User avatar
intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Wed Apr 08, 2020 8:52 pm

I got ahold of a very minty hand scanner made by MiGraph last year, but only just started to finally fool around with it.

Turns out the company that made the scanner was located just a few miles from my home here in Seattle. It was originally released in 1989, but the version I received was produced in July of 1990. In fact the scanner software inside the box, a surprisingly full-featured software package called Touch Up, actually had been registered by a previous owner. As a result they received an upgrade disk, which was still sealed in the box when I got it. The official upgrade disk was dated - I kid you not - March 19, 1995, almost exactly 25 years ago.
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The scanner came in a stunningly large box for such a relatively small device.

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Remember how in the early 1990s the US used to label all kinds of hardware as non-exportable? Like, we didn't want our enemies to use certain tech. IIRC, this included certain computers and even game consoles. Apparently hand scanners were added to the list!


In order to use the scanner you have to plug a very bizarre device called a "cartridge interface" into your parallel port. The device was originally designed for the 500/2000, so when I tried to plug it into my A3000 it was mis-aligned by a few millimeters vertically.
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So close!


As a result I had to buy a freaking parallel cable! I feel like I couldn't give those damn things away 10 years ago, and lo and behold now I needed one. Oh well. Eight bucks later, one arrived one my doorstep.

The cartridge interface has 3 ports. One connects to the parallel port, another into the hand scanner's cable, and a 3rd for its own power supply.
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Don't you just miss piles of criss-crossing wires all over your desk?


Once you get that all set up, it's time to quickly install Touch Up to your Amiga's hard drive. All you have to do is simply drag and drop a folder from the floppy to your drive, voila! Next you want to get familiar with the switches and buttons on the hand scanner. There are only a few so it's pretty quick.
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As seen on the left side of the scanner. "Letter' would be if you wanted to scan documents. This was kind of like the home computer version of faxing, or quick and dirty duplicates of receipts and whatnot. "Photo" can get you much finer detail grayscale images with very interesting dithering options.

I'm still only just getting started, so I have much to learn about getting precisely the type of scans that I want. But I have to say - right out of the box I'm really impressed with this thing. I'll probably scan a few of my favorite things nearby and stick them on a future art disk as well. Check out Alias, from my copy of Curse of the Azure Bonds. <3
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This was the first scan I did after fiddling with the scanner and software settings for a while.

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YOu can see the scanner on top of the SSI Gold Box D&D game in the foreground, and her face on the A3000's screen. It really blows things up at the resolution I'm at right now (300dpi).

Attachments
IMG_0645.jpg
Incidentally, here's the same scan as seen within Deluxe Paint. The image is so wide you're only seeing about 25% of it!


User avatar
McTrinsic

Posted Wed Apr 08, 2020 11:43 pm

I love these kind of retro-reviews.
They show how far you could get with relative simple technology- by nowadays standards, that is.
On the other hand it shows how much effort you needed to put into things that are currently very easily available. Who scans in private environments these days? Take a pic with your smartphone...

And no I really don’t miss that cable clutter. I despise cables.

User avatar
grshaw

Posted Thu Apr 09, 2020 1:19 am

I love the pixelated look it gives on that scan of “The Curse Of The Azure Bond”.

All those cables are not a part retro computing that I feel any fondness for. :D

Nice article! :D

User avatar
BloodyCactus
Lexington VA
Website

Posted Thu Apr 09, 2020 5:06 am

I hated hand scanners...

you went too fast..

too slow.

you crooked it!

so painful.

best of luck with it :) keep a steady hand as she goes

User avatar
intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Fri Apr 10, 2020 2:11 pm

@bloodyCactus, my particular hand scanner and software really seems like a breeze. The dithering patterns are a total trip, too.

Maybe it's because I'm on an A3000 with 16MB +2MB chip, but it scans as fast as I move my hands. It's really remarkable. I just need to learn how to pre-determine the scanning size I want to generate. Right now it's creating hi-res landscape strips, and I want to do more vertical, narrow scans.

Anyway, here is another scan I did last night. I'm tempted to eventually take all of these and create a "Solid Gold Box Dancers" montage. :D
EVNX-W_VAAEH7T0.jpg
EVNX-W2U0AAgNxT.jpg
EVNX-XiUMAAoUKX.jpg

User avatar
walldog

Posted Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:27 am

intric8 wrote:
Fri Apr 10, 2020 2:11 pm
@bloodyCactus, my particular hand scanner and software really seems like a breeze. The dithering patterns are a total trip, too.

Maybe it's because I'm on an A3000 with 16MB +2MB chip, but it scans as fast as I move my hands. It's really remarkable. I just need to learn how to pre-determine the scanning size I want to generate. Right now it's creating hi-res landscape strips, and I want to do more vertical, narrow scans.

Anyway, here is another scan I did last night. I'm tempted to eventually take all of these and create a "Solid Gold Box Dancers" montage. :D

EVNX-W_VAAEH7T0.jpgEVNX-W2U0AAgNxT.jpg
EVNX-XiUMAAoUKX.jpg
Picture is so cool.. Could you then move into dpaint to color or mod it? Did they have color scanners for Amiga back in day? cool stuff

User avatar
intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:38 am

walldog: Could you then move into dpaint to color or mod it?
Yes. You just save off the file, which is natively IFF format. Once you open the file in Deluxe Paint it resets your screen's resolution to the pictures, which in this case is 1024 x ? x 2 colors. I don't remember the height but it was like 100 or something like that. That's a part of this I need to figure out.
Did they have color scanners for Amiga back in day?
This same company apparently made a color version in 1993 as well, but I've not been able to track one down yet. I'd be surprised if they were the only one, but I honestly don't know.

User avatar
servaisseba

Posted Mon Apr 27, 2020 10:46 am

Hello,
I just acquired 2 scans but there was no software with it.
Would it be possible to have the Touch-Up adf file?
thank you in advance





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