What is a "scan to print" system? This is a scanner with dedicated software which sends the scanned image directly to a wide format printer (to an Encad printer, for example). No computer required.


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Scan to print means no computer skills are needed.

You do not need to know how to use Adobe Photoshop either. In fact you will probably get better prints if your scan is good from the beginning. There is nothing worse than using Photoshop as a repair program to fix up bad scans.

The problem is that professional graphics people already all know Adobe Photoshop. Thus I have seen cases where the scanner operator figured there was no need whatsoever to learn the scanner software because, after all, that is what Photoshop was there for.

Bad decision; the best decision is to take the time to learn the scanner's own software. Get the scan perfect from the beginning. The resulting print will be far superior (trust me, this is based on years of experience rescuing bad scans). Once I used a Fuji C-550 Lanovia scanner, and printed the scans directly onto a ColorSpan wide format printer (with no Photoshop), I could see the proof. The pictures which had been rendered in Photoshop were consistently inferior to the straight scans.

Close-up scanner to printer system
Close-up scanner to printer system

An even easier solution is to have no scanning software either, just press a few buttons and, Zappo, there is your wide format print, direct from the scanner. You never even have to look at the image on a monitor.

This may appear absurd at first glance (to a professional graphics person) but what about the millions of people who need to scan and print but who are in other professions. Not everyone has the time or opportunity to master Photoshop. And certainly not everyone has $40,000 to buy a Fuji C-550 Lanovia flatbed scanner.

Several different companies made scan-to-print systems. Most use turnkey arrangements, the scanner is from the same company that makes the overall system. Problem here is that the scanner usually turns out to be the weakest link. Vivid Image solves this situation by working with cost-effective yet more capable scanners. The list of supported scanners grows each month.

The market for such a Vivid Image scan-to-print system is enormous. Places like Kinkos could offer this setup for people to enlarge family snapshots.

Museums, art museums, natural history museums, botanical gardens, zoos, libraries, photographers, all have thousands of prints. Vivid Image now offers the opportunity to enlarge such old prints to make posters, banners, signs, or teaching aids.

Reprographic shops, whether in-house or outside, are another huge market for a scan-to-print solution.

Sergio Alves showed me the capabilities of the Vivid Image system at their trade show booth. If you have a good original snapshot naturally you get a really great enlargement on an Encad wide format printer (the system works with other wide format printers as well). But even if your original snapshot is only postcard sized and only a typical weekend family picture, you can still get passable enlargements with the Vivid Image system.

Vivid Image Technologies can be reached via www.vividimage.com

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