If you have control over the scanning, or can get them rescanned, increase the contrast setting in the scan and set the black point at the darkest bit of text you can find. That would make the steps below easier. If not, read on...
Here's part of a fairly typical old document scan:
The details will be different depending on the document (this has somewhat ...
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 ...
If you have access to Photoshop, try the Magic Wand tool to select the background around the writing, and fiddle with the Tolerance to get it as close to the writing as possible, then delete or fill with white.
Another method is to use Image > Adjustments >
Selective Colour - With Selective Colour you can tweak the thresholds of each colour, so in ...
You mention Photoshop, but in case you are interested there's also a GIMP plugin that does advanced grayscale cleaning and processing:
Fills white pores on black ink
Removes specific user defined shapes
Has damaged lineart regeneration
It's called Nuvola Tools, and it's mainly focused on scanned art, but you ...
(upgraded comment to answer)
Scott, brendan and tim human all provide good advice regarding scanners.
I actually do a lot of work with paintings and drawings, and photographing them is almost always a better option than scanning. I have a low-end professional flatbed scanner on my desk, but I almost never use it anymore because I get better results in less ...
Here are the manual steps to achieve that in Photoshop (based in CS6 on OS X):
Open the image (Ctrl-O).
Increase contract by selecting in menu Image -> Auto Tone (Shift-CMD-L).
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 ...
Open a file.
Convert your document to grayscale: Image → Mode → Grayscale.
Select the background color: Select → By Color, click with mouse pointer on the color of the background.
Invert the selected color: Select → Invert.
Copy the selection: Edit → Copy.
Create a new file: File → New.
In the dialog of a new file, in field: Advanced Options ...
Let me outline another approach I find useful especially in the context of a signature for letters or PDF documents.
We can quite easily create a vector graphic from a scanned original signature. This can be done with a variety of applications. Here is how I made it using Inkscape.
Import the bitmap into an empty document (select "embed").
Select the "Path ...
If you look at the levels of your scan, you can see that it is scanned too bright. Ideally the range of color information goes from almost black to almost white.
Try to change brightness settings on your scanner and avoid "helpers" like sharpening oder presets for text scans
This is very easy in Gimp. Just use the bucket tool to fill the background white, and export. Or if you want to go one stage further, then after that, use the select with the same colour tool, press delete (Making sure that your image has an alpha channel) add a new white layer, merge down and export as a jpg, png or whatever.
Photoshop can help. If you ensure that there is an overlap between the various tiles of the scanning procedure you can then use File > Automate > Photomerge. It will analyze the files you give it and identify common pixels and reposition/overlap the art as it sees fit. With a little care during the scanning process, it can make stitching the tiles together a ...
There are lots of methods to achieve what you want in Photoshop.
You can use a non-destructive method such as a layered Gradient Map.
Simply create a new adjustment layer from Layer > New Adjustment
Layer > Gradient Map...
Choose the Black to White Gradient and adjust the gradient stops
Make sure that the adjustment layer is on top of the ...
This is a perfect situation for the smart-blur tool since the text information is high-contrast with respect to the background.
I have a sample below where I applied a mild smart blur just enough to flatten out the grainy nature of the scan.
I then added a layer filled with RGB(128,128,128) and used the noise filter with color on and gaussian distribution. ...
My "professional" approach would be to vectorize the whole thing. This would not be a trivial task and would require lots of time and dedication. If you're not familiar with the process, I think this would be a good project to learn with. Since you mentioned that you're eager to learn new skills, I'd give it a shot if I were you.
You talked about the use of ...
If you are only using Photoshop, These are the steps I took..
First I Changed the image resolution to 300 dpi
Then I went to Menu item Image/Adjust/Invert
Then using my magic wand I selected all of the white in the image
Then in my layers panel, I used that selection to create a mask
While holding the command key, I clicked on the mask icon In the layers ...
Check your scanner's settings. One of the purposes of scanning is to get text documents in, and for those to look good when scanned some scanners will tend to up the contrast and do some kind of sharpening to help get that sharp black-and-white look.
If you are able to get into the preferences, try to find things like Exposure or Sharpening and just play ...
This really is too broad. But broad recommendations can be given for a broad problem ...
In general terms
300ppi for print
72 for web
More every day for mobile and tablet (the highest right now is 433ppi, I believe).
The catch is that your resolution is output size. If you can guess the final crop and dimensions and intended ...
In your case you need to break regularity of your letters to look more like printed raster. I worked with your current image, if you will have higher resolution, you will need to adjust effect settings accordingly.
Copy you letters in a new file
Double the image size (it will add some blur, which is good)
Add effect. Filter -> Pixelate -> Crystallize. Use ...
If you have an Adobe CC account, you can use the Adobe Capture CC app to take a photo and vectorize it. The app is available for iOS and Android devices.
With the app, you can take a photo of a hand drawn sketch on your mobile device, then vectorise it, and send it to Adobe Illustrator (the desktop app) direct from your mobile device.
Of course you don't ...
All you need to do is choose Image > Adjustments > Levels and alter the levels within the image.
Simply drag the left triangle (black) to the right to darken the dark areas and then drag the right (white) arrow to the left to lighten the lighter areas on the image.
Viewing the histogram will help. It shows the ramp on the right which is all the data ...
It would work, but you would have to take the thickness of the strokes into account. You would have to use a pen to draw the body that is 1/3 times the thickness of the pen that you would use to draw the head.
This is what I mean (and proof that I should never go into fashion design). Suppose you use the same pen to draw both sketches. You would end up with ...
For your image I would use Channels.
Go into your channels and notice the red one has the best contrast. Duplicate that channel and then use the Curves to adjust it. At the bottom of the Curves panel you can eyedrop the black point to your text and the white point to the background. Maybe tweak it a little. You get pretty close already. Might have to do the ...
This is just how I would do this, maybe it's not an option for you. This is a technique that goes very quick and will not affect the quality of your black text at all.
I'd isolate the black text using the levels; the textured
background will become white and the black text will remain 100%
black. To achieve this, you'll need to use the white color picker ...
It's most likely because the adjustment layers are accounting for "white" background layer in their calculations. If you want to make sure "what you see is what you get" be sure to clip those adjustment layers (OPT click between layers / ALT for windows)so they only affect the layer with the drawing and nothing else. Hope this helps.
Using the pen tool with a stroke is the correct solution.
You don't need to draw anything with your mouse. Just place anchor points and adjust the curves as needed. With some practice, it doesn't take very long.
Using the (P) and (ctrl+shift+C) keyboard shortcuts are helpful to save time.
Live Trace is helpful for certain tasks, but I wouldn't recommend ...
When I open the PDF in Illustrator, I receive an error that says:
An unknown imaging construct was encountered
This suggests either some kind of file corruption, or perhaps there is some incompatible image format/data in there somewhere. Possibly stuff added by the scanning software?
After clicking OK, the document does finally open, but on further ...
If you can keep consistent lighting in the photographs, for example, by having the same light point at the table and place the camera somewhere so you know you can always shoot the image in the same conditions, you could record Curves or Levels Action to do this (I would suggest Curves, since you want to have pretty exact results.) Then you could just open ...