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Using your iPhone as a scanner

One of my ‘new’ most used iPhone app isn’t an app that runs on my iPhone.

I snap pictures of everything I do about my work day. While images of co-workers or a view can be used as is or is easily cropped – that isn’t the case when I snap a picture of a sign at an angle or anything printed.

Camera on phones have limitations no matter what the pixel ratings are, they do not have a real lens for adjusting to the environment. There are a lot of iPhone apps that let you adjust images and crop down the needed parts when you going to share out your fine snaps. Squaring up an image is a process that has fallen to photoshop and a bit of time out of your day.

Enter Prizmo by Creaceed. A Mac application that makes quick work of getting just what you ‘need’ from a photo. Grab their demo copy before you buy to see if it helps with the images that you take. It isn’t perfect for everyone, but for my picture taking of text docs it makes adjusting a snap so I end up with the text straight for later reference.

Prizmo receipt scan

Prizmo allows you to fine tune the image clean up to your camera through the built in Calibration area. This give you a checker grid that you either use on screen or print. After taking multiple images of that grid at a variety of angles, the program that those images and learns to the clean up later goes quicker. Prizmo can handle multiple camera’s calibrations – guessing when you load an image for you, or you can over-ride it’s choice.

Prizmo Calibration Image

Prizmo Calibrate Camera

The program allows you to import images or drag-n-drop. You are presented with your full image on the right of the editor screen and a view of the selected area on the left to see what your output would be at that time. Over your image is a green grid that you can resize via dragging the corners or long bars. You will want to place the corners of the box at the corners of the part of the image you wish to create as the new image (your original is not being effected). I have here a couple examples of dragging the corners around that are not right but you can see the results on the left.

When you have the corners correct, you will see a squared up version of that area in the left viewer. Two things this app doesn’t do it clean up a out of focus image or straighten a curved image like a bottle label.

Along the bottom of the work space is several options for fine tuning. First is a ‘crop’ icon that allows for setting the image size and resolution. Keep this in mind if you want a finished image that is wide, adjust the image dimensions using this. The next setting option is for choosing which camera took the picture and the Redial Distortion. The final adjustment icon to the far right is for fine tuning the output’s sharpness, brightness, contrast, saturation, as well you can choose if your result should be gray, b&w, etc…The above image final result is best by adjusting a bit brighter to drop out the gray background and making wider – the result was a image of just the text very close to having actually ‘scanned’ the document.

I am finding that I am not using these fine tuning adjustments very often. When you have the image as you like, either use the save button (creates a new image – not altering your original) or you can drag the left preview image right to your desktop. Drag-n-Dropping of the image to your desktop results in a new image.

Here are a few examples the developer has posted for ideas on how to use their application. One item to note, this is a desktop application so it is priced like that. I did a quick search on Twitter and found a ten dollar off coupon code so if your going to buy you may want to consider a little search work for best bargain. I’m pretty happy with my purchase.

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