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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 am going to go over how to scan negative film working in Manual mode in SilverFast. First, a note of caution. Remember, we are scanning small pieces of film and normally we're enlarging them to much larger dimensions than at which they are starting. So cleanliness is absolutely required here. Any sort of dust that you have in your image is going to be multiplied many, many times. So please review those sections in the other scanning class on cleaning your scanner and cleaning your film, and of course, keeping your hands clean and only touching the film with cotton gloves on, because if you get just a little bit of oil from your fingers on that film and it picks up dust and it's almost impossible to get off.
And there is something else about negative film we'll come to in just a minute about handling a film, but I rather show you than just tell you. Okay, so first thing we are going to do is, choose Transparency and if your image doesn't quite fit when you choose Transparency, you can always go with Wide Transparency, but we are fine with just straight Transparency and then you choose Negative. When you are working with SilverFast, when you choose Negative, it says NegaFix and NegaFix is the critical setup portion of scanning and negatives because it allows you to accommodate the specific film type and there are a lot of different film types.
And we'll set up our Negative Fix in just a second. First thing we are going to do is we are going to come over here and set our frame on our image and we'll just do a quick and dirty frame, because we are going to magnify. Notice when you set your frame, boom, because we have Negative set, the scanner will automatically switch all those images, because it automatically knows to do that. So we are going to magnify the image and then we are going to do a rotate counterclockwise so that we can see the image up close in personal. And now we get to the part that I want to talk to you about in terms of image handling. Just a few minutes ago, I talked about how important it is to work with clean images. That's important whether it's positive slide film or a negative slide film, but the other issue with negative slide film is even after it's developed, it has a very, very soft emulsion side to it, and that emulsion side is very, very easy to scratch.
And if you just start looking around this image, here and down here and over in the corner, there are scratches all over the place on this image and this is very typical particularly for old pieces of negatives that you've got. And luckily there is some software in here built-into SilverFast that's going to help us out a lot with that. All right! And how we are going to set this up? Well, first let's go over to Negative Fix after we set our frame and let's choose the Vendor which in this case is Kodak and by the way all this information is on the side of the film. So you put on your glasses or grab your magnifying glass and you can read the edge of the film--that is if you're older than 30 those are the tools that you need--and then choose your Filmtype which for this one is Gold and then you choose the ISO or the ASA.
Now interestingly, this film is Kodak Gold 200, but watch this if I select 100, ooh, I get a better looking image even though I'm supposed to set it on 200. Well, I've never been one who has shied away from breaking rules and particularly when they give me better scanned images. So there's no problem with you experimenting with other film types, other ISOs, other ASAs, no problem. I definitely like the Automatic Color Correction that I get when I select the 100 over the 200.
And if you have a negative and it's old, sometimes you will get color shifts away from the original version. So choosing a different Filmtype is actually the way to go and if you want your Automatic Color Correction to take place, go ahead and check that on. Sometimes you'll see an impact of that and sometimes you won't. You can adjust Exposure and Tolerance if you want to make your image overall a little bit lighter or a little bit darker. I tend not to use those tools as much as I do the Histogram and the Gradation tools. All right! To get started then after we set our NegaFix, let's go ahead and go to our Densitometer and let's check out where our lightest areas in the image are and we can click here like this and see it's actually choosing a defect in the film as being the lightest portion of image which is not uncommon.
Notice sometimes we can take the frame down and then click and then it will eliminate the upper portion of the film and actually show you where your highlight point is, actually in the image so you can eliminate some of those nicks on the film that the scanning software thinks is the highlight. And then we are going to go ahead and click to make that our highlight point. And then we can take our scanner frame and just put it right back up there and then we'll click on the Shadow Point and see where that goes, over right down here in the lower left-hand corner. And then let's evaluate our RGB values.
Notice 251, 248, 246, well, first of all it's not neutral and secondly, they are too light and on the shadow, 002, definitely too dark. So we've got some adjustments to do here. Just to remind you, going back to SilverFast and Preferences, you set what highlight values you want the automatic software to work with in the Highlight Offset and Shadow Offset, which for this scanner we have got set at 5 and 95. So let's go ahead and use the Auto Correction and then we'll evaluate it from there and see what the scanning software does.
Well, look it does a pretty darn nice job, doesn't it? Look at that 240, 240, 241. It's within one point there. That's great. So that's a nice 5% white highlight down here 13, 13, 15, right at 95%. If we wanted to make some adjustments on this, some fine-tunes on that, we can do that. Let's go to our Gradation tool and let's just go to the shadow end, and notice when I just pull the Shadow Point up, if I hold down my Ctrl key and then pull, then the whole curve moves up. And what we are going to do is we are just going to move it up a little bit until we get up close to 20, there we go.
I am just going to lighten the shadow point just a little bit and by holding down my Command key and dragging that point, the entire line moves rather than just that one point. Hey! There are times when you just want to do just a one-point move, like just lighten the three-quarter tone a little bit, which we could do on this image and look at the impact of that. See I can lighten that foreground a little bit or I can darken it if I want to add a little bit more contrast. Again, on this particular image, we might want to add a little bit of contrast to this. Remember, a little bit goes a long way here, giving our image some punch. So good! So we get a pretty neutral highlight and the shadow is neutral although it doesn't necessarily have to be here, it's just very dark.
We have got it up, so we know whether it's going to print, not too bad. So we have used a combination of the Auto Correction tools and then we fine-tuned it, but remember everything is driven by those sampler points that we've created with the Densitometer. Just about every image that we have scanned so far, we have used that Densitometer and there isn't an image that I'd capture that I don't use my Densitometer. Why? Because it gives me confidence in the corrections that I am making. All right! So let's close that down. Let's close down the Gradation. All right! The next thing we need to do here is to see if we can get rid of some of this dust and scratches on here, because that would take a lot of time editing in Photoshop.
Luckily SilverFast has a very powerful dust and scratches filter called the SRD Filter. There are two different versions of that. And let's go ahead and invoke that by just clicking on the icon and then you can choose the Infrared version or the Standard version, we'll go ahead and just use the Standard version in this case with just the default settings. And notice that you don't have to preview, you can just accept what the scanner gives you. But you can preview the results if you want to by clicking here on the 1:1 and then it'll rescan the image and process it for you as if it's applying the filter and then you can adjust where you're looking in the image by moving around in the Navigator.
And notice down here in the Scanner status dialog box, it's going through the pre-scanning process again and then it's going to apply the filter. And notice all the big pieces of dust and scratch and you can look all over the image and find lots of dust and scratch features. We'll just put this over in the right- hand corner and wait for the scanner to catch up with us here. You probably won't want to go through the preview all at a time, but it's nice to do it once just to see that the filter works, and then with more experience, you will learn how to fine-tune the controls and there you go.
About 90-95% of all those dust and scratches were removed from the image. So it does a pretty nice job just with the default settings. Okay, let's go ahead and close that up and let's go up to our Scan dimensions and let's just finish formatting all that. We are going to name this and we are going to call this Glacier and then underscore and the scan mode RGB (Glacier _RGB) and then we are going to put this to 300 pixels per inch. Notice that right now it says Custom (2400) and the reason why that's up there is notice that our Input and Output is the same 1.4x0.92 inches.
Well, we would rarely if ever a scan like that and want to work with the image like that and we don't have to. Notice I can come in here and select this Output and put in 5.00 and then SilverFast will automatically dynamically resize the lower number. So what this does is it moves the image from a very small film size of 1x1 inch basically to 3x5 inches. Then when we come up here, we are going to choose 300 pixels per inch. And then what SilverFast will do for you is it will automatically size the image up to 5x3 or whatever dimensions you put in there and then resave the image with 300 pixels per inch, which is what we want.
We don't want a 2400 pixel per inch image at 1x1 inch, we want a 300 pixels per inch image at about 3x5 inches and SilverFast will do that for us. So there we go. And then we'll close the Scan dimensions and then we're ready to complete our scan. So I am going to come up here and click the Scan button. And you will notice there is some processing going on and that's applying the dust and scratches filter to it, and when it's done, you can just click on this, Open Image button right here and then SilverFast will direct whatever application you've selected to your operative system to open, in this case, TIFF files, and boom, there is the image, opened up right inside of Photoshop.
And notice that most of the dust and scratches are gone. We have got an image with nice bright highlights in there and good shadows and good overall contrast. It did a pretty darn good capture, particularly with removing the dust and scratches with just the default settings.
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