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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.
Here I'd like to review the overall SilverFast interface and then I would like to show you how to set up the options which most of us think of as preferences for SilverFast. First to note about SilverFast versions, you'll notice that this is SilverFast Ai Studio. Depending upon the version of the scanner, the model you may get a different version of the software, but have no fear, almost all the really good fundamental scanning tools are available in all the versions. There are different bells and whistles as you kind of move up the scale. For instance Ai has a few more tools than SE, few more capabilities, and if you want to upgrade you can do that directly through the LaserSoft website at lasersoft.com, and they have a variety of other tools that you can choose from.
We are going to be sticking with the fundamental core scanning tools. Don't sweat it if you don't have exactly the same version, you probably have all the tools that you need. All right, now about laying out the interface. Instead of having a lot of menu choices up here, everything is pretty much laid out in these panels, and I think it's really inspired design, I like it. It's different than most of us used to working with, used to working with in Photoshop. So at first, ooh boy, the interface is a little bit confusing because we've got so many tools down here, but it really provides access to all the tools in a real small area without having to go to menu.
So here's how I like to arrange things. As I like to have my Primary Setup panel over here and then this is the Preview panel, and when we get into Scans, as you will see, we will pretty much start all scans by of course cleaning our scanner and the images and laying it down on the platen, so I can get into the side of the dedicated film scanner and then we click the Prescan button to see where things are located and the preview scan comes up here. So this is the Preview window where we will see the image, then we'll set up the final scan based upon what we see and measure here.
So I'd like to put this over here and then I'd like to put the Densitometer in the middle. You may want to put your Densitometer over here. That's fine, you can develop your own little system. But keep this Densitometer up, this is by the way similar to the Info tool in Photoshop, and this is what we will be using for measuring the critical RGB values in grayscale and color continuous tone images in particular. There is also this Picture Settings panel which we won't be using in awful lot, in this course, we are going to be using all the fundamental scanning tools. So you can learn how to use that if you like and you can add that to your bag of tricks, but we are primarily going to be working in these three windows in this course.
Now moving over to setting up just for a basic scan, there's two buttons over here, there is Frame and General. We are going to start in the General and this is where you designate what kind of scanner and this should be pre-selected for you. SilverFast really doesn't launch properly unless it's connected to a scanner, your device should come up and be right here. If for some reason this connection is broken then SilverFast will really stop working. So you won't have to worry too much about setting that device. But you will want to set the Scan Mode to either Normal or Batch Mode, and Batch Mode allows you to scan multiple images.
We will be doing a Batch Mode project in the last section of this course where we do multiple scans. Then you will set the Original either to Reflective or Transparency, your Transparency (full area), we will talk about the difference between these two choices a little bit later when we did discuss scanning films. So we will set this to Reflective. That's how we are going to start, and then whether we are going to have a positive or negative image, and of course, when we are working with Reflective, it is always positive. SilverFast has a special Kodachrome setting for Kodachrome film. Again more on scanning film a little bit later.
And then this Frame-Set that you see here, you can actually, after you set the General and the Frame up, you can save your frame-sets, notice when I choose Save, this little dialog box, and this says new frame setting, so you might set up one primarily for like doing line art or one for doing grayscale images or one for doing color-con tones. That's a really handy feature, so you don't have to go through and do everyone of those, or if you have multiple scanners with multiple settings, so you may have one frame setting for doing your Epson Reflective Scanner, another frame setting for doing maybe your Plustek Transparency Scanner or Film Scanner, so that's handy to do.
It can be a real timesaver if you do a lot of scanning. One of the other things that you will notice, if you move around the interface is there is these buttons with the drop shadows that have the Q, these are QuickTime instructional movies that LaserSoft has added all over the interface to help explain and these provide some basic description of what the tools do and a little bit about how they work, but they are very handy to have there. All right, next, let's go click on the Options button. This is basically setting up the preferences for how SilverFast is going to work, you'll notice that there are four different buttons here.
The Auto button, we are not going to talk about right now. This is for how you would set up and instruct SilverFast to do an automatic scan. I will revisit this a little bit later, but it's not the primary tool that we are going to be using. We discussed the Color Management Setup tool a little bit earlier, so I won't review that now. If you want to review how to setup your color management, please refer back to that movie. And then there is this special section, we will come back to it a little bit later when we talk about half-toning. Let's focus on the General options or General preferences, and let's go down through here and discuss how we might set these, now or in specific circumstances.
The Color Mode notices RGB or CMY, remember our discussion earlier about the RGB versus CMYK workflow, we are going to stick in RGB. It's simpler, it's faster, smaller files, easier color correction, and of course, Photoshop is an RGB color image- editing painting program, when you can do with CMYK editing, but it's really primarily an RGB program. Remember, we discussed that CMYK is really device-specific and device-dependent. The conversion from RGB to CMYK is something you should do later on in your image-editing workflow, unless you truly are just going up to one specific printer on one specific paper.
All right, so we are going to choose RGB. You can select your own units of measurements. Typically I will use Inches. If you like to use Centimeters or Points, Pikes, or Pixels, it's up to you. Densitometer Radius, this is an interesting one to talk about the default. By the way, I have got all the default values set here to the LaserSoft defaults. Here it's 2 pixels. What this is used for is, remember we discussed the Densitometer, the RGB values that you see here, if you were to choose a one pixel radius, it would just measure one pixel at a time.
This gives you like a 2x2 square for measuring the pixels. My preference are a 3x3 pixel, and this is similar the way I set it up in Photoshop. My suggestion would be to set up your Densitometer Radius here to the same one that you have in Photoshop, so you are going to get similar readings as you move back and forth. The reason why you want to have something other than one pixel is, remember when we were working with an RGB image, it's really three grayscale channels and you don't what the individual pixels are on each channel. You may have a straight pixel, you really want an average of like what a highlight or what a shadow value is.
So I like to set this on 3. If I have very small highlights or very small critical shadow areas, I will set it down to 2. But typically I will set this at 3. Notice the default settings where it says SilverFast Defaults, and that's what we are kind of setting up here, what this is going to be for the default. But notice that underneath Option Parameter, again we can save settings, we can delete them, we can go back to the Factory Settings, if we want to. When we click Save, we can name that, so we wanted to set this up for Contone images, I could make a Contone setting and then save that.
Typically you don't want to do this until you get done with all your settings, I am just showing you how to do that. And then all you have to do is to come in here and choose Contone. If you wanted a separate one for grayscale, separate one for color, one for line art, you can certainly do that. Interpolation, definitely set this on Anti-Alias rather than SilverFast Standard. What this does, when you set on Anti- Alias, if you have some built-in like grid structure in your image, the anti- aliasing interpolation will try to take that out of your image. It's kind of a mini de- screening function if you will. So I suggest set that on Anti Alias. This High-Resolution Prescan, what you can do here is you can set this on anywhere, the default is 1x, so when you go through a Prescan, remember you click this Prescan button down here and you get 100% view of your image.
If you want to use your Magnifying Glass to zoom in, typically what you have to do on a scanner is, if you want to zoom in, it has to go through another prescan which can really slow down the process. So if you set this on 4, for instance, we'll go ahead and set it on 4, and then we get done or show you how it works, that allows you to zoom in. The only downside of putting this at a higher value than one is it does slow down the prescan slightly, and you can test your scanner with the software and see if it significantly slows it down. We will set it on 4 for now and then you how it works. This Preview Lightness by default is set Off.
Watch the relationship of this image here to the outer frame background, watch what happens when I go from Off to Dark. See it will automatically darken the outside area creating contrast between where the frame is and the area that's outside of the frame. That's how I like to set mine, but you can set yours to make it lighter. So if you're working with dark images, you will have more contrast with a lighter background where you can turn it off. It's up to you. We will set it on Dark for now. Gamma-Gradation, when I set this on the factory default, it came up with 2.2.
What this Gamma-Gradation is, is that the response of CCDs to grayscale values is not linear which means that when it looks at 50, it doesn't necessarily read 50%. So typically for most continuous tone images and reflective continuous tone images, a default Gamma-Gradation is about 1.8 and for a lot of films Gamma-Gradation is between 2.0 and 2.2. Since we are doing Reflective right now we are going to set this at 1.8. If you are doing HDR Output which is High Dynamic Range Output which we will talk about later, you can check that, and this is one of the examples of, or you might save a separate parameter option for say High Dynamic Range versus Line Art versus Continuous Tone Images for Film or Reflection.
If you do some high dynamic range scanning which basically you are just going to collect data and send it somewhere else to be edited, that might be a special set up and you might have a different Gamma-Gradation for that. Okay, then just tabbing down, by the way you can just hit the Tab key or Shift+Tab to go backwards on these. But the Q-Factor is when you're using Line Screen in order to designate your resolution, if we to go to the Frame function, you see the Q-Factor is here, if you are using Line Screen to designate the resolution of your file, we are typically not going to be doing that.
We are going to actually be working down here in the pixels per inch. So that's where Q-Factor is effective or applied. It's right there. My recommendation is to go ahead and just leave that on the default of 1.5, we will discuss that in a more detail as we go. You can reopen SilverFast after the scan, you can show image after the scan if you want, typically I checked this on and I have on Real-time Correction which means that as soon as you do something on screen, it's reflected in the preview. The only reason you would want to trim that out would be if you were working on a very slow computer where things were just dragging along.
If you have a computer that's just a couple of years old or younger, SilverFast is going to work just fine in the Realtime Correction. The Mask Edge, leave that on 0, typically only you are going to be using that if you're doing selective color corrections and it creates a mass kind of an anti-aliased or graded edge if you will, or masked, so that you don't have abrupt changes in color. It's not something we are going to spend a lot of time with in this course. You can choose open color screen and then your Frame Color, it's the color that you have right here. I kind of like that red orange color.
Let's just go into our Magnifying Glass tool that you see here, and notice when you click on that, when you have more than a 1x, it gives you some keyboard shortcuts that you can use using the Ctrl key and dragging frames and clicking and zooming, and notice that as I click here, I can use my Command key or Command or Ctrl, depending upon whether you are on Mac or Windows, you can keep magnifying as long as that says Green, so I can keep magnifying in. Once it gets to Red, then it's going to perform a prescan.
If you hold down the Option+Alt key, see the little P that comes up. It goes right back to the one-to-one view. So that's what we set and now we are using that 4x that you see right here and then click OK. Notice that Preview Scan at 4X, we'll just go through that once. It's a pretty fast preview scan, even when you put it at 4x it's collecting a little bit more data. All right, so there is the interface, the general interface and kind of organizing things and setting up their preview preferences and tool preferences in SilverFast.
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