Text-only cheat sheet:
When scanning artwork to be worked on digitally it’s important to get a good quality scan. You don’t need a fancy, super expensive scanner for this, just one that can scan up to 600 dpi.
The three main settings you need to pay attention to in your scanning software’s dialog box are Resolution, file type, and the destination of the completed scan.
Open your scanning software. Certain scanners like Epson will have software that comes with the scanner, but if you’re using a mac, you can just use Image Capture, which comes pre-installed.
Place your artwork face down on the scanner bed, close the lid and click on ‘overview or preview’ in the software’s dialog box to view what’s on the scanner bed.
Specify the resolution, file type and destination in the dialog box. Set the resolution at 300 dpi or higher. I generally recommend scanning at 600dpi, even if you plan on working the file at 300 dpi later.
Set the “Format” to TIFF (not JPEG or PNG). This will save your scan as a TIFF which is a higher quality file type than a JPEG or PNG (see M4 #3 to read more about file types)
Next, specify where your scan should be saved once it’s complete. Don’t forget to give your scan a practical name.
In the preview window, select the area you want to scan. You can create a selection area by click/holding and dragging your cursor in the preview window. To manipulate an existing selection click and drag on the corner points of the selection box.
If your image is larger than the scanner bed, you can scan it in sections and use the Photomerge function in Photoshop to digitally re-assemble it.
Scan your image one section at a time, making sure there’s at least 40% overlap of each section.
Once you have all of your sections scanned, launch Photoshop > File > Automate > Photomerge. Load all of your scans into the dialog box and click OK.
Important safety tip:
When opening your scanned document in Photoshop, double check the resolution in the main Menu (Image > Image Size). Depending on the default or previous settings, Photoshop can set the document resolution to be lower than your scan; whatever the document resolution is set to is what the final resolution of your image you place into Photoshop will be.
Example: If the resolution in the Photoshop document is set at 72dpi and you place your 600 dpi scan into that document, your scan will render at 72dpi.