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In this course, photographer and scanning expert Taz Tally describes how to use the LaserSoft Imaging SilverFast software to scan photos, line art, film negatives, and other printed documents, while getting the highest quality scans possible from your scanner. The course begins with an overview of SilverFast, then takes a task-oriented look at the SilverFast automatic and manual scanning modes, showing numerous scanning projects from start to finish. The course also explores a variety of specialized scanning topics, such as removing color casts and scratches, High Dynamic Range (HDR) scanning, and wet scanning.
In this movie, I'd like to show you how to take neutrals in an image and use those for correcting the color inside the image. We set the stage for this whole concept of using neutrals for correcting color when we did our target base correction. There we established the whole principle that color is based upon grayscale. Therefore if you get the grayscale correct, the color is going to be correct. Here, instead of having a target in the image, we are actually going to try to find neutrals that are in our image and then correct those neutrals thereby correcting the color. So let's dive right in. Let's go ahead and magnify this image, so we can get a better view of it.
The first thing that we are going to do is evaluate our image. Well, when I look at an image, one of the first things I look for is I ask myself; is there any sort of a neutral highlight? Well, the first thing that we see here is that we have got some reflections here. So we probably have a specular highlight here. Then I ask myself, are there any diffuse highlights? And then if we are lucky, we'll find some diffuse white highlights. And sure enough right up here in the petals, this is a diffuse white highlight right here. And notice that if we activate our Densitometer, we use just about every scan, and if we click on our show me the lightest point in the image, sure enough, it comes up in one of these reflections. And that's fine.
That's a specular highlight. But we are not going to worry about adjusting those. We are going to take the light as point of the image that still has detail. And that's going to be up here in the flower, that's going to be a critical point, right here. So that's our first neutral that we can find. And luckily it's a neutral white highlight so it gives us all sorts of advantages in terms of controlling the color. So right off the bat, we are going to set our first point right there, right in the petal, by Shift and clicking to create our sampler point. Let's look at the values. Red, Green and Blue, 212, 216, those are pretty close together. Blue 228, yikes, that's significantly higher.
Now you know, I typically will take that sampler point and move it around a little bit just to see if I am getting consistent color balance there. And sure enough, the Red and Green are pretty close to each other, but the Blue is significantly higher. So we are suspecting a blue color cast. The other evaluation tool that we can use is the Picture Setting tool, which I'm displaying over here, and you can use Histogram as well. But what's nice about the Picture settings, when we display the Output Histogram, is these are dynamic histograms so they change as we adjust the image. When we look at the highlight end of these three histograms, sure enough. Look how the blue sticks out more than the green and the red does.
The green sticks out just a tiny bit more than the red and sure that's exactly what we see here. The red is the lowest, the green is a little bit higher and the blue is significantly higher. So even without placing our color sampler point, we can see that there's a blue cast at least in the highlight. That's why the Histogram is such a powerful tool. It's a very powerful visual tool that helps us not only evaluate, but also correct our images. All right! Let's look and see if we can find any other neutrals in this image. When I look across this image, I am thinking this gray boot leather would be a great near midtone neutral.
So let's go ahead and Shift and click and place a color sampler point there. And we've already established that we think that the red and green are pretty close up here in the highlight, but the blue is high. Let's compare the values that we are getting in the midtone: 94, 102, boom, 110. Sure enough the blue is significantly higher, isn't it?, than either the red or the green. Once again, we can Shift and move this around and see if we are getting consistently a blue value that's higher than all the rest and we sure do. So we have got some consistency. Now we are starting to think, hmm, maybe there is a lot of blue. We do have a blue color cast in this image.
And now let's look for a shadow, if we can find one. And our eye maybe immediately drawn to one of these cast shadows down here. Don't do it. Don't place your color sampler point there and let me show you why. Typically when we are doing color correction, we want to correct well lit portions of the image or at least consistently lit portions of the image and here, the highlight and the midtone are both in well lit portions. So we wouldn't want to go to a cast shadow because cast shadows have a different color balance than well lit areas. So here, I am going to look for a well lit area that's dark.
And sure enough we see one. Look at the black rubber on the tip of this gray leather boot. I am going to place a color sampler point there and see what we get for our ratios of RGB. Here 35, 40 and then boom, 50, jump up to 50. So we see a continuation of the blue color cast throughout this image. And sure enough when we look over in our Histogram, we see again the blue extends a little bit beyond the green which in turn extends a little bit beyond the red. So we have a consistent blue color cast here. Just for grins, let me show you and prove to you about the cast shadow. Look at the case shadow: 24, 23, 26. They are almost exactly the same, and if we had looked at the cast shadow first, we think oh, this image is fine. It's almost color balance. Pretty close. Well, it's not.
And that's why we don't use cast shadows unless the entire image is in cast shadow. So try to choose consistently lit areas in order to do your color cast correction. All right! So we have got some good color sampler points, let's now go about correcting our image. Now there is a variety of tools that we can use and sometimes I use combinations of tools. We could go straight to the Gradation tool and use that to correct and we've done that earlier. What I want to show you this time is using the Pipette tool. Because with the Pipette tool, it's a neutralization tool; that's what it's designed for is to neutralize points.
Well, we've established three very nice neutral areas that we can go neutralize. What we want to do first is make sure that the values we're going to assign to them are consistent with their positions in the image. The way we do that is, before we click on anything, let's go back to our Preferences here. And remember that our Highlight Offset, that is the highlight value, is set at 5%. That's perfect, right? We'd love for this to be 5%, 242, 242, 242 on a 0-255 scale. Shadow Offset, typically by default, it's set at 98.
Throughout most of this course, we've had it set at 95. If we want to use our Pipette tool for correcting the three-quarter tone shadow, then we are going to put this around 80 or 85. So let's go ahead and change this to 85. You wouldn't have to, you could go to the Gradation curve to correct that if you wanted to. But let me just show you how it works and I think you will find this useful. And particularly, you have a series of images that maybe similar that have similar types of highlights, midtones and shadows, this is a very handy tool. Now remember that our MidPip is set to be at 50.
When we look at the RGB values here, remember midtone is about 128. So this is about 10% lower. So we could come in here instead of setting that at 50, we could put this at 40. Then we can use our Pipette tool to completely correct this image. Let's see how it's done. Let's go head and close this now and let's go to the Pipette tool. Click on it and choose White Point and then move right over here and watch the RGB values and then also watch the Histogram. I am going to click here, boom! The RGB values go right to 242, 242, 243, 5% white highlight.
Notice now how all three ends of the highlights of the three histograms, the red, the green, and the blue are all perfectly lined up now. So how about the midtone? Let's go do the midtone. Go to Neutral. Remember we set that back to 40 and we're going to click here and that puts it in the low 100 which is close to where it was in the original image, and then we'll come up here and go to Black Point and we're going to click there and it goes right to the 40s which is close to where it was in the image. We could do all this in Gradation and get it even more fine-tuned, but if we had a series of images to correct that had similar highlights, midtones and shadows, this would sure be an easy way to do it, wouldn't it? How about combining tools? Let's go ahead and reset all of these to their original values with the original blue cast.
And let's go back to our Preferences. Let's say that we just wanted to set our Highlight and Shadow, but we want to keep MidPip at 50, we didn't want to mess with our Midtone. That's okay. That's good. Now let's try the same thing. Let's go to White Point, boom! It goes right to 5% white highlight; 243, 243, 243 and then let's just go right to Shadow, the Black Point and click on there and you are going to see something interesting. One, the Highlight and Shadow are right on the money, right within one point of each other, that's 4/10ths a percent from perfection.
But look at the midtone now. By just setting the Highlight and the Shadow, see we've almost completely corrected the midtone; 111, 114, 112. And if there's some disparity in there, like the green is just a little bit higher, fine! Let's just go to the Gradation tool. We'll activate the green channel and then we'll just pull the Midtone of the green channel down just a little bit and now the green is right on the money; 111, 111, 112. And you can do that on any channel that you want. So there's a combination of tools that you can use together.
And we just ignore the shadow down here, we don't really care what that's doing, because that's not a significant portion of the image. What we care about is this significant portion that's well lit, that has the portions of the image we are going to be looking at. All right! So there is Color Cast Correction using neutrals in your image and using a couple of different tools. You can combine tools together all the time with no problem at all in SilverFast. And let's look at our final adjustment of our histograms where everything is nice and lined up in the highlight and in the three-quarter tone things are nicely lined up.
And what's the most important part of the image? It's always the highlight, because the color casts are most obvious there. And then finally, let's go ahead and just put the Densitometer away and let's just turn our correction off and on and just take a look at it. We'll go to the Histogram tool here and look at this. That's before. That's after. Before and after. You know I bet you when you first looked at this image, before we did any correction, you felt wow! That's a good-looking image. I don't know how much we can improve that. You see the human eye does a great job with qualitative analysis of color when you have two colors next to each other. But it doesn't see things like colorcast when it has nothing to compare it to. Which is why we end up with much better quality image.
Look at how the saturation of all the colors comes out, not only do we have a better brightness and contrast in the image because we've reset the Highlights and Shadows but by neutralizing the image and removing that blue color cast, man we get an image that just pops, no doubt! All right! So there is neutralization-based color cast correction using a combination of tools in SilverFast.
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