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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ask The Retoucher #60 Scanner Resolution and Metadata for Organizing

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Scanners are important for a high quality family archive. Epson scanner optics can capture high resolution.

See recommendations at Photo Grafix University Do-It-Yourself Store. Click on the Epson Perfection V700 (Or just the "Shop Epson..." link at the bottom left corner of the box). It has an Optical Resolution of 6400 dpi. Divide it by 4 = 1600; this is the actual pixels per inch that you can achieve in this scanner. 

The less expensive V330 of the Epson Perfection scanners has an Optical Resolution of 4800 dpi (makes images no larger than 1200 ppi). The quality is a little less. However, I say 6400 is only necessary if you are scanning negatives or film because the image area is so small. To enlarge it, you will need the highest resolution. 4800 will get you fine images. But if you want the best, get the highest resolution.

Other features of which you must be aware while examining product details:

Image Sensor
CCD. Charged Coupled Device. This is the typical sensor on scanners.

Interpolated Resolution
This is like a magnifying glass on the page. This can make the image bigger but not necessarily sharper, since it averages out color. It is better to scan it in big than rely on the Interpolated Resolution. Optical Resolution—as mentioned earlier—is the real measure of quality.

Grayscale depth
Don’t worry about it; scan everything in color. Basic Color Correction should be done using Levels; adjust sliders through Red, Green, Yellow & Blue channels.

Media Type and Media Size
You need a minimum of 8x10 for prints. Attachments and or a separate tray for negatives and slides is ideal. But again, make sure the resolution is high enough.

How to Organize Your Scanned Pictures

I call it Global Organization. Focus on Metadata, sometimes referred to as Tags or Keywords. These are easily accessed in Photoshop, Paintshop Pro, Gimp and Photoshop Elements.

In Photoshop, choose File => File Info. Then open the Description tab.

Concentrate your time on entering information for your family photos in Title, Description and Key Words. In this picture:

Title: Name of Family Outdoors
Description: Names of the People, why, when, where, how
Keywords: Everything that is in the description and title in phrases and nouns. Names of people; names of place; important objects, dates

Save in TIF format.
Save for Web strips out the metadata.

That's all for this edition! If you find this article useful, please return the favor! Share it or Like it using any of the share buttons below. Send your questions and problem photos, your location—and genealogical society affiliation if appropriate—to Eric for future "Ask The Retoucher" columns. Visit Photo Grafix online for more information.

Eric runs Photo Grafix, a humble photo-retouching studio in Evanston, Illinois (USA). He's taught hundreds through the methods of his Photo Restoration Basics course. If he doesn't know the answer, he won't rest until he finds it. Eric Basir is at your service: With each "Ask The Retoucher" article, he'll help you successfully tackle your digital photographic problems. 

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