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- Understanding grayscale values and channels
- Evaluating and correcting images with histograms
- Saving to different file formats
- Managing color
- Cleaning the scanner and images
- Reproducing versus assigning colors
- Recognizing contone versus dot pattern images
- Understanding bit depth
- Scanning logos and line art
- Scanning transparent film, positive or negative
- Capturing high dynamic range (HDR) scans
Skill Level Intermediate
Previously, we performed a color calibration, a neutralization of our scanner using this 10-step grayscale target, in which we scanned the target that has known values and then compare what the scanner saw with what it should have seen and then went into the Expert dialog box, and adjusted the scanner until it was looking and saw the grayscale values properly on all three channels. hence a neutralization. The next step in the process is to create a color profile and we use exactly the same procedure with just a more complicated target.
Here we're going to use an IT8 target that has over 200 swatches of color and a grayscale range. And the procedure is exactly the same, is we're going to scan this target that has known values, and these known values are contained in a file called a Reference file. So we scan the target and then we're going to run the target through the color calibration software from Monaco called EZcolor in which we match up the Reference file with the target and create a color profile which adjusts the scanner, so that the scanner sees this target very, very close, nearly exactly to where the target values are.
So it's the same procedure that we did here. We're just starting with a calibrated scanner, so it's going to be close anyway, and this is going to get us even closer, and then we're going to use this target to create our color profile. So let's go over to our scanning software. The process is to make sure we have a very clean scanner, have on your lint-free gloves, and for heaven's sake, don't be handling this target with your oily fingers. Make sure you have your lint-free gloves on, clean the top of the scanner, the glass platen, blow any dust or dirt off the target, and this target should only be taken out of its case and exposed to sunlight and air and all that when you're going through this color calibration and profile creation process.
So we put it up in the upper corner of the scanner, and then click Prescan, and then we'll put our frame around the target, set the Input Resolution to 200 pixels per inch, and then click Scan, and then we're going to name this IT8_EpsonV750_R and then the date. It's important to name the scanner and the date and the fact that it's reflective, because my EpsonV750 scanner has a transparency adapter, and I am going to make two different profiles for the scanner.
one for the reflective, which we're doing now, and then one for the transparency adapter. If I have another scanner like my Plustek, I am going to make a separate profile for that one as well for the film scanner. Normally, I've got three different profiles, three different targets that I have to account for. So very careful how I label them, so that there's no ambiguity about oh! This is the reflective target for the Epson 750 and this is the date on which I created it. You just don't do this calibration and color profile creation once really and depending upon how much you're scanning, you could do this weekly or at least every month you should do this.
Remember, it's very important to keep your scanner not only in clean environment but a temperature- consistent environment, and don't perform this calibration and color profile creation process until you've warmed up your scanner for at least a half-an-hour. You want it to be at operating temperature, and then the temperature conditions in which you're using the scanner should not vary much during the day. So we're going to save this target, and we'll just replace the one we had previously. So there's our target, and we're going to go ahead and close that target.
We'll close these as well, and now we're going to go over to our Monaco EZcolor software. It is in the software where we're going to marry up the scan of the target with the Color Reference data file that has the known color values for that target, and then this software is going to evaluate the target what the scanner saw with what it should have seen, and then make a profile adjustment that we could then load into the scanning software. So notice that this software can be used for making a wide variety of different kinds of color profiles. We're going to make an input profile for our scanner and it gives you some instructions and encourages you to clean your scanner and make sure that it's up to temperature, and then we're going to choose is this a Reflective 5x7, a 4x5 Transparency or a 35mm, we're doing the 4x5 Reflective.
And it gives you some more information about preparing for scanning the target, and then once you scan the target as we've had and save the target, now we're going to load the image of that target. There is that TIFF file that we created. I am going to load that and then it gives you some instructions on making sure that the target was properly scanned, and now we're going to load the reference file, and we look in the lower left- hand corner where it says MON which is Monaco, R, reflective, 2010, and then, colon, 12.01 which tells you that this target was created for the Monaco company and it's the Reflective target.
It's created in 2010, December 1st and then for every batch of these targets that they make, they measure them very carefully and then they make a color reference file to match that batch of targets, and that's what we're going to select now is the color reference file for that. And these are stored in the -- now I am on a Macintosh here, so it's in the Library, Application Support, X-Rite, and IT8 Targets. And then we're going to scroll down here until we find that MONR2010. Here it is, MON, Monaco, Reflective 2010 and then 12.01, December 1st.
There is the color reference file for that, and then we'll click Choose, and then we'll move forward, and it says, okay, I have married up the two. It has now accepted the profile and accepted the scan, and now we're going to save the profile. It's going to create a profile for that reflective target on that scanner at that date. I recommend that you label the color profile in a way that's going to be very easy to recognize, and I like to name it with my scanner and the date on which I created it. And we'll put R in here for Reflective, building the profile, we're finished.
We can go out of that software and now the last step is to access that profile through the scanning software. For SilverFast, we do this by going to General and going to Options, and then going to the Color Management System, and then remember earlier we loaded a general profile that was made by Epson for all V700 scanners, which is fine, and that's a good place to start, but now we've created an actual custom profile that can be used for proofing, and for conversion to CMYK files, and for properly controlling the scanner during scanning, and we're going to zoom up here and there is our EpsonV750R_08 -03-11 and that becomes the new color reference file made specifically for this scanner on this date and then you click OK.
Now, we're using a custom-made profile during the scanning process. Now, whenever you perform a scan, that custom file is what's going to be referenced, and one specific point here is that if you do use any of the automated scanning functions like this Automatic Correction, notice if you hold down the Shift key, you see the colors that come out around there. If you hold down the Shift key, it will use that custom color profile that you've just referenced to adjust the files in the scan. And watch I am going to do an automatic adjustment, and watch just the target as if that we were scanning that target.
It corrects, and now watch, I am going to hold down my Shift key, and I am going to click it, and watch, there's going to be a very subtle difference and how that target looks, because when you do the automatic adjustments, and hold down that Shift key, it uses that custom color profile that you just created. So that's how we do a linearization with a 10-step target and we followed it up and created a color profile, and we then load it into our scanning application. If you don't have an IT8 target, and color management profile creation software such as the Monaco EZcolor, you can at least use the 10-step grayscale target to neutralize your scanner.
If your software provides you with the ability of doing that neutralization right in the software like we did here with the Expert function, then that works very well. if not, you can scan the target, bring it into Photoshop, do the correction there, save out the curves, and load them into your software. That 10-step target is available through lynda.com or through me personally and there's full instructions that come with it on how to use it. There we go! There's color calibration, neutralization, and then color profile creation to get your scanner working right on the money.