This section covers the basics of scanning 35mm slides and flat artwork, and provides some general suggestions to improve image quality. 

Steps to follow when scanning an image.


1) What am I scanning? 35mm slides or flat artwork such as a photograph.

2) Place image on a flat-bed scanner; avoiding the "sweet-spots." As scanners grow older, they develop uneven scanning areas. Avoid placing materials along the edges of the flat-bed scanner. Also make sure the glass is clean!!!

3) Opening the scanner interface (software). This can be done via a short-cut icon on your desktop, through the Program Menu on your computer or through a graphics program like Photoshop.

4) Software setting adjustments.

  • Set the appropriate resolution for the intended output (72 dpi for Web and PowerPoint) (200+ dpi for printer and publication).
  • Scan for the type of intended output such as Color (output contains millions of colors), Grey Scale (creates a scan that yields 256 shades of grey), Black and White (for rendering on Black or White such as line artwork or a simple drawing or logo).
  • Output final size. (If you intend to produce your work at a larger scale you will need to scan your original at a higher resolution. If you want to print, as stated above, your resolution should be no less than 200. Let us say you want to double your image size: you will need approximately twice the resolution, try scanning in at 400dpi. If you intend to triple your original size, scan the file in at 600dpi. The reason for this is at higher resolutions there is enough information to produce a larger print file without “stretching” the image, causing pixilation and distorting the image.)
  • Brightness/Darkness, Contrast, Levels controls can be used for poor original images with your initial scan. It is best to fine-tune your image in a quality graphics editing program since the preview window of most scan programs is inadequate to gauge the true quality of the image.

5) Preview your image before you scan. Check your "selection" area to make sure you do not scan the edges of your original.

6) Save the image, and choose the best format to use: TIF, BMP, JPG or GIF?

7) Fine-tune your image. It is recommended to use a quality graphics program such as Adobe Photoshop/Elements that offers refined controls for enhancing the quality of your final image. These programs have adjustments for sharpening an image, cropping, changing the physical size and resolution, controls for color balance, brightness, contrast, highlight and shadow detail adjustments, cleaning up dust and scratches and, removing unwanted elements like tree branches through people's heads.