Using Photoshop's Photomerge with larger scanned work

Often, we need to make digital files of our larger pieces, and a single scan just won’t cut it. I use the Epson V600 to scan my work and couldn’t be happier-it’s a budget scanner that can do powerful image capturing. But, the bed of the scanner can only accommodate 9x12” paper, so I use Photoshop’s Photomerge tool to knit together my larger paintings into one larger digital file.

Set your scanner settings to the largest it can handle while keeping the file size down. My scanner *technically* can do 6400 dpi, but I find this unnecessary. 1200 dpi is the sweet spot but be prepared to use the “heal” tool to remove random fibers and dust from the scan.

Determine how many scans you’ll need to cover the entire artwork. For a 16x16 inch piece, I’ll need 4 scans on each corner to capture the entire image.

After acquiring all scanned sections, open Photoshop, but don’t open a file yet. Go to File: Automate> Photomerge. From here, I find the “Auto” selection to be the most useful.

photomerge 1.png
photomerge 2.png

Photoshop will now begin processing a file from your scans, matching up borders and lines in order to make a complete image (cue sorcery here). After rendering, you’ll see several layers with masking and re-alignment, all from the automation of Photoshop magic.

Click “Browse…” and select the scan files from the folder you saved them in, in no particular order. Then select “OK“.

photomerge 3.png
photomerge 4.png

This is when I will check all layer borders and make sure lines match up. Photomerge is such a time saver from doing this manually or trying to recolor scanning lighting changes/shadows. If you can imagine trying to line up this particular drawing and making sure all stipple/outlines are matching, I would probably have given up and taken it to a professional scanner.

I’ll then select and merge all layers, and now have a complete scan that I can resize for printing or web publishing.

Liquidambar styraciflua  seedpod pen and ink on coldpress, 16x16 inches 2018

Liquidambar styraciflua seedpod
pen and ink on coldpress,
16x16 inches

Did this method work for your process, or do you have a better way? Let me know in the comments!