Wrapping my head around scanning smuggled mug in the round.
June 5, 2011 6:24 PM   Subscribe

How can I scan a wrap-around image on a mug?

So, Father's Day is coming up and I'd love to give my father a reproduction of the mug I got him when I was younger. I've scoured the Internet for years, and even went so far as to call Hallmark Corporate and beg for backstock, with no luck. So I had my Mom smuggle the mug to me, so I've determined the best plan of attack will be to just scan it myself... Which is awesome, but I have no idea how to start or stitch the pictures together or anything, really. Should I scan the mug or take multiple pictures, or what?

I have a scanner, a digital camera and Adobe Photoshop and GiMP at my access. How on earth can I do this? Here are pictures of the mug: view one, view two, view three.

Aside: If anyone here has one of these mugs (1985 Hallmark Smile mug, made in Japan), I offer it's weight in gold as payment.
posted by banannafish to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Hmm, maybe build a mask with black paper so you don't blind yourself, then just hold the mug at one end, press scan and roll it steady as the bar moves. I be after practicing a few times, you'll get a decent scan.
posted by sammyo at 6:30 PM on June 5, 2011

What about making a new image in Photoshop or GiMP and having the mug made of that one. It may be tedious but possibly less so than trying to roll and scan the mug.
posted by Phantomx at 6:34 PM on June 5, 2011

I'm fashioning myself a construction paper mask right now, sammyo, you might be my hero! I'll post results as soon as I find some stickers and maybe a feather or two for mask-flare.
posted by banannafish at 6:39 PM on June 5, 2011

Scanners tend to be really finicky about anything not right up on the glass, so I would suggest a backup plan... this would involve taking 20 or 30 photographs of the mug with your digital camera (use the Macro setting so the focus is crystal clear up close), then use Microsoft ICE (free) which will automatically stitch the images together. If there's any distortion you can pick from several "camera motion" methods to figure out which one works best. I'd also suggest keeping the camera in a fixed position and just rotate the mug slowly as you go, this way it keeps the light levels more constant. I'm not 100% sure all this will work, but it's the first thing I'd try.
posted by crapmatic at 6:48 PM on June 5, 2011 [4 favorites]

You're going to have to do so much editing to make something nice out of a scan, crapmatic's method is probably more efficient from a time and effort standpoint. I second having the camera in a fixed position.
posted by SMPA at 6:52 PM on June 5, 2011

I'd consider making a jig to hold the mug in a fixed place that allows for easy rotation. This with a camera on a tripod should result in consistent images to stitch. I'd also consider taking the first shot on Auto to get the settings and then use manual mode with those settings for all of the shots.
posted by dantodd at 7:23 PM on June 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

(Possibly) expensive suggestion! I don't know much about digital image production for this sort of thing, but if you could track down to buy or borrow one of those wand scanners (I just pulled this off the Amazon results list and don't know anything about its quality), couldn't you just run it all around the mug to pick up the image? They're also sometimes called portable scanners, the search results page said?
posted by dust.wind.dude at 8:11 PM on June 5, 2011

Since this design is made entirely of typography, you can create a better reproduction by tracking down the fonts from the original design. It'd be fairly painless to cobble together.

You should still scan the original mug (though you're going to need to take your mask off to see what you're doing), in order to get font samples. You can then upload the scans and get matches on What The Font. For example, from the look of your photos, the word "Advisor" is probably in Gill Sans Ultra Bold. "Miracle Worker" looks like Helvetica Neue Italic, or similar. The word "Friend" is in Cooper Black Swash Italic. "Peace Maker" looks like some flavor of Futura or Gill Sans Light.

You could use Photoshop to re-make the design, but you'll get better (sharper) results using a program like Adobe Illustrator or InDesign.
posted by Jeff Howard at 8:49 PM on June 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

All the sites are a bit dated, but it sounds like a QTVR turntable would help.
posted by scruss at 4:46 AM on June 6, 2011

I will jump on the recreate it in Photoshop/Illustrator/Inkscape bandwagon. In 1/4 the time it will take you to create a passably good scan you could have a perfect copy made from scratch.
posted by JJ86 at 6:49 AM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

After wearing my black construction paper mask, downloading three different stitching software packaged, taking 75 pictures and making a jig from toothpicks, Laffy Taffy and a beer coaster, I am finally throwing in the hat and simply making it (hopefully).
posted by banannafish at 6:05 PM on June 6, 2011

Just as a followup for any future questions - I actually called in a favor from a friend at an Art Museum and they used their 3D Wand Scanner and the image was a little distorted but still looked okay, so I went ahead and ordered the one I created in GiMP and the scanned one, and my father was beside himself. He was so happy and blown away with the thought I put into it. Thanks again, everyone!
posted by banannafish at 1:48 PM on June 23, 2011

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