Scan b&w image: how you do it?


I’m absolutely new to scanning my drawings. As in “never done that before”. Just bought myself a scanner.

I will need to capture a black and white drawing.

I’d like the drawing to be only b&w once scanned. No other tone.

What settings should I typically look for in order to achieve that?


Normally, you have a few choices like scan in color, grayscale or black and white. I’ve never found scanning in b&w very good, so instead I use grayscale. Perhaps try both and compare the results.

If I use grayscale, can I then get rid of anything that isn’t black or white? Does it have to be done through photoshop/gimp?

I mean, how do people end up with a nice b&w drawing to display as a .jpg? What woud typically be the process?


It depends upon the paper type you have amongst other things but typically you would scan in greyscale or even sometimes in colour. It is later when you have the master scanned image you start manipulating a ‘copy image’ and cleaning that up obviously the JPG should only be used as a final format if you need to publish it on the web. Otherwise use a lossless image format during the image manipulation and cleaning.

I’ve found that converting a greyscale image to B&W by using levels in Photoshop gives the best results.

Your scanning software should have an option where you could adjust levels before scanning (if you don’t have access to Photoshop).

It does depend somewhat on the source material. Some printed material will have screens through it which will show up in the final image as weird lines.

You can scan as a bitmap which typically is good only for text or material that is going to be converted to paths. Greyscale is a good option to be able to convert to black and white with more ability to tweak the results. You can just adjust in Photoshop prior to converting to black and white.

As others have said it is probably best to play with the options until you find the best work flow.