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Scanning Heritage Photos

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  #1  
Old 12-13-2003, 04:40 PM
Stella Stella is offline
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Scanning Heritage Photos

I will be scanning in a bunch of heritage photos. In most cases these are the only copies and the original negatives are long gone. Some of them are in pretty bad condition. Some are very faded.

I will be working on the photos in Photoshop, but what I would like at this time is some advice on how to scan them in.

I am using a Canon scanner that can scan up to 1200 dpi. Is it worth going up that high? I'd like to do this once or at least not do it again for the next 5 years. In some cases this will be the second round of scans because the first round was not done on a flat bed scanner. That scanner had a "missing pixel" which left a line down every scan.

There are some settings available in the scanner itself. How much playing around with them would you suggest a beginner do?

Thank you for your help.
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Old 12-13-2003, 06:17 PM
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Leah Leah is offline
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It's worth scanning as whatever your scanner's max resolution is - but be careful you're talking about real resolution. Some scanners claim to scan up to 1200 but when you look at the small print they only really scan up to 300 and interpolate from there to get the higher resolutions, and in that case you're better off scanning at the real maximum resolution of 300 and resizing yourself later.
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Old 12-13-2003, 08:27 PM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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Welcome aboard Stella. Lea's right about the resolution. If your scanner lists resolution, such as 600 X 1200, the optical resolution is the lower number. Scanning more than that only adds to file size without adding information. A good site for scanning information is http://www.scantips.com/ . Check it out.

Ed
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Old 12-13-2003, 10:59 PM
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VidKid VidKid is offline
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If you scanner allows, scan at 16 bit which will bring out more detail in the shadows and the overall color balance will be more accurate if high quality is needed. Just convert to 8 bit in PS to access all the tools and filters. This technique may improve your scans more than scanning at a high resolution (1200).

You might try a 16 bit at 400-600 DPI setting.

VidKid
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Old 12-14-2003, 02:40 PM
Mike Mike is offline
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If you have the access, I would try a very high resolution digital camera, especially if the orginals have any silvering on them.
Mike
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Old 12-14-2003, 09:29 PM
Stella Stella is offline
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What wonderful suggestions.

I come and look at this thread regularly and have found one great idea after another. I want to thank all of you for taking the time to answer my question.
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Old 12-15-2003, 12:11 PM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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Scanning at 16bit is an excellent idea, but you're not going to get any more detail past 600ppi.
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Old 11-30-2004, 02:09 PM
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MBChamberlain MBChamberlain is offline
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Extender

I'm working on a major historical project for a college and have been playing around with many methods of getting their older photos into a computer for mastering. This is the process I have come to for getting silvered photos ready to restore:

1. Scan the photo (sometimes that actually works, it depends on the grain of the silvering.)
2. If that doesn't work look at it on a copy stand and see how much reflection there is a lot of reflection. If not push the button.
3. Even is there is not a lot of glare I usually do this next step too. I use a product called extender. It is a combined cleaning agent and oil based conditioner for the photo, it usually takes about 20-30 years of visible damage off the photo.
4. Try scanning the cleaned photo (this again, sometimes works)
5. Take a photo of that picture as well.
Note: I use regular film, mainly because I have a dark room and need to make new copies for their archives anyway. Then I take them down to the darkroom, make a new copy, and scan that. I have not tried it with a high res digital camera.
6. Go to town in Photoshop.

The extender is the real key. You need a really good lint-free cotton cloth to apply it and it takes 2-3 minutes to clean a 4x6 photo. It by no means makes it perfect, but it can really give you the leg up.

I'm including a before and after example of an original scan and the resulting image that (obviously) needed to go the whole way through the darkroom process.

Michael

PS. if you need extender, any photographic supply store that carries darkroom materials should have it, I use one made by Marshals.
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File Type: jpg arb-restored.jpg (78.1 KB, 64 views)
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Old 11-30-2004, 06:23 PM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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Hi Michael,

Thanks for bringing new life to an old thread, and welcome to RP. Do you know who manufacturers extender? It sounds very interesting. I'm wondering what a conservator would think about using it on different types of photos.

Ed
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Old 11-30-2004, 07:01 PM
Mike Mike is offline
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Marshalls extender is listed as a product that "lightens hand coloring oils without thinning them".

So it must be oil based. I have done some hand coloring many years ago, and I always used new prints, we never put anything on a old print.

I do not think that I would be wiping down any kind of historical print till I found out a lot more about what that stuff would do to the print, both in the near and far time.

Mike
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