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Thread: scaned thin negatives, remove dust/specs?

  1. #1
    3d Visual Effects artist
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    scaned thin negatives, remove dust/specs?

    So I've got a few negatives that are pretty thin, I'm scanning with an Epson 4990 and use Photoshop. There are lots of light specs and dust hits (mostly specs, smaller since it's 8x10) I've tried playing around with the dust/scratches filter, median, and a bunch of other, but I'm never really able to get a satisfactory results without a good amount of masking to locally 'undo' the filtering in parts of the image that end up looking bad. (dulicating the main layer, filtering the duplicate, then masking the badly filtered areas to show the original scan)

    I'd love to hear peoples photoshop workflow for thin negatives have thin negatives with lots of specs in the shadows. Are there any plugins that do better than what photoshop can natively? Or does is just come down to filtering, then masking out by hand the parts where the filtering gets to much? I'm not afraid to spend some time working with it by hand, but if there are some methods/techniques that will save a bit of time, I'd be interested in hearing them
    Daniel Buck - 3d VFX artist
    3d work: DanielBuck.net
    photography: 404Photography.net - BuckshotsBlog.com

  2. #2

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    Re: scaned thin negatives, remove dust/specs?

    Dear Daniel,

    I use the "Spot Healing Brush Tool" for small point dust marks and, or I use the "Patch Tool" to manually process the dust removal function within a larger area. I have never used any other method, such as the methods you describe, so I cannot comment on their usefulness. The tools that I mentioned do provide you with a clever method to blend the selected dust mark into the surrounding pixels, depending on the size of the affected negative area, and where each tool requires sufficient practice to be effective. Once you master the feel of the tools, you might realize you have a magic wand with a Spotone background. The "Cloning" tool happens to be an option too, but that is a tool I rarely use.

    I prefer the "Spot Healing Brush Tool" to eliminate small dust marks, since the tool is very effective, and very efficient...

    jim k

  3. #3
    3d Visual Effects artist
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    Re: scaned thin negatives, remove dust/specs?

    yea, the clone and heal brush are good, but can become quite tedious when there are probably thousands of little specs from a thin negative. I suppose some light filter in combination with healing/cloning would probably be the most efficient way.
    Daniel Buck - 3d VFX artist
    3d work: DanielBuck.net
    photography: 404Photography.net - BuckshotsBlog.com

  4. #4
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: scaned thin negatives, remove dust/specs?

    Ain't no secrets. The best way to spot is *still* manually with the clone and/or healing brushes.

    This is why I go through such lengths to eliminate dust throughout my workflow. The less spotting to do, the better IMHO.

    Bruce Watson

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    Re: scaned thin negatives, remove dust/specs?

    The tools which remove dust, use the infra-red channel, and make a logical comparison with the color channels. Since color film is transparent to IR, anything which shows up there, is dust or scratches, and not data.

    Black and white film, however, is not transparent in the IR range - so this technique doesn't work for b&w. That's why you have to do it yourself.

    On a positive note, isn't it grand to have your own 8x10 "enlarger" ?

  6. #6

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    Re: scaned thin negatives, remove dust/specs?

    Dear Daniel,

    I agree that the dust removal process takes time...

    Everyone has a work flow that tries to minimize the dust, where some methods are more effective than others, so I try to keep the scanning environment as clean as possible, but I never seem to be as efficient as I would like to be. I decided to introduce the wet mounting process to my work flow, where this incremental process seems to assist the dust removal, and as an added bonus the negatives receive a micro contrast boost. But, sometimes I simply trade micro bubbles for micro dust particles...

    Either way, I must spend time searching for the dust mites, and nuke the crap out of them.

    jim k

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