The incredible rate of computer development and the falling
cost of hardware have seen many advanced technologies find their way into the
home. Many computer bundles now include good quality scanners, which previously
could only be found in professional print companies. Now the entire family can
use scanned images to create personalised cards, posters, calendars, invitations
and the like. Combining this technology with the advances in communication,
photos can easily be emailed around the world or posted on a web site.
Professional photo editing programs can be very expensive and
can be time consuming to master. For this reason, in today's project we are using Microsoft
Photo Editor to scan and edit a photo. This software is available on the Office
97 CD-ROM for the PC.
If you are using a different operating system or do not have
Office 97 you may want to explore some of the photo editing shareware and demos
available from the Internet. Go to a free software web site such as
www.download.com and search for "photo editors". Alternatively your scanner may
have come with a photo-editing package. Although other programs will not have
the same file paths as discussed in this project, most of them will contain
similar features and concepts.
About Microsoft Photo Editor
Photo Editor is a basic photo-editing program that comes with
the Standard Edition of Office 97 for the PC. It is fully integrated with the
Office programs so it can be accessed from Word, Excel and PowerPoint and is OLE
compliant. Photo Editor will work with TWAIN compliant scanners. You can install
Microsoft Photo Editor by selecting a Custom Install and making sure it is one
of the Office Tools selected.
Scanning the photo
Choose the photo you want to scan and make sure the scanner
is turned on. Then start Microsoft Photo Editor by following the path
Start/Programs/Microsoft Photo Editor. Photo Editor opens a blank window. Now
open the File menu and choose the Scan Image command (figure 1). Photo
Editor opens your scanning software where you can choose to scan the image.
After the image is scanned it is placed in your window. Note that you can open
and edit image files that you already have on your computer by choosing the Open
command from the File menu.
Use the Zoom control on the Toolbar to
change the view of your photo.
Before making changes to your scanned image it is always safe
to save it so you can always revert back to the original. To save your image,
choose the Save command from the File menu. In the Save dialog box, give your
image a name choose a file type from the Save as type drop down list. When
emailing or using photos for a web page it is always best to save in a JPG
format, which compresses the file to a small size. Click on the Save button.
Cropping an image
Cropping out irrelevant or bad backgrounds can improve the
appearance or focal point of your photograph. To crop an image choose the Crop
command from the Image menu. In the Crop dialog box (figure 3) change
the measurement to cm (centimetres) in the Units section, if you don't want to
work in inches. In the Crop Margins section adjust the margin measurements to
crop your image. You can also change your image to an oval shape, or round the
corners. Click on the OK button.
The selected options are applied to the photo. If you are
unhappy with the result the Undo command in the Edit menu will undo the last
tool action, and the Revert command in the File menu will revert the image to
the last version saved.
Resizing an image
If you need to resize an image choose the Resize command from
the Image menu. In the Resize dialog box (figure 4) adjust the settings
in the Width and Height text entry boxes, or use the percentage window to resize
using percentages. Click on the OK button. The image is resized.
Remember when increasing the original size of a scanned image
it can sometimes result in loss of quality.
Rotating an image
Often an image is scanned in horizontally when it should be
vertical. To rotate an image choose the Rotate command from the Image menu. In
the Rotate dialog box (figure 5) Select an option from the Orientation
section and click on the OK button.
Balancing a photo
The balancing options available in Photo Editor enable you to
adjust the light and colour settings of your image. Choose the Autobalance
command from the Image menu to see if your image improves. If you are unhappy
with this, use the Undo option. To manually adjust the image balance, choose the
Balance command from the Image menu to open the Balance dialog box. There are
three sliders that you can adjust in this dialog box. The first is the
brightness slider, which adjusts the amount of white that appears in colours and
greys. The contrast slider adjusts the amount of contrast between colours. The
gamma slider adjusts the contrast of the image in the dark areas. You can select
to adjust all colours or choose red, green or blue individually for each of the
three options. Explore the options in this dialog box to see if you can improve
the appearance of the photo.
Although this is a very simple photo editor it also contains
some interesting and artistic effects. Explore the available options in the
Effects menu (figure 6) although you may note that some of these effects
may give strange results to portrait photos.
Emailing the photo
Once you are happy with your image and have saved it you are
ready to email it. Open your email software and start a new message then add the
photo as an attachment to the mail message. Once your photo is saved you can use
it in other programs.
Troubleshooting Photo Editor
If your scanner does not appear in the Scanner Source list it
may be that it is not a TWAIN compliant scanner, so it is not supported by Photo
Editor. You may need to install or reinstall the software supplied by the
The Send command in the File menu of Photo Editor will only
support Windows Messaging.