAYERS window menu arrow, located on the top right of the LAYERS window, and select the FLATTEN IMAGE option. This will merge both images together.   
   8.   Now CROP that image, leaving a small amount of border space on all sides. Now your working image is ready for the next step. You should probably save your progress at this point.   
   9.   Increase your zoom to 400% or higher if needed, and then, on your CONTROL PANEL, select the Cloning tool   
   10.   Before you start cloning, you may wish to adjust your levels accordingly, or you may choose to do it after you are finished with the CLONING TOOL. This is an individual choice, and does not affect the end result.   
   11.   Hold down the ALT key to select an area you wish to clone. Now adjust the size of the CLONING Tool’s radius according, release the ALT key, and start clicking into the area you are fixing. You will notice it will match the area you selecting originally with the ALT key. Be aware though, that as you move in any direction with the tool, so does the area you are using to clone. So you will have to use the ALT key to continue selecting the area appropriately as you go.   
   12.   As you go, you will see black lines that go from one page to the next. Again, use the close tool to recreate those lines so that they flow seamlessly from one page to the next.   
   13.   Continue this process until the middle is either rebuilt (if there was white space), or the spine line is not longer visible.   
   14.   If you had chosen to adjust your levels after the cloning process, then go ahead and do so now.   
   15.   Once everything is done, and is to your satisfaction, CROP the image accordingly, and save it.

Joining pages is always a challenge. Every join is different, with some being considerably easier than others. Don’t be afraid to start over, if you feel something is not right.

Practice using the CLONE tool, as the more you use it, the better you will become. Practice makes perfect.

Black and White Pages

Black & White pages have a more simplistic approach than color pages, although many of the steps are similar, some of the settings differ slightly.

   1.   Adjust the color settings of your scanner to GRAYSCALE, and scan your image.   
   2.   In Photoshop, adjust your black & white levels either using LEVELS or using CURVES (under IMAGE – ADJUSTMENTS), until you are satisfied with the results.   
   3.   Go to FILE, then SAVE FOR WEB. Select PNG as the export format. PNG is a lossless format, and generally provides a lower file size than either GIF or JPG, as well as provide crisper images.   
   4.   Once the new window appears, the thumbnail of your image will appear on the left, with it’s current output settings underneath. You will also see SAVE, CANCEL and DONE buttons. Underneath these are drop downs named PNG-8, SELECTIVE, and NO DITHER. There are two unchecked checkboxes called TRANSPARENCY and INTERLACED.   
   5.   PNG export size can either be 16 or 32 colors. Use 32 to be safe, especially if you’re not certain of the number of color variations exist in your image.   
   6.   Leave DITHER grayed out (along with the MATTE box). Leave WEB SNAP at 0%.   
   7.   Click on the SAVE button.

And that’s all there is to scanning and editing Black & White images. Of course, not everyone follows theses steps, but from a beginner’s point of view, begin with what is here, then adapt as you progress and accumulate more experience.

NOTE: Some scanners also export B&W images in TIFF format, and GIF format, although JPG and PNG seem to be the more common file types found in scans.

Trades and Graphic Novels

By far, the most difficult challenge when scanning are the trade paperbacks and graphic novels, which also includes digests and 80 / 100 page specials. Since these books have larger binding, they are easier to break or damage than a normal comic book.

There is no absolute concrete way to scan them without incurring some sort of damage, whether it be a broken binding, pages coming out, or even small creases and such.

There are some out there who anticipate the inevitable, and break the book to scan each page individually, while some are reluctant in even attempting to scan theirs. While others who do scan these types of book, use various methods.

One easy way is by using one or two heavy books, 2 digests of any kind, and a towel. The process is simple.

   1.   Crease the book to get as close to the binding as possible without breaking it. Get a feel for the rest of the book, depending on its thickness, so as to have an idea as to how it will behave when you reach the final pages.   
   2.   Scan the front cover and the back covers first, for best results, as there will be minimal damage at that point in time.   
   3.   Place the interior page as you would a comic book. Now, since the height of the other side may be higher, use one or two digests to make a uniform height, which will prevent the page from lifting when scanning.   
   4.   Close the lid on top carefully, so as to not disturb the placement of the digests and the book.   
   5.   Place one or two heavy books on top of the scanner for extra weight..   
   6.   Use the towel to cover the scanner completely, to prevent any light from entering and offsetting the look of the scan.   
   7.   Scan, edit, then save the page as you normally would..   
   8.   Turn the page and adjust, if needed, the height. Obviously, if you’re scanning the page on the thickest part of the book, then the digests will not be needed, and perhaps only one heavy book can be used. It’s a judgment call.

If you’re careful, and do your best not to push down or provide more weight than needed, then the book will survive with minimal damage only. This is not to say that these results will occur each time, as there will be times when severe damage will occur, but overall, you should experience some general success in saving the book’s condition.

Not everyone is willing to try to scan these types of books, and by no means, if you do not feel comfortable, are you obliged to attempt this.
Filling holes, by ONE book at a time

Offline Geo (RIP)

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Re: Scanning Tutorial
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2010, 11:47:46 PM »
Part 3 of the Scanning Tutorial:

Resizing The Image

The next step is to resize the image by going to Image, then Image Size. Keep the resolution the same as you scanned for better results. Although previous guidelines called for adjusting the resolution from 300dpi down to 150dpi, many scanners choose to keep the resolution at 300dpi these days. If you choose to adjust the size to 150dpi, then ensure that this is done prior to resizing the image.

Now, go ahead and adjust the width, fix it to 1024 pixels. What this does is it lowers the image size, and then fixes the width so that people with 1024x768 monitors (the most common resolution) will see it at full screen.

NOTE: If you chose to adjust the resolution, this is needed first because, if you fix the width first, changing the resolution will alter the width. So this really just saves you a step.

Covers are a different story, as some scanners have begun using 1280 width for covers of higher quality colors. The choice is yours, as to whether you make it 1024 or 1280. But, remember that the composition and richness of the image is indeed proportional to the final JPEG file size, as complex images will generally yield bigger file sizes.

NOTE: Some Scanners choose to add their tag (scanner name) to the covers. If you choose to do this, then it will need to be done before moving onto the next step. Usually, this is done as a small text somewhere obscure, like on the UPC code, or even a small image. But be careful as to not disturb the overall cover with your tag, as some people do get offended if the covers are interfered with in too visible a manner. But it’s your scan, so fell free to use whichever method you like.
Saving (aka exporting) The Image

Once you’ve resized the image, then you’ll need to adjust the export settings. This can be done through FILE, then SAVE FOR WEB. Choose JPG as an export format, and select 8 for the quality. Covers are generally done at 10 for better results. If you need to verify the actual image size once exported, then click on the second tab of the export dialogue window. If you feel the size is too high, then form there you can adjust some settings to lower the file size, but be careful not to compromise the quality of the image by doing so. JPG format is a lossey format, so saving at high quality will help somewhat in minimalizing the image loss from the lossey format.

When ready, click on the SAVE AS button, which will then bring us the next step in the saving process.
Naming The Image

This is extremely important, as some people like to unpackage their files into common folders, and some more beyond that keep all the images in one big folder. It is suggested that you label your pages with the title, issue number, then the page number.

For example, if the image you’ve just scanned is page 18 of X-men number 168, then it would appear as “X-Men168 Page 018.jpg”. But again, this is only a suggestion, but please try and use something clear and concise when naming your images.

Once the save is complete, close the PSD file, and select NO when prompted to save the PSD file (in case you need to revisit and make further changes after the fact.)

Archiving The Issue

Once you have scanned the cover and all of the pages, then comes the time to package it all into one file. This can be done using any archiving program, although WinRar seems to be one of the best programs out there to use.

Right click on the folder containing all of the images, ensuring that the folder is properly named to reflect the title and issue number, and choose to create an archive. Follow the steps, and then in a few seconds, either a RAR or a ZIP file is created. Renamed the file extension to either CBR or CBZ, which is the standard format used for most comic readers.

You can add you tag name at the end of the file name is you wish, as most scanners do this on the archived file, and the initial folder. Some even place it when naming the individual pages. It’s your choice.
One Final Note

The following is a conversation which occurred between several Z-Cult members (buymearing, brian, and broomhandle mauser) regarding DPI and WIDTH of images. It is included here for your information.

BM or Brian, I have a simple question, which I am curious......the guide mentions 1024/150dpi for the final result. Why the 150 ? why not keep the 300 and simply resize to 1024 ? Wouldn’t that give you a better result ? Or does it have to do with the final size of a page (in kb) ?

What I’ve been doing has been scan at 300 dpi, do my levels, do saturation, then depending on art, I may or may not do some of the filters, i will try them to see if they look good. if not, redo color edits. Last step is to go to image size and keep it at 300dpi, but change width to 1024.

Definitely scan it at 300dpi. Brian mentioned it and to reiterate, after the crop/rotate and the color edits, size it to 1024 as that is the current standard, however if you have your monitor set to 1280 width or anywhere between 1024 to 1280, know that 1024 scans will look a little bad on your 1280 settings. A few scanners have gone to 1280, some use 1200 but the key is use 1024 at the very minimum. That will make the page look good. Also, on my epson, there's a descreen option, use it, it will help cut the moire out.

One note to the dcp bible 2.0 - a few dcp'ers have left the quality at 300dpi, but reduced the width to 1024, some do it at 1280. Anyone on 1024 width will view the 1280 scans ok, but anyone on 1280 width will see 1024 scans as looking bad. the scene is still at 1024 width. Going back to the 300 dpi to 150dpi - essentially you are doing it at 150dpi if you scanned it in at 300 and reduce width to 150. I’ve not noticed any differences, but then again when I’m scanning/editing, it's 11pm onwards so my eyes are already sleepy lol - but basically, this process is scan at 300, reduce to 150 which generally gives you a width of 950 or so, then you would type over the 950 and make that 1024.

NOTE: you are the scanner, if you want to make it 1280 -- go ahead...I’m guessing the scene still thinks 1024 is common enough to keep it at that... and yes, if you have 1280 width, it will be a bigger file size than 1024. Guessing that is part of the reason of sticking with 1024. Remember the key is resize by width not resolution.

And now, we come to the final, and probably THE most important step of all…

Auditing The Images

Auditing is probably the best step in this whole tutorial. When you are done, open the archive you’ve just created, in either CDisplay, or ACDSee.

If you open in CDisplay, make SURE you have "fit width" turned off. Check to see if any pages got skipped over (unlikely) or any one page doesn't look terribly different than the rest. Check to make sure that the edges of the comic aren't showing, or if they are, go back to the original PSD file of that image, and redo the crop.

Here are some examples of common mistakes:

   •   Edges showing: Photoshop has a problem with editing images – it cuts off the edges! This makes it QUITE easy to screw up and leave edges in your images. This is why it is extremely important to view the images before distributing it!!! If your scan’s background is black, look for white edges on your scan. The best way of dealing with this is to use the marquee tool before you crop. Select each of the 4 edges and cut out the parts you were going to crop. This may sound like an extraneous step, but it’s actually quite useful.

Photoshop literally hides the edges from you, and there’s apparently nothing you can do about it. Therefore, if you make sure the area you’re going to crop is totally black (or white, or whatever the background color of your scan is), you will insure that your edges will be the proper color. Or, of course, you can use the eyedropper again on the area that is black-but-not-quite, and Photoshop will make sure everything that color and darker will be turned into black.

Similarly, if you have areas that should be white, but are not, the last box is set too high. Lower this value until the areas you thought should’ve been white are fully white.   
   •   Levels too low/high: Whenever you scan dark areas, you will end up having parts of the dark areas covered with “dark-but-not-black” sections. These are usually caused by reflections from the light on your scanner, and are correctable. When you set your levels (Image -> Adjustments -> Levels) the first box is the black level. This value tells Photoshop how bright pixels can be before assuming they’re black.

If you followed the instructions above, you used the eyedropper to find an area that should’ve been black, but is not. However, if you still notice areas that should be black but are not, you’ll want to set the value in the first box higher. If you don’t notice these anywhere, you should be able to get away with a lower value, although again, beware of the edges!   
   •   Splotches/Reflections: Depending on how good your scanner is, how reflective the pages are, how flat you made the book during scanning, and how well the pages were printed, you may have “splotches” or defects in the image. For the nicest book possible, you should attempt to correct these. The best thing to do is to zoom in and use the clone tool (AKA: the rubber stamp) to write over the defective area.

And that’s it, Congratulations!!!! You've just completed your first scan ever!!!

Filling holes, by ONE book at a time

Offline Yoc

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Re: Scanning Tutorial
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2010, 12:04:16 AM »
Thanks for reposting this Geo!

Offline Astaldo711

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Re: Scanning Tutorial
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2010, 03:55:49 AM »
I never realized how much work is involved in scanning. Thank you for sharing. O0
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Offline Geo (RIP)

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Re: Scanning Tutorial
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2010, 09:06:07 PM »
Not a problem Yoc, just thought we needed this here.  :)

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Offline capnted

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Re: Scanning Tutorial
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2010, 02:20:29 PM »
Great program for HQ batch processing. Total time-saver if you pay attention to scanning carefully and have a hand at accurate marqueeing during the scanning process. I use Photoshop professionally, but this resizer/editor makes it a snap with batch resizing, and other adjustments like brightness with contrast (the really important thing). Preview modes, superlative processing methods, etc.

It's free and the best batch processi i've ever used, get it on, FastStone Image Resizer

Offline Yoc

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Re: Scanning Tutorial
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2010, 10:55:14 AM »
Thanks for the pointer Cap.