Scanning Miniatures

First off, this has absolutely nothing to do with blowing up people's heads with your mind powers! We will leave that article to someone in the budget movie industry! This little commentary is aimed at helping us less fortunate souls who cannot afford or do not have access to digital cameras with macro lenses or Uber photography equipment to snap pics of our favorite little miniatures.

Okay, the very first thing to remember is that my scanner sucks as well and it is all I use for my pictures. You must experiment a lot with your own (as they are all different) and your photo edit software until you start to achieve the results you desire. This is just a basic guideline but it may help, especially if you are using a webcam and have a flatbed scanner sitting there. My first advice, ditch the webcam and use the scanner! Basically, what I do is put the mini directly on the bed (as straight as possible). Some say to point it upside down as the light hits it different and this can make a big difference so experiment with each mini. I imagine this can depend on the scanner itself as well as the size of the base, as this dictates the angle at which your mini will rest on the glass.

Next, I cover the mini with a small (light colored) box. I use a guitar pedal box. White on the inside, perfect! You can experiment with putting pictures behind it as well, but it will darken the image overall. After this, carefully lay a white towel over the whole thing, glass and box. This stops excess light from bouncing around all over the place. Do not close the lid for obvious reasons! It does not matter anyways.

Now for my settings, I default at 65 % brightness and 55% contrast, both of which I adjust later. I have a prescan option which allows me to set my area (sort of like pre-cropping) and reduce the time and image size before even scan! Now you can scan the color image at 600dpi! I would not worry about going any higher than this as it will be more than enough!

Now you have an image (just the area you want, too, hopefully)! Load up your photoedit stuff (I personally us Paint Shop Pro 6.0), adjust the contrast and lightness to taste ( I usually blast up the contrast a bit and lower the lightness), maybe tweak the saturation (just a tad, and check the color balance (RGB ) stuff. Sometimes a "green" mini (that is, one with a predominant color scheme like mostly green) will not look true so you have to muck around with the color settings a bit... You know what it really looks like and that is how it should look when you are done! You want to present your picture as close to what it looks like in real life as possible. It can be tempting to cheat by pumping colors and stuff, but it is actually very noticeable so there is little point.

Lastly, crop the image so that you get the amount of "dead" air around the figure you want, sharpen it once (with a sharpen filter), resize it to not more than 600 pixels wide (some I will do smaller if I don't like them) I would recommend 400 wide maybe and save it as a .jpg! Always look before uploading. Hastiness costs points and viewers won't want to share your pic with you! I see a lot of really blurry images say, with comments like "I am learning this darn camera". Well people won't look at your pic and your ratings will be poor so why bother! Try to get a good image. Use some patience and you will be rewarded and everyone else can enjoy your work and save money on aspirin! Have fun and lots of patience. It took me months to get the knack down but then I never had a tutorial like this just some friendly tips here and there. See you around and thanks for looking.

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