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Communications Design Industry Discussion, Inspiration, & Tutorials

Jul 2, 2012

Tutorial: Salvage a Signature in Photoshop

I got a printed scan of our signature on my desk this morning. This sheet of paper looked terrible, but it was all I had so I needed to make it work. Here’s the quick and dirty on how to make salvage a low quality printed signature for digital use.

  1. Rescan the image and set the output to TIFF or other image file type. Be sure to select the highest resolution setting. This will yield a lot of artifacts on the image but you can remove them pretty easily. 
  2. Open the file in Photoshop, and crop it; removing all excess white space around your work area.
  3. Go to the layers panel and create a new layer filled with white. Move this layer below your working layer and reselect the top layer. 

 Now, let’s get to work! 

First: Increase contrast. Go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast. With Preview on, move the brightness slider down to around -150 and increase contrast to 100. You may need to repeat this once more before you continue. Eyeball it, then hit OK.

 

Next: Zoom in on a section of the signature—I chose 200% for this one—and select the Lasso tool. Then: Start with a small area, and select stray pixel artifacts surrounding the main letterforms.


Hold down Command + X (Mac) or Ctrl + X(Windows) to remove the pixels.





Repeat. Make sure that you zoom out to 100% every-so-often to be sure the right pixels have been removed.


 Final Clean up

  1. Merge down layers. In the Layers panel select your top layer and select merge down from the dropdown.
  2. Increase contrast. Go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast. With Preview on, move the brightness slider down to -150 and increase contrast to 100. Do this only once! . Then hit OK.
  3. Save it. Select File > Save As>

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