SCAN  A  PHOTOGRAPH  OR  DOCUMENT


In this section I will show you how to scan a photograph or document using just the native apple mac (os x mountain lion) scan-compatible application called IMAGE CAPTURE.app, which is also applicable to the application called PREVIEW.app. I will also show you how to scan using the software that comes with the Canon MP495 Scanner, which is actually an All-In-One (3-In-1) device - Printer, Scanner and Copier. These examples should be enough to guide you through your own particular model of scanner, as many of the settings (preferences) and functions shown in the examples below are common to many other scanner devices. The apple mac (os x mountain lion) scanning example is towards the bottom of this section.


When buying a Scanner, or All-In-One/3-In-1, be aware that Print Heads and Scanner Components in general take a lot of wear and tear; purely because of the nature of the heads whizzing back and forth, the components being plastic, paper/roller problems and so on. With a scanner for example you need to pick one with good Hinges, otherwise the door/lid will come a part after a while (especially if you have children and/or use the scanner a lot).

Another thing to be aware of is the Software. Some of them, by HP for example, are very heavy on the system. And some softwares scan the whole area as A4 even though you only want a 6 x 4 photograph area scanning for example, which means some softwares include the leftover areas as a blank/white space. This in turn means you will probably want/need to edit out that leftover blank/white space. Better softwares just scan the 6 x 4 photograph area, like the Canon MP495 Scanner, whereas cheap 'n' nasty softwares don't consider what you want/need.

To scan a photograph or document for example switch on your scanner, lift up the lid and then place your photograph or document face-down on the glass. After that click or double click on the scanner's (or All-In-One's/3-In-1's) desktop icon or application icon to launch its scanner software. In this example I have selected (clicked on) the AUTO SCAN button from the floating menu of the canon mp495 scanner desktop software.



Fig 1.0  Double click on your scanner's (or All-In-One's/3-In-1's) desktop icon to continue

From this point on I will example and therefore only explain features of the Canon MP495 Scanner, but this section may still be of help to you regardless of scanner model/type simply because I will be explaining and showing examples of some scanner basics found in most, if not all, scanners and/or scanner softwares.

So with the canon mp495 scanner switched on; After clicking on the AUTO SCAN desktop button the Auto Scan preferences window (control panel) will appear. From here you can simply and quickly scan a photograph or document for example by clicking on the SCAN button. It's that simple! However, if you want to get the most out of the scanner its worth learning a little more about its settings (preferences).

In this example I could just click on the SCAN button, but on closer inspection I may need the RECOMMENDED IMAGE CORRECTION feature switched on (ticked). It's a feature that automatically applies certain corrections to the item you are going to scan. For example, it might correct red-eye on photographs and/or brighten up the scanned item so that its colours represent the actual item's colours better. A feature like this will be 'trial and error' whereby you should do a test scan with it switched on (enabled/ticked) and then switched off (disabled/unticked) to see what difference, if any, it has made to your scan. Do be afraid to experiment in other words.



Fig 1.1  Put a tick next to the RECOMMENDED IMAGE CORRECTION setting (preference), if need be, and then.....




Fig 1.2  .....Click on the SCAN button to begin the actual, physical, scan.

If you don't have the scanner (all-in-one) device switched on when you click on the SCAN button you will receive the following error message. So make sure you have it switched on! If not; click on the OK button of the error message, switch the scanner on and then click on the SCAN button again.



Fig 1.3  Click on the OK button, switch on the scanner and then click on the SCAN button again (Fig 1.2 above).

Assuming you have the scanner switched on, a photograph or document on the scanner glass, and have clicked on the SCAN button the scanning process will begin. There isn't much to click on from here. It's more a case of just reading the the instructions/comments that appear on the progress bars (guage windows) and message requesters.

By default (normal behaviour) the scanner settings are set up to save any scanned items inside the PICTURES >> MP NAVIGATOR EX sub-folder. More precisely each scanned item will be saved inside the MP NAVIGATOR EX sub-folder under a folder that is named after Today's date (the date of scanning). They will be saved as a PDF file whereby the first file is named IMG.pdf, the second is named IMG0001.pdf and so on.

The next step of the scanning process displays a message requester that makes you aware that the scanner will do its best to recognise your item (photograph or document) and apply any relavent, additional, settings accordingly. Just put a tick next to its DO NOT DISPLAY THIS MESSAGE AGAIN option and then click on its OK button.



Fig 1.4  Put a tick next to the DO NOT DISPLAY THIS MESSAGE AGAIN option and then click on the OK to continue




Fig 1.5  The physical scanning process has begun - DO NOT OPEN THE SCANNER'S COVER!




Fig 1.6  The scanned item is being saved (transferred) as a PDF file inside a MP NAVIGATOR EX sub-folder




Fig 1.7  The scanned item has been saved as a PDF file inside PICTURES >> MP NAVIGATOR EX >> 2012_09_23

As you can now see; with the above scanning process you more or less leave the scanner to do everything. In this example the first scanned item was a leaflet. It was saved inside a folder called 2012_09_23, a sub-folder within the MP NAVIGATOR EX folder, with the file name IMG.pdf. When the scanner completes the scan the MP Navigator application window automatically opens to give you a thumbnail preview of what has just been scanned.

The MP Navigator application, which can also be opened from the canon floating desktop buttons, allows you to categories your scanned files, print them, e-mail and so on. Personally I never use scanner applications such as this because I like to manually organise, copy, e-mail and print my scanned files. Saying that, man people love these kind of applications! In this next example I have selected my scanned file, so it has a tick next to it, and am just about to print it via the sidebar menu/tools.



Fig 1.8  The MP Navigator application window allows you to categorise your scans, print them, e-mail and much more.

The scanning process on most scanners should be just as easy as the above scanning process simply because most scanners have, similar, default settings that are purposely set up to cater for common uses and the average user. However, if you want to do something more advanced you will have to play around with the default settings.

CHANGE  THE  DEFAULT  SCANNER  SETTINGS (PREFERENCES)


Below I have explained some of the more common settings as found in many scanner applications. A good quality scanner will always be accompanied by a good quality manual, that explains the scanner settings and features in great detail, hence why you should always try to read its online/downable manual before buying it.

With the MP Navigator application window still open you can click on its PREFERENCES button, located in the top-right corner of the window, to access the scanner's settings (preferences). Otherwise you can use one of the other tools available via the floating desktop buttons to access these and other preferences; such as e-mail preferences.



Fig 2.0  Click on the PREFERENCES button located in the top-right corner of the MP Navigator application window

The settings on the main Auto Scan window of the canon mp495 scanner are purposely very simple. There are only three main settings you really need to know about. The FILE NAME setting, the SAVE AS TYPE setting and the SAVE IN setting.



Fig 2.1  Click on the SAVE AS TYPE drop-down menu and select the PDF menu-item to save the scanned item as a PDF file

The FILE NAME setting (edit box) allows you to change the prefixed file name used by each scanned item when it is saved as a file. So if I changed the prefixed file name of IMG to something more meaningful such as SCAN, each scanned item would then use that new prefixed file name of SCAN and therefore be named SCAN.jpg, SCAN_0001.jpg, SCAN_0002.jpg and so on.

The SAVE AS TYPE setting (drop-down menu) allows you to specify what file format (file structure/system) the saved file will use. If you want your scanned items to be saved as Image/Photo files you should use either the JPG file format (for general photo albums) or the PNG file format (for website projects), but if you want your scanned items to be saved as Document/Booklet/Manual files you should use the PDF file format.


The BMP (BitMap) file format is used by graphics designers and website designers as it is a RAW Data file format (it does not compress data or leave any bits out) whereas the TIFF (image/drawing/photo) file format is a little out-dated now. It used to be used by professional print services, in your local high street for example, but with technology moving on and the PNG file format dominating the transparency market..... Even the JPEG file format is losing ground.

The SAVE IN setting, together with the SAVE TO SUBFOLDER WITH CURRENT DATE setting, allows you to specify which folder the scan files will be stored (saved) in. This is normally set to PICTURES >> MP NAVIGATOR EX, but if you have the SAVE TO SUBFOLDER WITH CURRENT DATE setting enabled (ticked) your scan files will be stored inside a subfolder named after the current date - Example: PICTURES >> MP NAVIGATOR EX >> 2012_09_23.



Fig 2.2  An example of the canon mp495 scanner E-Mail settings

Here is a list of the more common scanner settings as found in the applications of many other branded scanners. Some are them are applicable to the canon mp495 scanner as well as the apple mac (os x mountain lion) applications called PREVIEW.app and IMAGE CAPTURE.

DPI - Dots Per Inch

DPI settings are normally set to 96 dpi for something that is scanned and destined for the computer monitor/screen (i.e. a photo for a web page) and 300 dpi for something that is destined for the printer (i.e. a Leaflet or Letter). You should adjust this to 600 dpi, if your scanner settings allow it, when requiring a professional printout. For example. If you design something that has really detailed artwork you might want to use 600 dpi instead of the normal 300 dpi. DPI, as its name suggests, is the amount of dots in one inch. The more dots per inch the better the quality. DPI also comes under the heading Resolution.

Image Type

Image Type can be used to specifiy colour attributes such as Colour, Grayscale (Tones of Grey) and Black/White, 48 Bit Color, 24 Bit Color, 16 Bit Grayscale, 8 Bit Grayscale and/or Color Smoothing.

Do not worry too much about what these settings are technically. Just remember that a graphics designer for example would use 48 Bit Color when wanting to scan/edit a colour photograph whereas the general public would use 24 Bit Color to scan/edit a, standard, colour photograph. 16 Bit Grayscale is used for black/white photographs that contain many shades of gray whereas 8 Bit Grayscale is used for black/white photographs that contain only a few shades of gray. And Color Smoothing is used for printing charts and graphs.

Descreening

Descreening is used in conjunction with the Image Type / Document Type: Reflective setting to get rid of moiré patterns (lines and streaks) from a photograph. moiré patterns are camera errors. Taking a photo of a live tv screen with a digital camera for example might produce moiré patterns. As might a tv presenter with a striped suit on.

Backlight Correction

Backlight Correction automatically adjusts the amount of light that is lacking in shadows. Brightens up shadowed areas in other words. Settings are usually LOW, MEDIUM or HIGH.

Dust Removal

Dust Removal automatically tries to remove dust marks from a photograph. It usually has three settings, which are LOW, MEDIUM and HIGH.

Target Size

Target Size allows you to adjust the size of a scanned photograph before it has actually been scanned. So if you want your scanned photograph to be of a certain size, you would adjust the target size first and then perform the scan. The scanned photograph will then be trimmed to your required size, if possible.

Scanning Quality

Scanning Quality is usually a setting of BEST or DRAFT whereby draft is a rough scan and best is the proper scan. Draft (rough) scans are ideal if you are just wanting quick results for a template you are doing for example (i.e. a Photo Gallery website template). Quickly scan your photographs and preview them inside your template.

Color Restoration

Color Restoration automatically tries to restore a faded photograph so that it has its original, bright, colours again.

Document Type

Document Type normally allows you to select which type of document you want scanning. For example. You might be able to tell the scanner application that you want to scan a Photograph, Newspaper, Positive (Colour) or Negative (B/W) Film, Illustration, Magazine and so on. In other words, you would be helping the scanner application decide what is actually in the scanner (i.e. Photo only, Text & Images Document or B/W Letter).

RESET  THE  SCANNER  SETTINGS

I have not mentioned every single scanner setting above simply because many of them are more advanced and technical and would take me a book to explain them all. However. This should not stop you from experimenting a little with the scanner settings I have mentioned above, and perhaps a few I haven't mentioned, because doing so can mean the difference between a standard scan and a beautifully restored photograph scan. A lot of scanner softwares these days have a RESET button in them that allow you to reset the scanner, and/or individual scanner settings, back to their manufacturer's default setting(s). So don't worry too much if your experimenting goes wrong. Just remember which settings you changed and if necessary click on the RESET button.

SCAN  WITH  OS X (MOUNTAIN LION)  SCANNER  APPLICATIONS


Now for the Image Capture example. As long as your scanner's Driver software is installed, or already built-in to os x (mountain lion), you don't necessarily need the applications that normally come with it installed in order to scan something. This is because os x (mountain lion) has its own scanner recognition software built-in, by way of two applications - IMAGE CAPTURE.app and PREVIEW.app.

PREVIEW.app is an all round application that can preview the content of many different file types - such as the PDF, DOC and JPEG file types - whereas IMAGE CAPTURE.app is more of a dedicated image capture (recorder) application that can capture (photograph/photocopy) images from a camera or scanner for example. Out of the two I would say IMAGE CAPTURE.app is better for scanning work, hence why I have chosen it for this next example.

To begin scanning with IMAGE CAPTURE.app first make sure you have something to scan inside the scanner's cover and then open up the APPLICATIONS folder. From there, locate the IMAGE CAPTURE.app icon and double click on it to launch (run/execute) the Image Capture application.



Fig 3.0  Double click on the IMAGE CAPTURE.app icon to launch (run/execute) the Image Capture application

When IMAGE CAPTURE.app launches (runs/executes) for the very first time of you using your apple mac its whole window appears in dark grey with nothing inside its preview pane, at which point you might be thinking "What's this! Where's my scan?". The preview pane is dark grey because you have not told IMAGE CAPTURE.app to generate a preview image of the item inside the scanner's cover, which you must do before you can do an actual scan. So your next step is to click on the SHOW DETAILS button, located in the bottom-right corner of the main window (Fig 3.1 below), in order to generate that preview image (Fig 3.3). The scanner will sound as it is generating the preview image (Fig 3.2).



Fig 3.1  Click on the SHOW DETAILS button to generate a preview image of what's inside the scanner's cover




Fig 3.2  A preview image of what's inside the scanner's cover is being generated




Fig 3.3  The preview image has been created - Clicking on the SCAN button now would generate scan files for the boxed (highlighted) areas only

At this point a preview image has been created (Fig 3.3 above). However, it's important to note here that this is only a preview image. No file as been generated or saved yet. This is done by design (on purpose) so that if you don't like the potential scan, for whatever reason(s), you can always re-preview it; by clicking on the OVERVIEW button (above) or by changing what's inside the scanner's cover and then starting the whole scan process again.

Another thing worth noting here is that if you were to click on the SCAN button now (above) you would be generating a scan that comprises of the boxed ares only - The separately highlighted images and/or text only. So in the above example the whole leaflet would not be scanned. Only my face and the three orange/yellow text areas would be scanned, and then saved as three separate scan files (i.e. Scan.jpeg Scan_0001.jpeg and Scan_0002.jpeg).

SCAN  THE  WHOLE  ITEM

Boxed areas are only generated because the Auto Selection preference has DETECT SEPARATE ITEMS selected, which does what it says on the tin; it detects separate items (separate image areas and separate text areas). If you change that preference to OFF (which is what I have done below) it means you will have to manually select your own boxed area. This is because IMAGE CAPTURE.app no longer knows how to detect separate items within your preview image.

In the example below, for example, I have drawn my own boxed area around the whole of my leaflet. This was acheived by clicking in the top-left corner of the preview image (my leaflet) and then draging the mouse pointer to the bottom-right corner of the preview image (my leaflet) in order to create a box/rectangle. When you release the left mouse button the boxed area is created around the whole preview image (my leaflet). Now when you click on the SCAN button it will create one scan file, called Scan.jpeg for example, that contains the whole preview image (leaflet).



Fig 3.4  Clicking on the SCAN button now would generate one scan file containing the whole preview image (leaflet)

After clicking on the SCAN button one scan file, called Scan.jpeg, will be saved inside the PICTURES folder. At the same time the Scan Results window will appear that allows you to preview (open) that scan file, and any other scan files that may of been generated before. Double click on a scan file and it will be previewed (opened) with the application called PREVIEW.app (Fig 3.6 below).



Fig 3.5  Double click on a scan file to preview (open) it




Fig 3.6  The application called PREVIEW.app has opened the scan file called Scan.jpeg

One other setting you should change before doing any scanning with IMAGE CAPTURE.app is the DPI setting of the RESOLUTION preference. It is set to 25 by default but should realistically be set to 300 DPI (for printing) or at least 100 DPI (for displaying on the screen).

WHICH  METHOD  IS  BETTER?

Personally I prefer to scan with my scanner's own software simply because it does all the work for me with one click on its SCAN button. IMAGE CAPTURE.app is okay for those times when you have no scanner software installed (only Driver software) but is generally more convoluted IMHO. Saying this; it depends on you. Some people don't like to use their scanner's software because they find it complex, for whatever reason(s), while others like their scanner's software because they feel it has more features and functionality.

An example of the just said would be that some scanner softwares have a SCAN TO EMAIL feature that sends a scan file straight to the MAIL.app application as an attachment whereas IMAGE CAPTURE.app has to open the PREVIEW.app application whereby you then have to SHARE (E-MAIL) the scan file manually.