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Thread: Best tutorial for color negative scanning

  1. #21

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    Jul 2012
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    Re: Best tutorial for color negative scanning

    I still recommend Alex Burke's tutorial to the OP as they have stated that they are new to C-41 and maybe aren't ready to be concerned with "a non color managed gamma 1.8 choice" and presumably don't have a drum scanner sitting on their desk. I admire Burke's photos (https://www.flickr.com/photos/alexburke/) and the tutorial certainly helped me improve my scans.

  2. #22

    Re: Best tutorial for color negative scanning

    devb - it's even more confusing if you follow his steps because he presents his images in Adobe RGB, not the standard sRGB web space. And yes, color management is even more important for scanning color negs than transparencies because you're relying so much on what you see in the scanning software. If you're not seeing what you think you are, it'll only confuse you down the road, or at the very least, lead to unpredictable results. And, of course, his posted example with its layer masks, did have clipped highlights in it. Oh well.

  3. #23

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    Re: Best tutorial for color negative scanning

    Technical deficiencies aside, it's still a good introduction to the adjustments available in Epson Scan and some things to pay attention to. With any luck OP won't just follow the directions exactly every time without changing anything

  4. #24
    SE Penna.
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    Re: Best tutorial for color negative scanning

    Good info and discussion, thanks for all the comments. I can see the benefit of using a color checker for color negative work. One take away for me is that there is un-needed information in the film mask. Getting rid of it without clipping can be a challenge. Then comes the question of the colors themselves, after the mask has been dealt with, and clipping avoided.

  5. #25

    Re: Best tutorial for color negative scanning

    A color checker can be of some help, but more so if you've got a scene where the checker would actually appear to be neutral, which most "scenic" scenes are not. It still gets back to the scanner operator's facility in digital imaging basics - really understanding the purpose of setting black and white points and importantly, to know when and how to deviate from neutral. Once you understand basic color correction and understand how to interpret pixel values, you don't really need the color checker anymore. My first response here was answering whether hardware/software combinations mattered, and they do indeed, but I'm more interested in helping people understand the basics of imaging, which aren't all that basic sometimes. The best books for really understanding the nuts and bolts - and once you understand them you'll be able to extract the most out of ANY software you happen to be stuck with - have always been the ones by Margulis. The single best thing I've read in 22+ years of this digital imaging crap is his book The Canyon Conundrum, Photoshop Lab Space. More "aha" moments and lightbulbs going off in the first few chapters than in all the other books combined, but this is a book only for those looking for excellence in what they do. It will challenge you and make you think, but you'll be far better off for it. The early Real World Ps books were good back in the day, helping to understand HOW Ps works - how the tools work and how things interact, but successive versions got less and less useful, often with as much as eighty percent carryover from the previous version.

  6. #26
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Best tutorial for color negative scanning

    I agree about Margulis, especially the LAB book. I spent a few years doing interior retouching and color matching for Gulfstream Aerospace, and Dan's book was a huge help.
    "Why can't we all just get along?" President Dale, Mars Attacks

  7. #27

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    Re: Best tutorial for color negative scanning

    Quote Originally Posted by 1erCru View Post
    I bit the bullet and upgraded to Silverfast AI Studio 8. I received a copy of Silverfast SE Plus with my Epson V850. For color negative scanning I was pleased but not completely satisfied. I read up on AI studio and saw that it offered auto IT8 color calibration which SE Plus did not have. I also received an Xrite 4x5 calibration slide with the v850. The upgrade was $70.

    I upgraded to AI Studio, calibrated and everything looks better. I'm satisfied. You can also edit the Negafix profiles in AI Studio. This could all be done by hand but I be worried about efficiency and consistency. It feels like a color calibrated profile system will save hundreds of hours of second guessing. I'd just buy the software. I'd rather focus on taking pictures and printing.
    I found no difference after calibrating V850, I think it comes sRGB well calibrated. As illumination is LED it then won't change over time, IMHO for this reason now they don't include calibration targets, with V750 it was included, but it was cold cathode.

  8. #28

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    Re: Best tutorial for color negative scanning

    A while ago I did a comparison of different targets and scanners. Only two data points, but it seems that cold cathode is better than cheap LED.

    https://sites.google.com/site/negfix/metamerism

  9. #29
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Best tutorial for color negative scanning

    Yeah, leds are not a panacea.
    "Why can't we all just get along?" President Dale, Mars Attacks

  10. #30

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    Re: Best tutorial for color negative scanning

    This is what I have learned over the years of scanning color negatives on a variety of hardware from high-end drum scanners to high-end flatbeds to Coolscan

    * There is no one button click solution as each frame requires its own interpretation (or in some cases more than one)
    * Scanners "see" color negatives just as humans do on a light table, the rest is done by the algorithms embedded into the scanners software. The algorithms work better for some images than for others but they are almost never perfect(regardless of names)
    * Beside the difference in optical resolution and flare induced issues it is often possible to obtain "equally" good results from a color negative scanned on any scanner suitable for scanning film
    * On a drum scanner - always wet-mount your film. Not so important with CCD scanners with no-glass carriers or with ANR glass.
    * It is important to have the scanner properly calibrated and profiled (using transparency targets)
    * Scan as a positive
    -- Use the correct input color profile
    -- Set the output color space as either LAB (if your scanner software supports it) or Prophoto RGB
    -- Disable all auto-enhancememts or corrections in the scanner software
    -- Carefully set the endpoints so there is absolutely no clipping in any of the channels (use probes or eye-dropper tool)
    -- Sharpening off
    -- Max optical
    -- Always output to 16-bit TIF files (I have never tried 8-bit for color negs due to amount of data manipulation required in after scanning phase)
    * Bring a copy of the scanned image into Photoshop
    -- Invert
    -- If in LAB place 3 adjustment Curve layers on top of the base layer, one for each L, a and b channels.
    --- Use L for fine-tuning the luminosity range (endpoints) as well as initial contrast.
    --- Use a and b to color balance the image

    -- If in RGB place 4 adjustment Curve layers. One for Dark point one for White point, one for Contrast, one for Color balance
    --- Use individual R, B and G channels on the Dark point and White point layers to fine tune their values. Having "Show clipping" checked helps to do that.
    --- Adjust the tone curve on the "Contrast" layer to bring the tones close to where they should be. Don't worry if they are not perfect yet
    --- Use individual R, B and G channels on the "Color balance" layer to color balance the image. Use eye-dropper to check the neutrality of neutral tones.

    At this point the image should look close to good (or very good)
    -- Use as many other adjustment layers of different types as needed to fine tune the image
    -- Save the image as a PSD file
    -- Make a copy
    -- Flatten (from here you can make a copy of the image in RGB and try applying Auto-color to see how far the white balance is from where Photoshop thinks it should be)
    -- Crop
    -- Resize
    -- Sharpen for output
    -- Print or publish

    As your vision and editing skills and tools evolve you can always re-interpret the image without the necessity to scan it ever again.

    SergeyT

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