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Thread: Software for Converting Scanned Color Negatives

  1. #21
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Software for Converting Scanned Color Negatives

    Quote Originally Posted by sharktooth View Post
    Adobe supports the latest 3 Mac operating systems. This means that the latest version of Creative Cloud, and Photoshop Elements need at least Mojave. You can still download an older Cloud version to run on older Macs, but you obviously won't get any of the newer features. It kinda defeats the point of having a yearly subscription service when you can't get the latest updates.

    Photoshop Elements doesn't need a subscription, and is not too expensive. The trick is finding a version that will work on your Mac. I have Photoshop Elements 2020, and it does support High Sierra, but it may be hard to find that version in 2022.

    I've been doing some experimenting with digital camera scanning of medium format negatives using multiple shots of small sections of the negative, and then stitching them together. This will work for large format too, and give you a very high resolution image.

    Photoshop Elements has a very nice image stitching feature built in. You can also do the negative to positive conversion in Elements as well. It may not be as easy as a dedicated neg pos conversion software, but it is very powerful software if you take the time to figure out how to do it. Once you get the technique down it becomes very easy to do the conversion quickly.

    The latest version of Gimp is another good choice, as others have suggested. Gimp is also free, so it's hard to complain about that. Gimp is also a very powerful tool, and it's not that difficult to do neg pos conversion, but it does require some self education. Some of the downsides to Gimp are that it doesn't have image stitching built in, and it doesn't support adjustment layers, or layer masks, whereas Elements does. Gimp does have layers and loads of adjustment features, however, but if you're addicted to Photoshop style layer masks and adjustment layers, then you might not be as comfortable with Gimp.

    Another free option is Krita. It works on both Mac and Windows. It was created more as a painting program, but it does have a lot of Photoshop like features, including something similar to adjustment layers in Photoshop. I haven't used it enough to form an opinion, but it's nice to have options.
    How do you use Elements to get the right colors on negative color film like Ektar 100?

  2. #22

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    Re: Software for Converting Scanned Color Negatives

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    How do you use Elements to get the right colors on negative color film like Ektar 100?
    Here's an oversimplified explanation, but it should give you the gist of what to do.

    Negative film is inherently very low contrast, and it is intended to be used with high contrast printing paper to bring things back to a normal visual tonality. When you take a digital photo of your negative, you can convert it to a positive in Elements by going to Filter, Adjustments, then Invert. This will leave you with a very flat low contrast image with awful color balance, but both the contrast and color balance can easily be adjusted. This can be done by creating a new Adjustment Layer, Levels. The Levels adjustment controls the brightness range of red green and blue light and essentially controls the contrast of each color. In the simplest sense, If you know an area that should be pure black, and an area that should be pure white, you can pick these points with the eyedropper tool, and the software will do all the corrections for you. Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple, but if you included a bit of the clear space between frames in your digital image, you'll now have a reference point for what should be pure black in the image. Getting a representative value at the other extreme is a little trickier, since you may not have anything in your image that represents a pure white. You could take a test photo with a white card to use for that value. With two points you should get something that looks much better, but will still need a bit further tweaking (as would any image).

    Again, this is an extreme oversimplification, but if you're familiar with the Levels control in Elements it's not that difficult.
    Last edited by sharktooth; 11-Mar-2022 at 21:57.

  3. #23

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    Re: Software for Converting Scanned Color Negatives

    I would take a look at the website of Alex Burke, he has a ‘manual’ of how to inverse a color negative. It’s for photoshop but you can easy use it on any image edit tool that has layers and curves.
    https://www.alexburkephoto.com/blog/...-negative-film

  4. #24

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    Re: Software for Converting Scanned Color Negatives

    With so many shutterbugs wanting to do this, one would think it would be built-in to software at this point. It has been built into scanners for decades, for Pete's Sake!

  5. #25

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    Re: Software for Converting Scanned Color Negatives

    VueScan (https://www.hamrick.com) can process raw files from a scanner or a digital camera (Tiff or DNG, even a JPG). No anual fee, and up to four computers and any number of scanners.

  6. #26

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    Re: Software for Converting Scanned Color Negatives

    Quote Originally Posted by xkaes View Post
    With so many shutterbugs wanting to do this, one would think it would be built-in to software at this point. It has been built into scanners for decades, for Pete's Sake!
    Yes, that surprises me too. In the past, the scanner makers had to have this software or else they couldn't sell their scanners, but with "camera" scanning becoming popular over the last few years you'd think that Photoshop would have an update by now to do this easily. That being said, any type of simple conversion, including scanner software conversions, usually gets you to a half decent starting point, but will still need a lot of additional work to fine tune the finished result. You still need to learn how to use the tools properly and efficiently, and that takes time and commitment with whatever software you use. As with everything, there's no free lunch

  7. #27

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    Re: Software for Converting Scanned Color Negatives

    Quote Originally Posted by Delfi_r View Post
    VueScan (https://www.hamrick.com) can process raw files from a scanner or a digital camera (Tiff or DNG, even a JPG). No anual fee, and up to four computers and any number of scanners.
    I was unaware the VUESCAN can process (whatever that means) image files in addition to scanning. I never looked at it that deeply. Thanks for that tip.

  8. #28

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    Re: Software for Converting Scanned Color Negatives

    Photoshop Elements has some distinct advantages, primarily low cost, and many useful features. Cost is usually around $100 (or less on sale). There is no subscription fee, so it works as long as your computer works. It has Adobe Camera Raw, so it can handle raw files as long as your camera is supported. It has built in image stitching capability, and several handy ease of use features, as well as many features similar to, or the same as in the full Photoshop. It obviously doesn't have all the full Photoshop feature set, but it is still surprisingly capable. For negative conversion, you need to use Levels, which is not anywhere near as nice as the Curves control in Photoshop, but it can still do the job. You also need to be aware of 16 bit and 8 bit functionality. 16 bit functionality is available on some Photoshop Elements features, but not all of them, so it may or may not cause a problem if you absolutely need 16 bit images.
    Last edited by sharktooth; 14-Mar-2022 at 08:03.

  9. #29

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    Re: Software for Converting Scanned Color Negatives

    Anyone have any experience with C-41LAB?

    https://sites.google.com/site/c41digitallab/

  10. #30

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    Re: Software for Converting Scanned Color Negatives

    Vuescan it's a two step scan software. You get a RAW scan that can be saved or directly processed as film negative or slide or as a document. The RAW file can be processed with another program (Photoshop for example) or with the second part that applies film data to convert the scan to a photographic image.

    You can start your workflow making the RAW file with a Camera and use Vuescan and his presets, or the calibration data, to get a photographic image (positive from a negative scan or positive from a positive scan).

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