Scanning in Art via Photoshop for the Web: Part 2

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OK, so, in my last article, I explained how to scann in your artwork into a high resolution photoshop file.  In case you’ve forgotten, scan in your art as 600 dpi if you plan on working with print or web, higher still if you want the picture for something larger.

Now, if you’re scanning into photoshop, you’ll see a lot of things you didn’t count on seeing, like imperfections in the paper, smudges, and even stray lines.  Don’t worry so much about this, as it is something to expect. This is one of the main reasons you want to bring this work into Photoshop, to clean it up!

I’m going to assume you’re copying something without color, as that makes the rules slightly different. Stay tuned for another tutorial on dealing with color scans.

Even though we scanned in this black and white artwork in as color, it won’t remain as such.  The goal is to make it truly black and white, without grey, so that we can get rid of most of these smudges.

In Photoshop, go to Images > Adjustments > Threshold.  A window will pop up with sliders and a histogram.  This is basically showing you the distribution of black versus white and all the shades in between, ranging from 0 to 256. What we want to do is eliminate all the in-between shades of grey, so we’re going to set the slider to 128. This will blend out anything that falls between black and white.

If the results aren’t what you were expecting, don’t panic, this is Preview mode. Once you hit OK, the preview will render properly and show you the end result.  If it still doesn’t look right to you, hit undo and fine tune the process to your liking.

Once you’ve done this, go through the piece with a black or white paint brush, cleaning up the image until you’re happy with it.

At the end, when you’re ready for print or web production, just go to Images > Image Size and set your resolution to the proper setting for your result (72 dpi for web, 300 for print), and then Save As (not Save) to produce the final version.

Photoshop offers a “Save for Web” setting, which is great for web, but won’t do squat for print. Keep that in mind and have fun!

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