I created a fine arts piece made with 0.03 micron pen and mechanical pencils. I want to showcase the fine lines and tiny dots in my work. However no matter how much I play around with the settings, I can't seem to get my scanned piece to look the same as the real version. The main issue is that the very fine lines look broken, and the small dots merge with each other.

It's done in black ink on white paper.

I scanned the piece as a colour JPEG, in 600 dpi.

In Photoshop, I have tried - adjusting curves. This makes my background darker but my lines become overly dark and they still look broken. - adding an unsharpen mask at 93%, radius 2.7 and 1 threshold level - added 2 unsharpen mask just for kicks - tried the other sharpen mask settings

I'd be very grateful if you have any advice for me - this problem has left me stuck for a while. Much thanks!

  • 4
    To me it seems like this is a problem with your scanner, not with photoshop.
    – Summer
    Commented Oct 1, 2018 at 11:27
  • 2
    Please edit your question to add some images at 100% zoom so we can at least see the issue.
    – Luciano
    Commented Oct 1, 2018 at 11:37
  • 2
    Hi Julia. Welcome to GDSE. This sounds like a scanner issue. What kind of scanner is it? Have you considered having your drawing scanned using professional scanning equipment. I honestly don't think this has anything to do with Photoshop.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Oct 1, 2018 at 11:56
  • 1
    Are you sure its not just a pigma "micron" technical pen with a 0.03 tip. Which is different form a 0.03 micron line ;)
    – joojaa
    Commented Oct 1, 2018 at 13:36
  • 3
    Can you post an image of the problem?
    – 13ruce
    Commented Oct 1, 2018 at 15:05

2 Answers 2


You should consider a much higher dpi resolution for your scan, at least 1800dpi. A very thin black line on white paper has almost no greyscale values, so it resembles more a b/w bitmap image. You probably won't need a color JPG, a greyscale JPG might be enough or even better for your task.


I don't think you're asking for a reasonable result from your equipment. You are scanning in a line that is 0.001181103 inches wide (0.03 microns), yet you are scanning at 600ppi, so your scan resolution is off by an order of magnitude. The scan is dividing an inch into hundredths, while your drawing line is dividing an inch into ten-thousandths. It's like looking for a needle from across the street. Raise the resolution of the scan if possible.

Keep in mind, though, that even if the scan were perfect, a printer can only produce a dot of a minimum size, which is probably around .5-1 micron, but even with 0.03 micron dots, the printer will probably only place them based on its resolution of 300, 600, etc. per inch, which is also likely to create some unwanted visual effects.

  • 1
    Are you sure that op does not refer to a 0.03 Pigma Micron Technical pen so most probably referning to 003 pen which is 0.15 mm thick and not 3e-5 mm (oh and one micron has four more zeroes than your text)
    – joojaa
    Commented Oct 1, 2018 at 13:27
  • Gotcha. In that case I think we need to see what the problem is to dig in further.
    – 13ruce
    Commented Oct 1, 2018 at 15:04
  • 1
    I think it is going to still be the same problem. if the OP reproduces this at anything less than 100% actual size, then we have smaller-than-a-pixel problems again. In addition. JPEG is a bad choice for line art.
    – Yorik
    Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 13:46

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