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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 how to scan simple line art using the automatic interface in SilverFast. But first, before we go to the automatic interface, let's talk a little bit about what our goals are. Over on the right-hand side here--and by the way this is the manual interface that you see when you see first launch SilverFast, and I've done a prescan just to capture the line art image that we are going to be working with over in the automatic interface. The first comment to make is that our main goal when we are capturing line art is all about edge reproduction. You know, with a photograph of someone's face, we worry about tonal reproduction, but with line art it's all about reproducing that edge. So the decisions we make in terms of how we capture the image and the tools that we use are all about reproducing this edge here.
Now this is a simple piece of line art; there is not a lot of detail here. So in this particular scan we're just going to use some very simple settings and very easily done to capture this piece of line art in automatic mode. So let's go over to the automatic interface. And in SilverFast to do that, we get to the automatic interface by clicking on the WorkflowPilot, which is located in the upper left-hand corner of the interface--the red ball here. We click on that, it takes me right to the automatic interface. And notice there's no preview scan anymore, because we'll need to redo that prescan. We set up our automatic scan in the automatic workflow by answering two questions that SilverFast asks us.
The first is, what is the source or the input, what's the nature of that image? In this case it's going to be either a print or a photo with line art most of the time. If it's been previously printed, you can choose Print; if in this case for the line art image that we are scanning is actually a photograph of piece of line art, we're going to choose Photo. The second choice that we'll make here is the output or task, and we are going to choose how we intend to use this image. Well, in this case, there are lots of choices as you see here. We're going to go to kind of an unusual choice for scanning line art and that is the Descreen and the Fine art print, and I'll show you why we're choosing that.
Normally, that's not something that you would typically want to choose for scanning line art, but because of the tools that SilverFast has in this particular tool, we're going to go in this direction. When we choose Photo and Fine art print, we have a couple of different choices we can make here in terms of how we want to capture our image. We can choose the 48-24 Bit if we are capturing color and wanted to reproduce the logo in color, or we can go 16-8 Bit, and SilverFast would capture the image in 16 Bit grayscale and give us an 8 Bit grayscale image. Or we can go 16-1 Bit which would end up just a straight black-and-white 1-bit line art image.
Well, in this case, since we've got a black-and-white logo, what we're going to use, we're going to use the 16-8 Bit, and it's going to give us a little bit softer edge, which is going to be good for a variety of different uses. Later on in this course, I am going to show you how to effectively use the 16-1 Bit mode, but here, since we are working with a grayscale image, we're going to choose 16-8 Bit. But remember, if you had a color logo and you wanted to reproduce it as color, then you would choose the 48-24 Bit, but here we are working with black and white and grayscale. Good! So after we've made these three choices then we move on to the Start button, which performs the prescan.
There is a low-resolution overview scan over here. So there is our logo on our scan bed, and our next job is to tell the scanner what portion of this scan bed do we want to capture? And we do that by adjusting our frame over here. And the easy way to do that is just to first click on the upper left- hand corner and pull the frame down. And you want to get the frame edge fairly close to the edge of your actual line art. The reason is you don't want a lot of extra white area in this case, because those are just extra pixels going to be captured that you really don't need. There we go. And then the second step is the lower right-hand corner and pull that in like this. There we go.
So this is how we tell the scanner "that's what I want you to scan." Now we've got to define our interface here. Why? Because it gives us some control over resolution, and for a simple piece of line art like this, we don't need super- high resolution, like 1200 pixels per inch, which we are going to use for the detailed line art project. Here all we need is something like 600 pixels per inch. Now depending upon your scanner, this may say 500 pixels per inch or 800 pixels per inch, but somewhere around 600 pixels per inch, the optical resolution of your scanner is what you want.
Any of these things that are down here are, like 72, 150, or even 300, we don't get as high quality of an edge. But we don't need to go above 500 or 600 pixels per inch here. So now we've set the resolution at which we want to capture the image. Then we can do a little bit of fine-tuning on what the scanner is going to capture over here. And in this particular tool, we have Selective Color To Gray Scale tool. And in most cases when I am scanning black and white on a piece of paper I come here to the blue slider here, and I am going to drag this up to the white end, as opposed to the dark end.
And while I am doing this, if you watch the preview over here, watch if I go down to the dark end. Do you see how the background gets darkened? As I move to the upper end, it gets lighter. Very often when you are working with line art on a piece of paper, or even worse, on a napkin, something like that, the scanner will pick up the texture and the tonality of that background. Well, for high-quality line art we want to try to get rid of that. We can use this Selective Color To Gray Scale tool. And if the background were a different color, you could use one of these other colors here. But I am using the blue because most white paper has a little bit of a blue tinge to it.
So I am just going to drag this all the way up to the top to get rid of most of the tonality in the background, push the background to white, and then we've got some nice high-contrast edges for our logo that we are going to scan. So we're not really working in full automatic mode, right? It's kind of semi-automatic mode. We chose a tool that we could use to give us a overall scan, and now we are just helping it along with a little bit of manual manipulation of the Selective Color To Gray Scale tool. All right, so we're just about done. We just click Continue and then we move to the Scan dimensions window, which allows us to name the image. And I suggest you to take some time to develop a naming scheme that allows you to get some information from the name of the file.
What I like to use is a logical name, and then I like to use the Scan mode in which I've captured my image, in this case Gray Scale, and then the resolution of the file. See, I can tell a lot about this image just by the name of the file. I can tell it's a bike. I can tell it's grayscale. I can tell it's 600 pixels per inch. Then we're going to want to choose a file format. We've got multiple choices here, and what I am going to recommend to you is that you save your line art image out in one of two modes, either in TIFF or .PSD. You could save in a JPEG, but JPEG is going to apply compression to the file, and it's going to lower the quality of the file.
I typically save my image out in TIFF because it's uncompressed, no damage to the image. All the original pixels are maintained to the image without compression. nd then if I want to, I can resave it in .PSD format or make a copy and save it out in JPEG to use for the web. If you know for sure you're going to Photoshop with this image to do some other things with it, you can save it in .PSD. That's a high-quality format as well, completely uncompressed. So we're going to go with TIFF and then we're going to choose where we are going to save the image. I am saving mine in the Desktop/Scanned Images. And to adjust that, you just click on the little folder and then you choose where you'd like your file to be saved. Then click Choose and then we're done. We just click the Continue button and off we go.
And then we take a look at this Scanner status dialog down here and we can follow the status of our scan. And while that's completing I want to encourage you, if you do want to work with a lot of line art, I'd really recommend that you take a look at the manual portion of this course for scanning manual line art. I think you're going to like the tools a lot better and you're going to like the control that you get over in capturing your image. Once your scan is complete, then if you want to take a look at your image in an application like Photoshop, you just click here on this icon, which is the Open Image File icon, and depending upon which application is assigned by your computer to open up various graphic file formats, that's the application that SilverFast will use to open up this file.
I have mine set to Photoshop, so when I click on that, it automatically opens up the image in Photoshop. And then we can go over to our Magnify tool and we can just zoom right in our edge here and take a look at the beautiful high- quality edge that we see. So if we take this to print, if we take this to the web, we're going to end up with a nice-looking line art image. So that's scanning simple line art through the automatic interface in SilverFast.
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