using paint.NET (PdN for short)

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Moiré patterning
Crop circle


The detailed procedure for scanning will be specific to each scanner model, so I will mention only the basic settings which will be available on all scanners. The image size requirements for 45cat labels are met by images of 150 or 200dpi, so I scan at 200dpi
The 45cat 'house style' is to have a white background showing through the centre hole, so cover the disc with white card if needed while scanning
If you can define a 'custom' scan size, it will save time compared to scanning a full-size A4 or quarto image. I use about 7.2in square, sufficient for a picture sleeve
Select 24-bit colour, with JPEG output format
The resulting images should be close to the original for hue and darkness, but you need to be confident in the colour settings on your monitor screen before you make critical adjustments to the scanning settings. If any scanner adjustments are felt necessary for brightnes, contrast hue and saturation, these can be found by experiment with the settings, and then saved as a preset
When scanning labels I do not bother trying to get the label accurately aligned to horizontal as it is trivially easy to rotate the image while editing

Moiré patterning:
If an image shows obvious Moiré patterning, it may help to try using any 'de-screen' settings to get a clearer image. Moiré patterning is often a problem with picture sleeves. This effect is obvious in this image, which compares images of the same label without and with de-screening. For labels I generally use 'none' but certain labels including UK Charisma and Elektra always need de-screen
Some scanners have the pattern reduction set by default, while others have it as an option in scanner settings. The scanner in use here allows setting of the de-screen resolution, specified in 'Lines per inch'. For an example of the effect in the case of a particularly difficult printed sleeve, see four levels of de-screen from minimum to maximum in this image. I find 250 LPI is generally sufficient


Find the file location for the scanned images; I recommend a dedicated file just for the scanner output. Rename the images in some meaningful way, such as "7N12345 A.JPG". This can be done in Windows Explorer (I don't know about MAC) or in the image editing software file dialog box. At this stage the file size will be about 500 - 600KB

After editing the images, the file size will be about 60 - 120KB. If you don't want to preserve the files after you have uploaded them to 45cat, you can leave them where they are and just delete them once the upload is completed, otherwise you may wish to file them in folders of your own choosing, but the point is to keep the scanner output folder empty except for the images you are currently dealing with


If PdN is not already running find the image in Windows Explorer, right-click and 'Open with PdN, or if PdN is running, switch windows to PdN (by using ALT + TAB-TAB-TAB as required) and:
Open(CTRL + O) the required image. Experiment with typing the first one or two cyphers of the filename (the cursor's already positioned) and select from the drop-down menu with the UP/DOWN keys and ENTER

CTRL + '+' a couple of times should be sufficient zoom. (CTRL + '-' to zoom out)

Select ellipse tool:
hit 'S' until a small circle is shown besides the cursor, or find the TOOLS menu (F5 toggles it on/off) and select the Ellipse Tool from the menu

Draw circle and crop the label:
Position the cursor cross anywhere on the perimeter of the desired label circumference, hold SHIFT and click-drag the cursor to the opposite side of the label, observing how the circle expands and moves about to follow the cursor. The selected circle is darkened to distinguish it from the unselected area. To de-select, start again or ESC. If you want to adjust the position of your selection circle relative to the image, hit 'M' twice and move the circle without moving the image
CTRL + SHIFT + X to crop the selected area

Of course, CTRL + Z will undo your last action, and can be repeated as many times as necessary

CTRL + SHIFT + Z to open the rotate/zoom dialog box. Grab the Roll/Rotate handle, and note that the handle is elastic and can be extended right across the screen to allow very fine control of the rotate angle. Re-position the dialog box to provide a horizontal or vertical datum against which to compare the label image. ENTER to confirm, ESC to cancel. You may wish to use 'Reset' to remove the previous settings

CTRL + S to save under the existing name. You will be asked to choose the compression quality in the Save Configuration dialog box. Experiment to choose a compression level which you find satisfactory - I use 92% for labels, which gives sufficient compression to allow uploading to 45cat

Then open (CTRL + O) the next image and repeat as above

When all images are done, ALT + TAB back to the files explorer screen to confirm your work, and to select (with the SHIFT + UP/DOWN keys) for moving the files if required: I use CTRL + X then tab to another files explorer window where I will CTRL + V to paste to the final destination


Choose the rectangle selection tool (or hit S until the square tool is displayed beside the cursor). Holding SHIFT while using this tool would force a square selection area, but this is unnecessary for picture sleeves, rectangular is fine. Again, use CTRL + SHIFT + X to crop the image


The image size from a 200dpi scan of a PS is too large for 45cat by a factor of about two. To Resize, hit CTRL + R to bring up the resize dialog box. Check that 'Maintain aspect ratio' is selected, type '800' and hit return. The image will disappear momentarily while it is resampled to a width of 800 pixels
Then 'save' (CTRL + S)
You may prefer to scan sleeves at 100dpi and save at full size, but you should familiarise yourself with resampling for dealing with images imported from elsewhere.


If you can, scan your records in preference to photographing them - it will give uniform pictures and greatly reduce the editing effort. Of course, there are times when scanning is not an option, and photographing is the method of choice for vinyl album covers, but you may also choose to photograph if you only plan to add a few images and don't have access to a scanner, for example when visiting a friend and want to grab an image of one or two of their singles
If you need to photograph a record, try to position it in indirect bright light, don't use flash, and position the camera accurately above and central to the record. Try to support the camera firmly or use the time delay setting to avoid shake from pressing the shutter
When editing photos of records or sleeves, the image sizes will vary (unless the camera is mounted on a stand), so attention to resizing is needed. Photos often show a perspective view, with trapezoidal distortion of the image, and some correction can be made within the rotate/zoom dialog box (CTRL + SHIFT + Z) by using the 'Roll-ball' with care. The effect can be seen in this image


My scanner is rather slow, taking about 25s per label or sleeve. Editing takes 30 - 45s, renaming and moving files maybe 10s, so it should be possible to scan, edit and file both labels of a single in 3 minutes

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JH May 2011, revised July 2014