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For people new to scanning. There is a good Silverfast tutorial that I just ran across in Luminous Landscape by Mark Segal. I agree with all his points for scanning color negs except his using of the ProPhoto color space which I feel creates more problems tnan it solves. Stick to Adobe98 unless you really know what you are doing.
Nice, quick overview. I would only add, to reinforce Kirk's point, that ProPhoto is such a vast color space that it can creat more problems than it solves even when you do know what you are doing. Note also that the tutorial is based on Silverfast Studio, which both Kirk and I use, and that Studio is an upgrade from the standard Silverfast Ai. Finally, remember that Silverfast software is scanner specific so not all of the options you see in the tutorial may be available on your scanner.
As a note, if you are using the Studio upgrade you might want to try the auto contrast optimization. I sometimes find it useful.
Kirk-----a question please------------if your scanning a color neg or for that matter, a tranny or bw neg or a print, why would you go thru a softwear program such as Silverfast, when you could drop whatever your scanning into Ps cs2 & do what ever there, (in PS)??????
It seems to me that there is a redundancy in the softwear programs whether it be Epson's or Canon's, etc & isn't PS supposed to be the premier editing program? I'm missing something, I'm afraid.
Because some major adjustments of the image are better made at the scanning (sampling) stage. These adjustments are usually major adjustments of color, density and contrast. Scanned files are not an unlimited resource in these areas and a good scan puts the file in the ballpark of what you want the final image to look like. This allows you to do final adjustments in PS without generating allot of obvious artifacts.
I learned this the hard way. Many of my final images have a alot of midtone contrast. I used to just make generic flat scans, but when I applied a steep midtone curve to get my contrast I would generate allot of noise in the tonal transition area from the stretching of the tonalities. This was particularly true in cloudy skies where I wanted allot of drama.
By applying a ballpark steep curve to the image in the scanning/sampling stage, less stretching is necessary in the PS final adjustments and fewer artifacts are generated.
Raymond, an additional point that Kirk alluded to ..... setting the white and black points. If you do not carefully evaluate this before you make your scan you run the risk of losing information that, once eliminated from the scan,cannot be recaptured in PS. Specifically, shadow detail and determining where to set the white point.
I completely agree with Ted on that.
" By applying a ballpark steep curve to the image in the scanning/sampling stage, less stretching is necessary in the PS final adjustments and fewer artifacts are generated."
I may misunderstand your terminology here; black and white point setting are done in the sampling stage, but my understanding is that the application of curves is done post-scanning, even if performed by the scanner software. In essence, scanning software such as Silverfast have two components: a driver that tells the hardware what to do, and a purely software part that's done after the sensor has captured the data. It is my belief and contention that the application of tonal and color correction curves is in the purely software, post-scanning part, and as such could be left to be performed in Photoshop. Performing this task in the scanner or in Photoshop is a matter of personal preference and convenience, unless the scanner software is superior to Photoshop for this task, which is doubtful. See Real World Scanning and Half-Tones by Blatnet at al., or Photoshop Master Class by John Paul Caponigro. Actually, my opinion is based on my personal experience, which happens to agree with the books mentioned. My scanner is an Imacon 848, which has great software (no surprise funny artifacts!), though some people don't like the user interface.
On the other hand, stressing Ted's point one more time, it is absolutely crucial to set the black and white points carefully.
I suspect though that my disagreement with you comes from my not understanding your terminology.
I think you do understand me actually. I suggest you try it. It works much better to do major moves close to what you want in the final print in a good scanning software and fine tune in PS. I don't know why this is, though I have some ideas. But it works. I found this out thru much experience. I also use Imacons regularly, 848's in Chicago when I teach and a 949 here in New Mexico. The problem is less with Imacon and drum scans than with the newer flatbeds, but it still exists. Why it is less with higher end scanners I do not know, but I think it has to do with less noise generated to begin with in higher quality scans and therefore less noise to accentuate in major PS adjustments. Understand that between my exhibits, books and commercial work that I do a couple of hundred scans a month. I have a ton of experience with this. I have also discussed this problem with Caponigro and George DeWolf, both friends of mine. Their personal techniques involve less saturated colors and softer tones. That aesthetic does not stretch the transition areas to the same extent and the problem is less evident.
Thanks for the clarifications. Have you tried to do tonal corrections in 2 steps in Photoshop ? One to get you to the ball park, the other to fine tune ? How does that compare with the 2 methods mentioned earlier ?
Also how sensitive are your in-sampling tonal correction curves to the final output media ? Do you ever find yourself using different in-sampling tonal curves for different media, or is is the case that the 2nd tonal correction curve (in Photoshop) can deal with the differences in media ?
Yes I have tried the first and found it didn't work as well as what I have suggested. But I don't understand your second point unless you mean by media the final print media? Like a fine art paper vs. luster? Matt papers do mask some artifacts to some degree because of dot gain I guess, but to a discriminating printer there is no substitute for doing an image right for any media.
Once in a while, I find it necessary to use different (PS) curves for different paper for optimal quality (different DMAX, different color rendition). I was wondering if you ever need to use different in-sampling curves to adjust for different output media. I suspect not, I suspect that any media-specific adjustment can be dealt with in post-processing in Photoshop, but would like to hear your confirmation.
Or is it the case that you process the same way (using exactly the same curves for a given image) for all output media ? If so then my question is moot.
I guess not. What I am trying to do in SF is get the curve in the ballpark (usually a hair low in contrast) of what I want in the final print, so that all my adjustments in PS fall within the "latitude" of the file I have established. It is similar with clipping points. I want them set close to what I want, but I leave a little room for final adjustment in PS. Does that make sense? I don't try to get it perfect in the scan-just close. Then in PS I set up level and curve adjustment layers to fine tune the files for specific media.
I'd never recommend Pro Photo as a colorspace to scan with.it is much too large
Much, much better is "EktaSpace, JHolmes PS5" , created by Joseph Holmes, (available as a free download at http://www.josephholmes.com/profiles) (and read the PDf that comes withthe download!) Ekta Space and Holmes' Ektachrome spac are workspaces ceated to just barely capture al lofthe color gamut and contrast range modern E-6 transparency films are capable of recording -- a smaller ballpark than the huge Pro Photo Space but larger than Adobe RGB (1998). Using Adobe RGB(1998) can clip colors recorded on transparency film. I am not sure if Adobe RGB (1998) clipping is an issue for color negative films becasue I have shot very little color negative material. Still, Ekta Space would be a safer bet.
Like Kirk, I also use Ai6 Studio with my Nikon and Epson scanners.
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