A few scanning tips


Umax VistaScan 3.5

This section is a look at Umax VistaScan 3.5

The scanner used here was a Umax 1220S (SCSI), but most models use the same VistaScan software. A Copy utility and Adobe PhotoDeluxe 2.0 are included. VistaScan 3.5 is a recent update that provides a very simple Beginner's interface, and also an Advanced interface with more options.

Here is all it takes to scan an image using the Beginner screen.

Start VistaScan in one of two ways.

Start it standalone from the Windows Start menu,

Start it from an image program's FILE - ACQUIRE or FILE - IMPORT menu.

Put the photo on the scanner's glass bed and click the Preview button. This makes a low resolution scan of the scanners bed. This preview automatically locates the object on the bed and selects it (the dotted lines as shown, which mark the area to be scanned). You can change the selection to scan less of the photo area by moving the dotted line with the mouse.

If started from the Windows Start button, the SCAN TO destination choices will be available, as shown above. The icons for those choices represent, from top left to lower right: To disk file, To application (image program), To fax, To printer, and To Email.

If started from an image program (like PhotoDeluxe), those destinations are not shown, because the scanned image will be transferred back to the program you are using.

Then select a choice for type of image from these preset choices:

These buttons scan the image, which is then sent to the selected destination.

I must say that 72 dpi 216 color GIF files are NOT often appropriate for web photos today. 16 color GIF for graphics and logos, sure, but today we use True Color images in JPG files for photos, they are better quality and smaller files, and we don't worry much about old 8-bit video cards anymore (see GIF format).

The destinations are configured with a button on the top title bar, above the yellow Preview button (the cursor arrow here points to it). On the screen below, for each of the destinations on the left side of this screen, there are configuration choices on the right.

Shown below is the configuration for the Application destination, and it is now selecting Presto! PageManager, and the TIFF file format. To change it to PhotoDeluxe for example, you would browse to specify the path, perhaps "C:\Program Files\PhotoDeluxe 2.0\PD.exe".

The FILE choice specifies a folder location, like C:\temp\ perhaps, and a default file name, and a file type.

The PRINTER choice specifies a printer device.

FAX specifies your fax software printer driver, like WinFax Pro.

The EMAIL choice selects either Microsoft Exchange or Lotus cc:Mail.

I'd suggest email will be much easier if you instead save the JPG file in the regular way, and then use your email program to attach the image normally.

VistaScan 3.5 Advanced options

The VistaScan 3.5 Advanced menu offers more choices. You can set any mode or resolution or filter. The defaults shown here are essentially the same as the Beginner screen above, but you can change the resolution to any desired value, and there are additional tools available too.

The same Destination choices are used, as above. Click the Scan To arrow to open the cover.

The Descreen filter is for scanning images from printed matter, like magazines (see moiré).

The next Filter is for sharpening photos, but you will probably prefer to use PhotoDeluxe's Unsharp Mask, after the scan (see A simple way to get better scans).

Scaling percentage (see Scaling). You can change the edge ruler units, but the image size dimensions shows only in inches, not cm or pixels. Only the original input size is indicated (not the output image size).

The Auto Adjustment button corrects image contrast. It automatically sets the shadow and highlight adjustment points to generally desirable values.

The Reflective mode is for scanning prints and documents on the flatbed. If an optional TMA (Transparent Media Adapter for film) or ADF (Automatic Document Feeder) is installed, they are selected here too.

The Help file is HTML shown using your web browser.

The VistaScan Advanced scan modes include several choices:

The colored icon just below the Advanced button presents more screens to adjust the image. There is no histogram in 3.5 to show the image data to help adjust contrast, but the same Highlight, Shadow and midrange gamma sliders are present as if there were a histogram (Chapter 20). You can see the final effect in the preview image.

There is a Curve Tool under the second tab, (Chapter 23), and a Color wheel to balance color casts under the third tab.

VistaScan includes a copy utility.

Copyright © 1999-2004 by Wayne Fulton - All rights are reserved.

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