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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 would like to show you how you can do a fast and accurate color correction of a scanned image using an embedded 10 step or 10 swatch grayscale target. Before we actually get into the technique, let's make sure we understand the concept, so we're not just pushing buttons. This is a 10 step grayscale target, one that I've created specifically for digital photography, and for scanning, and it's all grayscale. These are actually grayscale values that are painted on these swatches. If you look carefully at the target on the right-hand side, you will see there are RGB values.
For swatch number 1, I've got this set at 242 which is a 5% white highlight. Remember, there are two different scales that we tend to work with in digital imaging, one is the 0 to 100% scale, where 0 is white, and black is 100%, then there is the 0 to 255 scale where 255 is pure white and 0 is black, they're inverted. Here, we're using RGB values, just like Photoshop does and just like SilverFast does. So the first swatch is 5% or 242, and then the sixth swatch down is midtone or 128, 50% gray, and then the last, number 10 swatch is 36, which is about 85%, it's a three-quarter tone.
What we're going to do is we're going to correct this image by using the same embedded target, and we're going to correct these three points, the 5%, 242, the midtone, 128 or 50%, and then the three-quarter tone, 36, also set at 85. So notice that this target, and let's zoom in to take a look, is embedded in this image, and that's what makes this work; it's the target of shot along with everything else here. Let's go to our Densitometer and set some sampler points. Hold down the Shift key and click on the number 1 swatch.
Now remember, that's supposed to be 5% or 242. Notice that it's 197, 157, 105, not anywhere close to neutral. If it were neutral, they'd all be equal. And it's also too dark, should be 242, significantly lighter. So we can see there is a huge red-green color cast here, as we would expect there to be, because this was shot in incandescent light. Let's go down to swatch number 6; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and place the color sampler point there. That's the midtone, 128 or 50% gray, 89, 67, 34, again, huge red-green color cast and it's too dark, should be at 128, 128, 128.
And then finally, third sampler point on the last swatch which is the three-quarter tone, I have that set at 36, and notice what it registers here is 30, 27, 29. It's a little too dark. You'll notice something and this is true of all digital images, that when you have a strong color cast in an image, the strength of that color cast is most obvious in the highlight to midtone. As you get closer and closer to the shadow, there is less and less differential between the values because you're just getting darker and darker. So it's most obvious in highlight to midtone.
What we're going to do now is use our Pipette tool which we can set to specific values, the Highlight, the Neutral midtone, and Black Point. And we do that by going to SilverFast and Preferences. We set these earlier on in the course, and we set the Highlight Offset which is the Highlight Detail point at 5 %, the default in SilverFast is 2. We set the Shadow at 95, the default is 98. So the Highlight is perfect, that's a 242, 5% white highlight. We're going to set this at 85% for our Offset.
So we will get 36 on a 0 to 255 scale, and the MidPip Target which is the Neutral midtone is by default set at 50, which is perfect; that's what we want. So all we need to adjust is the Shadow Offset for that last swatch. All right! So we're good to go. Now, to correct the image, all we have to do then is click on the Pipette, click on the White Point tool, come over here, and click on White Point, 242. Then we can do the midtone or the shadow next, let's go ahead and do the shadow, why not? Do the Black Point, we know that should be set at 36, and there it is! So 242, 5%, 38 which is darn close, it's within 1 percentage point of what is supposed to be right at 85, and then, we'll set the Mid Point, Neutral, and that should come up with 128, and there it is.
All right, 128, 129, 130, again, we're within four-tenths of a percent of absolute accuracy. The other ones were right on the money there. So there we go. That's how to use a grayscale target that's embedded in your image to do color correction. And of course you can use this in digital photography as well as scanning, very powerful, very easy tool to learn how to use. So there we go. And we can go to our Histogram and turn it off; there is the original, and there is the corrected version. So with three steps of the Pipette tool, boom! You've got color correction across the entire tonal range.
By the way, if this is of some interest to you, Lynda.com sells this target, so you can contact them for sales or me directly, either one. So, happy target scanning!
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