Use a flatbed scanner as a camera

HomerI can’t remember where I first saw it, but a long time ago I came across an article that suggested putting that old flatbed scanner to use as a camera to take interesting pictures of three dimensional objects. Doing a quick Google search turns up tons of hits on the subject but the best name I found for it is Scanography.

It seems to work better with objects that have some real depth. Unfortunately, my scanner is pretty old and despite cleaning the bed before using it, it seems there is dust inside. Oh well, it was cheap. You could easily clean that up in Photoshop.

The other benefit of this method is that you get really nice, even lighting on objects that may be difficult to photograph. You also can get some crazy reflections on mirrored surfaces.

Here’s a look at my setup:

How it's done

My examples below were done with the lid completely up in a normally lit room during late afternoon. I didn’t have any direct light on the scanner and it seemed to have such a short depth of field that everything a foot or two from the scanner reads as black to the scanner.

Here’s a few things I had laying around that turned out decent:

Timex Sinclair 1000

Fat Bastard


Lomo Fisheye

circuit board

Sometimes it’s just fun to play so grab some stuff and throw it on your scanner!

One Comment

  1. Peter says:

    That sound card looks great, can’t believe it’s a scanner. I see stock photos coming off that thing ;)

%d bloggers like this: