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Scanning Your Artwork

Scanning your original artwork will usually give you much better results than digital photographs. Follow these tips to get the best capture possible for printing. Before scanning, your artwork should be removed from any frame or mount.

One of the most important settings within your scanner application is the resolution, this is the number of pixels per inch (or cm) that will make up your digital image. We ideally print your images at 360dpi (dots per inch, sometimes referred to ppi / pixels per inch), if you want your image printed to 100% size or smaller, then make sure you scan at 360dpi or higher, we recommend 600dpi. If you require your image to be enlarged, then we’re going to need a few more pixels, 600dpi is plenty for most enlargements, but we recommend increasing the resolution to 1200dpi, for example, this will allow an A4 image to be scaled up to A1 with no increase in pixels and therefore no loss in sharpness and quality.

Additional Settings

Your scanner software should provide you with a number of settings that will adjust the colour and tonal balance of your image, as well as define the kind of image you’re scanning and increase the scan quality to compensate for sharpness and reflection of papers with a gloss finish.

  • Auto Exposure: Usually Photo or Document, unless you’re scanning a simple text based document, Photo should be selected.
  • Image Type: If your image is black and white (grayscale) then choose 8-bit Grayscale, for colour images select 24-bit Colour.
  • Document Size: This will show the size of the marque selection from your preview window.
  • Target Size: Make sure this is Original or 100%, otherwise the scanner will enlarge or reduce your scan for you, the quality of the resizing may not be as good as using software to do this at a later date.
  • Unsharp Mask: This will sharpen your image for you, which can be done at a later date using software for more control, so you can set this to off or a low setting.
  • Descreening: This will try and compensate for halftone patterns that are used in printing, all scanners will try and compensate for this, so this setting will usually dictate how much it compensates. Choose a low setting or off if possible.
  • Colour Restoration: This will try and adjust the colour levels in your image to restore faded images, in most cases this should be turned off.

Experiment with the settings on your scanner, you can’t break it and you should always be able to return to the scanner’s default settings. Having a few different scans of your image will allow you to compare and send us the one you think is closest to your original.

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