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Best Affordable Scanners

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I’ve been getting requests for prints and cards made from my watercolor paintings. I also would (eventually) like to consider being able to scan art for illustrations. But I’m pretty naive about what quality of scanner I need. I have a very basic printer/copier/scanner, but 600dpi and 300dpi aren’t coming out very true to color. Should I be investing in a stand alone scanner? And if so, what kind do you recommend?
#1 - November 19, 2018, 08:15 PM
« Last Edit: November 20, 2018, 07:32 PM by HDWestlund »

Rock of The Westies
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I have a refurbished Large flatbed Epson 10000 XL.  You can get them refurbished for around 800.00.  It can scan up to 4,880 DPI, which makes for crazy large files. The maximum I've ever used in the original scans is 600 dpi, then I reduce them once I've got the colors and exposure where they should be.  I have a friend who swears by her standard scanner though and her work is quite extraordinary. I still have to put the work into Photoshop to get the colors back to the original. The one I have saves me a bit of work,  because of the bed size and the fact that I work large, there are fewer scans to do. It depends on what you want and if you are scanning detailed line work. 
#2 - November 20, 2018, 06:43 PM
Fur Balls & Feathers & Fins, Oh My! Animals Are My Kind of People
 www.cynthiakremsner.com

Thank you, Cynthia. Very helpful.

So, I should not expect the scanner itself to perfectly reproduce colors and lines? I should be planning to always touch up digitally?
#3 - November 20, 2018, 07:31 PM

Rock of The Westies
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If you are doing line work, it's important that all of them be captured, so scanning at a higher dpi helps do the trick for that. I scan my originals, adjust in photoshop with clean up, sometimes arranging in layers, depending on how I did my originals, then printing on watercolor paper. (That has to be done on a printer that has a watercolor setting so the inks don't bleed). I print, paint, then scan again at a high dpi, then take the dpi down to 350 or 400 before saving. 

I always have to adjust the colors and exposure in Photoshop, with the original by my computer so I can compare and get the color levels as close to the original as possible. I've even had my work scanned professionally before I had my scanner and printer. The colors looked like the original was run through a load of bleach water in the laundry.  I don't know if others have had the same results with scans, but I've been told to expect that, so I'm thinking it's pretty much the norm.


There is always the option of sending your originals to the publisher. However, I find that for revisions, it's best for me to be able to adjust in Photoshop. Plus, you can make a speedy delivery via dropbox or some other delivery platform, and you know when it gets there, without the possibility of the originals being lost.


#4 - November 21, 2018, 07:59 AM
Fur Balls & Feathers & Fins, Oh My! Animals Are My Kind of People
 www.cynthiakremsner.com

Thank you. For some reason I thought that a scanner should perfectly replicate artwork, and I was scanning wrong. Looks like I may have a “good enough” scanner and just need to adjust digitally for print readiness. I really appreciate the time and depth you put into your answer.
#5 - November 22, 2018, 08:47 AM

Rock of The Westies
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I've always watched questions like this as I've thought there may be an easier way, especially when I plugged in my flash drive that held the first professional scans i had done. I was frustrated because I could see a tremendous difference in the scan and my art. When I got my own scanner, it was evident this was an issue across the board. Some Google searches turned up this conversation though. It might be worth a look. http://www.rubberstampchat.net/showthread.php?t=3348
#6 - November 22, 2018, 10:38 AM
Fur Balls & Feathers & Fins, Oh My! Animals Are My Kind of People
 www.cynthiakremsner.com

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