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Detecting Color Images in multi-page documents for Optimal File Conversion

by | Dec 7, 2011

Many of our customers have multi-page documents comprised of mostly black and white text pages with some images (photos, drawings, diagrams) dispersed throughout. One example of this is real estate appraisal forms containing photos of the property listed. Another related use of this technology is the insurance industry which uses Snowbound’s technology to speed the processing of damage claim forms.

A very common issue that occurs when saving files of this type is that due to the few pages that actually contain color images the entire document is saved as a color file. However it isn’t necessary, or desirable, to save the black and white text pages as color files as this makes the files much larger and therefore requires more storage space and download time to access – especially on today’s smaller mobile devices. With color document pages requiring from 1 MB to many MB storage per page versus black and white document pages taking 60 KB each, you can save as much as 8 MB per 10 page document.  Add that up over a day and that’s a lot of storage saved, a lot of transmission time saved and even a lot of user time saved because they’re not waiting for a large document.

A much better solution is to keep the text pages as black and white, and to save only the color pages as such. Snowbound accomplishes this through intelligent page-by-page processing technology – parsing and saving each page individually based upon content – all in real time.

Technically this is accomplished first by detecting if a page contains color or not. Through this innovative color-detection technology, color images are located, compressed and saved as 24-bit JPEG or TIFF files, while the text pages that are black and white only are saved alongside as 1-bit TIFF files. The TIFF format allows for each page to be saved with different compression and bit depths.

For the applications mentioned earlier, reviewing scanned documents rather than paper speeds processing time by at least a factor of two, security is increased because there is no paper to be misplaced or copied, archiving is much simpler because it’s all electronic, and, in the banking sector in particular, costs can be reduced by establishing dispersed processing centers in less expensive areas. Plus, anyone with authorization can access needed documents, wherever they might be.

The resulting files produced by this process are approximately 40-60% smaller in size with the added benefit of conversion and display times of up to 15% faster. Now, damage appraisers and others in the field, or office for that matter, such as mortgage and insurance processing professionals, can quickly access, display and share business documents with colleagues and clients to streamline claims processing, as well as enhance the selling process.