Tuesday, 14 July 2015

perfecapture3: Five Years of Incremental Innovation

Release of PFC3 for the xcanex bookscanner

Faster, better scan quality, intelligent new features, smoother operation, increased efficiency and more robust than ever

 The new perfecapture3 
Building a good book scanner is so much tougher than we thought – and maybe that’s why book scanners today are either too expensive or not very useful. Some problems we face seem impossible to have answers but we know there is simply no shortcut – again and again we must study, think, create and experiment. Supposedly hours of work stretch into days, days into weeks, and weeks into months just because a desired result stubbornly avoids realization. We carry on because our mission is to create the world’s best book scanner for the masses and not anything less. To compromise is to defeat the purpose. So is the goal reached? We await your answer.

Cut the crap and give it to me

Ad-hoc footage of PFC3 undergoing final tests

Summary of changes (from v2.114)

Twice the capture speed: Added intelligence and faster autofocus reduced capture time from 6 to 3 seconds (We define ‘capture time’ as the time a page is set for capture until it’s done and can be flipped). Structural optimizations at the core of the PFC3 created the smoothest operation we’ve ever seen when scanning in large volumes.

Ultraflat text: Many page flattening algorithms produce slight waviness in text sentences after processing but we cannot settle for that. We demand scans that appear indistinguishable from flatbed scans. The new Flatpage v3.0 algorithm now analyzes page content, measures remaining waviness and makes critical adjustments to produce the finest looking paragraphs ever from a platen-less book scanning system.

Hardcover book mode: Automatic cropping and digital page flattening of hardcovers (or hardbacks) are tough jobs for software algorithms. Most scanning apps require either manual adjustments or book inserts to produce good scans. A breakthrough in our Enhanced Edge Detection algorithm changed that – any hardcover can now be scanned as easy as a paperback.

xcanex with buddies: The mountain of books used to evaluate the PFC3

PerfectPage Technology: Even after typical digital corrections to book curvature, scans made without using cumbersome book clamps/platens and without any manual post-scan corrections still suffer inherent inferiority due to distortions caused by content shifts, page dents and twists. That’s why all those manual work, clamps and platens still prevail despite the suffering they bring to people. So we cracked our brains and created PerfectPage - it works in conjunction with Flatpage and intelligently performs content centering (i.e. intelligent means it shouldn’t center what’s not supposed to be at the center) and uncompromisingly eliminates all those stubborn distortions. PerfectPage + FlatPage technologies = no more platens and manual work.

Inferior no more

10x reduction in hard disk space requirement: Thanks to advanced data compression methods, it now requires less than 5GB of hard disk space to scan 500 pages at one go. This is a big relief for smaller solid state drives.

A better automatic capture mode: Ever felt that the Timer capture mode (TC) is too demanding and the Auto capture (AC) is too sluggish? The problem with TC is that it doesn’t wait for you and the drawback of AC is that you have to wait for it. So we decided to improve the AC mode to capture instantly when you’re ready but pauses when a page is being flipped or when the book is slightly shifted out of the scan area. Learn more about it here.

Improved finger image removal: We realized that quite a lot of finger images were not automatically removed on scans of certain books. It took us a while to figure out that the culprits were page dents (due to finger pressure on softer paper) and extreme coloration (caused by paper aging). Adding intelligence to tackle them wasn’t easy, but we succeeded and the occurrence of unremoved finger image is now less than 1% (typical) on these books.

Tweaked user interface: Visual aids were added to tell users exactly when capture happens so that the page can be flipped in preparation for the next capture. The confusing capture mode icon (A/M and T/M) is now more intuitive and we got rid of that irritating translucent band jitter in the preview. The PFC3 also allows you to scroll through your scans by just clicking on any thumbnail and then tapping the up or down arrow keys.

Well that’s about it. If you have pre-installed perfecapture on your PC, just download and run the patch and it will be upgraded to PFC3 within a minute. Download the patch or full installer here.

We want to hear from you. Let us know your thoughts about PFC3 by writing to us at yourfriend@piqximaging.com or via our contact form.

piQx Team


  1. How can I update if my product has no serial number sticker and is registered as ????????????????? because no sticker was put on it?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. For the benefit of other readers, we've communicated with Laine T and found out that the serial number was actually concealed by the scanner stand :-)


  4. How do you scan pages larger than A4 but less than A3?

  5. That depends on the exact page size - the xcanex is able to scan pages slightly larger than A4. Using the single page mode, we managed to get pretty decent results with 12x9 inch pages. We know of some users who elevate the xcanex by a couple of inches to scan larger than that, but bear in mind that the further the camera is from the document, the lower the scan resolution will be.

  6. Are there any videos showing it scanning magazines? I'm especially interested in seeing how it would cope with a mixture of heavily stylised text and images, typical of most gaming magazines of the 1990s.