This page might grow some in the future. Right now it's just for folks who read about my Artec scanner meltdown and are curious about the scanner I got to replace it. The following note gives a pretty good summary:
To: Curtis Olson
From: [Marcus Brooks' old email address] Subject: Re: Artec Cc: Bcc: mbrooks X-Attachments: > >What scanner have you decided to go with since your [Artec A6000CM] page? We got Apple's Color OneScanner 600/27. It's more compact and apparently better-made than the Artec. It gives much better color, even first crack out of the box, and it has a Xenon lamp that will probably last longer (for our purposes) because it only comes on during scans. (The Artec's fluorescent lamp is on all the time, and, per the scanner's instructions, you have to leave it on whenever the computer is running.) On the other hand the Artec provides for an (extra cost) transparency scanner, it handles legal-size paper, and even at three passes it's faster (except maybe if you always scan full pages). The Artec's control window isn't as pretty, but it is more convenient because it keeps your last preview. You can lay out several photographs and scan them in sequence off of the same preview. Much faster than Apple's, which forces you to preview every scan. Apple's control window is also really annoying because it always changes your last custom resolution setting back to the default for the selected printer, and all the defaults are much lower than I like to use. Why buy a 600 dpi (optical res) scanner if you only scan at 180 dpi? More than anything else, I hate having to make the same [darned] selection over and over and over again. True, the OneScanner software has some neat Desktop integration-style features, but that came at the cost of really slipping up on the basics. And another thing, the Apple control window's highlight and shadow settings are artificial: I hoped they would set the bright and dark sensitivity of the scan (for ideal tonal resolution) but they just set a high and low threshold for brightness values: no better than setting levels in Adobe PhotoShop LE, which is easier to use and gives much better control. In fact, the best thing about the Artec is it comes with PhotoShop LE. PhotoShop's wonderful Levels dialog gives much better control over brightness levels, contrast, and gamma (midtone brightness) than the ordinary brightness and contrast controls provided in Apple's OneScanner software. PhotoShop also works much better in my 20 Meg RAM configuration (given plenty of disk space), and it has a passel of other photo touch-up and painting tools that literally blow away the Apple software. In an ideal world, I would like to buy PhotoShop LE separately to use with the OneScanner (which at least has a driver plug-in for PhotoShop). Unfortunately, the LE version isn't separately available: you have to buy the full blown version, which is so costly you could buy the Artec cheaper and throw it away, just to get PhotoShop LE. >Also, >do you have any suggestions for a novice, like myself, in deciding what >scanner to buy and ultimately how the scanner relates to output? Well, I've only really tried the two scanners, although I've dinked with imaging for quite a while (I even wrote a nice 3D ray-tracer/animation manual once). But the fact is, I'm learning all the time. I think Apple is more-or-less correct that you need roughly half the dpi resolution of your final-copy printer. That's because the printer's halftone screen "trades in" dpi resolution for shading. But I like to start with at least a little more resolution than I need, to allow for enlargement, touch-up, cropping, and so forth. Really there is an art to the whole halftone-screening and printing process that I have yet to learn adequately. One thing: most scanner ads publish "interpolated" resolutions, the actual optical resolution is in fine print, if anywhere. Interpolation is OK for some things, I guess, but I don't trust it for comparing scanners. The quality of interpolation is bound to vary. I think color accuracy and software are more important in selecting a scanner than resolution or interpolation quality; unless, perhaps, you are doing posters or enlargements. Unfortunately, resolution numbers are much easier to publish. > >I plan to "in-house" publish a manuscript with graphics this Fall and >would appreciate your comments if you have the time. Study up on brightness, contrast, and gamma matching and, if you're using color, color matching from scanner to monitor and from monitor to press. Then make test prints of your art anyway--on the _final_ printer. I've had lines that looked great on the screen or on a laser printer but nearly disappeared on the production printer. Photos that look bright and clear on the monitor can turn dark and murky on the page. A lot depends on the software you use, and unfortunately the only WYSIWYG software I've published with in a few years is a big-business monster called Interleaf. Even in that, what you see is not _necessarily_ what you get. Don't fret, though, any WYSIWYG software beats "markup languages" like BookMaster every day of the week and twice late Sunday night.