Daniel Reetz, the founder of the DIY Book Scanner community, has recently started making videos of prototyping and shop tips. If you are tinkering with a book scanner (or any other project) in your home shop, these tips will come in handy. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn0gq8 ... g_8K1nfInQ

Total Beginner Needs Help

Discussions, questions, comments, ideas, and your projects having to do with DIY Book Scanner software. This includes the Stereo Data Maker software for the cameras, post-processing software, utilities, OCR packages, and so on.
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Total Beginner Needs Help

Post by rxninja » 28 Sep 2011, 13:25

Hello everyone. I made an introduction post a few weeks ago and since then I've built a "New Standard" scanner. I'd never worked with wood, so it was a challenging project, but I now have a scanner with two A480 cameras and a van de Kamp trigger on its way here.

I am at a total loss as to what to do next. I had to use the scanner once already to get a book to one of my professors and it was a nightmare that took over three hours. I didn't know what resolution to take the pictures in, so I ended up getting 2MB pictures for each page, slightly skewed, converting them into PDFs with a free batch converter called Dragoman, rotating them in bulk with PDFSam, combining the left and right sides into their own PDFs, cropping those with a program called Briss, and combining the whole thing together using "Alternate Mix" in PDFSam. The end result was a 600MB file for a 240 page book and I had to experiment with a free trial of PDFshrink to compress it into a readable 60MB file.

It was horrible. I don't know what I'm doing and I'm only working off of my extremely basic knowledge of using a flatbed scanner. All I learned how to do before was rotate and combine PDF scans in PDFSam and then trim them with Briss (Java-based, for those interested). I don't know how to make things greyscale. When people start talking about what DPI to use, I get completely lost. I've looked at Book Scan Wizard and Scan Tailor and both of them look like gibberish to me. I'm reasonably competent with computers, but the terminology and procedures here make me feel like a complete noob.

Can someone spell out exactly how to do things for someone with a Mac? I've gotten as far as assembling my build, but even when it comes to what settings to use on my cameras I'm lost. I know that's a big request, but I'd be extremely grateful and I think it would make a good sticky to help out incoming Mac users like myself.


Re: Total Beginner Needs Help

Post by Hope » 03 Oct 2011, 21:13

I have been watching your post and hoping that a Mac user with a working bookscanner would jump in. I'm not as far along as you are. I have my cameras but I'm waiting for my son to have time to build my scanner. My local hackerspace doesn't have one of the CNC thingys and I am an older lady who has never used power tools. This is what I think I have to do with the firmware and software. First I have to download SDM, since I'm using two cameras. I think I read somewhere that the SDM firmware should be on a 2 GB memory card. After I have turned on the camera with the card that has the SDM code I believe I need to swap out the 2 GB card with 4 GB cards? I don't know what the camera settings should be or how close the lights should be but I think that's all on the forum and I'll have to experiment to see what works for my setup. Since my canon 480 cameras have long USB cables and I have two ports on my Mac I think I can use macports to load the gphoto2 software to my computer which will allow me to use the keyboard of the computer as a trigger. Again - just guessing. I think all the images will go to the camera memory cards. After the book has been scanned the images on the cards are copied to the PC into two folders, a left and right folder. Bookscan wizard is used to clean up the images and scantailor is then used to create my ebook. Does this sound right to you and if not where did I go astray? I lost hundreds of book 19 years ago when they turned to a moldy mess after hurricane Andrew took the roof off my house. After that we said we would just check out the books we wanted to read from the library, convenient since my husband went to work at the local library after retiring from his job as a mainframe technical specialist. But we bought a book now and then, and now we have as many books as we had before. I have a lot of color magazines that I'd like to scan too, but the books come first.
I can probably answer a lot of my own questions by just doing it and the pictures of the scanner made with a cardboard box and cameras on tripods is how I can start - or I can wait until a kit is available. The best of luck to you. Please send me a PM to let me know how it is working out. We have to remember that everyone on the forum was once a total beginner (in kindergarten) - except many of them are now also hardware, electrical, optical, software etc. geniuses.

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Re: Total Beginner Needs Help

Post by Misty » 04 Oct 2011, 11:13

rxninja, I've given you some advice in the jbig2enc thread. I think I'm going to create a Mac user omnibus thread at some point to give some more guidance.

Hope, that sounds mostly good, but here's a few comments I'd make:

- You don't have to use both Book Scan Wizard and Scan Tailor (though you can). Scan Tailor works great working directly from the photos from your camera. If you're using Scan Tailor alone, I would recommend renaming all of your files so they're in the right number sequence, then copying them into a folder with every image for your book - Scan Tailor works best with all your photos in one folder. (Book Scan Wizard does take separate left/right folders.)
- Scan Tailor doesn't produce an end product. Instead, it produces clean files that can be compressed into a small PDF. You should use jbig2enc or PDFBeads to produce a PDF from those files. See the threads on those programs for advice and instructions.

(Also - I've been contributing some scanning tools to the package manager I use, Homebrew. I can't guarantee that software is on Macports. If you don't already use Macports, I would recommend installing Homebrew instead. That way I can help you ensure you have the right versions of all programs, along with stuff like jbig2enc that isn't in Macports.)
The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

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