Scanning Images for Web Use - Monitor Calibration (Page 2 of 4 )
The first part of the battle is not the most obvious. How does your monitor look? No, not the smudges and other gunk (although it's a good idea to remove these now). If you haven't calibrated your monitor, I recommend you do. Version 5.0 of Photoshop comes with software to help you calibrate your monitor. There are also many 3rd party solutions available. If you own a Mac compatible you can use Colorsync from Apple for color management and gamma correction. If you're on a Windows compatible PC then your video card might have calibration software with it. Try for a target gamma of about 2.0. (Gamma refers to the difference between the input to a monitor versus its output. It's in between the standard PC gamma of 2.2 and the Macintosh default gamma of 1.8. You can choose whatever settings suit you, but keep in mind that your audience probably isn't using your monitor. The more neutral your monitor is, the better possibility you have of creating an image that looks good on other monitors too.
Does your scanner's software offer automatic color and contrast compensation? Try it out and turn a critical eye to the results. Is it obviously out of whack with the piece you scanned? If so, consult the manual on how to set the curves for your scanner. It's much easier to get a good scan the first time then to try to fix a bad one later. Most scanners, even inexpensive ones, do a passable job in digitizing images these days. Don't be misled by that statement. A good entry-level DTP scanner can cost several thousand dollars and a high quality drum scanner will cost $10,000 or more. Most low-end flat bed scanners are suitable for basic scanning needs such as on screen graphics.