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Review the scanning techniques graphics professionals and photographers use, while delving into workflow considerations and the advanced image-quality controls available in most scanning software. Author Taz Tally explains the core concepts, such as how resolution and interpolation affect scans; introduces the industry-standard SilverFast scanning software; and shares the settings to achieve the best results from a scan. The course also covers keeping your scanner and its parts clean and free of dust, and includes a variety of start-to-finish scanning tasks.
Throughout this entire scanning course, I've really emphasized the use of manual adjustment tools working through SilverFast, and there are two reasons for this. the first one is, indeed when you adjust your image manually using the tools, you end up with more control. Secondly, when you're trying to learn how to actually use these tools, and what they do and how they work, using them manually is really the only way to learn them. Well, it's also true that SilverFast has some very powerful and fairly sophisticated automatic adjustment tools, and I've been using them from time to time. I use them judiciously when they help save me time and I know exactly what they're going to do.
Let me show you what some of these tools are and make some recommendations about when you might want to use them. There is this tool here which is the basic, the fundamental Image Adjustment tool. It's an Automatic Image Adjustment tool that adjusts highlights and shadows and also optimizes the midtone based upon what it views in the image. I'm going to click on this and notice what happens to this picture of Zip. It adjusts highlights and shadows and increases contrast. As I mentioned earlier when we talked about scanning this picture of Zip, the automatic adjustment in my view increases the contrast too much. some images, it works very well.
This image, it doesn't work so well, at least for my taste. What it does is, and watch this. Anytime you want to take out any adjustments working in SilverFast, anytime you see one of these little return arrows, that means redo, and just click it a couple of times and it'll undo whatever you've just done. So you see these are the two adjustment tools that we've used throughout the course. the Histogram and then the Curves, and we've used it in ways for master histograms, master curves, and individual channels, and histograms. When you click on this tool, it makes adjustments into levels and curves and when you go in and check and see, and let's undo this so we can see what it looks like to begin with.
So this is what it looks like here, and this is what it looks like here. Nothing has been adjusted. When you click here and then you go in, you see the highlights and the shadows have been moved in, and there's a bit of an S-shape curve which is the reverse of what I would apply to this image as we've used earlier. But you can see what the adjustments are and it's actually interesting to see how the Automatic tool adjusted various images. You can go in, and check and see it's actually kind of a good learning tool. That's the fundamental tool.
In a moment, I'm going to show you how you can control at least partially what that tool does. The second area of automatic adjustments and they are kind of semi-automatic adjustments is in the Frame set when we choose Image Type. There is a wide variety of presets in here. For instance, if we choose Skin tones, watch what happens to the image. You see how the image softens out and the contrast is reduced. Then that's actually closer to what I'd like to use in terms of scanning this image. When we go up into Curves, notice instead of the S-shape, it's the reverse S-shape.
It's softening or reducing the contrast just as we've done on a number of different images. So you can actually learn a little bit about scanning techniques by applying these various adjustments and then going into Curves and Levels and actually see what's been done. And sometimes you can use these as starting points. So you may have a image that has a lot of skin tone in it, so you may click Auto Adjustment and then choose Skin tones and use that as a starting point, and then go into your Curves and Levels and tweak. This tool can be useful that way. There's also an integrated color correction tool here called Color Cast Removal and notice when I clicked on the Adjustment tool, it didn't automatically apply this.
There is the way that you can get Color Cast Correction automatically applied. And what Color Cast Correction does basically is line up the highlights and line up the shadows as best as it can. You see how when I move this left or right, it's moving the highlights and shadows and then trying to line them all up, and that's what removes color cast, when all the data in the image and the histograms line up underneath each other, then there is no preference for one color over the other and the color cast is removed. So when you're working in this Histogram dialog box, you can just drag that over there and remove all of it, or part of it, or some of it, or none of it, whatever you like.
So it's kind of an automatic Color Cast Removal tool that you have some control over. And then finally, there is this tool right here which is the Automatic Highlight, and Shadow, and Mid Pip tool and the pip stands for Pipette tool. When I click on the Highlight tool, and then come over here and then click on this Highlight point here, and remember this is of course the Fixed Pipette point number one and this is number two which is the shadow. Look at the values. 230, 233, 233, and then when I click there, it automatically adjusts the highlight values in the image.
Now, it's up in the high 240s. When I click on the Shadow, it will automatically adjust the shadow. All right, notice it goes down to 5, 5 and 6. I would consider these values a bit too high and a bit too low for most printing needs. Then there's a Midtone which when you click on that and then come over here and click on a Midtone area, it applies that to the Midtone area of the image. So those are automatic Highlight, Shadow, and Midtone adjustments. All of these automated tools with the exception of the Image Type which is kind of preset can be controlled through the General frame and going to Options, and then going to Auto tab here.
Let's just tab through here and take a look at what some of these adjustments are. The Auto Threshold for Highlights and Shadows, this is not a percentage value. It's actually set up to look at the number of pixels that are in the highlight and shadows ends and you're determining how many pixels need to be recognized before the automatic adjustment will be applied. If you click on Levels, it will actually use the level values of highlights and shadows to determine when the automatic adjustment will be applied. You can check those on if you're for instance trying to remove solid backgrounds of black or white, but the default is set on 2.
I recommend that you don't really adjust that until you become far more familiar with what you're actually adjusting there. But these next two, you can adjust, and I would recommend that you do. This is Highlight and Shadow Offset. This is set at 2% and 98%. That's why things were getting a little bit too light and a little bit too dark here. I would recommend that you put these closer to this. 5 and 95. When we set that on 5 and 95, and then click OK, and then we come back to this tool, and then we click here, remember we were up in the high 240s, we click there.
Now, it registers at 242, 243, 242 which is a 5% white highlight. When I click here, instead of being in 6 and 5s, it will register at 12 and 13. So now we have a 5 and a 95% highlight which I consider to be really a better choice in terms of highlights and shadow values for printing. All right, so that's Highlight and Shadow Offset. See this Color Cast Removal. Remember, when we used the automatic tool here, and then we looked in here, there was no color cast removal. It was set on 0.
Well, watch this. if we click on Option, and then put the color cast on 100, and click on Active, and Apply, and OK, and then when we click this, and we go back in here, notice now the Color Cast Removal has been applied at 100%. So you can get automatic color cast removal and you can control that through your automatic options or preferences. You just put the percentage that you want correction and then click on Active. These next two, the Auto Frame Inset and then the Find Frame-- If you're using the Find Frame which I don't tend to use very much.
It's this tool right here. That if you have multiple images done, you click on it, and it will find frames on all of them. You can actually use that as kind of a starting place, but it rarely gives me exactly what I want. But it's okay for creating multiple frames. The Auto Frame is when you create a frame on an image. It determines how much of on a percentage basis of that image will be taken out of the Auto Frame Inset. The default is 10. You might want to reduce that to between 2 and 5 and see if you like that better. So the visual reduction of the current frame areas, and it says when Image Automatic is applied.
This Find Frame Inset is when it uses the Find Frame Inset to identify the edge of an image. It's how far it moves in and it's currently set at 0 which is fine. All right, The AutoPip Middle Factor. when you click here, this is Auto Pipette, and it's set on 30, 30 and it's the amount of brightness either lightening or darkening that occurs when you click, and use that Auto Pipette tool. Notice you can lighten or darken images here. If overall when you're using the Auto tool, your images are too light or too dark, come in here, and adjust the slider for your lightening or for your darkening of your image.
The default is set on 30, and with a little bit of practice, you'll see how to use that, so you can control how much lightening and darkening occurs automatically in your image. If you check on Auto Contrast, automatically more contrast is applied to the image. If you have that turned on, it kind of evaluates the pixels and looks at it, and Automatic Document Feeder. If you have an Automatic Document Feeder on your scanner and SilverFast recognizes it, you can turn that on and you can use batch feeding of images from your Automatic Document Feeder, not something that I normally do with images.
It's something you typically would do with documents for scanning documents and converting them into editable text, but it does support that. Then ACR, Automatic Color Saturation Enhancement, is what this is. This is the tool that exists and let me just click OK in this tool here. Here's the ACR tool. When you come in here and you slide this, it will increase the saturation of colors in your images and you can get this to automatically apply if you turned it on here. I rarely have ever turned that on.
Then the MidPip Fixed Target value is set at 50. So remember when I clicked over here, it's set the Midtone to 50%, and when you have this checked on just like the Color Cast Removal, it'll automatically be applied to the middle percentage of grayscale. It will set that to 50% for your MidPip Target. So that's how you can control or adjust or at least fine-tune how some of the automatic tools are adjusted in SilverFast, and I rarely have ever used this tool because it applies so much.
Sometimes, I'll use the highlights and shadows as starting points, and sometimes I'll use a Image Type like Skin tones on images if I don't have a lot of time, and I know that, that's going to reduce contrast just a little bit. I just select that because I know because I've looked at that curve, so I know that, that curve is going to be a very modest contrast reduction curve is going to be applied to the image. Some of the values we've been using in those curves adjustment is 5-10 and a little bit goes a long way on those. There is the Automatic Adjustment tools, in SilverFast, they're pretty sophisticated and if you know where to go, you can figure out how to control them.
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