How to scan a notebook's blue gridlines?
January 31, 2011 12:01 PM   Subscribe

I draw and write with a variety of black pens in a Rhodia Reverse notebook. The notebook's paper is gridded with thin bluish lines, which I appreciate to help with ruling, etc., and because I like how the grid pattern looks with my drawings. I'd like to scan the notebook for safekeeping, but find that my scanner will only pick up a fraction of the gridding. I don't know if the gridlines are a true photo blue, but is there any way to ensure that my scans will match how I see the pages? I'm using an Epson Perfection 1660 Photo scanner.
posted by the sobsister to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
What kind of binding does the notebook have? AKA, will it lie perfectly flat?
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 12:07 PM on January 31, 2011

Are you making sure that the scanner settings don't have an 'unsharp mask' or an 'auto levels' setting automatically set? Try to make it so that you're getting untouched scanner output.
posted by suedehead at 12:07 PM on January 31, 2011

Best answer: Are you scanning through Epson's software? Most of their scanners (or, rather, their accompanying software) automatically run various image adjustments to improve contrast, remove dust and hair, etc. This can unintentionally remove details that you might like to retain.

I'm sure someone down the line will have experience with your particular scanner, but see if you can't shut off any kind of image "enhancements" during the scan itself. I know the Rhodia notebooks, and the lines are pretty faint: be on the lookout for anything related to brightness or contrast and tweak those settings until the lines reappear. You can always adjust levels or whatever manually later.
posted by wreckingball at 12:08 PM on January 31, 2011

If you're scanning into Photoshop or some other image editing software, I might create a new document the same size/resolution as your scans and add the grid manually using the line tool, matching the dimensions of the on-paper grid and using it as a template.

Then you can layer your scans below the grid layer, and adjust the hue and opacity of your "virtual" grid. Or adjust the scan to remove what there is of the printed grid, knock out the transparent parts of the sketch/writing and layer it over the virtual grid.
posted by jalexei at 12:11 PM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: What settings are you using when you scan? If you scan as "Color Photo" (AKA full color, high-res), do they still not come through? Those sorts of gridlines are typically designed to drop out when you do a grayscale or B+W scan, but I would think a color scan would pick them up (and possibly cause other problems with cleaning up the background, but that's not what you're asking :) )
posted by misterbrandt at 12:48 PM on January 31, 2011

Are you viewing the image at 100% (or 1:1) magnification? If you are zoomed out (i.e. to fit the whole page on the screen, especially if you scanned at a high resolution eg 400 or 600 dpi), the grid lines may be smaller than 1 pixel, and therefore not displayed on screen.
posted by trialex at 1:20 PM on January 31, 2011

Try backing the sheets you scan with pure white, pure black or maybe a sheet that's the cmyk opposite of the blue that you are trying to get.
posted by gjc at 1:52 PM on January 31, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks to all for the good advice.
Switching to "photo" from "illustration" helped considerably, as did removing the image adjustments. I will continue to tinker using suggestions. Thanks for your help.
posted by the sobsister at 2:05 PM on January 31, 2011

Turn off all settings. Set the brightness lower than you'd like, until the paper starts to look dingy, and scan twice (or more). Add those two pix together in photoshop, then do any further adjustments there.
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:26 PM on January 31, 2011

Yeah, "illustration" assumes you want to clean up the background, so that is targeting those gridlines as "undesirable"
posted by misterbrandt at 2:27 PM on January 31, 2011

« Older Looking for a book on the history of science...   |   Name some first person to third person... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.