Scanner Questions for Old Books

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Traverse, Mar 12, 2015.

  1. Traverse macrumors 603

    Traverse

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2013
    Location:
    Here
    #1
    Meh, I suppose this subject fits better here than in Community Discussion.

    As a present for my friend, I wanted to scan their crumbling video game guides into a PDF. They have 3 old Pokémon game guides that they bought years ago (maybe some of you can picture the page thinness). The glue is coming loose and several pages have already fallen out.

    I've watched videos on using a hairdryer to melt the remaining glue and pull out the pages.

    I have an HP Envy 4500 printer/scanner. And I have a few questions:

    300 dpi is standard. Since there are graphic heavy books with maps and text would 600 dpi prove better?

    Will my scanner be able to scan thin pages without images from the other side of the page bleeding through? Each page is double sided.

    Thanks! I think they'll love this gift.


    Also: any general scanning or page removal tips?
     
  2. campyguy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #2
    A few tips that work for me when I archive older documents of "odd" sizes and thin sheets.

    About removing the pages, if you're going to ultimately dispose of the pages I'd skip the glue removal scheme and use a paper cutter to trim off/remove the binder edge. Read on, there's a means to adjust for the slight loss of page size.

    Depending on the condition of the manual/book, an iron, on low heat used with a thin cloth, can be used to soften the glue in short order, if you want to avoid trimming the pages down.

    The key step to a clean scan of thin pages with minimized bleed is to use a thick stock black-color paper sheet as a backing, trimmed to the size of the platen. Basically, you'll have a black background to scan against with no bleed from elsewhere on the platen.

    IMHO, a 300 DPI scan is sufficient and 600 is overkill for most text and graphics scans from books and magazines. You may, however, choose to scan at 600 DPI and downsample the resulting scans to 300 DPI. Depending on your interface, 600/1200 DPI scans can take a bit of time to render. Remember, you're looking at a 72-100 DPI proxy when you're looking at the image on your monitor. Take your first scan, then print it out and see if you're happy with it, then go from there!

    Last one - with you're first scan, adjust the contrast of the scanning "engine" (histogram) - your scanner is "used to" or adjusted to a white background and crops, in software, what it thinks you want to see. If you're using a black background to prevent bleed, adjust or create a histogram that optimizes the appearance of the image you're scanning, and maybe create a "new" paper size that's optimized to your target size. Now you can automate the process to your taste.
     
  3. Traverse thread starter macrumors 603

    Traverse

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    Mar 11, 2013
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    #3
    Thank you for all of your advance, especially this. The top of the scanner is white plastic so I'll definitely try black stock. I never knew that affected things.
     
  4. campyguy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #4
    You're welcome, it's cool what you're doing for your friend - glad to help!
     
  5. rhyzome, Mar 16, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2015

    rhyzome macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2012
    #5
    What works for me might or might not work for you depending on your precise needs/criteria for success and the nuances of your project, but I've found that even the camera on an iPhone is sufficient for producing decent "scans".

    When you're worried about damaging fragile materials, sometimes taking a photo of the material laid out is less invasive/damaging than using a traditional scanner. Depending on your lighting and the surface you place behind each page, you might even ameliorate the "bleeding through" problem.

    You might need to fiddle around with your lighting or position the materials near a natural light source/window for this method. Watch out for glare...that's typically the biggest problem I run into. Again, can be resolved by changing the angle/type of lighting. Depending on the size and distance of the materials from your lens, you might get some distortion/bubble effect. If you're into photography you might choose a lens (or adjust shooting distance) specifically for this purpose with a DSLR.. or you might be able to process that out, if it bothers you.

    Once you've shot and are happy with the perspective of the photos and level of/absence of glare, you can obv. edit and process them however you'd like.

    I've copied entire books with this technique and processed them into black and white "photocopy" PDFs for my own purposes--it can be done very efficiently. You're project sounds a little more detail/image oriented, but you might perhaps still be able to do this "distance scanning"/photographing.

    Best!
     
  6. Traverse thread starter macrumors 603

    Traverse

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2013
    Location:
    Here
    #6
    I've used the iPhone for school scans, but it lacks the quality of a dedicated scanner. If these were just text pages I would use my phone, but since they are very graphic heave pages I want to use my dedicated scanner.
     

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