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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 discuss the topic of HiBit Depth Scanning. We are really not going to be working on any images here because it's not necessary. I just want to address one part of the interface and that's this little icon right here. We've been working in here throughout the course but we've pretty much been working in the top half of this. HiBit Depth Scanning means capturing an image at a high capture bit depth. For instance, let's talk about what we've done so far, and then talk about what we could do with the options in terms of bit depth.
When we captured our 1 bit black and white line art image and we convert it to vectors, we chose this bit depth: 16 -> 1 Bit. What this means is that SilverFast captures in 16 bits per pixel of grayscale, but delivers us 1 bit that is 1 bit black-and-white. In the continuous tone grayscale image, or in the detail line art image, we captured 16 bits of grayscale, but when we got done editing it in our application in SilverFast, we output 8 bits. In RGB mode where we're working with three channels, instead of just one like we have in these two, we have three 8 bit grayscale channels.
Red, green, and blue on output; on input we have three 16 bit grayscale channels. Three times 16 is 48 bit. So we're capturing the thousands of shades of gray on each channel and then modifying them, but we're outputting in high quality, 24, 8, or 1, depending upon what we want. The advantages of capturing more data is we have more data to actually edit. The advantage of outputting at smaller bit depths is that the files are smaller and printing devices a lot of times don't need anymore than this basic amount of information.
By the way, 8 bit gives us 256 shades of gray and, as I mentioned, 16 bit gives us thousands of shades of gray, 16,000 shades of gray. So we've been working in the top half here. The bottom half is where we have the single numbers, 48 Bit, 16 Bit, 48 Bit HDR and 16 Bit HDR. When would we use these? Well, it'd depend on our workflow and what are our intentions are for working and even printing our image. A lot of printing devices, for instance, can only print 24 bits of color/grayscale data. But some printing devices can actually print up to 48 bits of color data or 16 bits of grayscale.
And if you're going to be doing a lot of editing in Photoshop, sometimes it's nice to have all those extra tonal values in the image. So if your choice was to either edit in Photoshop and keep the full 16 bits per channel, and/or edit in Photoshop and keep the full 16 bits per channel and then output that full 16 bits per channel, then you would choose 16 bit if you're working with grayscale images or 48 bit for RGB color images. And notice, when we choose 48 bit or 16 bit we have all the same tools that we have up here for 48 bit and 16 bit.
There is no difference, we still have the same editing capacity. The only difference is in the top three, we capture 16 bits per channel and then output either 1, 8, or 24, and these were all continuous tone images; we've talked about the 8 and 24. In the 48-bit and the 16 bit, just a single number, in terms of the grayscale, we capture 16 bit and we output 16 bits, and then we can open up that 16 bit in Photoshop. Same thing in the color. Here we capture 16 bits per channel, times three channels, and then we edit that and then we output the full 48 bit which again we can open up in Photoshop, edit it, and then we can either choose to downsample it to 8 bits per channel or output and print the 48 bit or 16 bits per channel if our printing device can actually accept that much data.
So that's when we would choose 48 bit or 16 bit, and the more editing you intend to do with your image after the scan the more likely you are to actually output the full 16 bits per channel to 48 bit for the RGB. All right, so what are these last two here; the 48 Bit HDR and 16 Bit HDR? Well, first of all, watch what happens when we select one of these. The interface basically goes blank, we don't have any editing capabilities. We can perform a prescan and that's about it. The concept here is we're creating a high dynamic range scan.
High Dynamic Range is both a general and a specific term. High Dynamic Range in general refers to images that have 16 bits or more per channel. But in this case it also refers to actual application or program called HDR. It's made by LaserSoft, the same folks who make SilverFast. If we were to choose 48 Bit HDR, our intention would not be to edit the image here with the tools in SilverFast. It would be just to do a basic overall raw scan, capture as much data as we can, export it at 16 bits per channel and then actually open it in the program called HDR.
And if we were to launch HDR and view it, it would look exactly the same as you see here. The only difference is instead of saying SilverFast Ai Studio, it would say SilverFast HDR. So it's a standalone program that doesn't require that it'd be attached to a scanner. Why would you want to do that? Well, you could be distributing to a whole group of production people who could be working in HDR, because creating the original scan is very simple, because all you do is choose 48 Bit or 16 Bit HDR, do a prescan, label a file and off you go.
So that's the fundamental difference between here, where sampling done during the scan process after we edit; here we're keeping the full 16 bits of data after we edit and exporting it that; and here, we're not doing any adjustment during the scan at all; we're just creating a high bit depth file that we're handing off to another application.
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