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Remove page color from scan of antique book?

New Here ,
Jan 13, 2018 Jan 13, 2018

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Hello! I'm a bookbinder, and I do a lot of work with facsimile copies of old books. Sometimes I can only find color scans of them, and when I print greyscale or b/w the page color comes out light grey. I'm trying to learn my way around Acrobat, as I figure it has the solution to my problems, but I'm lost.

book page.png

(fig.1, example page)

I've been tinkering with Preflight to examine the document, and it shows me that the page color is a separate image on each page (fig.2).

different layers.png

(fig.2, separate page images)

When I click on the second RGB image, or the Black image, I get what I want left behind (fig.3).

isolated layer.png

(fig.3, what I want to get as a result)

For the life of me, I can't figure out how to make Preflight keep just that page image (the second RGB, or Black, which is the same as shown in fig.3). I've also noticed that the three images are also different color spaces (fig.4).

color spaces.png

(fig.4, images as color spaces)

I've tried eliminating color spaces to get the results I want (second DeviceRGB or DeviceGray), but again no luck. I've tried creating my own fixups using color spaces, page images, page contents ... I just can't get it to work. I'm hoping that I simply don't understand Preflight enough, and not that I can't get it to do what I want.

Any help an expert can provide would be incredibly appreciated!

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Contributor , Jan 13, 2018 Jan 13, 2018

I messed around with Acrobat for quite a while and I still think that Acrobat is one of the worst programs I have ever used.

What I finally did was this:

  • In Photoshop, I opened the PDF 100 pages at a time
  • I found a representative page in the list
  • Opened my actions panel
  • created a new Action
  • Started recording
  • Adjusted the image using threshold
  • Adjusted the image with unsharp mask
  • Stopped the recording
  • Opened the Automate - > Batch menu
  • Applied the action to all open windows
  • Opened the Automat -> create PDF P
...

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Contributor ,
Jan 13, 2018 Jan 13, 2018

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Can you upload a sample pdf with a handful of pages so we can check a couple of things? It might be as simple as going to your links panel and deleting the images for printing then don't save it. Or perhaps you could select all of the background images and set transparency to 0? If its the same background on every page, it might be part of a template where you can just modify it once and it will solve the problems. So many possibilities that are hard to discern without a copy to look at directly.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 25, 2023 Feb 25, 2023

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Hello, I face the same question. On some pages, 'Enhance-Camera Image' works quite well. All I need is just to make the whole page clear, so how to adjust the border to the whole page since manually it will NEVER be exact?

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New Here ,
Jan 13, 2018 Jan 13, 2018

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Sure! Here's a GDrive link to the one I'm working on that's shown in the example figures.  Let me know if that doesn't work—is there a way to directly attach a file to a post? I don't see one if so.

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Contributor ,
Jan 13, 2018 Jan 13, 2018

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I messed around with Acrobat for quite a while and I still think that Acrobat is one of the worst programs I have ever used.

What I finally did was this:

  • In Photoshop, I opened the PDF 100 pages at a time
  • I found a representative page in the list
  • Opened my actions panel
  • created a new Action
  • Started recording
  • Adjusted the image using threshold
  • Adjusted the image with unsharp mask
  • Stopped the recording
  • Opened the Automate - > Batch menu
  • Applied the action to all open windows
  • Opened the Automat -> create PDF Presentation
  • and generated a new file with printable images.
  • I'll post back a link to some sample pages. Took about 10 minutes for the entire book--super easy.

Hope this helps and that is' good enough quality.

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New Here ,
Jan 13, 2018 Jan 13, 2018

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That looks great! Thanks a bunch. I was thinking that Photoshop might have been part of the equation.

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Contributor ,
Jan 13, 2018 Jan 13, 2018

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I can't figure out how to link you to my document cloud on Adobe--so disappointed with all of this.

Here is a link to my Google Drive file...I did this quickly, you will have much more control over quality.

http://bit.ly/2DruLqV

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Community Expert ,
Feb 25, 2023 Feb 25, 2023

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Well, I think this makes it  clear that Adobe Acrobat Pro is a PDF editing software that specializes in PDF editing; it is not a graphical image manipulation program.

 

Trying to edit an entire book's images with Acrobat Pro and expecting that it will be done is like expecting a vehicle repair mechanic to fix a BMW engine with a frying pan, a wooden spatula and a butter knife.

 

I'm not sure why so many users (including myslef when I joined the forums) can't see yet the very clear difference and purpose of each software.

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