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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, I like to address the whole concept of multiple use of images, but first let's go ahead and get this image ready for scan and then we'll talk about using it on multiple devices. I would be remiss if in my own scanning course I didn't actually scan a picture of my GF. So here she is Tina in her Santa hat, very cute and when we evaluate this image obviously we've some nice diffused white highlight here, and it looks like we might have a little of a reflection right there. All right, this image is all about the skin tone, isn't it? I'm looking at this and just on screen it looks a little red to me.
When I use my densitometer I look at it, it varies 125 to 139. That's about 10 and then boom, all the way up to 184. So red is greater than green is greater than blue, but it's a little bit too red. So we'll probably going to be doing some adjustment there, but let's go ahead and say highlights and shadows as we want to do, and Shift+Click on the highlight and ooh! What's that? Oh, look at that, there is a reflection of the tooth. Well, that's not very useful. First of all, teeth are not white, contrary to probably your opinion. So what we do? Well, let's get rid of that and then a little trick I showed you earlier.
We can move the selection area up like that. I'm wondering about that right there though. We click again, yeah, sure enough. What I really want to do, I know that this is a white highlight, so I'm just going to keep moving this up or move it in until I can finally find the lightest portion of the Santa hat. There it is. All right, so I'm going to use that as my target diffused white highlight. We'll set that in the high 230s and then we'll do a skin tone. This is one of those images where you're going to be careful where you click, because notice this is well lit and this is not.
And be sure you click on the well lit portion because you get different ratios when you are working in a cast shadow area versus a well lit area. If you ever have a choice unless it's just a real small part of the image, always choose the well lit area to basically do your measurement and adjustment for your skin tones. All right, then let's do the shadow, right down in there and let's see we're in the 30s so we've got some room to move there. The Highlight point number one, remember always do the diffuse highlight at point number one. 226, 225, 226. Wow! That's neutral.
But it's a little low, so let's go in and make our adjustments and since they are somewhat the same, we'll just do a master histogram adjustment and take that right up to high 230s. 237, 236, 237. Is that good enough? Yes, a one-point move and the scale is only 4/10th of a percent, so not a big deal. And do we care about the neutrality of the shadow? No, so we'll just do a Master Histogram movement right here, and we'll bring that to the 220s. Let's say that we're going to print this on Prepress but I want to just get to the three quarter tone, so low 20s. There we go.
All right, so improve the Brightness and Contrast and click OK, and let's look at these skin tone values. Now that we've done Highlights and Shadows, always do it in that order of course, 181-195. We're going to use point number two, remember that's the well-lit point. So that's about 15 and then we've got 30, so that's about a little over twice which is not too bad, but we could lower it a little bit. Let's take a look at this, 116-131. It's about 15, right, and then look at this huge jump.
There is over 50 points of jump here. So when we look at the well lit it's pretty good but this area is super red in here. So when we compare these two, we kind of average them. I think we can take out a little bit of red from this image. So let's go to our Curve tool here. We're going to use the Linear one here and we are just going to lower this, just a little bit. And look at the difference just on screen. I mean the numbers lower as well, but just that little bit from there. See how hot it is to red, if we lower just about 10 points, now it's a much more natural looking skin tone.
So five to ten points is all we need to move that, and then if we want to come in, if we want to do a little bit of brightening on the image we can do that. And since this is mostly midtone, I'm not going to preferentially lighten the shadow, in fact, I don't want to preferentially lighten the shadow, so we're going to use the normal. All right, we're going to take this up a little bit. There we go. Just do overall brighten. Do I want to increase contrast, not on your life, no, because remember this is all about the skin tone, we want that to be nice and smooth. If anything I would lower, the Contrast just a little bit. Although the contrast pretty good on this image, but I'll just, just tap it down a little bit.
There we go and then click OK. This image is now ready to scan and what if we want to use this image in multiple places. Well, historically if you were to ask a professional scanner operator from the 90s or 70s or 80s, when you say to them, oh I want to use image at four different sizes, guess what, they would tell, you need to scan it four different times and use the exact resolution that you need for each particular size. In fact, most of them would refuse to scan it and then downsample it, because they know that interpolation leads to lower quality of the image. But most of us don't live in that world of I need to use it four times or I'm going to scan it four times because why? Well, because it impedes too much on our time for kayaking, that's why.
But what we can do is make some judgments and make some workflow choices that gives us the best quality images that we possibly can get without having to scan something four or five times. Although, I will tell you that if you've very, very, very high-quality work requirements like you're scanning artwork and you're trying to reproduce it in the very best quality, then absolutely do scan it four or five times. It may be worth it for the job and it may actually be worthwhile financially to do that if you've got someone paying you. But in the world of most of us live we can't afford to do that both time-wise and money-wise. So what we do? The rule is scan at the largest dimension and the highest resolution at which you're going to use that image.
So typically the highest resolution is 300 pixels per inch and for some people, it's actually 400. If your Prepress Department, your printing committee says, we wanted to use 400 pixels per inch, then use 400 pixels per inch, but the default is, is 300. If you're printing on your high-quality Inkjet device like an Epson or an HP 240 pixels per inch is really a good resolution for you to shoot for. But let's say we're going to print this on inkjets and on Prepress, well we're going to go for 300 pixels/inch and we're going to print this at 5x7, 8x10 and you obviously going to have to be cropped, because this format of this image is in 5x7 format.
And we're also going to use this webpages and a wide variety of things. So what we're going to do here is this is a 5x7 image but we know we need to get it larger and since it's a 5x7, even though we intend to print this in the 8x10 size, I'm going to use the scaling figure here. It's 101.4 and we're going to double that, so we're going to go to 203, and look. That's going to take us up to 10x14 and then we'll have to crop it at 8x10. But that's fine, that's okay. Then what we can then do when we get into Photoshop is we can downsample this to exactly one-half the size to get to 5x7, which will incur very little damage to the image.
We always want to work down rather than up. Sampling up creates far more problems than sampling down. Of course, we're going to want to come in here and rename this image, and I'm going to call this, Tina_RGB_300. There we go. And Q-Factor 2, times 150 gives us 300 pixels per inch on the final image. You hold down your Ctrl key it tells you it's going to actually scan it to 720 Pixels per inch, because it's going to scale the image up to 10x14. All right, we're going to scan this image then and there we go.
Okay, so now we're in Photoshop and assuming we're not going to do multiple scans, although honestly, if you know beforehand you're going to have multiple sizes, as you can see using this kind of software it's going to be pretty fast to do multiple scans. Go ahead and do it, but to me you can't do that, you've already got the image and you're going to send it to somebody else or you're going to make multiple copies. Fine, good enough. I want to just make one important point about interpolation. I'm going to use Photoshop's Interpolation to work on this. For those of you who do a lot of sampling up and sampling down there is a program that used to be called Genuine Fractal.
It's now called Perfect Resize. It's from onOne Software. Its algorithms are much more sophisticated than Photoshop's. But I'm going to make the assumption that you don't have that. First, we're going to protect our original image and I should put this down. I forgot to name it, 10x14_300. All right, so, I'm going to treat that as our original image. Very good, and then we are going to take this one and go down to 5x7. So we'll call this a 5x7 image.
And I'm just doing Image Duplicate. What you want to pay attention to is when you go to the Image Resize dialog box in Photoshop and you're going to click on Resample because we're going to take this down from basic the 10x14 and end up with 5x7. Constrain Proportions, it would be nice. There we go. And we put the 5x7 image at 300. Pay attention to this right down here. It's easy to ignore this. It's set on best for smooth gradients, but if you're going to be going for reduction, go Bicubic Sharper.
And the reason for this is that the algorithm is slightly different and it tends to retain the focus or sharpness of the image. If you're moving up which I don't you to do at all, because I want you to scan to the largest dimension and highest resolution at which you're going to be using it, but use that Bicubic Sharper for best reduction. Then when you click OK Photoshop is going to do a darn good job of down-sampling, not the best job, not a perfect job. It's going to be a little bit softer. Not as good as Perfect Resize, but it's going to do a pretty darn good job. Now if we were to go down say to our web image, what you don't want to do is use this image.
You've already downsampled that one, so you put that one aside. If you want to 4x5 or some other dimension, go back to your original image and then for instance, if we use the dialog box Save for Web & Devices and you were to choose something like JPEG for going out. I'm not going to go over all these dialog boxes. That's for someone else to do. But what I want to point out to is that same choices right down here underneath Quality. And talking about Quality you maybe thinking like it's JPEG quality. No, that's up here.
High, Very High, Maximum. Generally I go High or Very High for this value, but choose your Bicubic Sharper, the same one we used in that Image Size dialog box, and then Photoshop will do a decent job of downsampling your image or a better job than just using the default that comes in Photoshop. So scan to the largest dimension, the highest resolution and then make copies your images to downsample them and then use the best quality for the direction that you're moving, which is Bicubic Sharper for sampling down. All right, so these are some tips for working in Photoshop, getting the best results for sampling your images down if you don't perform multiple scans.
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