Flatbed scanner and file preparation with iPad

My daughter is an author/illustrator doing extremely fine work using graphite on paper. She has no interest in doing the actual illustration work on a screen. But she does use a flatbed scanner to get her work into photoshop to prepare files for print. She also layers hand-written scalable text onto some of the illustrations.

She’s platform agnostic—she has been using a not-so-great dell laptop for this work to date. As far as I can tell, all the other stuff she does (email, web searches, etc) could be done quite nicely, maybe even better, with an iPad Pro. She’s tried my 12.9 pro with 2nd gen pencil for the text and it works well for the purpose.

So, that leaves scanning. Are any of you flatbed-scanning and prepping files for print? Are Epson scanners generally suited to the purpose? Can you recommend software to replace photoshop for this purpose?


Michael Poster

There’s no way to directly control a scanner with an iPad the way you can with a Mac, a fact bemoaned recently in this forum discussion. It’s much easier to use a PC/Mac and then share files with iOS devices.

The two major players in flatbed scanners are Epson and Canon, both with tiered offerings at different price ranges, from $50-$1,000 depending on functionality, scan area, scan quality (bit depth, interpolation, film transparency unit included etc), software/firmware (eg dust/scratch removal), speed and more. At any given price I couldn’t really choose one brand over the other, but I haven’t researched it in a few years.

Thanks. I was afraid this was the case. Too bad—the ipad suits all her needs but this one and it would be a far more desirable device than a Mac.

There may be another solution, at least for now. I have an unused but fully functional MacBook Air, 2013, 4GB memory. Will that be suitable for scanning?

As an alternative solution, could a repro-cam setup work? Arrange for even lighting, then place a camera direct overhead and take a photo. Depending on the resolution she needs, this might be best accomplished using a DSLR, but for lower res requirements, even a modern iPhone could be fine.

Too bad there is no support for scanners on iOS. I can control mine wirelessly from the Mac via AirPrint. Should be possible with the right iPad OS support, but probably far down on the backlog…

Thanks, Airwhale. Years ago, I built a horizontal copy stand to photograph paintings as large as six feet wide. It worked well for the intended purpose, cataloging and displaying. My daughter scans her work at 600dpi and then, for some work stitches three sections together to make one page spread. Even with an inexpensive epson scanner, in a few minutes time the finished work is ready for printing.

It’s too bad. Our processes: scanning for her, color managed photographic printing for me are apparently being ignored by iPadOS. I get why, but it’s too bad.

iPad revenue remains about one-seventh that of the iPhone, so iOS development is focused on the iPhone, where only a tiny minority wants scanning support (or, to my dismay) color-managed photo printing.

But Mac revenue is only 19% more than iPad revenue (and iPad volume swamps the Mac); if Apple is planning to eventually promote the iPad as a replacement for Intel Macs/PC instead of merely an alternative for most people, it needs to fill in the gaps. For now however it shows no indication, or inclination, it’s moving on this.

OK, it seems pretty clear she needs a computer. The obvious choice would seem to be an iMac, probably a new 2019 27”. Any thoughts about the processor? Is the 3.0 six core sufficient for her modest amount of Photoshop work? Is it a sufficiently future-proof choice too? I plan on installing 32GB of OWC ram and ordering the machine with a 1TB SSD, BTW.

From iPad to ‘obviously’ needing a new model 27" iMac? That’s quite the leap.

How about letting the artist decide what she needs?