Photoshop Elements: Scans/prints are too light

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  • Updated 7 years ago
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I recently upgraded from PE5 to PE9. One of the tasks I do with PE is to fill out forms either from scanned blanks or from downloaded PDFs.

I noticed that the printed result from PE9 was almost unacceptable for scanned forms because the figures, letters and lines were light and ragged. The strokes had voids in their interiors, and the edges were ragged The numbers that I wrote on the form using the text tool were good, but the scanned forms were not good. The forms that I scanned were good quality printed forms.

I had scanned the forms using a Canon 8800F scanner and software using the latest driver and saved the result in both BMP and JPEG formats. Canon claims WIA 2.0 compatibility for their software. Printed results were poor for both formats.

Using the brightness, contrast and unsharp mask I was able to make significant improvement in the printed result, but it was still not great. There were still voids in the strokes, but not so bad.

I reinstalled PE5 and scanned the form using both the wia Canoscan 8800 and non-wia Canoscan 8800 import functions. The wia 8800 import had missing dots in the printing, and was ragged. The non-wia import had very good printing with the strokes solidly filled in and no ragged edges. I saved this version and printed it out using PE9 with equally good result.

The downloaded PDF forms printed okay. The lines were weak, but there were no interior voids in the strokes.

I saw in your help file that you strongly recommended using WIA with PE9, but that a version of TWAIN could be used. Would my scans print better with TWAIN import? Is there something that I am missing when using PE9?

My immediate problem can be solved by using PE5, but it seems counterintuitive that I should get poorer performance in this regard using PE9.

My system is ASUS CG, I5, W7x64 with a Brother 5170DN laser printer. Printing from Microsoft Word 2002 is very crisp and solid.
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Charles Meissner

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Posted 7 years ago

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Chris Cox

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WIA and TWAIN are pretty similar - they call the scanner manufacturer's code to drive the scanner. And the scan results have no dependency on the version of software used to call that scanner driver (ie: with the same settings you would get the same results in PSE5 and PSE9).

From your description, it sounds like you scanned the image at to low a resolution, and maybe used Black&White instead of Grayscale.
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Charles Meissner

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Thanks for the reply. I did all scans in grayscale at either 300 or600 dpi. Resolution didn't make much difference in the printed page. I redid some scans using CanoScan direct to printer. Ranking results from best to worst: PE5 non-WIA, CanoScan direct, PE5 WIA, PE9 with brightness/contrast adjustments, and PE9 with no adjustments. PE9 without adjustments rendered the white background slightly gray and printing less black both on the screen and in the print.

My problem is solved with a work around, but I was curious about PE9 not doing as well as PE5 on the document scan, and I have found at least part of the answer. PE5 import using non-WIA capture uses the bundled ArcSoft PhotoStudio 5.5 ScanGear application. After scanning at 300 dpi grayscale it automatically does some sort of retouch to the scan before it saves the document, and that makes the difference. Using PhotoStudio by itself produces the same result as PE5 non-WIA.
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Chris Cox

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PSE is printing the same image, regardless of how it was scanned or opened from disk. And PSE can't scan any differently between versions (it doesn't do the sanning, your scanner driver does the scanning).

Have you tried scanning in PSE5, saving the document, opening it in PSE9 and printing from there? That would help isolate whether the problem is scanning (unlikely) or a printing setting (likely).
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Charles Meissner

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I had printed the saved image of the best scan (pse5 non-wia) in both pse5 and pse9 and could tell no difference. After your suggestion I scanned using pse9 at 300 dpi which produces the worst result and printed from the scanned image, saved the image and printed from pse5. The pse5 print was clearly better than the pse9 print. I then printed the saved image from pse9 and it was very close to the scanned pse9 print but detectably better.

The pse9 print screen only gave me one relevant adjustment which is print quality set at 600 dpi. I can find no relevant adjustment in pse5. The printer itself has settings but are the same for pse5 and pse9 and are "auto select" or "printer default" for the relevant settings.

Can you suggest how the printer settings might be different when printing from pse5 and pse9? For the good quality image pse5 and pse9 printed equally well. For the poor quality image pse5 printed clearly better than pse9. It appears the pse5 increased the brightness and contrast for the print, but I don't know how it did it.