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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 movie we are going to use these two photographs of the beautiful Surfers Beach. That's along the Southwest coast of Kodiak Island, Alaska. In this exercise we are going to do a start to finish project working on landscapes. And here I thought we'd scan two versions of the same image. a grayscale version that we have up on top, and a color version. The nice thing about SilverFast is it's easy to scan two images. they don't even have to be the same kind of images and you can apply completely different settings to each one. For instance, here I've got my frame set in a 7x3 inch frame, set around the grayscale image, and we are going to choose 16 to 8 Bit for Grayscale.
This is the kind of image where there is a lot of dynamic range, where I might be inclined to scan this as a 16-bit image and then work in it in Photoshop. For the purposes of this class we are still going to stick 16 to 8 bit, but this is the kind of image where I will in some cases actually capture 16 bit and then receive 16-bit from the scanner and then edit it in Photoshop, because sometimes I get a little bit better results in my final print when I have such dynamic range. Or if you wanted to you can just go with a 16 bit HDR grayscale, but you would do all the editing somewhere else.
But here we want to perform most of the functions during the scan, so we'll go with 16 bit to 8 bit, and we'll start with our grayscale image. We look at it and evaluate what are the most important areas of this image. Well, obviously the surf is huge, as we can see that, and that's really what this image is all about. But the background mountains, which are very high contrast here, form a really nice high contrast buffer, antipode, if you will, to the beautiful bright white surf, the way I have constructed the grayscale image. So we are going to want to get the surf correct, no doubt about that.
We are also going to want to make sure that we maintain detail in these dark mountains back here. Another place that we are probably going to pay some attention to, because we can't tell just by looking at it if the mountains are darker, or if this area is darker in here, I mean, we can look at it with our Densitometer, with our Info tools to see what we've got, 60s down in there, and 40s, and then 20s and 30s. Okay. So the mountain is definitely going to be darker. Go ahead and start by setting our Highlights and Shadows, and by the way, I should just mention before we go any further, I am not Sharpening here, no way am I going to do that, because I am going to really want to see all of the high full pixel value detail when I go about Sharpening this spray foam here, and that's what we'll go ahead and do in Photoshop is some Sharpening.
So no Sharpening, 16 bit to 8 bit, and let's go ahead and set our Highlights and Shadows for our grayscale in bits. We move down to one of our favorite tools here that's Set Highlights and Shadow. Hold down our Shift key, click there, and it finds the lightest portion of the spray here, and then we'll do the same thing with the Shadow, boom, and it finds the shadow back here in this portion of the mountains. When we look at those two values, and here we have our Fixed Pipette, which shows us the Highlights and Shadow points. We are at 226, and it's all grayscale, so it's all going to be the same, and then 25.
That's actually not a bad value. I can take this down to 20 and still be comfortable with how it's going to print on my inkjet. So we can make that a little bit darker, and we can certainly make this lighter. we're at 226. We can take this up to 239, 240, no question about it. Let's go do that then. Let's come in here, go to our Histogram tool, which is similar to Levels in Photoshop, and while we monitor the Highlight, we are going to pull the Highlight value in here, and we'll take that up. And I know I am going to be sharpening this image a little bit later, so you know what, I'm not going to go all the way to 240.
I am going to take this to about 237. But even notice that, watch the image just visually over here as we take it from here, do you see how we are increasing the Brightness because we are bringing that Highlight in? But I am not going to take it all the way, 239, 240. I am going to take it 236, 237, somewhere in there. And the Shadow, just lower it to about 20. I really don't want to go below 20, because I am afraid of that filling in when I print this as a multi- tonal image. There we go! So that's setting Highlights and Shadows, and with an image like this, I am going to want to pump the Contrast just a little bit, although the basic image has such good Contrast, we certainly could get by with doing absolutely nothing if we want to.
If I were going to apply this in Photoshop, then I'd probably want to have this as a 16 bit image, but just for grins, in case we wanted to just scan and print this, and give it a little bit of a boost, maybe 2%, 3%, maybe take this up to 10, no more than that. And when you watch the image on screen, you see just a little bit of a change. A little bit goes a long way with that Curve tool, and then we will click OK. Good to go. Let's do the same thing, but do it on this image here. Now, watch this, Shift key, click, and notice that the highlight went to exactly the same place. No surprise there.
And then Shift and then click, notice where the shadow point went here. Because look at the difference in the contrast in the black and white image versus the color image. See, this is a much higher contrast image, so now the detail is actually in the wave, which is why you always want to do that Highlights and Shadow Points on each image, just to make sure that you know what you've got. So we are going to do a similar kind of adjustment on this image, but we can probably apply a little bit more Contrast on this one, because the original image doesn't have as much Contrast.
When we look at the Highlight, we're almost down to 200. So we've got quite a bit of lightening that we can do on this image. And notice that the Shadow Point though, the darkest value here is 27, so we are not going to want to darken that too much more, but we can certainly bring up the Highlights. The other thing that we will want to pay attention to here, since this is an RGB image is, if we want this to look and print white, then we're going to want to neutralize that water. Notice right now, if we evaluate the wave RGB values numerically, 27, 37, 43, there is a little bit of Blue-Green cast in this image, which by the way, if you've looked very much at the numeric values of landscapes shot during the day, Blue-Green Cast are very, very common.
When the human eye looks at this, it interprets that water as white, but as you'll see, we're going to increase the Brightness and overall Contrast in this image. We're really going to make that water pop, much like it pops up here. So to do this, we are going to go to our Histogram tool, but instead of working on the Master Histogram, we are going to work on the individual histograms, and watching the Highlight value, Highlight point number 3 and 4 here, 203, on the Red Channel, and we've got Red, Green, and Blue Channel.
We're going to move this to the left, watching the Red value at point number 3. And again, we are going to take that to about 237. Go to the Green, do the same thing, and we're doing the individual channels because we want to neutralize the Highlight. Take that to 237, and then the Blue, I'll take that to 237 as well. All ready, I think you can see how much brighter this image is, how the waves are really starting to pop more and the overall Contrast of the image has improved.
In terms of the Shadow, we can come in and we can compress the Shadow a little bit if we want to. We can neutralize this water if we cared to, or not. And honestly with 31, 43, 49, we can take that Shadow and move it in just a little bit, but I am not going to change it a whole lot. I don't want to go anything below about 20. Notice I'm working on the Master Histogram here. Why? Because I don't really care about neutralizing the water down in here. In fact, whatever colorcast is there I am happy to maintain, but I did want to neutralize the top, the white spray foam.
So we've maintained the colorcast down here by working on the Master Channel and the Shadow, but we did individual histogram manipulations to neutralize the white spray. Then we will click OK on this tool and we will go up to our Curve tool, and we will go to the Master Histogram here, and using either the slider right here. By the way, you can use this as a logarithmic slider. Notice, it says L for logarithmic. Notice that the slope changes on here, or when you click here, it's more of a linear tool, if you move it up and down.
You can do it either way. As a logarithmic tool it makes more of an adjustment in the Shadow. For an image such as this, it doesn't make too much difference. For images that are a little bit higher contrast, such as this one, it makes a little bit more difference if you're doing overall brightness. I am pretty happy with the brightness of this image, we are just going to do a little bit of a Contrast enhancement. So we are going to put that right back at 0 and just a little bit of Contrast punch, and a little bit of nice shape curve there. Maybe to take that to 10, just like we did the first image here. Okay. There we go.
This is an RGB image and we've set our frame. Both of these images we are going to a set at 240 for outputting on an inkjet. So 240 for that one. And when I'm setting resolution based upon an inkjet as opposed to prepress, instead of using the Q-Factor of like 1. 5 or 2 and then the line Screen, I just put the Q-Factor at 1 and then just put the pixels per inch here. And just to check, to make sure, I just hold down that Ctrl key to make sure that, that value is going to be right at around 240. Now, we've got a little bit of scaling going on here, from 7.9 by 3.9 to 8 by 3.9, so we are going to end up with 240 pixels per inch, but it's going to scan at 266, to accommodate that 1 .5% of scaling of the image.
All right, There we go. We've got both images set up and we just hit the Scan key, and then SilverFast is going to allow us to save each image out as a TIFF, and there we are. And we can dissolve back into here to Photoshop and there is our two images. the black and white grayscale image and the RGB color image. At the end of this chapter I will show you how you can set up using Job Manager so you can cue as many images as you want to, and then it will automatically just go from one image to the other. So there's scanning our landscapes. Now, once we have brought them into Photoshop, then we want to apply some Sharpening to these images, and as I mentioned, I like to do my Sharpening in Photoshop.
I'll just sharpen one of these. To complete this job in Photoshop before we use it in print or in the web, particularly going to print, we're going to want to apply some Sharpening to this image. And I'm just going to sharpen the color image to show you what my thought patterns are about it and we are going to use a standard tool called Unsharp Mask in order to accomplish this. And then I'll just mention how I would change it differently, and it's not much, using the Sharpening tool for the grayscale image. First of all, what I'd like to do is I'd like to keep an original image in an unsharpened form, and I will actually designate this is as a sharpened image, like this.
So when I'm looking at it in my file list, I can see that it's sharpened. And I am going to bring up my Layers panel right here. And then I do this. I go underneath Filter and I do Convert for Smart Filters, and I will click OK. What this allows me to do now is, I can go underneath Filter, and then Sharpen, and then I use either Unsharp Mask or Smart Sharpen. I am going to use Unsharp Mask here, because it's a little more intuitive than Smart Sharpen is, but all the same thought patterns will go into it.
500 is a little high. That's cool though. Wow! All right, That's a little more like it for a landscape. That 500 gave us an interesting result. The reason why I'm doing this, I converted my image to Smart Object, was now when I apply a filter like Smart Sharpen, I can apply that filter and edit it nondestructively. So I can apply one value, maybe do a print if I don't like it. I can come right back in here and I can go right into my Unsharp Mask or my Smart Sharpen filter, and I can change the values without actually affecting the pixels in the image until I actually go to output.
So it's a great way to sharpen your images, but again, I always like to leave an original image in an unsharpened form. All right, Let's discuss Sharpening for an image like this, and by the way, the best percentage to look at Sharpening is at 100%. Notice I've got 100% down here in the lower left-hand corner. That gives you the best overall visual impression of what the impact of the Sharpening is going to be. Although often I will do, as I'm doing here, I will Zoom in just to get a look-see at what it's doing to the pixels, and luckily the Unsharp Mask Filter here in Photoshop allows me to see what the Sharpening does to the image.
Here's an Amount of 100, and what that 100 means is, if you recall from our discussion earlier, is it increases the Contrast along the high contrast edges by 100%. The Radius of 1, which is what we use for all images that are 100%. only if we are applying Unsharp Mask during a scanning process, where we are doing a lot of scaling would we have a Radius greater than 1. Then importantly, in an image like this in particular, is using the Threshold value. On a lot of landscapes I will have the Threshold value of 0.
What that means is, it sharpens the whole image completely consistently. I might be able to do that here, but I want to sharpen this area of the image more than this area down in here. So I might put in a Threshold value of 2, which means it needs to be at least two differences in grayscale value between two adjacent pixels before the Sharpening will be applied. How much Unsharp Mask do I want to apply? Well, it kind of depends on the image. For this image, if we go up to 200 %, and then we look at that 100%, I think that's too much.
My creative judgment is that looks unnatural. And notice that viewing it at 100 % gives me the best view of what's actually going to occur. When I go back down to 100, I'm getting some nice Sharpening of that spray, but it doesn't look oversharpened to me. So an Amount of 100, a Radius of 1, and a Threshold of 2 for Sharpening this image. And in point of fact, in some cases I won't do it here, because it's really not a Photoshop class, but for images like this, I'll very often selectively sharpen the foreground over the background.
I might make a mask of this portion of the image, a nice feathered mask, and sharpen just the waves, or sharpen the waves more than I'd sharpen the backgrounds. There are lots of things you can do in Photoshop. Hence, this is the reason why I don't want to sharpen during the scan, to get a lot more creative control of how I want to sharpen my images. Now, one thing to mention here when you're Sharpening RGB images is that sometimes when you sharpen RGB images you will get colorcast shifts along the high contrast edges. There are a couple of solutions to addressing this, and one of them is this. I am going to take this image.
I am going to back it down here. I am going to make a copy of this. And we are going to make a Lab version of this image. And we are just going to bring up Channels, and I am going to go Image>Mode, and go to Lab Color Mode. What this does is it takes my RGB images and it separates them into three other channels, but most importantly what it does is it puts the grayscale values on one channel. Then if I know how much Unsharp Mask that I want to apply to this image, I can bring up my Unsharp Mask tool, apply it to just to the L Channel.
Therefore, there's no color shifts along high contrast edges, because there is no Sharpening being assigned to either the A or the B Channel. This is perhaps the safest way to apply Sharpening to a color image, if you end up having some color shifts along high contrast edges. It looks exactly the same. It's going to be the same values that you had. In fact, you can convert this back to RGB again if you want to, or you can take it onto CMYK for printing right from here. So if you do notice some color shifts in your printer and your web images, it doesn't always happen, but sometimes it does, you can apply Sharpening to a Lab version of this image.
Again, another reason to apply Sharpening in Photoshop. it gives you much more control. Now, all the Sharpening evaluation and the values that I applied to the color image, I would apply to the grayscale image as well. I just don't have to worry about color shifts along high contrast edges. All right, So there's scanning grayscale landscapes, color landscapes, and then applying some Sharpening in the post-scan in Photoshop.
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