I wrote this up as a "page" to appear on the top of every post, but this is such an important post that I felt it deserved to be posted as a standard post as well.
I take a lot of pride in my scans. I spend the extra time and effort
to make them look like the cards in hand do (or at least as close as
possible- some, like Finests and foils, do not scan properly no matter
what you do), and lately several people have noticed my effort and
complimented me on it. I appreciate that my work is being noticed and I
thought I would take the time to show YOU how to make your scans look
I am going to presume that you already
know how to make scans while reading this. I can't really tell you how
to do that because each computer/scanner is different.
So...the first thing you need to do is download PhotoScape
This is a FREE program and does not come with malware or adware. I've
been using it with no issue since 2009 or possibly even late 2008, I
don't remember exactly. EVERY scan and EVERY photo I've taken since I
discovered the program has been run through PhotoScape. Each scan needs
to be edited, and I also use it to put my copyright on my photos...but
that doesn't apply here. It only takes a couple of minutes to download,
but it does take some time to master the program. I still find new
features that it has, but I mostly use it for cropping and editing the
scans and photos I make. If you saw the gifs I made for the new Star
team sets I got for Christmas 2015, those also were made with
OK, so now you've downloaded PhotoScape
and you have your cards scanned. Now you have to find where you have the
scan stored using the PhotoScape program. Again, this varies by
computer. My scanner is set up to create a new file each day in a
"Scans" folder I created. You can find your scan using the top left
portion of PhotoScape after you click on "Editor". You then click on an
image you want to work on and it shows up in the large main "working
window" on PhotoScape. (Note: You can manually adjust the sizing on
PhotoScape, I have it set up to show nine scans across- the number you
can fit on a page of standard size cards) Also remember you can make
each image I've posted here larger by clicking on it, to see more
Here is the raw scan. The front scanned pretty well, so it only needs the standard color edit
Click on Bright, Color and the editing box opens. The standard color edit is 30 contrast, 40 darken
It does not matter which you do first...and in the small preview, it
may look like it's not accurate, but when you crop the cards down, it's
right. I don't know why it works that way but trust me, after more than
100,000 scans, it is.
that the preview image has changed. This happens instantaneously. When
you are happy with the colors, simply save. You can either do this on
the far right side of the screen, or by hitting Control+S.
backs of the cards usually don't scan as well, usually much more washed
out, like so. For some reason scanners usually put a grayish film over
When that happens, you have to adjust the colors differently.
have to use much more "darken" and much less "Contrast". It's not
uncommon where I have to adjust the Darken to 140 for pages that are
mostly white but not all white. (all white- like checklists for example,
usually need no editing). This page needed 90 darken and only 10
contrast. Sometimes no contrast at all is necessary. Each scan is
different and must be "played with" until you get it right. Don't be
afraid to "undo" and try again. Trial and error is a must and each scan,
like I say, is different.
Once you've learned how to adjust the color, and are comfortable with doing it, it takes literally three seconds
to adjust the color for the a set of scans. (yes, I counted) It seems
like a lot of work to do this, but once you are familiar with it, it
goes quickly. I've scanned and edited as many as 700 cards (both front
and back) in one day before, all using PhotoScape.
that you'd adjusted the color, you have a page of 9 cards but they are
still all together. I make 8 copies of the image, and crop them down.
The crop in PhotoScape is the best I've ever used, and really needs no
Back before I discovered PhotoScape, I would fight
endlessly trying to make sure each scan was lined up properly, and when
they weren't, they would be deleted and I'd have to try again. After 10
times, this can get very frustrating. With PhotoScape, you don't need to
You can see this scan is crooked. I've cropped it down from the page of 9 scans.
tool the arrow points to rotates the scan. The box that opens up has a
sliding bar that you use to correct the scan. Problem solved! The arrows
to the right of the arrow I made rotate the scan left or right. A very
common thing to do, I will use it 4 times in the set of scans up above.
But wait, there's a bit of scanner scuzz over the second K in Kentucky. That too can be fixed with Photoscape.
green arrows point to the scuzz and also the Tools tab and "Clone
stamp" Use the Clone Stamp to copy a small piece of the black from
elsewhere in the border to cover the scuzz over the K.
Here's the finished scan.
Some other bits of information:
sheet of green construction paper between the cards and the scanner lid
provides a better color balance to begin with, and also helps to ensure
you have cropped the cards properly. It also prevents the scanner from
cropping what IT thinks is the end of the card. You ever see scans where
the white border was missing? That's because the scanner couldn't tell
the difference between the white border and the white of the scanner
lid. I only use the standard white backdrop for die cut cards, and white
die cuts get scanned with black construction paper between cards and
Do NOT mix Finests or foils in with other cards.
They MUST be done with other Finests or foils, or else they will not
look correct- and they can't be made truly correct anyway. But the won't
appear all black if you do them together. For Finests and foils my standard edit is 30 contrast, NO darken.
NOT mix old-school brown back cards with other cards. Either truly
vintage or Heritage style cards, they must be scanned with other cards
of the same style, or else, again, they will not look accurate. There is
no standard edit for the brown backs, as they don't always scan the
same, even from set to set.
Refractors and Prizms CAN be scanned with other cards of any sort, as is shown by the Quincy Acy card in my example.
will find some cards scan the best only when they are with other cards
from the same set, or else the color will be all wrong. A good example
is 1999-00 Topps NBA. The border is bright orange, but if you try to
scan them with other cards, it appears red to brown. When scanned with
other cards of the same set, you can maintain the bright orange. Another
example is 1992-93 Upper Deck NBA base cards. If you scan them
together, the colors on the back stay correct, but if you scan them
mixed with other cards, the NBA logo behind the stats and writeup
disappears. The more you do, the more you learn, of course.
whole process is very fast and I actually find it enjoyable as well. As
I said, I've done more than 700 images in one day. (although that IS
pretty rare, I average around 250 cards scanned per day).
this helps you make your scans the best and look just like the cards do
in hand. There's no reason to accept the grayish film the scanners
always have for some reason.
Thanks for reading!