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Subject: Looking for advice on a cheap scanner to backup components rss

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Todd Pytel
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While I'm always quite careful with my games, I still worry about damaging or losing pieces, especially with the ASL stuff I'm slowly collecting. So I'm thinking about getting myself a (preferably cheap) scanner to make backups of countersheets, scenario cards, etc. I'm figuring that this will be significantly cheaper than buying two copies of games that I really like. However, I think I've used a scanner maybe twice in the last 15 years and have no idea what the state of the technology is. I'm hoping some people here have more experience. While browsing the Egg for bargains, the very first in the list looked pretty OK, and is definitely cheap:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E168381111...

Only $46, and it works with Linux (a requirement). It's not a huge flatbed (only fits 8.5x11), but for the sake of backups I can always do things in parts if I have to. And I see in the reviews that it's pretty slow, but that's fine for the limited use I would require. What I don't know anything about is how well images are reproduced, or whether different scanner models are really any different in that regard. It claims 1200x2400 dpi resolution and 48-bit color depth. Will that do a good enough job, say, to scan a countersheet and produce a usable image to print on label paper if I needed to replace a counter?
 
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It should work quite well. I have an older, similar model and it makes good scans. To reproduce something that was printed, the max dpi that you'll need is 300. The higher numbers come into play when making enlargements. Just be sure to take some time to set up GIMP to give the images a little unsharp mask. You can probably do a batch job on a folder. I also suggest TIF files so there won't be artifacts in your pictures.
 
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Todd Pytel
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Re: Looking for advice on a cheap scanner to backup componen
I meant to thank you for the reply earlier, but forgot. So thanks.

For the record, I did go ahead and buy the scanner and have it working pretty well. As mentioned in the OP, I don't really know much about scanning, but here's what I'm doing - any tips to improve quality or efficiency are appreciated. GIMP and the GNOME image viewer seem to do strange things when dealing with 16-bit/48-bit images, so there's some fiddling around with that at the beginning.

1) Scan the image to a 16-bit PNM using scanimage.

2) Convert the image to an 8-bit PNM using pnmdepth.

(Doing the above two steps seems to give better results than just scanning at 8-bit in the first place. But maybe I'm just clueless...)

3) Auto-adjust the color levels in the GIMP - this removes the blue-ish cast from the paper.

4) Apply a selective Gaussian blur (radius 8, delta 25) to the image to remove the paper texture.

5) (Optional) Convert the PNM to a PDF using sam2p.

This creates a pretty darn nice looking image - the PDF is not quite as sharp as the PNM, but it's still quite good. Should I ever need to create a backup, the PNM should be very much sufficient to get a good print.

 
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