For this particular application Levels would be the better adjuster tool, as both Taina and Geoffrey noted.  Levels also has a gamma adjustment (the center button) that controls contrast.  This can also help clean up the gray.  (With applications having a plethora of tone and/or color values, Curves is much better.   And in fact, if you use Curves a lot you can do the same with that tool.  Just slide the end points in or out, which is the same as the black and white sliders on Levels;  for a gamma adjustment, grab the center of the straight line and pull it into a curve one way or the other.)

If your scanner has adjustments, those can help as well.  Set the scan to produce a straight line and move the (very similar) levels adjustments before scanning.

It's a perpetual problem getting a white background to look evenly white in a scanned or photographed image.  I'm sure I'm not alone in having given up in frustration more than once and just used a Magic Wand selection (or Color selection or similar), cleaned up the edges here and there at high magnification, then deleted the selection to white.  It takes time, but does work.


On Sun, Jul 28, 2013 at 10:37 PM, Taina Litwak <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Hi - I do more or less what Geoff does.  Curves I find a total pain to control.  Never use them.  Once the image is processed, I reduce the dpi and save at 600.  The scientific journals here in the states seem happy with the 600 dpi grayscale TIFF files. They print consistently well in my experience.  Mirka's method sounds good too though.

Taina Litwak
Litwak Illustration Studio
13029 Chestnut Oak Drive
Darnestown, MD  20878

tel: 301-527-0569
mobile: 240-750-9245

Need to leave or subscribe to the Sciart-L listserv? Follow the instructions at

Bruce Bartrug
Nobleboro, Maine, USA
[log in to unmask]

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.  - Albert Einstein


Need to leave or subscribe to the Sciart-L listserv? Follow the instructions at