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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Scanning your art

Ok so you have your art drawn and inked and you want to color it digitally or you have a friend who wants to color it for you.Well the next step is to scan your artwork,in the link below you will learn how to scan your art correctly.

1) Scan as black and white bitmap: The easiest and fastest way to scan black and white line art is to scan it as "black and white line art" in your scanner software settings. For print purposes you should scanthe art at 1200 dpi (or at LEAST 600 dpi if your computer or scanner can't handle 1200 dpi), and scale it to the size it will be printed as. For example, if your art is 11" x 17" and it will be printed in a typical 6.625" x 10.25" comic book, you would scan it at 1200 dpi at about 60% scale. Most scanning software programs have only one adjustable setting for scanning black and white line art, the "threshold" or :brightness" setting where you can adjust how "bright" the scan will be. This mainly affects how thick your line work will come out, if you set the "threshold" setting too high theline work will come out thick and chunky and any specks or paste lines in the art will also show up in the scan. Set the "threshold" too low and the line work will be thinner than it is in the original art and you may lose some fine lines in the art. The trick is to know your scanner and software well enough to judge what the threshold should be set on for each individual piece of art. I personally scan black and white line art this way ONLY with art that does not have a lot of detail in it, just basic line art with good solid line work and solid blacks. It works very well for the simple art, but if your art has a lot of detailed fine lines such as cross hatching you will probably find that scanning it as line art some of the fine line work gets lost while some fine white areas get filled in. For the detailed black and white line art there is a better way to scan... 2) Scan as grayscale and convert to bitmap: This is the very best method for getting great scans from detailed line art with lots of thin line work, cross hatching, and detail. It is also a more time consuming process than simply scanning as line art, but well worth the excellent results you will achieve. Here are the steps for scanning line art as grayscale and converting it to bitmap:

a) First off scan the art as grayscale at 1200 dpi, scaled to the size it will reproduced at. (Scaling down will reduce the time it takes to scan and process). Now then, scanning grayscale art at 1200 dpi can be VERY slow on most scanners, plus if you have an older computer it might not handle a 1200 dpi grayscale file very well, so if that is the case you CAN get away with scanning the art at 600 dpi. 

b) Once your grayscale scan is complete, the first thing to do is to adjust the levels in Photoshop. Use the Photoshop "levels" to do this, moving the "shadows" slider on the left until the blacks are nice and black, and "highlights" slider on the right until the whites are nice and white. 

c) If you scanned your art as 600 dpi instead of 1200 dpi, you would now up-sample your scan to 1200 dpi in Photoshop ( image / image size / 1200 dpi -- make sure the "resample image" box is checked in the "image size window) before you go to the next step...

d) Now that your grayscale scan is nice and clean looking, but still grayscale, you need to use Photoshop's "unsharp mask" command to sharpen it up. This is the key ingredient for retaining all the detail in the original art... in the "unsharp mask" dialog box, set the "amount" to 145, the "radius" to 5 pixels, and the "threshold" to 3 levels. I would never use these settings on any other type of scan as they give it a very hefty sharpening, but for a 1200 dpi grayscale scan of line art this will strengthen the weaker lines and also bring out any detailed whites that exist in any cross hatching.

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