RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on Jan 1st 2000 at 12:00:00 AM by (NES_Rules)
Posted under Submissions, Help, Guide, Tips, Tricks, Images, Scans

As a staff member for about 8 months and a member of this site for about 2 and a half years, I've made many submissions, over 4,000 of them actually and have approved nearly 6,000 submissions, so I wanted to use my knowledge and "expertise" of the submissions process to help out the rest of the community here at RFGeneration. Obviously, there is no shortage of members willing to contribute (I would never have gotten anywhere near 6,000 approvals without a steady supply of submissions to approve) but hopefully with the help of these little guides, the time it takes members to get those submissions will be a little quicker allowing them to spend more time gaming (or whatever else you want to do). Or if your one of the few who hasn't submitted anything, maybe this will show you just how easy and rewarding the process is.

So, I'd like to start out with one of the simplest things to do, but one of the harder ones to master. This type of submission also happens to be the first type I started doing and is what got me interested in helping to contribute to the DB. I'm talking about scans, scans of games, scans of boxes and cases, and scans of manuals.

Now, the first thing you are going to need is a suitable scanner. It doesn't need to be a top of the line multi-million dollar piece of equipment as any scanner will do really. You can a very nice flatbed scanner for under $50 new, or you can check out your local Craigslist or garage sales and flea markets and pick up one that's a couple years old for under $10. I happen to use a HP PSC-950 All in One that came out in 2001 and it still has very good looking scans despite being 8 years old. So, yeah, just about any scanner that you can find that works will be good enough. Which brings me to the first tip: make sure the glass is clean if you buy a new one it should be spotless already, but a quick wash with some Windex won't hurt it and it's probably necessary if you buy it used. I also give the glass a quick wipe down to clear off any dust each time I do scanning. This is crucial because any spec of dirt on the scanner is going to show up on everything you scan. It's not the end of the world, but it's a needless imperfection on what could otherwise be a perfect looking scan.

Now, that you've got your scanner ready (hooked up as well, most are USB and you know how that works), what I did was I added a folder I called "Scans for RFG" to the 'My Pictures' folder. Inside that folder are two more folders, "Edited' and "Unedited". I set my scanner to automatically place all scans directly into the "Unedited" folder. The "Edited" folder has another folder inside labeled "Sent In"This is one of those things that is not necessary, but it keeps everything organized and will save you many headaches in the future. Obviously, you can name your folders whatever you want, but the point is to set up a system that you are comfortable with that helps you stay organized.

Now, that you've got the prep work done, you're ready to start scanning. The first thing you need to do is place the item you want to scan on the bed of the scanner. Most scanners have a little diagram that suggests what corner to place objects in, but I've found for things like N64 games that have rounded edges, any side of the scanner is fine. But be careful because some scanners (like mine) tend to cut off stuff places along one edge, so once you find out which edge that is, try to avoid placing stuff against it. Now the item is on the bed, if it's something like a manual, close the lid on the scanner and place some pressure on it to push all edges down firmly to get the best possible scan. Other things like boxes and cartridges do not allow you to close the lid, so I place I white piece of paper over it. This isn't really necessary if what you're scanning is a bright color, but you'll see why later why it's necessary for black or dark objects. Also, discs look much nicer with the white background of a sheet of paper than the black background they get if you don't cover them.

Now that you've got what you want to scan on the scanner, the next step is getting the image onto your computer.

The simplest way I have found to scan images is to skip the process of using the "import from scanner" functions of most photo editing software and instead use the scanner directly. This is done by going to "My Computer" and then selecting your Scanner. This brings up the "Scanner and Camera Wizard." The first screen just tells you what device you're using so, click the Next button. Next are your scanning preferences, always use the "color picture" selection and then click the Next button. On the next page you can choose a name for the image you're about to scan, but I generally just leave to the default as "PictureXX". You can also choose the image type, again, I leave it the default JPG, which is the format required for the Database here at RFGen. Finally, on this page you can select the location the image to be scanned will be placed. This is how you select the folder you made earlier as the default location, just browse through your folders until you find it and OK and then Next. The location you select now will stay the default until you change it again. Now you'll want to go with the default option of "Nothing, I'm finished with these pictures" and then select Next. And then hit Finish on the next screen.
When you hit finish, the folder you selected for the images to go into pops up and you can now open them and do what you want with them. But, if you've got more than one scan to do at this point, you don't want to do anything with it yet. Just move this window so it's mostly off this screen (if you close or minimize it, it will just keep coming up after you Finish each scan. Now this is a tip that will save you a lot of time, when you go back to your My Computer to go through the scanner wizard again, leave the mouse in the spot where the scanner icon is and just use your "Enter" key to go to the next screen. If you're using a laptop like I do, it's even easier because the mouse doesn't move when you click, you can just click the laptop and hit the Enter key to do it all without a thought or movement of the mouse. Once you get the hang of it, it greatly speeds up the process. I can generally do a full set of scans (game, front of box, back of box, and manual) within a couple minutes.

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well said, you should make a series of guides like these. you didn't get to editing yet so maybe you'll mention it when you do, but i highly recommend editing with GIMP. it's free and the ability to freely rotate selections/whole images, and adjust the perspective angle (for photos of big extras from special editions or extra media) really helps a ton.

also for anyone with a new-ish Epson scanner they should come with a little scan program that makes it really easy, once you have the settings the way you want them you only have to hit one button each time you do a new scan and it saves the settings even after closing. i'm sure other brands have something similar too but that's what i'm familiar with.
A tip some of you might not have considered when scanning clear cased games is to find the best case in your collection and use it to scan the rest of the games with identical cases. This means you'll be juggling a lot of instruction manuals and cover papers, but it results in a lesser chance that your work will be replaced with a better specimen sometime in the future.

Remember that not all cases are identical, even for the same system. So it's important to pay attention to differences, even small ones, to maintain accuracy for each item.

I use IrfanView on Windows to scan, crop and resize scans.
I've only done a few (like 250) submissions in my year ish here but I've always found that using a digital camera works well for me. I keep the boxes/discs etc in a well lit area and keep the flash on the camera off. Then I crop and resize my images with MS Paint (no lie) before I'm through. I know maybe I haven't submitted triple A pics but 99% of the games I've submitted for never had a pic to begin with.

So I'm, tryin...
On an unrelated note, did anyone hear about the possible "re-distribution" of Earthbound? Anyone else as excited as I am?

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