Photoshop: How to make handwriting legible?

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  • Updated 2 years ago
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I have a scan of a handwritten note and would like to make the text darker and more even while increasing the contrast and making the writing more legible and readable.  Thanks -- Robert
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Robert Campsmith

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Posted 2 years ago

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Michael Igoe

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An easy way is to copy the layer and make the copy either overlay or multiply (try both) and then if not enough, repeat. 
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David, Official Rep

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Howdy Robert,

It's hard to say without looking at the image, but I would suggest playing with (non-destructive) Levels, Curves, and Posterize adjustment layers.

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Chris Powers

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I've done this for my signature in the past--so I know it'll work on small amounts of text but do not know if it'd be good on paragraphs of it.

First off, I duplicate the layer.  I then select the white & remove the majority of the white of not all of it. There's a couple of ways to remove the white.  Either with the Select menu then 'color range'.  You can also attempt to use the Select Menu then 'Select and Mask'.  Inside select & mask section, there's a new feature in it called select object. It may do a good job here, I haven't tested it on print as its a relatively new feature to that select and mask section. Another way would just using the magic wand....

You'll want to only mask out the white of the top layer...leaving the image untouched on the bottom layer.

They play around with the layer settings, darken or multiply will probably work just fine and so may some others. You'll just have to do it by trial and error...  It should make your layer darker.  If the ink isn't the color you want, don't forget you can use a color overlay as well and play with the layer settings there too..probably overlay or screen I'd think.

Hope that helps. I've done this for my signature in the past that way when I have to sign something, I just drop that png of my signature into the pdf & works well for me. 
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Robert Campsmith

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Thanks guys. You have all given me some direction to try. Thanks for taking the time to help.  -- Robert
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David Tristram, Employee

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a gaussian blur with a small radius can help fill gaps within strokes.  Try that before curves/levels.  
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Robert Campsmith

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Dave, I'll give this a try. Thanks -- Robert