Using the Epson Scanners in Room 288b
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Important Notes on Image Resolution
If you would like to scan drawings and photographs for standard- or high-definition video, or if you create images directly in the computer, it is useful to scan animation at high-definition, 1920 x 1080 (16:9) or 1440 x 1080 (4:3) , even if it is only meant for standard definition video. Although the file size is larger, the format works well for digitally inking and painting images.
- High Definition, 16:9 = 1920 x 1080
- High Definition, 4:3 = 1440 x 1080 (this resolution works well for digitally inking and painting images at standard definition, 720 x 540)
Ultimately, you will be working with After Effects to composite your animation. Therefore, you only really need to scan the region that you will be working with and not the extra negative space or white region of an animation flimsy (e.g., for a treadmill walk cycle, you only need to scan the walk, and not all of the page).
The Epson Scanner in the Animation Studios
To begin scanning, you should place a standard-issue “ECI field guide” on the pegbar attached to the scanner glass. ECI field guides have been designed specifically for the scanner beds, to capture images drawn on field 9.5 on “letter size” 8.5 x 11 size animation paper.
It is important to note that you will have to scan your drawing sideways or at a vertical orientation. Not to worry though, you will be able to use Photoshop to rotate the images later on.
Once the Epson scanning software has opened, use the Preview Button to preview the field guide.
Registering the Scanning Region
Once the software previews a scan, an image of artwork and a bounding box will appear in the Scanning Window. When you move the computer mouse and curser towards the left-hand side of the scanning window, the curser will then turn into a move tool. Click and drag the tool to move the bounding box over your field guide or artwork. You should then carefully line up and resize the frame (by clicking on and dragging the edges of the bounding box, to frame it over the field guide).
Then, you should enter to following settings:
- Document Type: Reflective
- Document Source: Document Table
- Auto Exposure Type: Photo (do not use Document)
- Image Type: 24-bit Colour (or 8- or 16-bit Greyscale – but you’ll have to use Photoshop later to convert these to RGB files)
- Resolution: Don’t worry about this setting. What’s more important are the dimensions, defined below.
- Document Size: Don’t enter the Width and Height values yet — that comes next, listed below.
- Target Size:
- Use the Pulldown Menu to choose “Original.”
- Then, you should enter your own values for scanning. To do so, use the Expand/Collapse Button (i.e., the +/- button). Here, you can enter amounts in pixels.
- Use the Unit Measurement Pulldown Menu to choose “Pixels”
- Width (W): 1080 (or an acceptable region)
- Height (H): 1920 (or an acceptable region)
- You might have to refer to the Preview Window to manually adjust the Dimensions Bounding Box, to fine-tune your settings and capture area.
- Click on the Lock Button, to lock the dimensions. This way, your scan will always be at the dimensions you’ve entered.
You might want to go to the Adjustments Section and choose the Histogram Adjustment, to correct the Blacks, Whites, and Greys. Similarly, use the Image Adjustment to adapt the Colour Balance and Saturation.
File Save Settings
Before you scan, however, you must establish settings for the material you are about to scan. To do so, go immediately to the right of the Scan Button and click on the File Save Settings Button.
- Select “Other,” click on the Browse Button, and locate the folder where you intend to save your scanned images. You should make a folder with your name on it.
- File Name:
- Prefix: Enter a very short name or acronym (i.e., 3 or 4 letters), in lower case. It must be a “one-word” file name. Therefore, use an underscore to separate names.
- Start number: Select the number that you would like to start with (e.g., 001).
- Image format:
- Type: TIFF (*.tif)
- Byte Order, choose Windows or Macintosh
- Compression: B & W, Choose None
- Click “Embed ICC Profile
The primary reason why you should start the scanning process by previewing your field chart is to line up the scanner with the animation guide. Or, alternatively, you should know the region that you want to capture, especially over the duration of an image sequence. Once you have registered the bounding box, you can then proceed with scanning the image sequence by doing the following:
- Open the scanner lid and place the first actual drawing from the sequence on the scanner bed. Press “Scan.”
- You should repeat the process by opening the scanner lid and replacing the first drawing with the second in the sequence. You do not have to preview the drawing again because, when you scanned the original field guide, the process established the proper registration for the sequence.
- Press Scan, etc.
- Finally, once you have made your way through all of your drawings, complete the process by clicking the Close Button.
When using a scanner to capture animation drawings, it is often necessary to rotate the images, adjust their size, and image quality, etc.
To Rotate Images Once Scanned
Go to Image > Rotate Canvas > 90 CCW (counterclockwise).
To Make Tonal Adjustments with the Levels Command
You can use the Levels Adjustment in either Photoshop or After Effects. In Photoshop, go to the Main Menu and then go to Image > Adjustments > Levels.
The Levels command is a good way to manipulate the tonal values of a document. As part of its function, the Levels dialogue box displays a histogram, which is a kind of bar chart that plots an image’s highlight, shadows, and gamma (or mid-tones) on a scale from 0 to 255. This gauge is set along the histogram’s horizontal axis. The number of pixels at each level is measured along the histogram’s vertical axis. Therefore, if there is a large amount of dark pixels in an image, the histogram will show a peak shape towards the left region of the guide.
Referring to the Levels dialogue box, there are three Input Level sliders that you are meant to manipulate, in order to adjust the black-point, white-point, and gamma (mid-tones) in an image. When you move the sliders towards the centre of the histogram, you will subsequently increase the overall contrast of the image.
When you move the black-point slider away from zero toward the right-side of the scale — towards white — the current levels at the black-point slider and those that are less than the black-point slider will then move to zero. As a result, as the black-level moves, the image’s entire tonal range of 0 to 255 will shift as the slider is moved. Increased dark values will begin to appear in the image.
The opposite will occur as you shift the white-levels toward black. Increased highlight values will then appear in the image.
The gamma slider allows you to alter the image’s mid-tone values, without changing the highlight or shadow points. As you move the slider to the left, the Levels adjustment shifts highlights together and the image will therefore appear to be lighter.
Output levels compress the tonal range of an image into fewer values than 255 steps of grey. This function is used for artists intending to print images from Photoshop. For animation purposes, the input levels should suffice.