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Partner rrrADAM


Jul 28, 2002, 11:50 AM
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Jody is trying to help me, but when I scan, crop, and resize, they end up all blurry. The originals are crisp.

Mark said that I was scanning in at to high a resm so I lowered it, but they are still all blurry.

I'm using Microsoft Picture It Publishing, and a Lexmark X73 scanner.




~Adam


clymber


Jul 28, 2002, 6:54 PM
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Adam I dont know if this would be a option since you are the world traveler and all and take thousands of rolls of pics a year but how about getting them scanned to a CD ROM when they get developed. That way they are crisp takes out scanning them and you can send them in emails alot easier


coolpops


Jul 28, 2002, 7:43 PM
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I am assuming other things you scan are ok and it's not just a faulty scanner? Scan a text document into an image and see what it looks like.


nikegirl


Jul 28, 2002, 8:05 PM
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one word.
digital

T


Partner rrrADAM


Jul 28, 2002, 8:08 PM
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It's happening during the cropping and resizing process.


karlbaba


Jul 28, 2002, 8:18 PM
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Tell us what procedure you are using to crop and resize. Have you tried different software for working on your shots? If you don't have photoshop or something like it, get the photo software that comes free with digital cameras. Usually, it's at least good for resizing, cropping, adjusting contrast and color saturation and finally sharpening

Peace

karl


k9rocko


Jul 28, 2002, 8:22 PM
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My understanding is that resampling has occured. There are various methods for 'averaging' pixels.

Say for example if you reduce 4 pixels to the size of 1. The computer has to "average" the four pixels somehow. Depending on the method, it might add noise to the photograph (which reduces the crispness of the lines).

The methods Adobe Photoshop uses (bilinear and bicubic) are the best. Nearest neighbor is kinda crappy (ie. pick 1 of 4).

I strongly suggest http://www.photoworks.com They do a great job on photofinishing, and they scan/webpage your pics for free.

Good luck finding the bug.....

[ This Message was edited by: k9rocko on 2002-07-28 20:24 ]


jmlangford


Jul 28, 2002, 9:02 PM
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He shouldn't need photoshop to make them sharp. If he scans and adjusts the output size during the scanning process like I do with my HP4400 they should not be blurry. The images he e-mailed me are too small. When they get enlarged/resized etc. That is where the quality is being lost. I have PM'd him a few ideas on how to fix this problem so I guess we'll just wait and see if it works. Somehow, they are scanning at a size smaller than the pic he is scanning(4x6 I assume). Then they get blurry when resized larger to fit the website.

Am I making any sense?


Partner matt


Jul 28, 2002, 9:22 PM
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Yes, Jim, you're making sense...it's just these computer problems are hard to solve over the internet!

Adam, what sofware are you scanning the images into? Try and check your options menu to see if you are having them automatically resized upon scanning. That is one reason that will account for the pixel loss and "noise" when you crop/resize.

Try that and get back to us.

We'll kill this monster that your computer has created if it takes us all week!


petelasko


Jul 28, 2002, 9:32 PM
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Scan them at 72 dpi.

If they come out crappy scan them larger, and reduce the size. I have no idea about microsft products, but any decent photo editor should be able to resample without too much trouble.

There are surely some windows freeware stuff you can get. Otherwise download Photoshop elements trial, and use it, and if you feel like it's worth $100 (less if you're a student). It probably is.

The problem with scanning at 72 dpi, is that you can make them any bigger. Also, when you say 72 dpi, you have to keep the size (inches) small (like 3X5 or less) otherwise you just get bigger pictures (inchwise) and low resolution. Then you size it down,and you still get resampled.


jmlangford


Jul 28, 2002, 9:42 PM
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My HP4400 scanner cost me $149(They are $99 now). It came with scanning software and photo editing software(HP Photo Printing and ACDSee). This whole set-up works like a charm. Look at my pics, they are all pretty sharp. When I scan, I draw the selection area around the pic, set the output size to 550pixels wide for horizontal pics and 500 high for vertical pics and save. One step. It sounds like Adam is having to go through too many steps. i am not familiar with his scanner but I think he needs another one. I'll contribute the first $5-who'll be next?


Partner rrrADAM


Jul 29, 2002, 12:08 PM
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Figured it out, thanx Jody...

I have been scanning 4 at a time, then cropping, and resizing individually. Did this so I wouldn't have to scan them individually. Efficiencey at the cost of quality.


Partner rrrADAM


Jul 29, 2002, 12:55 PM
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Here's the last batch...

http://www.rockclimbing.com/photos.php?Action=ListPhoto&PhotoID=6066

http://www.rockclimbing.com/photos.php?Action=ListPhoto&PhotoID=6067

http://www.rockclimbing.com/photos.php?Action=ListPhoto&PhotoID=6068

http://www.rockclimbing.com/photos.php?Action=ListPhoto&PhotoID=6069

A little sharper, eh ???


jeffers_mz


Jul 29, 2002, 11:16 PM
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rrradam,

What Mr. Langford is trying to say, is don't resize your images at all if you're looking for sharpness.

You know how many inches the image you're scanning is, and what the max size in pixels here is. If you have 6 inch picture, and want it to end up 600 pixels wide, then 100 DPI is the resolution to use to avoid the sharpness robbing recalculations that go with re-sizing.

Glossy prints will usually scan sharper than satin finish.

Photo paper will scan at up to 200 DPI, on a good day, with a tailwind. YMMV.

The first three of those prints may be a little soft to begin with. It appears to be general rather than a focussing issue, therefore is more likely motion blur or the glass quality of the lense. If you're using a 2x doubler for 35mm camera lense, they are usually poor quality glass unless significantly expensive, i.e. Nikkor, Canon, or Takumar level optics.

Scanning prints at up to 200 DPI isn't going to be capturing any grain, so you can use faster film and therefore faster shutter speeds to get rid of some of that minute hand jitter or motion blur that steals sharpness.

On the fourth image, (which is still a hell of a rock climbing photo regardless of what I'm about to say) it looks to me like the photographer missed the focus slightly. Look at the rock face. The sharpest detail lies about two feet closer to the camera than the climber. Not a major issue, it's definitely sharp enough, but it does a good job showing the difference between lens or motion blur issues, versus focus adjustments.


About the best quality you will get from scanning prints and viewing them on a 1024x768 monitor will be from glossy 8x10's at 100 DPI with no manipulation that involves any averaging.

If you're going to use software to sharpen them any, unsharp mask is the usually preferred technique.

If that's not good enough, you have to look at more expensive scanning techniques. A negative will scan up to 4000 DPI. A slide will support that high of a resolution too, but usually give even better results because the orange mask color doesn't have to be corrected after the fact like negatives require.

From there, your only choice is to look at larger negatives.

Hope this helps.

[ This Message was edited by: jeffers_mz on 2002-07-29 23:23 ]

[ This Message was edited by: jeffers_mz on 2002-07-29 23:30 ]


Partner rrrADAM


Jul 29, 2002, 11:52 PM
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Wow... That's a lot to comprehend.

I have an autofocus point and shoot. I'm not a photographer.


roughster


Jul 30, 2002, 9:25 AM
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Try Unsharp Mask option in your photo editor. Guarenteed to do the trick or my name isn't Orville Redenbaucher!

Please send all checks and money orders too....


Heheh


jeffers_mz


Aug 3, 2002, 7:23 AM
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Ok, first off, the resolution of a scanned image is simple the number of dots per inch. More dots per inch equals higher resolution, to a point. Get too high, and you start picking up the surface roughness of the photographic paper. 200 DPI is the upper limit.

If your photo is six inches wide, and you scan at 200 dots per inch, your scanned image will end up 1200 dots wide, same as 1200 pixels wide. That's too big to post them here. If you use the "resize" option to make it smaller, it averages a whole bunch of dots (pixels) in an area and smushes them all into one dot to make the picture smaller and makes the picture fuzzier.

But if you scanned the picture at 100 dots per inch to start with, 6 inches times 100 dots per inch makes 600 dots total, so you scanned image would end up 600 pixels wide. You can post that here, without having to average anything, yielding a sharper image.

To get any sharper than that, you need to look at the print you are trying to scan, with an eye towards getting those as sharp as possible. There are three main issues that give prints that are less than sharp.

One is motion blur/camera shake, where the photographer's hand or the subject moved while the shutter was open. If you're using ASA 100 film, then switching to ASA 200 film will capture twice as much light, allowing the shutter to open and close twice as fast. The photographer then has half as much time to move or shake, and the print comes out much clearer.

Two is lense quality. In my experience, a $200 point and shoot camera will have glass good enough to make prints as sharp as a 35mm camera, once both are scanned. A $100 point and shoot will give some good shots, but usually require more sharpening using software, than a 35mm or more expensive point and shoot.

Three is the focus. Imagine standing beside a fence, and wanting to capture the tenth fence post down the line. If you focus on number ten, you might find that number 9 and 11 are also pretty sharply focussed. That is called the depth of field. Your camera controls how much light reaches the film two ways. One is how long the shutter stays open. Two is by a circular hole called the aperature. If the camera wants more light, and opens the aperature up wide, you'll have a narrow depth of field, only the main fence post will be in focus. if the camera sees a lot of light and closes the aperatue down to a pinhole, you'll have a large depth of field, so all the fence posts from number 5 to number 15 will be in focus.

Since higher ASA film ratings are more sensitive to light than lower ones, using faster film (higher ASA number) will result in a smaller aperature, so you can miss the point of optimum focus more and still get a sharp picture.

Look on your film now. If it sas ASA 100, then try ASA 200. If it says ASA 200 now, then try a roll of ASA 400. Don't go much more than that. The higher the ASA number, the bigger the clumps of silver that make up the image. On big enlargements this results in a "grainy" image. As long as you stay at ASA 400 and below, this grain won't get big enough to show up on the scans.

If you go to ASA 400, and scan at 100 DPI, and your scanned images still aren't sharp, then first you need to look at the quality of your camera lense, and second need to look at the quality of your scanner. Optics isn't usually a problem in scanners because the image is at a constant distance from the "eye", but in a camera it can make a fair amount of difference.

One way to get the most your camera can give, is to place the focussing box in the viewfinder right over the subjects eye and press the shutter button halfway down. This locks the focus on the subject of maximum interest. The move around to get what you want to include in the picture while holding the button halfway down, and when you get it the way you want, fire away.


Partner tim


Aug 3, 2002, 8:55 AM
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One other thing that NOBODY seems to have mentioned (not even jeffers_mz, who is clearly the only guy here that really understands film) is that you MUST NOT USE .JPEG COMPRESSION on ANYTHING you will later manipulate. Jpeg (.jpg) images undergo "lossy" compression -- they lose information in order to compress smaller. HOWEVER, that information cannot be recovered! So, if you take a .JPG image, and do ANYTHING to it, then save (re-compress) it, you WILL LOSE IMAGE QUALITY. It's as simple as that.

Believe it or not, that's one reason I did NOT like digital cameras when they came out. The only acceptably fast save option was JPG, and I couldn't crop or resaturate or change tonal balance. With slides (I greatly prefer Fuji slide films for their saturation) and a good film scanner, my workflow is much slower, but the end results (eg. my website) are much better. If I need to manipulate an image, I scan it at 2820dpi (very slow!), save as a TIFF file (very large!), and manipulate it, then unsharp mask, then finally save it as the appropriate size for printing, putting on the web, or whatever. I'm about to do exactly that for some shots from the Needles that Addiroids has been hounding me about...

The thing to do, if you're shooting film, is not to bother with scanning prints yourself. It's tedious, annoying, and generally the results suck. Keep the negatives, and take them to a good PhotoCD place, then work on those images in PhotoShop or whatever. PhotoCD scanning will give you great results and you pay someone else to do the tedious work of scanning -- I'd STILL be ripping PhotoCD's of my slides if there were any good shops left in DC that did them.

In L.A., a good one is A and I Color Labs, although I don't know if they do regular PhotoCD scans anymore. They'll probably know someone who does, though. In San Francisco, I used to use Color Digital 2000 on Howard & 8th all the time, they were great (cheap, fast, no f---ing around).

Because of the lower resolution of a monitor vs. photographic paper, your images will always look less sharp than prints. BUT you can make up for this, by scanning negatives/slides directly, and taking full advantage of the fact that the difference in brightness between the blackest black and whitest white on a computer monitor is much greater than on paper. So well-scanned images can have more 'pop' onscreen. The way to do this is either scan the film itself, or have your employer drop $5000 on a DSLR like the newsies do...

For whatever it's worth, last time I checked, Greg Epperson, Corey Rich, Harrison Shull, and Alden Pellett were *all* shooting film. Alden in particular uses digital for his freelance work, and film for climbing photos... nobody really wants to drop $1600 on a 14mm wideangle and get a 21mm in use.

If it's still unclear, here's a summary:

Shoot film, scan negs, and manipulate TIFFs.

Thank you

--tim


jmlangford


Aug 3, 2002, 10:00 AM
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Man, we have some real pros here. Thanks for all the technical info guys! I just wish I could afford a good slide scanner. My stuff is all done on slides(Kodachrome 64 or Ektachrome 100, looks like I should try the Fuji stuff as soon as my stock of Kodak runs out). I then send the slides to The Slideprinter in Denver for prints. They are the best print from slide company around. Been using them since the late 70's. Anyway, I then scan the prints. My scans are "sharp" but really pixelated when viewed on the monitor. Will doing the 'tiff' thing that jab suggested help with the pixelation or is that just one of the 'evils' of viewing pics on the web? I scan 4x6's and keep my images small(500 pixels high on verticals and 550 wide on horizontals).


Partner tim


Aug 3, 2002, 11:46 AM
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Pixelation is a common artifact of lossy compression -> decompression -> recompression. You lose more information on each pass. There are noise reduction schemes available, but they suck (see this photo for an example of why I ditched cheapo digicams).

Jody, you're throwing away some of the richest colors in your Kodachromes -- those slides are usually good enough for National Geographic, why the hell wouldn't they be good enough for the web? The key is to skip the slides-to-prints step and just get PhotoCDs of the best ones (or buy something like a Minolta Elite II when the price drops below $500, if you have lots and lots of slides -- but beware, just cause it's the best deal going for film scanners, doesn't mean it isn't a pain in the ass to do all that work yourself).

A full explanation of "why" can be found online at photo.net. This is probably THE classic treatment of "how to make your photos Not Suck on the web". (which of course requires that they be good images to start with, but I digress...) I was turned on to this methodology by Quan-Tuan Luong, before he got RSI and stopped climbing. After viewing Tuan's amazing picture galleries and being advised by him that the key was in this scanning workflow, I never looked back...

You owe it to yourself to educate yourself so that your hard work is presented in the best light possible. (also so that less of the front-page photos on rockclimbing.com suck)

Also, re-read Jeffers_MZ's posts. They are FULL of very useful information that can help improve the quality of That Which You Are About To Scan -- eg., the actual photographs! Photoshop will not help an out-of-focus, underexposed, or blurry shot.

--t

ps. I edited this post a bit so that the examples and links pop up in new windows -- they are huge repositories of information, and I suspect most people will forget all about the original post if they take over the window )



[ This Message was edited by: jabbeaux on 2002-08-03 11:51 ]


jmlangford


Aug 3, 2002, 6:22 PM
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Well Jab, between you and jeffers I think I will print out your posts and study the info. I am scanning perfectly good prints and they always have little square blocks all over and it makes them look like crap. BTW, I don't get pics on the front page anymore.


woodse


Aug 3, 2002, 6:48 PM
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In the words of Dan Osman "HOLY SPHINCTER!"

Man you guys are smart!

woodsE


jmlangford


Aug 3, 2002, 7:11 PM
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Thanks for the compliment woodse!

P.S. I know you were probably referring to jab and jeffers but I'll take the compliment anyway!


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