The "Good Enough" High-Quality Scanning Guide for Video Game Preservation

NOTE
For a more thorough guide (which requires software purchase and a color card) see:

Hardware
The Epson Perfection v550 scanner is the sweet spot (170$ on Amazon). Another scanner often mentioned in the same breath is the Epson Perfection v600, however it doesn't offer any useful features or benefits for our purposes.
You will also need a Windows computer for the compatible software.

Placing Your Paper in the Scanner
Do not alight your paper against the edge of the scanner, doing this will cut off the edges of it. Instead place in the center of your scanner, it's okay if it's crooked, you will fix it in editing. If you're scanning a manual, consider removing the staples for a higher quality scan. Also, playing a heavy object, such as a book, on top of your scanner will give it pressure to flatten the paper being scanned for perfect focus.

Software and Settings
Download the "Scanner Driver and Epson Scan Utility" here.
Configure your Epson software to the below settings:

  • Next, click on "Configuration" at the bottom center of the app > "No Color Correction", then "OK" to close out.
  • Now that you're all set up, press "Scan" on the app.
  • A new window will pop up, make sure Image Format Type is set to "TIFF".
  • The result of these settings will be a RAW scanner sensor output. It will result in a "flat" color profile that may not look pretty. However, this preserves the most image data for archiving purposes.
Note 1: These settings presume someone will be editing them at some point for a final look. If you wish to skip this step, change "Auto Exposure Type" to "Document" - AND skip the "Configuration" button step.
Note 2: If you're scanning with a Canon scanner, then use similar settings with their app, but scan at 900dpi (Canon scanners operate optimally at intervals of 300dpi).

Editing
Open the file in Adobe Photoshop (or Gimp) for straightening it out and cropping.
File Output to tiff format at 800dpi, 48bit (same as scan specs). Tiff is currently the only format that supports 48bit raw images which is necessary to reduce banding and maintain color integrity.

Great, now what do I do with my scans?
Upload to archive.org with a good description. There is no centralized database for full quality scans and archive.org is a tried and true way to preserve data. Sign up for an account (it's easy), and upload your scans!

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AVIF
Looking ahead, the .avif image format is right around the corner from release. Based on the AV1 spec, it is very likely this format will see mass adoption eventually - perhaps on the same scale of jpg. What makes avif so special otherwise is that it supports 48bit lossy (but VERY high quality) at a size reduction of 20:1 versus source tiff. In the future we may very well add a final step of converting tiff to avif. Don't let this stop you from scanning, .tiff is a lossless format, so conversion will not result in any quality loss whatsoever.

By Kirkland and dizzzy
The "Good Enough" High-Quality Scanning Guide for Video Game Preservation The "Good Enough" High-Quality Scanning Guide for Video Game Preservation Reviewed by Dizzzy on 9:03 PM Rating: 5

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