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/// Usenet Review:  ADPro HP ScanJet IIc Driver
    -------------------------------------------
    By Stephen Harvey and Esa Haapaniemi
    (sh@hplb.hpl.hp.com)
    (eha@phoenix.oulu.fi)


PRODUCT NAME

        ADPro HP ScanJet IIc Driver


BRIEF DESCRIPTION

        A driver program for scanning colour pictures with an HP ScanJet IIc
scanner.  Both standalone and ADPro (ASDG Art Department Professional)
versions are included.


AUTHOR/COMPANY INFORMATION

        Name:           ASDG Incorporated
        Address:        925 Stewart Street
                        Madison, WI 53713
                        USA

        Telephone:      (608) 273-6585
        FAX:            (608) 271-1988

        Portal:         go asdg
        BIX:            join asdg
        CompuServe:     go amigav (Section 2)
        GEnie:          move 555;1 (Category 27)
        E-mail:         pk-asdg@cup.portal.com


LIST PRICE

        $200 (US)
        Available in Finland for 1500 smk. ($280).
 

SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS

        HARDWARE

                Amiga with SCSI port, big hard disk and lots of memory.
                HP ScanJet IIc.
        
                Works with all 680x0 microprocessors.  A faster CPU helps.

        SOFTWARE

                AmigaDOS 1.3 or higher.


COPY PROTECTION

        None.  (Just your conscience.)


MACHINES USED FOR TESTING

        ADPro Version
                A3000/25 + 10 MB memory (2 MB Chip RAM) + 210 MB hard disk.
                Workbench 2.1, KickROM version, no 24-bit graphics.

        Stand Alone Version
                A1500, PP&S 68040 card, 11 MB memory (1 MB Chip RAM)
                GVP SeriesII HD8+ SCSI card with 110 MB hard disk.
                Workbench 1.3/2.1


PROGRAMS INCLUDED IN THE PACKAGE

        The driver for ADPro2.x (reviewed by Esa Haapaniemi) and the
Scan_to_disk version (reviewed by Steve Harvey) of the scanner software.


REVIEW OF THE ADPRO DRIVER

        I asked for ASDG support of this scanner almost 2 years ago.  At the
time, they promised it would appear quickly.  First they said it was on a
development list, then in beta-testing, then they needed to finish the
Morph+ software first, then they were busy with the Morph+ demand (but it
was supposedly already written?) and was again under beta-testing.  Finally,
a local professional Amiga equipment dealer had it on his lists, and we
ordered it immediately.  At the same time, we bought a new version of ADPro
(2.3) because the dealer couldn't give any upgrade information for version
2.1.

        Installation was easily done with the standard Commodore Installer
program.  After connecting the scanner (always remember to power off all
equipment when making connections!) we could immediately try the program.

        The ADPro driver needs ADPro running first.  You must then choose
the HP-SCAN loader; and after the LOAD command, the driver opens the same
screen as the standalone version.  There is a scan area on the left, scaled
in inches, which may be toggled with a gadget to a metric scale.  The
scanner bed is viewed from below, so every object on the scanner is mirrored
from right to left.  On the right side of the screen, there is a typical ASDG
button box window with requesters for scaling and setting the scanning area
(inches/cm), toggle buttons for suggested resolutions, Metric/Imperial
measuring system, scan/abort/cancel and accept buttons.  There is also a
button to reset the scan size to full bed.  The numbers that represent the
needed space (RAM/disk) are doubled (see below).  Brightness may be set
with a slider or by typing a number directly.

        The scan area includes a square, mouse-controlled "rubber-band" that
allows selection of an area within the whole bed.  When the full bed button
is pressed, the square expands to cover the maximum scan size.  If the area
needed is smaller than the full bed, then this can be set with the
rubber-band before redoing the preview scan.

        When "Scan" is pressed, the scanner sends the chosen area to to the
computer quickly.  If the chosen area is smaller than the full bed, the area
is expanded so that the height or width almost fills the screen.  The area
can then be set more accurately, and you can continue with zooming or
accepting the area.

        If the ABORT or CANCEL buttons are pressed, the driver returns back
to ADPro.  Pressing "Accept" changes the right box to Final Scan, and the
rubber-band is locked, but you can still go back to Preview Scan if needed.

        In Final Scan, the resolution toggles stepwise between 50, 75, 100,
150, 200, 300, 400, 600 and 800 (wow!) DPI and back.  If too high a
resolution is chosen, the required memory meter numbers change from light
gray to black.  This is a little misleading, as the exact size of the file
is only half of the numbers presented.  This is done because ADPro needs
twice the amount of memory to keep both original and edited graphics in
memory at the same time.  So if this meter shows that you need 6 MB of
memory, the final image will only be 3M when stored on disk as a 24bit IFF
file.  Of course, the sizes for 24-bit, 8-bit, greyscale and 2-bit are also
displayed.

        In Final Scan, there are also sliders for contrast and brightness, a
toggle button for full colour/gray_scale/black & white scanning, and for
filtering and gamma correction.  I did not have much use for them and so I
can not say much about them.  The ABORT, CANCEL and ACCEPT buttons work like
those in the Preview Scan screen.  Pressing 'Accept' brings back the ADPro
screen again, and the progress of the scanning is shown with a wiper like
meter.

        The final scanning is really fast, and the 800 DPI gives good
results.  I did try to scan slides, but that requires a more powerful light
behind the slide, as well as shutting down the scanner's own light.  Also,
3D objects like pens, feathers, and clothing were scannable and the pictures
usable for graphics.  With 800 DPI, even the best art books seemed to have
pictures made of spots and not painted directly...

        The scanned image was immediately usable in ADPro, and the results
could be changed quite easily.  If contrast or darkness was not correct, it
could be corrected with ADPro or by scanning again (scanning is sometimes
faster).  Our lack of 24-bit graphics is a limitation, but maybe we can
change the software and scanner over to a A4000/40 soon.  Also as our A3000
is connected to ethernet, the output of 24-bit graphics to colour Postscript
will be really easy.


REVIEW OF THE SCAN_TO_DISK VERSION

        The standalone version is very similar to the ADPro driver.  The
scanning screen and controls are identical.  The only difference is that
after you press the ACCEPT gadget on the Final Scan screen, a file requester
appears asking for the filename and directory you want the image saved in.
Images are only saved in 24IFF format, so ideally you need a conversion
program.  I use HamLab+ which is a shareware product written by Ed Hanway,
jeh@raster.kodak.com.  (If anyones interested I might be persuaded to produce
a review of that too.)  The software uses a halfbrite screen mode to display
a greyscale representation of the image you are scanning, but on AGA
machines this will be an 8bit screen, which should help you set brightness
more accurately, I haven't received my A4000/030 and so have been unable to
try this... yet.

        The two buttons for filtering and gamma correction contain several
options.  The Gamma Correction can be None or NTSC, and the Filtering can be
None, 4-Pixel, 2-Pixel or Auto.  When Gamma Correction is set to NTSC, the
scan is processed to compensate for the colour biasing on most monitors.  The
Filtering button decides the amount of smoothing that is used when the scan
is scaled down.  The best settings for these seem to be NTSC Gamma
Correction and Auto Filtering.


DOCUMENTATION

        The disk comes with one manual that covers installation, how to use
the software, trouble shooting, etc.  It explains the functions of all the
gadgets, buttons, etc. in fairly good detail and explains all you need to
know to use the software.  I'm a beginner so I guess you don't need to be an
expert to understand the documentation.  All in all, it's an excellent
manual to compliment a very good bit of software.


LIKES AND DISLIKES

         I like the resolution and speed, but I dislike the ASDG way of
presenting memory needs.  Also I think the ASDG screens are not as
professional looking as the program really is.
                                                        - Esa Haapaniemi

        Overall I was very impressed with the package, but for the price I
expected no less.  The Scan_to_disk program has some irritating features.
For instance if you try to write to a file already open the program quits.
It would be much better if it just canceled the scan or gave a requester to
retry or abort.  This is a fairly important point, as without ADPro you need
to use another program to check the quality of the scan results in colour,
which means that the file might still be open when you next try scanning.
The quality of the images produced is excellent; I have a few on tap if any
one wants an example.  The only other problem I've had with quality is that
sometimes the scans can come out dark.  Of course, this can be cured with the
brightness/contrast control, but it's a shame that it's not automatic!
                                                        - Steve Harvey


COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS

        We don't have any other scanners or other software for Amigas, but
the scanner was earlier used with Mac IIx and DeskScan software.  On the
Mac, the software seems more professional and the results are shown in colour
immediately.  Also DPI settings are unknown, and scanning resolution is set
by a percentage of best (600 DPI ??) results.  On the scanner bed window, the
area can be set by starting the rubber-band from the desired point without
the need to tune the preset area.  Still the Amiga version is faster, and it
can (memory/gigamem permitting) scan at higher resolutions, AND the files
are readily transferable to other formats like GIF, IFF/ILBM, TIFF (if the
saver is available).  And of course I HATE Macintosh "multitasking".  With
the Mac version, it takes several seconds to get changed from scanning to
file copying from the hard drive to HD/DD PC disks and back.
                                                        - Esa Haapaniemi

        The only other software I've used with the ScanJet is the free PC
driver that comes with the machine.  The ASDG driver produces much better
quality images and has a neater appearance.  The only thing it loses on is
that the PC software has a colour previewer.
                                                        - Steve Harvey


BUGS

        I don't know if this is a bug, but when I tried the ADPro driver the
first time, the scanner screen was somewhat too low to use the rubber-band
from the lowest corners.  Also, if the resolution toggle was changed to
something other than 50 DPI in preview mode or a preview scan was done
multiple times (zoomed), the scanner jumped multiple times on the same line,
and the driver just gave garbage out.  During this, error scanning was really
slow, and ABORT/CANCEL buttons were not functioning.  A couple of days later,
everything worked as it should, and no more quirks have happened to me.
Maybe there had been some disturbing programs in the background at that time?

        One "annoying" part is in the previewer.  When the selected area is
zoomed, the numbers on scaling requesters show the place and size of the
rubber-band, but they can not be expanded beyond the screen size.  It would
be much better to be able to set the position on multiple scans without
having to go back to a fullbed scan first.
                                                        - Esa Haapaniemi

        I didn't find any bugs in the Scan_to_disk version, but I did manage
to crash it by scanning to RAM:.  But I think that was my fault.

                                                        - Steve Harvey


VENDOR SUPPORT

        The electronic addresses listed initially are taken from the
technical support section in the back of the manual, so support and
assistance is available, although as yet I've not needed them.


WARRANTY

        Unsure.  I guess if you receive a faulty disk ASDG will replace it.


CONCLUSIONS

        In my opinion, the product is really welcome on the Amiga.  It's
faster than the Mac version and allows greater resolutions.  We could get the
scanner connected to the Amiga permanently, but there are some users who
need the Mac!
                                                        - Esa Haapaniemi

        The Scan_to_disk software is excellent, as one would expect from
ASDG.  My challenge to ASDG on the improvement front is to change the
preview scan to a colour one - even if it's supported only by AGA machines.
                                                        -Steve Harvey