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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 project I'd like to show you how to scan complex line art using the automatic interface in SilverFast, but before we go there, let's just talk a little bit about the challenges we have with detailed line art. In an earlier portion of the course we scanned simple line art, and the issue there was all about edge reproduction. And here it's still about edge reproduction, but it's also about detail reproduction. And notice in this particular piece of line art there is an enormous amount of detail. This is a pen-and-ink drawing of an octopus, which is used as one of the logos for the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, where I live up on Kachemak Bay, in Homer, Alaska.
And when you think about this kind of line art, it's kind of like halfway between a photograph and just a simple logo. So we have some of the challenges of both line art and a continuous-tone image. So the tools and decisions that we're going to make will reflect this additional challenge of having more detail in the image. So with that in mind, let's go ahead and go on up to the automatic interface, and we get there by clicking on the WorkflowPilot, which is located in the upper left-hand corner, the red ball. And when we click on that, takes us right into the automatic interface.
And for setting up the automatic interface, basically we start by answering a few simple questions that the WorkflowPilot poses to us. First is we want to set the Source and the Task, and the Source is basically the input and then the Task is the output. And underneath Source, we choose what is the source of this image: is it a print or is it a photo? In this case it's a photograph of the logo, so we're going to choose Photograph. And then we go to the Task, or output Task, and for scanning line art there's two good ways to go in this interface. The first is, if you know that you're starting with black-and-white line art, you want to end up with line art, we're going to go with you Black & White choice.
If you're starting with color and want to end up with color line art, then you would choose Color and Intensity. So you make that decision now. Well, our logo obviously is black and white, so we're going to go to the Black & White mode. Just a note in passing about color logos: Sometimes it's easier to scan a color logo in black and white and then apply color to it later, so you can make that choice. So we're going to go Black & White, and we're going to choose High contrast. And the reason why we're going to choose High contrast is that we know we have high contrast edges in our logo, with lots of detail, so this is going to tell the software interface, "Hey, we've got some high-contrast things," so it's going to automatically be preferentially set up for capturing those high-contrast edges.
All right! Then our next choice here is the bit depth of the image, and the standard choice for SilverFast is 16 Bit to 8 Bits, we end up with an 8 Bit grayscale image, and we'll just stay with that. Then the next step is we click the Start button and then what that does is it initiates the preview scan. In the automatic workflow, we just started from the left and move to the right and then the WorkflowPilot just kind of moves us through the tools that we have up here. Okay. The next thing for us to set is the frame. We set this to tell scanner what we actually want the scanner to capture.
And we don't want it to capture the entire scan frame. And typically with line art we want to snug our scan frame up pretty close to the edge of the line art, but give it a little bit of room on the edge. And notice it's a simple two-step process, where I can just drag the upper left-hand corner, the lower right- hand corner, and boom, I'm done. So that's going to restrict the scanner to capturing just this particular portion of the image. And then the next thing we want to set is the Linear Resolution of the scanner. Well, if you watched the simple line art scan video, you'll notice that we chose 600 pixels per inch for that particular scan, because it was very simple line art. It didn't demand a lot of resolution.
But here, since we're capturing detailed line art--there's a lot more detail--we want to go to a higher optical resolution. And by the way, we use the word optical to designate hardware resolution of the scanner with no interpolation. With this particular scanner, with the Epson 750, we can go all the way up to 4800. These are both overkill in nearly every case. The 1200 is going to be a gracious plenty. So we're going to go ahead and choose 1200 pixels per inch for our scanner to use to capture the image. And then we're going to step forward. we just click the Continue button. The Photo and the High contrast provides us with a couple of tools that we can use with great effectiveness for working with line art.
You're probably familiar, if you've worked with line art at all, whether it's simple or detailed, is that very often when you scan it, the actual background comes through. It actually has some tonal value to it, and it's nice to be able to knock that out. Well, couple of ways we can do that, particularly with black and white. We can use the Histogram tool, and in particular we're going to use the Highlight slider, which is right here on the right- hand side, down here on the Histogram. And I'm going to move this from right to left, and what I'd like you to do is watch the background here, which looks pretty white onscreen until we do this.
See that, see the tonal value that's there? And as we move that Highlight value over to the left, we can knock out all that background and just emphasize the octopus itself. We can take it further and further. See, if we go too far we start eating into the data of the actual octopus, so we really just want to kind of get it right inside this spike here. And on some images you may want to adjust the shadow as well to maybe bring up the contrast of the actual line art a little bit. But be careful not to move it into the actual data too much. There we've got a much higher- contrast version of our image. All right! And then we can just step forward after that.
We go to the Gradation tool, and notice that because we've chosen High contrast, the software has already bumped up the highlights and filled in the shadows for us to make sure that we get a nice high-contrast scan. And then we click Continue, and all we need to do now is name our image and choose a file format and where we want to save it. And I like to use a logical name. And we'll call this Octopus, and then I'm going to go underscore, and we capture this in grayscale mode, and then 1200 (Octopus_GS_1200). See, just by looking at the file I can tell a lot about this image.
Then we'll want to choose the file format. We have multiple choices here. My suggestion is to save your image out as a TIFF, and the reason why I'm recommending this is this is a high- quality, uncompressed format that you can open and use in just about any image editing application. Then if you want to make copies of your image later on and save it as a JPEG file for use on the web or low- quality printing, that kind of thing, that's fine, but I discourage you from saving it out as a JPEG to begin with. By the way, if you know you're going to be going to Photoshop, you can always save it out as a .PSD file. That's a high-quality editing format Photoshop file that's uncompressed as well. But typically I say my logos out as TIFFs, and then I can duplicate them and save them up in other file formats for other purposes and uses.
All right! And then you just choose the path where you want the image to be saved, and you do that by clicking on the folder. Then you can select where you want the file to be saved, click the Choose button, and then click Continue, and it automatically starts the scanning process. And then you just kind of monitor the scan down here in the Scanner status window. Remember, if you scanner hasn't been turned on for a while, if you haven't used it, it may take a few minutes for you to just warm up. In this case, we see the scanning starting immediately, and it gives you the progress. And since it's capturing at 1200 pixels per inch, it's going to take a little bit longer than that 600-pixel-print scan that we did in the previous project for the simple line art.
And while the scan is completing, I want to encourage you to really take a look at the manual portion of this class in the SilverFast interface for capturing all sorts of images, but particularly detailed line art. This is a good scan, we'll end up with good results, but if you really want to get super control over your image, working through the manual interface will give you more control and the best overall results. And once your scan is completed, you can actually take a look at your image by clicking on this button in the Scanner status dialog. This is Open image file. And SilverFast will use the application that your computer has set for opening up whatever file format in which you've saved it.
This case I have my computer set to open up the images inside of Photoshop, and there it is. Notice if we go up underneath Image and Image Size, notice we have a 4x6 image at 1200 pixels per inch, which is the optical resolution of the scanner that we chose to capture this image. And notice if we just use our magnifying glass, we can zoom in here and take a look at all the nice detail we've been able to capture, and those nice high-contrast edges. By the way, a little bit later on in the class I'm going to show you how to take nice scanned images like this that we reproduced with the scanner interface and work with them in Photoshop to fine-tune them even a little bit more.
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