Detect Printed Documents in a Photo (Preferably Batch doing it?)

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  1. Posts : 1,277
    Windows 10
       #1

    Detect Printed Documents in a Photo (Preferably Batch doing it?)


    I recently came across few neat apps for Android phones named usually "Camera Scan to PDF" with minor variations in naming .

    The purpose of these apps are to detect if you are actually trying to take a photo of a printed document , then no matter what the angle of the camera is it would just select the document and discard the rest of the back ground then apply a distort transform algorithm to it so no matter what iffy angle you took the photo at , the captured document is still plain and flat at the end .

    It is jaw dropping but yet with minor set backs , they all insist that the end result is PDF not just an image , I know I can still convert them back to image format but through extra steps , also you can't do it to gallery photos , but just for photos that are made live by cam .

    So basically what I am asking is , are there similar apps for PC ? Preferably would they just do it to images already present on hard drive ?

    Thanks in advance .

    --Solution--

    To Save yourself a long read I found the answer to be Microsoft Office Lens distributed freely on MS Store . Sadly no batch options .

    Cheers
    Last edited by nIGHTmAYOR; 07 Jul 2020 at 18:21.
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  2. Posts : 35,564
    Win 10 Pro (21H2) (2nd PC is 21H2)
       #2

    capture2text (free) is pretty good. Not only does it a screen OCR tool in various languages, but its command line options allow file processing too.

    Capture2Text

    More:
    Free ABBYY Screenshot Reader Alternatives - AlternativeTo.net
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  3. Posts : 4,176
    Windows 10 Pro x64 Latest RP
       #3

    Due to the nature of Portable devices like phones and tablets, and PC (including laptops), the available software is variable, Most PCs can have scanners attached and items scanned to either Text (basic up to Full "word" level ), or to an image file, Once you have an Image you can do what you wish with it using lots off applications I use PDF creator as a Printer (to file) to create many PDF documents, it's free and has many controls for the output, including Text recognition or Not
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  4. Posts : 1,277
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #4

    dalchina said:
    capture2text (free) is pretty good. Not only does it a screen OCR tool in various languages, but its command line options allow file processing too.

    Capture2Text

    More:
    Free ABBYY Screenshot Reader Alternatives - AlternativeTo.net
    Not trying quite to OCR , but to rather archive tons of legal documents took by camera in a clean usable manner .
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  5. Posts : 1,277
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #5

    Barman58 said:
    Due to the nature of Portable devices like phones and tablets, and PC (including laptops), the available software is variable, Most PCs can have scanners attached and items scanned to either Text (basic up to Full "word" level ), or to an image file, Once you have an Image you can do what you wish with it using lots off applications I use PDF creator as a Printer (to file) to create many PDF documents, it's free and has many controls for the output, including Text recognition or Not
    I actually want to extract and distort transform these documents to plain forms and save them as photos (wouldnt mind if pdf even) but that is the effect I am trying to reach .
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  6. Posts : 4,176
    Windows 10 Pro x64 Latest RP
       #6

    Document photography is, unfortunately, a rather difficult and specialised task.

    To achieve any sort of reliable image generation you would require some form of fixed point of reference . there are a number of ways for using a DSLR camera to generate the image, that use a mechanical camera support holding the camera horizontally above, and parallel to a flat surface, which holds the document, often with a sheet of low reflective glass holding the document flat and in place. A scanner is one of these systems specifically for document copying that has the advantage of the moving "camera" giving a better "Flat Field Image" ( few lenses are suitable to have a sufficiently wide field of view from a distance practical for document copying.

    Of course it may be possible to set up a Phone to replace the camera using a phone holder, but you would then need specialist photo software to correct the distortions inherent in the image Companies Such as DXO and adobe. produce such software and these days are including image correction for the more popular phones.

    Image stands
    Last edited by Barman58; 07 Jul 2020 at 06:28.
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  7. Posts : 1,277
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #7

    Barman58 said:
    Document photography is, unfortunately, a rather difficult and specialised task.

    To achieve any sort of reliable image generation you would require some form of fixed point of reference . there are a number of ways for using a DSLR camera to generate the image, that use a mechanical camera support holding the camera horizontally above, and parallel to a flat surface, which holds the document, often with a sheet of low reflective glass holding the document flat and in place. A scanner is one of these systems specifically for document copying that has the advantage of the moving "camera" giving a better "Flat Field Image" ( few lenses are suitable to have a sufficiently wide field of view from a distance practical for document copying.

    Of course it may be possible to set up a Phone to replace the camera using a phone holder, but you would then need specialist photo software to correct the distortions inherent in the image Companies Such as DXO and adobe. produce such software and these days are including image correction for the more popular phones.

    Robot Check
    You really need to use Android phones more , so only to realize they grew way over these restrictions PC world like you to believe they exist .

    So while even HP (The world leading company in creating scanners) like you to believe scanners are the most professional device to capture documents , still on Android with their HP Smart app they manage to use the very same technology I discussed (Of automatically detecting , removing background , cropping and correcting angle of photo by distort transformation) then storing the image in a resolution even higher than their hardware scanners can achieve as a result of phone cameras now adays being 40 MP at least .

    But yet I am still optimistic that these algorithms would make their way to PC curtsy of developers that adopt multi-platform development of apps bringing part of these leaps to PC .
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  8. Posts : 4,176
    Windows 10 Pro x64 Latest RP
       #8

    I've used Android devices since version 1 so am fully aware of their advances and their faults, I am also a semi Pro photographer

    Phone cameras are nowhere near the quality of a real Pro DSLR camera. They have lots of pixels, but these are forced onto a tiny chip, which runs "hot", use lower optical standard fixed lenses and other components which cause inherent issues with colour, Tone and detail.

    The best way to correct distortion and incorrect framing of an image of any sort is to not introduce it at all when generating the image, so you need to Fix the position of both camera and the subject as much as is possible

    an explanation of why the megapixel count is less important in reality is here Smartphone camera sensor size is more important than more megapixels.
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  9. Posts : 1,277
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #9

    Barman58 said:
    I've used Android devices since version 1 so am fully aware of their advances and their faults, I am also a semi Pro photographer

    Phone cameras are nowhere near the quality of a real Pro DSLR camera. They have lots of pixels, but these are forced onto a tiny chip, which runs "hot", use lower optical standard fixed lenses and other components which cause inherent issues with colour, Tone and detail.

    The best way to correct distortion and incorrect framing of an image of any sort is to not introduce it at all when generating the image, so you need to Fix the position of both camera and the subject as much as is possible

    an explanation of why the megapixel count is less important in reality is here Smartphone camera sensor size is more important than more megapixels.
    Honestly if you come to think of it , I am all pleased with the quality of photos I have in hand where at the end of the day print quality is never even close to either high professional dpi or loose quality one , so maintaining accuracy to the pixel level is not the issue .

    What I am looking for here is what is already quite achievable on Android mobiles which was discussed earlier and all I was hoping for was to find it on PC .

    Another thing if I am to just take out the phone and take an angled photo of a document in 2 seconds then an algorithm do all the iffy work of cleaning it to reach near professional scan level at the loss of pixel perfection vs designing a rig to do that at no loss of pixel , I am all in for first option .

    This isn't like I am trying to forge documents but to fast scan them because sometimes a scanner / copier can take up your life .
    Last edited by nIGHTmAYOR; 07 Jul 2020 at 08:49.
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  10. Posts : 1,277
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #10

    Funny I just found out while I am digging deep that its not just HP who released something like that on Android , Microsoft did too !

    Its called Microsoft Office Lens - PDF Scanner and people are just complaining that Microsoft one crops and adjust documents regarding to text not paper edges like the rest of the bunch do , which might lead it to sometime crop and adjust where text ends on a paper .

    So how come they release a thing like that on Android and skip their own platform !

    --Update--

    Wow cool , the deeper I dig , so Office lens is released on Microsoft store !

    This kind of settles it . thanks everybody , out to test the bugger .
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