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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 do a scan of a positive piece of film; it could be a slide, or could be a larger one, like this is a 2.0" by 2.0" piece of film, working in automatic mode. First, let's just take a look at our image here by moving our scan frame down, and we do the old two corner trick here to make it easy to zoom in, and then we'll click our magnifying glass, and when we look at this image, as always, we say, what's important about this image? There is really no critical white highlight in this image, and there is no critical shadow; about the only thing that's closest to that is the dress that we can see the detail in here.
But what this image is really about is the skin tones, so any adjustments we make to this image, we want to make sure that the skin tones look okay. so let's skip on over to automatic mode by moving up into the upper left-hand corner, and click on the WorkflowPilot, and that takes us into the automatic mode. And as always when we're working in automatic mode, we answer two key questions, and the first is, what is the Source, or input? And in this case, it's going to be a Slide, and that's SilverFast's word that they use for a positive transparency, or positive film image.
It's not always a 35mm slide, and it's not always in a case, but that's the terminology that they use. And then Negative, for negative film. And then for specific Kodachrome positives, then you would choose Kodachrome. It has got built in corrections that adjust for the difference in colorcast between Kodachrome, and something like Ektachrome, or Fujichrome. So we're going to choose Slide. And then we choose our output, or Task. That is, where is our image going to go? How do we want to use that? And you have lots and lots of choices here, but I'd like to take you through the Print dialog, because it gives us a basic set of tools for working on our image.
So we're going to choose Print, and this is a color image, so we'd go 48 to 24 Bit, and then we just click the Start button, which will initiate the Prescan. It goes without saying that you've cleaned your scanner, you've cleaned your image; you're handling your image with cotton gloves. Very, very, important, because remember, we're going to probably be enlarging this image pretty significantly. We've very rarely captured at 2.0." by 2.0", and printed at 2.0" by 2.0", so the next step is just move our frame in, get it close, just so we can magnify, and get a good look at our image.
And now we can fine-tune the placement of the frame, because it's a lot tighter on our image, and we can actually see the edges. And we've used this before when we're in the Print Task mode. We have this Fix scan frame for selected output, and in this case, when you do that, you can choose one of the formats that's here, and let's say that, okay, this image started out as a 2.0" by 2.0", but we rarely print images in a square format like that, so we might want to choose a different format, for instance, maybe 5.0" by 7.0". So we want to capture the original image, a square dimension, but we want to output it at a more rectangular one.
And when we choose 5.0" x 7.0", and we click on the fix frame, then we can resize the frame, and it's going to stay at those same proportional dimensions of 5 by 7, so that's very handy to do that. We can scoot up the bottom of this, make sure it's well inside the image, and then move this left to right; get the frame just the way we want it, so that Bonnie looks very nice in there. And then we're going to choose the resolution of our image. We're going to choose Photo Quality, and the nice thing about SilverFast, whether you are in automatic or manual mode, if you choose an output dimension that's different than the original dimension, which clearly this is, SilverFast will automatically do all the math for you that's necessary to give you this 5.0" x 7.0" image at 300 pixels per inch.
So we're ready to move forward then. We're going to click OK, and we're going to do an automatic adjustment here, and notice that the image is dramatically improved. Bonnie looks a whole lot better; she looks brighter, and better contrast overall. So this is a dramatic improvement, and we can see what the software does. We can see that its adjusted the Highlight and the Shadow by moving it in. And when we move over to the Gradation tool, we can see it's overall brightened a little bit. At this point, we can do some fine-tuning if we want. If we decided, I want a little bit more contrast, because the image is kind of flat to begin with. Usually with portraits, we lower the contrast, but an image like this, which is really kind of flat, we might want to actually raise the Contrast just a little but. Not too much; maybe just a tad. So we can do some manual adjustments here.
Now, before I move on, we're going to scan the same image in manual mode later on in the class, and I would love for you to compare the results, because when you move into manual mode, we're going to have access to some tools -- particularly some measurement tools -- that we don't have here, such as the Densitometer, which is going to allow us, in this case, to measure, for instance, the skin tone values of Bonnie that we just can't do here. And although we're happy with the improvement, I think you're going to be surprised at how much better you can do when you work in manual mode. So we're going to move forward after we've done our automatic correction, and then a little bit of a manual correction, and then we're going to click the Continue button.
And whenever you work in a Film mode, by default, SilverFast will automatically add in a Dust and Scratches filter. And it's got two different versions; it's got an infrared version, and a standard version. You can try both of them. I recommend that you just use the default values that you have here to get started, to see what the results are. So we're just going to use the standard SRD version here, and then we're going to click Forward. And then we're going to name the file, as we always do, with a three-part name. We'll call the Bonnie, and we're going to go underscore, we'll call this RGB, and then 300.
And then we'll choose the file format, and as I typically do, I'll save my scans out in TIFFs, because they're a good universal format: high quality, no compression, and then I can make a copy of the file, and save it out as either a JPEG, or PDF, I can downsample, downsize it to my heart's delight, but I can always come back to the original version, which is either a TIFF, or a .psd file. We choose the path by clicking on the folder. We can locate where we want the images to go through our computer interface, and then, well, we're ready to go ahead and scan.
So we'll click the Continue button, and it completes the scan, and then applies the corrections, and in this case, the SRD filter; the Dust and Scratches removal filter. This image was pretty clean. We didn't have really many dust and scratches on there, so you won't really see any improvements. Later on, in those videos, you'll see some images where we really affect some big differences using the SRD filter. Once the scanning and processing is finished, it will say Finished, and then this little button becomes active here. It's the Open image button. You click on that, and then SilverFast will ask whatever application you've designated through your operating system to open, in this case, TIFF files, and in my case, it's always going to be Photoshop.
So the image will open up in Photoshop, and you can see our finished image, which looks a lot better than the original, in terms of brightness and contrast. But I want to encourage you, again, to go step through the same process, with the same image, using the manual tools, and see what else we can do; see how much we can improve this image when we're using our manual tools.
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