I have photographed some pages of a book for reading. This is much faster than scanning and you don't have to carry the heavy books. However, the photographed books are not as nice: curved, skewed, and shadowed, as opposed to the much flatter, cleaner scanned books. Especially when you're trying to print them out.

Google's used some specific technique of converting books to e-books with a camera and a laser overlay.

But is there any home user software that can flatten a curled photographed book photograph?

Or maybe there is some technique which you can use in Photoshop?

What is the best way to achieve that?


enter image description here


3 Answers 3


Some softwares which I've found so far:

  • Unpaper [cmd-line tool, Cross-Platform]

    Post-processing tool for scanned sheets of paper, especially for book pages that have been scanned from previously created photocopies. The main purpose is to make scanned book pages better readable on screen after conversion to PDF. Additionally, unpaper might be useful to enhance the quality of scanned pages before performing optical character recognition (OCR). unpaper tries to clean scanned images by removing dark edges that appeared through scanning or copying on areas outside the actual page content (e.g. dark areas between the left-hand-side and the right-hand-side of a double- sided book-page scan).

    OSX installation via Homebrew: brew install unpaper

  • Scan Tailor (GitHub) [Windows/OSX/Linux]

    Interactive post-processing tool for scanned pages. It performs operations such as page splitting, deskewing, adding/removing borders, and others.

    OSX installation via Homebrew: brew install scantailor

  • Book Scan Wizard [Java/Cross-Platform]

    A utility to help with Book scanning using cameras as a scanner. It will automate things such as cropping, rotating, fixing keystoning, fixing the DPI, and outputing it to tiff files that can be changed into PDF's or ebooks.

  • DIY Book Scanner Image Postprocessor

    An image postprocessor for the DIY Book Scanner described on instructables.com and DIY Book Scanner. Gets images ready for OCR or for PDF. Written in Java based on a partial port of the Leptonica image processing library.

Related articles:

  • 3
    as of April 2018, ScanTailor has an experimental de-warping (curvature-correcting) function. It's very good. Commented Apr 29, 2018 at 2:17
  • 2
    As of now, ScanTailor cannot be installed in this way via Homebrew. This is because the "boneyard" has been depreciated. The FAQs have instructions for macports, and if you're using brew there is this: github.com/yb85/scantailor-advanced-osx Commented Jan 11, 2020 at 13:16
  • @YanKingYin Wow, thanks! The program works very effectively.
    – Mark C
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 9:19

Here are the manual steps to achieve that in Photoshop (based in CS6 on OS X):

  1. Open the image (Ctrl-O).

  2. Increase contract by selecting in menu Image -> Auto Tone (Shift-CMD-L).

  3. Optional: Choose Filter -> Lens Correction... (Shift-CMD-R) and straighten the image by using Straighten Tool (A). Basically draw a straight horizontal line in the middle of the page.

  4. Still in Lens Correction, in Custom tab you may want to remove Geometric Distortion by increasing value for Remove Distortion.

    In case you've dark corners, change the contract by increasing amount of Vignette and decreasing Midpoint value (in the same Custom tab). Doesn't need to be perfect, just keep all text within the visible area.

  5. Using Polygonal or just normal Lasso Tool (L) draw a contour around the paper edges, then enter Free Transform mode and choose Warp mode (contextual menu) in order to flatten and straighten the page and its edges.

  6. In Filter -> Liquify... (Shift-CMD-X) use either Forward Warp (X), Pucker (S), or Bloat (B) tools to flatten the page further more (increase/decrease a brush size by [ and ] when needed).

  7. Optional: When the page has any black edges, resize (CMD-R) or crop it using Crop Tool (C).

  8. Using Dodge and Burn tools (O) lighten and darken the specific areas to decrease background noise and increase a black and white contrast. Use lower exposure level to be able to touch multiple times and fairly large brush size (increase/decrease by [ and ]).

  9. Then repeat Auto Tone (Shift-CMD-L) to re-adjust the contract.

  10. Optional: If the page suppose to be black & white (no colour pictures), in Image menu change Mode into Grayscale. Also consider to repeat Dodge and Burn action again as in the grayscale mode the background noise can be removed much more efficiently.

  11. Do the final touches if needed, then save the file.

Additional notes:

  • When printing (CMD-P), remember to select Scale to Fit Media.
  • To automate the process for similar pages, record the above steps, save and play back (in Actions window).

Adobe Acrobat has Enhance Scans in Tools: enter image description here

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.