retouching a photo of handwritten text
January 24, 2010 3:52 AM   Subscribe

looking for resources/guidelines on cleaning and retouching a photo of handwritten text. i'm not looking for OCR, just methods to combat uneven light, and compression artifacts.

sample of the text
im using, but i understand photoshop lingo.
posted by yosh to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
See if this piece of software helps.

Tips can probably be found if you search for 'using a digital camera as a scanner.'

I'm assuming you can't retake the picture, otherwise it'd be worth your while to find a scanner, or at least to get a picture with better lighting.
posted by mhz at 4:20 AM on January 24, 2010

I got a definite improvement using the basic tools in OS-X Preview. Not dark black on an even white background, but lots easier to read. You should be able to do it in any, even a free, photo editor.
I've liked IrfanView, if you're on Windows. The Gimp is extraordinarily capable (but a bit more complicated to figure out for so basic a job, if you're not already familiar with it.)
posted by TruncatedTiller at 4:35 AM on January 24, 2010

I got fairly good results adjusting the values with the Color Levels tool in the GIMP (an open source application kind of similar to Photoshop). The colors in your image are bunched up in the medium to dark grey range. Set the white input level to a little bit above the hump, black near the lower end of the hump, grey near or a little below the center. This spreads out the values a lot more. it doesn't even out the lighting, but makes the image more legible. (You could also tweak the green channel a bit, but very, very gently.)

I got kind of OK results (but just kind of) by just increasing brightness and contrast to around +70-ish. Increasing contrast any higher than that starts making the image really grainy.
posted by nangar at 4:55 AM on January 24, 2010

thanks for the answers, im using for this.
crop>greyscale>blur>levels>treshhold>blur got me an acceptable output.
posted by yosh at 12:41 PM on January 24, 2010

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