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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 video, I'd like to talk to you about setting up your Preferences for controlling manual scans. This video, and the next one, that is the IT8 calibration, are kind of tied together, which is why I have my IT8 target up here onscreen, because we are going to use that for doing the calibration. All right! To move right into Preferences, then, you go to the SilverFast menu, and go to Preferences, or you can just type in Command on the Mac, or Control, and Comma to get to the Preferences. That's typically how I do it, and that works in a lot of applications these days, by the way. First, I just want to dispense with this one over on the right, in case you haven't viewed the earlier videos in the automatic scanning. This is for controlling the automatic scanning pilot, so I am not going to go over here. If you are interested in how to use that from the automatic scanning mode, then refer to the Preferences video in the automatic scanning section.
So let's start here with the General section, and notice that there is a QuickTime movie that goes with this. If you want to watch that, and get some tips and tricks on this, you can do that. Let's just run down how we might set this up. There is two choices for color models with which we can work. We can work in RGB, or we can work in CMY, in terms of the values that we work in. My recommendation is to capture in RGB, particularly, this is at the beginning of your workflow. CMY is available for people who live, eat, and breathe CMYK for commercial printing, but even in that environment, more and more are capturing in RGB, and then converting to CMYK on the fly for output specific profiles.
So my general recommendation is to work in RGB. It's a larger, more flexible color space, and it's particularly good for going to multiple output devices. Your Units of Measurements; this is personal preference entirely. I keep mine in inches. You can points, picas, pixels, whatever you like, but I typically using inches. The Densitometer Radius; the default here is set for 2. I typically like to set mine at 3, just because of the kind of images that I work in. And what this does, when we are working with the Info tool -- that's a Photoshop name for it; we call it the densitometer here in SilverFast -- is I like to have a 3 by 3 square of pixels to get my average highlight.
If you're working with very small highlight areas, then you may want to go to 2. I never use 1. Default Settings; you can just use Factory Default. That's fine. This High Resolution Prescan; we discussed this earlier. If you like to zoom in on your prescan, and get a closer look at your image; the default is just 1x. I typically have mine up at 3x, or 4x if I want to be able to zoom in without having to do another prescan. So it just speeds up your workflow. It slows down the prescan a little bit, but really not very much. It gives you a lot of zoom in capability, without a lot of extra time in the prescan.
And then finally, the Gamma Gradation; this is a numeric setting for the overall lightness of an image, and the default is at 2.2. If, over a period of time, you find your images are just too dark, given the combination of the computer, the software, and the scanner, you can come in here and bump this up. Or if it's too light, then you can knock that down to maybe 1.8. Typically, that Gamma Gradation of 2.2 is a good one. If you are scanning for high dynamic range output; that is, you're not doing much correction during the scan, you are just going to use the scan that you capture from SilverFast, and bring it into SilverFast's HDR tool, then you would check that on.
But if you are doing most of your image adjustment during the scan, which is what we are doing, we are going to turn that off. And then when we go to Auto, there is a couple of key settings here that you want to pay attention to. These first two, there's a Threshold value for when SilverFast begins to recognize the highlight and/or shadow values in an image. For instance, the Auto Threshold Highlight is set at 2, which means that the values that we set down here for the highlight offset of five points doesn't really take effect until SilverFast recognizes at least two levels of pixels on a 0 to 255 scale.
The Auto Threshold level of 2, and 0 is just fine, by default. The main thing I want to point out here is, if you're doing a lot of scanning of black and white line art, and/or text, and you check on the Levels check boxes like this, then the automatic adjustments in SilverFast will go all the way down to 0, and than 100%, which is great when you are working with black and white line art, and text. For continuous tone images, you will want to check those off. Now, these are two key ones here that you really do want to pay attention to: the Highlight and Shadow offset.
I think the default here is set on 2 and 98. I am going to recommend you set these on 5 and 95. And the reason for this is that if you set it on 2, then the diffused white highlight is going to be set on 2% white highlight, and there are quite a few devices that can't really hold a print at 2%. If you put it at 5, you are going to be just fine. Now, if you know that your output device can hold 2% all the time, fine; go for 2. And if you know your shadow doesn't fill up when it gets to 95, then you can set it on the default, but my recommendation is 5 and 95.
The next one, you have two settings: you can put on automatic Color Cast Removal, in which SilverFast tries to do a neutralization on your images. Typically it does a good job. And then you can control how much colorcast is removed. My recommendation is to have this active; put it on a 100%. When we get into the automatic tools, I am going to show you how you can control Color Cast Removal once you get into the tools. It's nice to have this just on, and active as a default. The Auto Frame Inset; my recommendation is to just keep that on 10. It's a setting that SilverFast uses when it's applying filters.
It starts the filter application just a little way in from the border, or edge of the frame, since you don't have any artifacts along the edges of your image. I just leave it at 10; I've never had to adjust that. And then Auto Adjust Brighter, and Auto Adjust Darker. By default, these are set at 30, and 30. So that is 30% brighter for darker images, and 30% darker for images that it deems too light. Again, I'd suggest using these defaults, and you can always adjust the actual values once you get into the tools. Auto Contrast Adjustment; if, overall, the images that you find yourself working with, you think they need automatic contrast adjustment, then you can turn that on.
If you are a portrait photographer, and you are scanning film or prints from your archive, and typically you don't want a lot of contrast applied to your images, then you can keep this off. You can try it both ways. It's really your personal preference. I have mine set off, and I do all my contrast adjustment manually. The MidPip, which is the pipette tool; it is set at 50% gray. You can adjust that if you want to, and you can turn it on active, which I recommend that you do to have access to that. And then finally, the Auto IT8; by default, that's turned on.
That's what we are going to do in the next movie. I am going to do that manually. And finally, Custom ICC Profile Name; go ahead and check that on, so you can create custom names, so you don't overwrite anything. Next is the CMS, which is the Color Management System. Just briefly, here, I am going to show you how to set it up without doing an IT8 calibration, and then I'll show you how to fine-tune this once you have created a color profile, either for your scanner, or for your printer. First, you want to set up the software that is actually controlling your color management, and typically, you want to be using ColorSync, as we see here, which is the default, which is great. And then your Working Space - Output, and that is, when you get done with the scan, what's the working color output space? The default is RGB.
You could be working in ColorSync, or CIE-Lab, which you would only really do if you were working in a color space or tools that were working in CIE-Lab, or ColorSync. For general purposes, like exporting your images, and printing into a printer, or working in Photoshop, you want to keep these in RGB mode. And then underneath Input, this is the profile that we are going to create over here, and I've already created one previously, and here it is; it's the custom one. But when you first look at this menu, there is no custom profile. There is a generic profile that has been created for a variety of different scanners.
For instance, this is the EPSON perfection V700_V750 reflective, which is what this is as a target. But this is one that's made generically, so if you don't have an IT8 target, my recommendation is to at least select that. Then underneath Internal, my recommendation is, again, Adobe RGB (1998), and I suggest that you match the Working Space - Output with the Working Space - Internal. That is, you should have the RGB. There are lots of different RGBs you can choose here. Adobe RGB (1998) is a good generic one that you can work in.
If you are a professional photographer, and you are used to working in ProPhoto RGB, which is a larger, more dynamic RGB color space, and you are printing to a wide dynamic range color printer that has cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, light cyan, light magenta, and even more colors, then I would suggest using ProPhoto RGB. Keep your scanning and your digital photography workflow set up at the same RGB workspace. But for a general profile, I would recommend Adobe RGB (1998). For Gray, I think by default, this is set at None. If you work with grayscale scans, I would set this at the Generic Grayscale Gamma of 2.2. And then for your output, or printer, unless you have created a printer profile, you wouldn't want to use one here. And this only really comes into play when we convert to CMYK anyway; if we're working with CMY in Epson.
So typically, just leave this as Non, unless you are doing some conversion here. And finally, underneath the Rendering Intent, the default is Perceptual. I recommend you keep it on that. If you're working in a color managed workspace that requests or demands a relative colorimetric, that's fine. I would stay away from Saturation, and Absolute colorimetric, particularly the Saturation, unless you are just working with scanning pie charts. So let's leave this on Perceptual. Do embed your ICC Profile. That's an important thing to have for when you're handing your image around, sending it around to the other devices; they can recognize the colors, where they came from, more readily.
Finally, underneath the Special section here, just turn on the Prescan Draft that we have here. When we do some special scanning projects a little bit later on, we'll come address these other ones, particularly the last two. The Scan Draft here, by the way, is just scanning in low resolution mode, which I don't ever do. If all you want to do is low resolution scans, fine, but you can address that through the dialog boxes as well. So that's setting up your preferences for working in manual mode, and some tips on doing that.
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