Monday, March 1, 2010

Scanning Like There's No Tomorrow

Back in November, someone left a comment wondering if I had all of my Cubs cards scanned. My reply was, no, I just scan cards as I need them.

Then I started thinking about it. And then trying to forget about it, because after all, I've got over 6600 Cubs cards. But it kept gnawing at me....why not scan them all.

So I started.

Right now, I've got a little more than half of my Cubs cards scanned including some of the biggies...
...all 60 years of Topps
...the 27 year run of Fleer.
...the 23 year run of Donruss

And a few of the smaller ones...
...Allen and Ginter
...Cracker Jack
...Kelloggs 3D
...Turkey Red

I've got it down to a pretty quick routine that takes between 15 and 20 minutes for a brand's year, usually 3 or 4 pages, 30 or so cards.

I'm curious how the rest of you do your scanning. This is what I've come up with...

The scanner I've got is an HP Scanjet 4850. I also use the HP Imagezone software that came with the scanner.

I scan the binder page directly, leaving the cards in the sheet. It made me nervous putting older cards directly on the glass because of how difficult it is to lift the cards off the glass when finished. I always worry about dinging up the edges of the cards. Leaving them in the sheet eliminates that problem. Before scanning, I'll make sure the cards are all square in the sheet, which also makes the scans look nicer. The sheet lines up nicely on the bottom of the scanner glass, keeping everything square.

When I first started the blog, I would scan a sheet and do the nine cards one at a time. But that was really slow, so I've gone to doing three cards at a time. The raw scan looks like this.

Then I use the scanner software to crop the cards. I'll crop the first card, do a save as of the card, then go back to the original 3-card scan and do the next, do another save as, and then go back and finish the third card.

To get a nice, sharp image, I have the scanner set to 300 dpi. But that leaves a really big picture and a big file size, too. So the next steps were to resize the card (505 x 705 pixels) and then compress the picture to make the file size smaller.
Compressing the photo means a smaller file size for loading into Blogger, too, which should keep me from running out of space like Night Owl did. The scanner software could do all of this, but it took several clicks for each card.

I figured there had to be software that could do this to a bunch of cards at once. A quick Google search led me to this free program. After I scan and crop the cards with the scanner software, I use Multiple Image Resizer to resize and compress a whole year's worth at once. That really saved a lot of time.

It took about three weeks to scan the Topps cards, though a snow day plus a couple other days off gave me more time than usual. I figure a little more than a week each for Fleer, Donruss, and Upper Deck. That would take care of over half of my Cubs. The rest are in 1 1/2" binders and I'm planning about a week for each binder. My goal is to be finished by the start of the summer.

Here's a cool feature....if I use the XP search feature, I can find all the cards of a certain player. This is what I got when I searched for "Sandberg".

This will be a nice easy way to see all the cards I have of a certain player.

We'll see if I lose interest as the weather warms up, but right now, scanning has been a nice way to pass some long, cold winter days.


  1. That's a monster project. Good luck with it!

  2. Your post title made me laugh. (I picture Wrigley Wax, the mad scientist in his scanning lab.)

  3. Thanks for the idea of scanning cards while in their sheets. I never thought of that. :)