Puzzle The Scanned Pieces
So, let's start with the first (left) piece. As you can see in the image below, most of the pieces need to be rotated. I will start by rotating each image by choosing Image/ Image Rotation 90° CCW in the Photoshop menu.
What kind of rotation you choose depends on which direction you need to rotate the image (naturally). I'm more comfortable starting up my puzzle with the left image, so that's where I'm going to start.
When you have the first image rotated, you will need to add more "canvas" in order to place the next piece of the puzzle, right? So, let's go to Image/ Canvas Size in the Photoshop menu and create a New Size: / Width: 200% / Anchor: Left, just like I have done in the image below.
Enter percentage values and anchor as above.
We now have the first (left) piece ready, with a white canvas on the right side which is the same size as the piece of the painting. The next step is to open the second (right) piece and rotate it the way we did with the first one.
It's all about combining all the four pieces we have scanned. If there were even more pieces, there would be even more steps of adding canvas and painting pieces. We need to copy the second (right) piece and place it onto the first (left) piece.
Have the second (right) piece open and choose Select / All in the Photoshop menu, alternatively use the shortcuts if you are used to that. Next, you have to copy the image you just selected by choosing Edit / Copy.
Then paste this second (right) piece onto the first (left) piece by choosing Edit / Paste. This will create a new layer in the file. If you don't see the layer Window, just go to Window / Layers to open it.
Now, nudge and rotate the new layer in order to fit the image below. Nudge by clicking on the arrows on your keyboard and rotate by choosing Edit / Transform / Rotate in the Photoshop menu and drag the corners up and down.
If you need to move the second image way more than just nudge it, just drag it around with your mouse, using the move tool.
We now have the two pieces (left and right) correctly positioned, overlapping each other. There will still be some white canvas on the right side and there is a darker edge in the middle, as on my image below.
The ugly edge can't stay there, so we are going to remove it. Of course there are other ways to remove this edge, you can for example choose to use the Eraser Tool, or do it like I do.
I use the Rectangular Marquee Tool when I delete those edges. If you don't know how to find this tool, look at the picture below. Be sure to select the layer containing the second (right) piece, then find the Feather Tool and write 50px before you drag the marker over the darker edge.
Now, click on delete button on your keyboard or choose Edit / Clear in the Photoshop menu. So, what we have done here is: marked the dark edge with the Rectangular Marquee Tool and deleted the edge. Scanning with an overlap ensures you will get a smooth transition between the two pieces.
Choose Rectangular Marquee Tool with Feather 50px
This is how it looks when you have selected the dark edge, be sure to work in the right layer.
If the two images now look like one piece, you are ready to take the next step. As you can see, even though I tried hard to scan the painting accurately I still have more of the top area on one image.
So I can either choose to crop it or to fill in the white canvas with help of the Clone Stamp Tool. If this were a different painting I would probably choose to crop it, but this time I will add the missing part with the clone tool because it is only one color.
No, we can't just fill that area by using a single color in Photoshop, we would not have the canvas structure then. Don't worry about the crop tool now, I will show you how to do this later.
In order to make things easier for us, we need to merge those two layers into one. In order to do this, take a look at the layer window which you opened earlier (Window / Layers).
Click on the little arrow to the right and a menu will open. Here you choose the Merge Down option. Yes, you now have the first two pieces in one single layer. If you have more than two layers to merge at once, you could choose Flatten Image instead.
Merge the two layers
Now we are ready to use the Clone Stamp Tool. This is such a nice tool, you can do so many cool things with it. Take a look at the picture below. First choose the Clone Stamp Tool by clicking on it, then choose the proper Brush and leave the Opacity and Flow in 100%.
Then you place the brush right on the area you would like to clone (copy) and click with the mouse once at the same time as you hold down the alt button on your keyboard.
Now when the area is copied, you can drag or click the brush over the area you would like to fill in. You can do this over and over again until you get it right. Keep in mind: if you clone and paste too many times in one single area, it will get too blurry and you will have to do this all over again. More you practice, the easier it will be. I can do this in my sleep :).
We now have an image of the first two pieces of the painting. The image has been cloned and merged, so all we have to do is delete that white edge on the right hand side.
There are two ways to crop an image; one way is to use the Crop Tool and the other way is to use the Rectangular Marquee Tool. These two methods are similar, but I use the Rectangular Marquee Tool because I feel it's easier to control.
If you would like to use the Crop Tool, simply click on the tool, drag it from the upper left corner, down and to the right edge. Don't include that white area. Drag the squared handles on the corners to the right places if you didn't mark accurately.
Now when it's marked, click twice in the marked area to crop it. You can also click once outside the marked area and if you have done so, Photoshop will ask if you would like to crop the image, choose Crop. Look at the picture below.
Using the Crop Tool
To use the Rectangular Marquee Tool, click on the tool and drag it from the upper left corner, down and to the right edge. With the Marquee Tool it's easy to do it right the first time.
If you still need to change the selected area, go to the Photoshop menu and choose Select / Transform Selection then drag the squared handles on the corners to the desired places, then click twice in the selected area to create your new selection.
When you have selected the area accurately, go to the Photoshop menu and choose Image / Crop. Look at the final result below.
Two Puzzled Pieces
Even though, at this time, we only have half of the painting completed, we have gone through all the necessary steps to puzzle the pieces together. I want to explain a little more about how the Canvas Size Tool really works, as it is the next stage in this tutorial.
Start by choosing Image/ Canvas Size in the Photoshop menu. We need to add more canvas below the two-piece image we puzzled. Any time you would like to add more canvas to your image, always select the square on the opposite side of where you want the canvas added.
If you want to add more canvas on top of the image, choose the bottom square and if you would like to add more canvas to the bottom, choose the top square (the arrows indicate where the canvas will be added).
Play with it for a while and you will see exactly how this tool works. I need to add more canvas to the bottom of the image, so I'm going to use the settings below.
View the rest of my images below and see how I put the remaining pieces to the canvas. The steps are all the same as with the first two pieces...
I'm copying and pasting the third piece.
Nudging the third piece into place.
Erasing the dark edge.
I'm copying and pasting the fourth piece.
Now I have merged down the layers and it's time to crop the final image.
This is the completed puzzle of all four scanned pieces.
Image Contrast & Colors
When all the pieces are in place, all that is left to do is editing the colors, tones and contrasts. This probably sounds easy, but it's the hardest part when you scan your artwork.
Some scanners and Software dull down the colors, some make the colors too vibrant with too little brightness and contrast. The computer screen can never show the exact colors and brightness of your scanned image, but at least you can achieve nearly the same colors as your original.
In order to do this, you will need to play around with the Adjustment tools. In order to make things easier for you, I will tell you which tools I use. Look at your completed artwork over and over again and compare the original colors to the ones on your computer screen, adjust them until you get the right colors and hues.
This takes a lot of practice and if you are anything like me, you will not give up until it's as perfect as it can get. In the Image / Adjustments section in the Photoshop menu you will find everything you need.
There are other tools too and you can try them out, but the Adjustment section is key. In the Adjustments section I regularly use Brightness / Contrast, Levels, Vibrance, Photo Filter, Color Balance and Selective Color.
The only way you can learn to use those tools is to play with them. Make sure to save your unedited image and make a copy. By doing that, you can always go back to the unedited scan and do it all over again.
This is the unedited final scanned artwork.
This is the edited final scanned artwork, can you see the difference?
Good luck! If you have any questions and if you find some information is missing, please don't hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.