Scanning LP covers:
There is nothing I know that will scan a complete 12" LP cover, even A3 falls short by about 5mm each side. So you need to be inventive to get a complete scan. The A3 scanner does have the advantage over the A4 in this respect in that you only need two scans and the joins can be over to the edge, not in the main part of the cover which means that some LP covers with a large selvage can often be scanned in ONE by focussing on the central part only then have the edges cloned from the main body. Since the edges of an LP cover will often be frayed, creased or in other ways damaged, you will need to do some work on the edges for the final production anyway.
If you are stuck with an A4 scanner you will need to be really creative, sometimes you need a left and a right side scan and then a further scan to cover either the top or bottom edge, or both. All these parts need to be assembled in your favourite graphics editor, Photoshop or Paintshop etc. I prefer Paintshop, only because I was trained on that program, however Photoshop has similar features.
Requirements for multiple scans:
The scanner needs to be well warmed up so it will produce an even intensity scan across the whole plattern, this will show up when you try to join two halves, or add the top and bottom strips as a boundary at the joins this needs careful adjustment of brightness and contrast for each constituent part before the final join is made.
Joining: (example using Paintshop)
Load one scan (left for example) check the size of the canvas, make sure you MERGE all layers of the image, Increase the canvas size to 20% more height and double width, re-merge all layers, move your first image to the left of the canvas, re-merge layers. Save this new image. Open the Right side scan as a new image and select the part you want to join to the left image, make a copy (Control C) discard this image, revert back to the new canvas size image of the left, select PASTE and option AS NEW LAYER, this will place the selected part of the copied right image on the larger canvas, move the right part around to make a good join at some convenient place where errors show the least.
When you are happy with this, merge all the layers to one, and save as "Name L+R" from this point you can tidy the image, adjust contrast etc as needed. Proceed the same to add the top and bottom strips (remember the 20% height added to the canvas) finally crop out the wanted picture from the excess canvas, merge to one layer and save to a final file name.
I scan front pictures at 300 DPI and rear cover up to 600 DPI where there is fine text. You should aim for a working resolution of 2400 by 2400 pixels during the edit, you can go to 3600 by 3600 if you have enough memory in your machine but at this resolution you are working with raw files 30-60 megabytes, that take some time to move around and join.
The final resolution for distribution and sharing need only be 1200 by 1200, and for posting as a blog picture 800 by 800 is the maximum size that will be accepted without cropping.
Most scanners that I know will allow you to scan LP's in parts either as two(+) vertical scans, or (2+) horizontal scans. Some scanners do not give full access across the platern from both directions, so you may need to make one scan upside down, you can correct this before assembly in the editor using the ROTATE command (180) .
Some top models will work at 4800 pixel resolution, 2400 is really quite good enough for most work. The software to handle the scanner, frame the image, set up the scan is variable in quality, I favour the suite provided with the Epson range of scanners, or those based on "Pagemaker" (Canon)
There is a great sense of achievement in making a good job of an LP cover, their artwork is so much better than the average CD cover.
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