We have compiled some tips and techniques for helping you with scanning. If you don't already have a photo editing program, we recommend that you purchase the latest version of Photo Impact (available at any computer store or at amazon.com). Previous versions are also available at Ebay for reduced prices. If you are using another software graphics program, look for these different commands within that software; most will have the commands available, but may call them by different names.
Please understand that there are hundreds of different scanners, scanner software programs and image editing programs on the market. It is virtually impossible for us to support them all. We strongly recommend reading your specific hardware and software manuals. When reading this help file please remember that this information has to be somewhat general. We have no way of knowing what scanner or software you may have.
Basic Requirement for images uploaded for your store:
1) Images should be no more than 30K in file size (that is 30,000 bytes). Today, customers simply WILL NOT WAIT for larger images, they will go elsewhere.
2) Images can be any size you want. However, if the customer has to scroll vertically and/or horizontally to view the entire image they will not be happy. We recommend no more than 450 pixels high or wide depending which is greater, assuming you are scanning at 100 dpi. Realize that there are now lots of different monitor resolutions, so people on older monitors at 640 x 480 will see an image that is almost double the size of the people who view it on a new high resolution monitor set to 1280 x 960.
The Scanning Process
1) You have an image (or fabric) in hand and you are ready to scan. Place the image on your scanner and have your image editing software that is installed on your system open.
You will need to tell the image editing software what scanner software you have.
In Photo Impact it is "File" then "Scanner" then "select source" then a list of scanner(s) will appear, highlight the one you are using and then click on "select".
After you have told it which source to use, click on "File", then "Scanner" and then click on the top option which should be your scanner model, click on it and an "Aquire" window will open. Select the first option, "Click to begin acquiring using default settings" and your scanner software will open.
If you are not using Photo Impact there should be something under "File" called "Select Source" or if not check "Preferences" or "Setup". Then after you have told your image editing software what scanner to use, to scan look for something like "Aquire" or "Scan". If you are using scanner software directly, you will not need to "Select Source".
2) Now that you've placed the item to scan on your scanner and you have the scanner software window open, there will be various settings, depending on your scanner software. You really only need to concern your self with two. Make sure that it will scan in color and set the dpi (dots per inch) or resolution to 100 (if 100 is not an option then get as close to under 100 you can get)
The higher the resolution or dpi, the larger the image in both dimensions and file size. Scanning at 100 dpi will give you a file size closer to the file size required and 100 dpi is easily converted into inches (450 pixels = 4.5 inches, 100 pixels = 1 inch).
If you are scanning fabric, and get moire patterns, try scanning at 200 dpi and then use Format, Dimensions, and set it at 50%. This should get rid of the moire pattern.
3)Most scanners have a pre-scan or preview, which is the first step to get your image into the window where you can see it. The scanner will scan the image and it should appear in a box next to your settings.
You are now ready to choose an area to scan. Look for a button with a square made with dashes. Select that and with your mouse drag a box around the part of the image you want to scan. The scanner will only scan what is in the "marching ants".
4) You've now prescanned your item, set the dpi to 100, selected what part of the item you want to scan - and now you are ready to press "Scan". The scanner will scan the image, and yes, they can be slow and noisy! :) The image will load directly into your image editing software. Now, let's edit the image for your store!
5) First let's resize the image, if needed. Most software packages have a "dimensions" or "resize" feature - look for it under "Edit", "Format", "Image" or similar menu item. In Photo Impact it is "Format". Most will give you the choice to resize it by pixels or by a percentage; pixels would be the easiest with a change to 350 pixels high. It should keep the ratio and adjust the width accordingly. By adjusting the height first, you are ensuring that your image will be visible in one screen without having to scroll down.
6) Now you have resized your image, it may look blurry to you. If so, we need to sharpen it. Most image editing software packages also have an "Unsharp Mask" tool (it is just the opposite of what it sounds like - it actually sharpens). Look for it in "Edit" or "Effect" (In Photo Impact, you'll find it under Effect, Blur and Sharpen, Unsharp Mask). Usually this tool will have a slider that will allow you to increase or decrease the sharpness level. Others may give you a series of thumbnails. Try different settings until you find the one that works the best for you. You can always press Ctrl-Z to undo your settings at any time.
7) Now you have an image that is the appropriate size and is sharpened but the file size is still too large. We now need to compress it so that it doesn't take forever to download for the user. This is one of the most important single reasons that we suggest Photo Impact, they offer a wonderful tool just for this task. If you are using Photo Impact, with the image open go to "Web" menu item, then "Image Optimizer" (at the bottom) and it will open a window where you can compress your image.
>From here select whether you want it to be a jpg or a gif (right hand corner). HINT: gifs are usually used for clipart or drawings and jpg's are usually used for photos or scans. Let's assume you'll be using jpg's. Make sure that is selected. You'll see the orginal (uncompressed) image on the left and the compressed image on the right. If you move the slider at the bottom to the farthest left side you'll see the compressed image in the right window is totally distorted and unacceptable, but the file size will be as small as possible. If you move the slider all the way to right the image will look great, but the file size will be too large. Play with the slider untill you have the best of both worlds - you want the best looking image with the smallest possible file size, remember that 30k (30,000 bytes) is recommended as the maximum size. Then click "Save As" and save it to your hard drive. Pay special attention to which folder you are saving it to, as you'll need to know where to find it later.
If you are using another image editing software package you will usually be able to compress using different levels of jpeg compression. They will not give you the ability to view it compressed so you'll have to chose a level, save it, then reopen it and see if it is acceptable. You will want to try several different settings until you find the one that works for you.
You are now ready to upload your image to the Web.
Advanced Scanning Tips
There are 3 quick ways to do Color Correction in Photo Impact:
1) Press F8 to bring up the Tone Map. Often by playing with the values in the three tonal ranges you can cause subtle changes in colors that will significantly enhance your image.
2) Color Balance (Format, Color Balance) - There are two tabs, Preset and Smart. With the Preset tab, you are given thumbnails with slight color corrections surrounding the current image in the center. Click on any one of them to see the results. That moves that one to the center, and then you can click again on any other thumbnail to modify that one. If you're like me, you'll find that you've soon gone too far, and clicking Reset will fortunately take you back to your original.
The Smart tab allows you to pick a color and then match that color exactly from the color wheel. First click the eyedropper in the image on an easily identifiable color such as white or black. Don't panic! Then click in the "Desired Color" box and pick out what that color should be. You're given a preview of the results, if you don't like it, just back out.
3) Style (Format, Style). This presents many, many preset selections that will affect the entire tone of the image. Play with them and see if you find anything that enhances your image!