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Thread: B&W digital workflow....what's yours?

  1. #21
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: B&W digital workflow....what's yours?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt View Post
    I mainly use the healing brush on a blank layer to get rid of dust spots. I generally don't use an eyedropper tool with bw.
    Peter, I can never figure out whether to use Healing or Clone to spot my film scans. Which is better and why?

  2. #22
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: B&W digital workflow....what's yours?

    Quote Originally Posted by nicnilov View Post
    @Steven,



    That generally is not the case. Even very flat manufacturer profiles, e.g. Nikon's Camera Flat do have non-linear tonal response curve, so Nikon's Capture NX-D, for one, does not allow linear interpretation as far as I'm aware, neither ACR or Lightroom. Some third-party raw converters, e.g. RawTherapee do allow true linear interpretation. This makes sense as full linearization generally is far from necessary in typical processing workflows.

    Using Canon DPP software, I have the choice of a linear outpout or a gamma curve applied that is not linear. And, I prefer a pure linear image instead of baking in the formula at scan time or by using ACR, etc I never use anything but a linear image to start with and I recommend others to do the same when asked about my work flow. Start with a clean slate, not a half baked recipe.



    The reason to scan to raw dng is that it can be loaded as a source to VueScan at a later time and resaved in a different format, e.g. raw tiff without having to scan again. Adds flexibility.

    Once I scan my file as a linear raw tiff there is no need to ever open it back up in Vuescan for any reason. I do not use Vuescan to do any convesions. In fact, I can bring my linear raw tiff back into Vuescan if I wanted. dng is nto a great file format and not universal where the tiff file is. I can always convert my tiff to any format as well.



    This is a good idea when the source image is a color one. If it is a scanned B&W negative, any color that is there is not coming from the image itself. No reason to mix it into the adjustments.

    The reason to scan in 48bit rgb is you get a better file when compared to scannining 16bitgray. I have done many comparisons and even confirmed this Ed at Vuescan. While the histograms will appear similar, the color layers will have differences in them. Sometimes subtle and sometimes not subtle. Additionally, you have more options when scanning in 48bit rgb to use different post processors like Nik SilverEfx, etc Also, if you use pyrocat to develop, you can keep the slight brown tint of the negative if you prefer that (side note).

    I scan all of my negatives as 48bit RGB, linear raw tiff, at 6400dpi then do a 2x2 bin down to 3200dpi. Results in a better image than scanning directly at 3200dpi. After I convert using colorneg, I save that full size image as a PS *.psb image, then reduce it to 25% and save the reduced file separately. I make all of my adjustments (no pixel manipultion) in PS on the reduced file. I can print this to an easy 16x20 or larger if needed. If I want a huge image, I can import the full size image into the reduced image file to get full size image.

    The best answer though, is what works for you is the best choice.

  3. #23
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: B&W digital workflow....what's yours?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    Peter, I can never figure out whether to use Healing or Clone to spot my film scans. Which is better and why?
    I avoid the clone tool. It requires work and it will exactly duplicate what you are cloning from. The healing or spot healing is a much better tool. I like the bandaid tool (healing brush) as it works on textures/colors and gives me the choice of where to sample. I use various brush sizes and sample often. It is the most magical tool PS has!

    Occasionally I use the clone stamp on a difficult area, but I set the flow down to like 6% or less and gradually build up the area I am trying to fix. This is rare though.

  4. #24
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: B&W digital workflow....what's yours?

    Quote Originally Posted by nicnilov View Post
    Adam,



    Your approach is valid. The color cast is coming from the mismatch between the camera white balance selection and the temperature of the light lighting the negative. One way to reduce the color cast is to use custom white balance set against your light source. Also if your camera has WB character adjustment, make sure it is Neutral and not e.g. Warmer. But some color will be there anyway, so in the end it is not a big deal.

    As @Steven said, set custom white balance on a transparent film spot before converting to B&W.
    If you are allowing ACR to do the conversion, yes I agree use flat for nikon or neutral for canon. Color balance is next. If you want a true linear file use the manufacturer software like canon's dpp. Or maybe raw therapee. I can use my astronomy software PixInsight to do a pure linear out put of the data as well.

    The problem is without a gamma curve of 2.2 applied to it (neutral, etc all apply a 2.2 plus manipulation of the data at the pixel level that you can't get back) is the image is dark and needs to have the curve applied. By doing this you are applying only the gamma curve 2.2 to the image an not manipulating the underlying raw pixel information (the real raw data). ACR always manipulates the data into the file you are working on taking away you ability to have full control.

    Another interesting note is that for example in DPP, a linear file's curve will not be a straight line, but a logarithmic one. This will appear as a curve that looks somewhat like an upside down smile at about a 45 degree angle. Of course, your image will look like crap because you are seeing the actual data, no manipulation whatsoever. This gives you full control. If you are okay with not having that, then ACR or similar is a good choice and as stated above, make sure you use the netural or flat setting depending on the camera maker.

  5. #25

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    Re: B&W digital workflow....what's yours?

    Either you guys are way over-thinking this or I'm a simpleton. I scan my b&w negatives on an Epson 4990 into an RGB tiff file. Then I open the file in Photoshop and convert to b&w using Silver Efex Pro. Usually one of the presets gets me very close to what I want. Sometimes I do final tweaks to a curves adjustment layer. It's easy. I like to keep the digital part of my workflow simple.
    Never is always wrong; always is never right.

    www.LostManPhoto.com
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  6. #26

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    Re: B&W digital workflow....what's yours?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    Peter, I can never figure out whether to use Healing or Clone to spot my film scans. Which is better and why?
    Very, very generally speaking:
    Clone used when there is more detail or pattern to the area. Essentially copies an area.
    Healing used when there is less detail or pattern to the area. Ctein put it "the Healing brush does a complicated blend of the source area with the target area".
    After using each one for hours, you will intuitively use one over the other.

  7. #27
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: B&W digital workflow....what's yours?

    I've made over 1000 BW scans. My main scanner keeps track, which is nice. Anyway, I don't see a compelling reason to care about a linear gamma with bw. It seems like a theoretical commitment that has very little practical value. If it's working for someone, well, that's fine. Yes, shoot in RAW. White balance on a light tone on the negative. If you're really worried about exposure, buy FastRawViewer, which will show the real histogram of the raw file. ETTR (Expose to the right), but don't clip any channel! Take the file into a raw processor. As said above, choose one of the more accurate color profiles. Decide whether you wan to invert in the RAW program, or in photoshop. Use the black and white point sliders to expand the histogram a bit, and maybe add a curve to get closer to your vision, but the goal isn't to get a finished file but to provide a good starting point for Photoshop. Export. For capture sharpening in Camera Raw, setting the sharpening to amount: 40, radius (as small as possible), and detail 100 works well, but you may have to adjust depending on the grain of the film. If interested, see:https://gregbenzphotography.com/phot...creased-detail Use the standard Photoshop methods to edit your file.
    May tomorrow be a better day.

  8. #28

    Re: B&W digital workflow....what's yours?

    Mark - you're not a simpleton. They're way overthinking. I've been scanning black and white (and color) for well over a quarter century now and drum scanning since about 1998, along with the occasional foray into DSLR scanning, and there's no advantage to scanning into some sacred "linear" color space. Somewhere along the way you've got to apply a gamma curve to it and it just doesn't matter where you do it. You might as well use a software that gets the image as close to where you're going to want it to be from the git-go. And, yes, on occasion, I've used the linear option in Capture One, but only for an odd super high contrast color image where you might be trying to retain as much highlight detail as possible, but never for a black and white copy shot. I've experimented with scanning with individual color channels on flatbeds and drum, and while there might be a very slight advantage on a flatbed, it's just a different PMT on a drum and makes no difference at all. It's just faster to set it up as RGB and that's where I leave all my black and white scans - as Adobe RGB Gamma 2.2 scans. And I leave 'em as RGB as I'm often doing some subtle toning to the image for effect.

    As far as Clone Tool vs. Spot Healing Brush, it's usually easiest, fastest and best to use the Healing Brush, but it often gets confused if you're close to the edge of the frame and can also generate some very weird artifacts in random situations with seemingly no explanation forcing you to use the Cloning Tool, but either one is just fine and, if you use a Wacom it's very very fast to attack areas from multiple fronts to avoid any duplicating patterns. The advantage of the Healing Brush is that it tends to retain the textural detail and grain or inherent noise in an image where the Cloning Tool can obliterate that if you're not careful, but hell, we've only had the Healing Brush for, what, ten years or so now so before that there was no choice. And, generally you should should create a blank retouching layer above your image layer and set your retouching tools to Use Current and Below layers to clone or heal to that retouching layer and ignore any Adjustment Layers above. Remember how excited we were when Photoshop 7, not CS7 but just 7, introduced layers into 16 bit per channel files along with copy and paste. That was a big fucking deal. Remember when you couldn't copy and paste in 16 bpc, but you could if you were inventive and often, back then, I would have two scans from the same color neg and then clone from one image to the other, aligning the clone tool at a pixel level between frames and basically copy and pasting from one image window to the other before it was officially possible. Ah. Simpler times.

  9. #29

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    Re: B&W digital workflow....what's yours?

    Either you guys are way over-thinking this or I'm a simpleton.
    It's neither. Whatever works for the author is right. There is nothing wrong with presets, and nothing wrong with manual control on every step. The end result is what matters, anyway.

  10. #30
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: B&W digital workflow....what's yours?

    Using the healing brush near an edge is usually not a problem. Simply sample a source on the edge. Use the preview to align the area to be healed, and boom, it's done. It's only where that can't be done that I switch to a clone tool. That's infrequent.
    May tomorrow be a better day.

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