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Start with a Scan: a Guide to Transforming Scanned Images and Objects into High-Quality Art Paperback – 28 Aug 2000

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Paperback, 28 Aug 2000
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Amazon Review

The art of mixed media has taken on new meaning in the digital production environment, and the second edition of Start with a Scan guides new artists through the maze of image acquisition, hardware and software toward the goal of final output. This is not just a book on scanning and creating art, it's about the art and science of scanning, editing and tailoring an image to your needs.

Beginning by explaining how scanners work, the different types of scanners out there, and why it is important to know how the scanned image will be used, the book quickly digs into the meat and potatoes of editing, altering, tracing and otherwise changing a scanned image to suit a project.

Arguably the most interesting chapters are "Creating Textures and Backgrounds from Print and Paper" and "Transforming Photos into Graphics". One of the most difficult and time-consuming tasks a designer faces is that of finding and creating background elements and graphics. Start with a Scan explains in these two chapters, probably worth the cover price alone, how to use scanned photos or raw elements (cloth, paper and so on) to create the element you need.

Although the book deals with digital tools (e.g. scanners and computers), it could hardly be called a computer graphics book. The goal is teaching how to scan and alter images, and Scan never loses sight of that. The authors deserve a great deal of credit for creating what is an educational and inspirational book on a form of visual art, which happens to use computers as tools, rather than a computer book that happens to talk about digital graphics. This is how books of the genre should be written. --Mike Caputo

From the Author

This book is about creativity as well as computer graphics.
Start with a Scan is about the creative process, as well as about scanning and computer graphics. To see the illustrated table of contents and book excerpts (as well as fascinating info on other topics) visit co-author Janet Ashford's web site at --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Amazing book 13 Feb. 2005
By Amazon Customer - Published on
I was graphics-challenged till I read this. The most I ever did with graphics was pretty much to resize them or add a little text. This book gives you a whole range of possibilites with color, texture, cropping, layering, etc. - more than just applying a fancy filter or tweaking the brightness and contrast. Now, based on the wealth of ideas in this book, I look at clip art and photos with a new eye, and have applied the various ideas to make a much wider variety of graphic images. The best thing about this book is that it's DESIGN-centric, rather than SOFTWARE-centric, so it's not limited to what a handful filters might do. Instead it expands your thinking to combine a whole variety of techniques to create something really unique.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
for beginners 2 Feb. 2005
By Denis Laroche - Published on
I ordered this one. I will return it. Yes, there are very good ideas in this book, but nothing great that you cannot come up by yourself if your are creative. Trust yourself.

There are many references to using photoshop (I am an intermediate photoshop user) that you can find elsewhere, not pertaining specifically to scanning.

Technical discussions on file types, resolution are OK but, once again, if you have read other books, doesn't add anything.

I think that you can find better tips and ideas surfing the Web.

Simply not for me.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Amazing Book, a guide to the both the technical and artistic 18 Aug. 2007
By James Fuqua - Published on
Verified Purchase
I bought this book solely for reference on scanning line art and fonts, but have found that it has much, much more to offer. I disagree with a prior reviewer that this book is only for beginners and that much of the information is out there on the web. I have been searching, without success, for specific directions on scanning line art and fonts and converting those scans into usable art. (Just two chapters in this book.) This book not only gives one specific instructions for this, but goes much further and delves quite deeply into the actual creation of real art from a simple scan. The book also provides a lot of information on turning photos into graphic art. I had considered myself a fairly advanced user of photo software, but this book has opened my eyes to an amazing range of techniques and ideas on image usage.

I was expecting a technical guide to basic scanning techniques, and this book provides that. It also takes one much further beyond mere technical skill and is a wonderful guide to both the creation and use of computer generated graphics.
Great! 17 Dec. 2012
By Sue A - Published on
Verified Purchase
Old book - but still great ideas found within! Easy to understand. Good read for those getting started with scanning artwork!
Love it! 10 Aug. 2013
By MARTHA PEREZ - Published on
Verified Purchase
I love this book, great to start with scan proyect. Really recomend this book. High quality art book and nice illustrations.
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