I totally dig Rachel Smith’s tips on how to clean charts with Photoshop. And a few days ago, my Photoshop trial ran out… and I just didn’t want to pay the commercial price for the product (that’s my cover for really sucking at Photoshop).
We’ve all heard the phrase, There’s an App for that…
…and so I began my hunt.
Here is what I discovered and did just this afternoon. (writing this post, took longer than cleaning the photos).
The photos from this event were taken on a camera phone and the room had awful uneven lighting.
I used these three apps, two were already on my computer and I downloaded the Cam Scanner Free Version today.
I synched my camera phone with the web album so I could copy the chart photos to my ipad album for easy access.
Once the photos are downloaded to your iPad album, you are ready to begin.
Open CamScanner Free and select the photo of the chart you want to clean. I’ve tried a few other scanning apps, but CamScanner has a feature similar to whiteboard photo, called Magic Photo. It grabs the edges and even lets you zoom in so that you can be very exact on your corners.
Once your image is selected, there are a few choices in editing, and the Magic Color option is the one that cleans the back ground of the chart, getting all but the nasty corners a nice stark white, while brightening up the marker lines.
Once your chart image is cleaned and you save it to your photo album, you are ready to work with the image below in Sketchbook Pro.
First, add at least 2-3 layers, one for bringing up the white, and then the 2nd and 3rd for lines and intensifying or brightening colors.
Using the color palette, either grab a plain white, or if that is too bright, pull the white (with the eyedropper) from the bottom of the chart and begin filling in the shadows toward the top.
Once in Sketchbook Pro, my preference is to use a stylus to do all my touch up work. It feels easier to control and more precise than a mouse on my desktop. I’d rather hand “color” touch up my charts since I’m not a digital art expert.
This chart has particularly nasty shadows in the corners so they will take more touching up than most charts photographed in good light. The pinch to zoom feature on the ipad is a dream for this. For fine detail, get your pen a small as possible and zoom in as much as you can.
Once the background is lightened (on the origional image) , then hop to the layers above to trace over any black line, or faded color areas that need a pop. Below you can see the chart before the final crop:
And, the final crop…ready to be uploaded to my portfolio.
Below is the final comparison of before and after cleaning graphic facilitation/recording charts with an iPad. Certainly not the perfection of large-scale scanning like Landau Chartoworks can do for us, and for 15 bucks worth of iPad apps and in a short amount of time (10 mins on a well photo graphed chart- one hour on the nasty shadow chart)
Shazam! That looks alright!