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Scanning Large Pieces

Author: Diana Lee, Contributing Editor

I will explain this as basically as I can. For those of you who are more advanced, I apologize. It is my intention to reach the beginner and go through this tutorial step by step. However some knowledge of Paint Shop Pro is helpful.

I will take my 12" x 20" painting "Three Macaws" and scan it in three pieces. I will then merge it using the program "Paint Shop Pro" and then clean it up and ready it for use on my web site.

Editor's Note: Some of the images below are shown on a gray background, in order to make it easier to see the visual effect.

Keeping the image square on the scanner is very important. It can save you a lot of work later on if you take care in this step. You want the pieces to overlap when you merge them so take this into account when you scan. Sometimes you will need to scan the parts at different angles, (sideways, upside down,etc.) but this can be easily fixed by rotation later.

If the piece you are scanning is for use on a web site then scanning it at 150 dots per inch (dpi) is enough. Save the scans as files of type TIF and when you are done scanning you should work on them as files of type PSP. At this point I want to emphasize the importance of SAVING your work!!!!! Save it often.

The images will be quite large and this is what you want. Each image of the macaws is approximately 1000 pixels wide and with a height of 800 pixels. Click New... on the File menu and create a "new" image 1200 pixels wide X 2400 pixels high (three times the height of each of the three pieces so you can now stack them). Check the image type to be sure the color depth is at 16.7 million colors (24 Bit).

In the image on the left you can see where I put together the top and the middle pieces and then in the image on the right I have added the bottom section.

You do this by selecting the first image, the top of the macaws, and copying it. You can copy by either using the Ctrl +C keys or clicking on Copy from the Edit menu.

Now select the "new" image and "paste" what you have copied by either using the Ctrl +E keys or clicking on Paste As New Selection from the Edit menu.

Using the "mover" tool you can move the selected image around until it is lined up the way you want it. After making sure the seams of the pieces you have joined are correct you can now resize it to a more workable size. With this image being 1200 x 2400 I would resize it to 50% or 600 x 1200. Now you can clean up your seams using the clone brush . You can click Adjust on the Colors menu, then click Brightness/Contrast to work on the brightness and contrast. You can zoom in using the magnifying icon on the "Paint Shop Pro" tool bar for detail work. You will have to play around and experiment with brush size, opacity and brush softness (click on the control palette icon ). Every piece of work will need different settings on the control palette as will different parts of a single piece.

When the pieces are all put together you will want to use the "selection" tool and then crop it down by clicking Crop To Selection on the Image menu.

Perhaps by now you have noticed that the background of the picture is green instead of white. This often happens with white backgrounds and is easy enough to fix. In the tool bar there is a tool called a "color replacer" (a sideways red arrow ). Select the green color you want to replace (hold down the Ctrl key and right click with dropper ). Then select the white color you want to replace it with (hold down the Ctrl key and left click with dropper). Double click on a section of the piece that has the green color you want to replace, and you will get a white background. You may have to play with this a bit.

When you are satisfied with your image, make a copy of it by clicking Copy on the Edit menu(Ctrl +C) then clicking Paste As New Image (Ctrl +V). Click Resize on the Image menu. I usually make thumb nails 125 to 150 pixels wide. Resize your copy. When you make an image smaller you usually need to sharpen it a bit. Sharpen can be found in the Image menu. Since this image will be used on your web site, save it as a file of type JPG. Before you click on Save you will notice that there is an Options... button at the bottom.

Making sure that you have already selected JPG, click on the Options... button. Here is where you can compress it for faster downloading. Start with a compression value of 50 and see if it looks ok (you will be surprised how little difference there is in the way it looks) You can play around with this.

I usually make the larger images on my web site about 350 pixels wide. Use the same process for the larger images that you used for the thumb nail.

I added a white border to my image. You will find Add Borders.... in the Image menu. I scanned the image pretty tight and I felt the macaws needed some room.


Self portrait, Diana Lee
Diana Lee is an accomplished professional artist who works in a variety of mediums, including oils, acrylics, watercolors, and scratchboard. She is a contributing editor to WetCanvas! For more information on Diana, or to view her online gallery of works, visit her web site at www.dianalee.com. She can be reached via email at [email protected].