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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.
In this exercise we're going to work with a complex image, and by complex I mean kind of an image that has it all. We have Highlights and Diffused Highlights as you see here. We have Specular Highlights, reflections off the glass. We have some product shots here, like we've got a light area here, we've got type down here, we've got Skin Tones, we've got lots of Shadow detail in the jacket. You name it, it's in this image. Let's see how we would evaluate this image and measure it and then go about adjusting it and then finish up with the scan.
And once again, let's assume that we are going to go to prepress with this. All right, So we'll start with, again, our favorite tool, and that is the Highlight and Shadow tool, Shift+click, boom, sets the lightest area in the image, and it sets our Fixed Pipette here. Look at the RGB value, just to kind of get a start here, 228, 226, 227, not bad, right, pretty darn neutral right from the get-go. And let's do the Shadow. 24, 24, 27, and also we've get those two points set.
Now, what else did we want to have for color sampler points if get up to 4 here? Well, certainly we are going to want the Skin Tone, aren't we, no doubt about that. And what else might we want here? Well, we would like the white wrap on the top of this bottle to be neutral as well, just like the shirt. So why don't we put one control point there, and I am clicking there first rather than on the face, strictly for organizational purposes here, is so that I've got the two Highlights one on top of the other in the Fixed Pipette. By the way, I should mention that I always put my Diffused Highlight as point number 1, and then I typically will put my Shadow as point number 2, so I can go back and forth.
I usually set those two points first and then do everything in between. All of my images are corrected that way, whether I do it in scanning or Photoshop. If I am working in adjustment layers in Photoshop, for instance, any one of my .psd layered files, so I've got adjustment layers, I go in, I know when I bring up the Info panel, number 1 is always the Diffused Highlight and number 2 is always the Shadow Point. So Shift key again and let's put a color sampler point right on his cheek. Just to remind you about setting color sampler points on Skin Tones, we want to make sure that we have a position that's kind of average for the whole face in terms of lighting, and we want to avoid any reflections or any deep cast shadow area.
So for instance, we would want to avoid this area right here, because there's a bit of reflection there, and we'd want to avoid the cast shadow on the side of his nose. So anywhere around in here is a pretty good place to take a look. So let's evaluate our numbers here. 228, 226, 227, that's pretty close to neutral, but it's a little dull, isn't it? We can brighten that up for sure. 24, 24, 27, pretty neutral, which is fine. Again, it's a little light. Overall the contrast of this image is lower than it can be, and we'll fix that.
Color sampler point number 3, which is certainly not a Highlight, but it's around a quarter tone. 203, 200, 199, a little bit of a Red cast here, which is why it's good we clicked on that. And then let's look at the Skin Tone. Remember for Skin Tone, Red should be greater than Green should be greater than Blue. Well, certainly we have that, Red is greater than Green, greater than Blue. Notice from Blue to Green, 139 to 157, that's about a 20 point spread, isn't it? We go from 157 to 200. That's a little over a 40 point spread.
And we don't want the ratio of Red to Green to be any more than double that of Green to Blue, except for in the case of when you are scanning photographs of Irishmen with red hair, who have been out in the sun for too long. Other than that, we don't want to have that much Red in an image, although Roberto's skin certainly looked human, I think it's probably a little bit too Red by the numbers. Remember back here in this kind of quarter tone, neutral area, the Red was a little bit high, well, both the Skin Tones and this confirm that, don't they? One kind of supports the other.
So I think we can go ahead and adjust our Highlights and Shadows and then come in and maybe do a little bit of the Midtone adjustment on the Red Channel before we finish up with Brightness, Contrast, and Sharpening. So let's go to our Tone Compression tool, the Histogram, a.k.a., Levels in Photoshop. Honestly, look at that, they are so close to each other, but I am going to be anal, you could use the Master Histogram here. I am going to pull this up to around 238, 239. And then I am going to pull this up, 238, 239, 240. In fact, let's take this one to 240, why don't we? 240, 241, and we'll go back to Red.
And then Blue, we'll come up here, go right to 240, because we are going to prepress remember, so we can hold that 5% white highlight at 242. I am just giving it a little bit of room to move when we go to curve, still lighting a little bit, otherwise it will print just fine, 240 is 5.5% white highlight, so it will be good to go. And then Shadow, and we might take this Shadow Point down into the jacket if we wanted to, but since it is right on the edge of the product shot, we'll leave it there. But I will go to the Master Histogram here to lower that, and we are watching these values right here at this point.
We can take those down, so that the lowest one is right around 15. Good! Recheck the Highlight. 239, 240, okay, so we'll click OK here, and let's go to our Curve tool now, hold the Gradation-curves, so we are fast. We're going to go to our Red Curve, hold down the Command key, or we can use the slider down here. One of the nice things about using the slider, particularly in the logarithmic mode, is that it does tend to adjust the Shadow more than the Highlight, as we lighten and darken, or as we move a curve one way or the other.
That's particularly important for doing overall Brightness and Contrast. If we're just doing a color curve, we'll just Command+click and pull this down. Don't have to lower it too much, but just a little bit to take some of that Red off of there. And I am watching this right here. we are over 212, bring it down to about 207, we have brought from the 209, down to 203. So we have taken a little bit of that Red out of the skin, and you could take more if you wanted to, but I think we'll leave it right there. And then let's go back to the Master Curve and I will use the L Curve here to lighten overall just a little bit.
Notice by lightening just a little bit here, we are creating some contrast between the jacket and the background, which is nice, gives the overall impression of the image a bit more contrast. And notice what happened to our Highlight values, we've moved up to 241, almost 242 there. Shadow, we may want to fine tune that a little bit when we get done here. Do we want to increase Contrast? No. Why? Well, we have a push/pull here, don't we, in this image? We'd like maybe a little bit more Contrast because of the bottle, the product shot, but we don't want more Contrast because of the Skin Tone.
Which one is going to win out here? I am going to say we are going to just go with the Skin Tone, because this image has good contrast in it already. And we've taken care of improving the contrast with overall Brightness, and we are setting our Highlights and Shadows, but I will go back here and fine tune the Shadow a little bit, and we are watching these values right here, and I am going to take that back down to around 15, 16, something like that. There we go. So sometimes I'll go back and forth a couple of times with these two dialog boxes, doing overall Brightness of an image and then fine tuning the Shadow Point, get it just the way I want it.
But I am not going to give me an S shape curve, because I want to protect the Skin Tones. Okay, there we go. And final, as we are going to apply Sharpening, the Sharpening we talked about earlier on the bottle right down here, I am going to use pretty much those same values in this image, and I am going to use about 100% increase in Sharpness, but I am going to use that 5% Threshold, and that 5% Threshold is going to protect the shirt and certainly going to protect the Skin Tone and also the wrapper on the bottle. It goes to 100%.
Threshold of somewhere between 3 and 5 would be nice for this image. And we'll come and we'll look at the Oversharpening here. 5% has really taken out most of the impact of the Oversharpening, so not much impact from that. But notice we are getting some nice increase in focus and Sharpening here on the type, so we have it a little bit soft here, and that's really what we are looking for. And if you want, we can do just a check, we can take a look at the Skin Tone. We can click on that area. Make sure we are not getting any modeling.
We might want to do some retouching on some of these pores and stuff later on, afterwards in Photoshop, but no modeling in the Skin Tone, things are just sharp. Good to go! And off to the scan races we go. Remember, if you get a set up like this, and you like it, and you've got similar kinds of images you want to scan with the same settings, use the Save Setting menu right here to save them and recall them at any time that you like. Here we go. And there is Roberto in all his glory.
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