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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
Let's dive right into the scanning software. and start learning how to set up our scanners for actually accomplishing creating some scans. One of the challenging parts of the scanning world is that each scanner manufacturer has their own hardware and they also have their own scanning software. The good news is that there is a lot of commonality from one scanner manufacturing software to another, and they've actually gotten a little bit more similar over the years, but there still are some differences. The other good news is that on the high- end there is a scanning program called SilverFast that a lot of scanning manufacturers include with their higher-end scanners, and we are going to be working in both kinds of scanning software during this course, and here we are going to learn how to do a basic setup for a scan first and manufacturer software, where we are going to use the Epson scan.
You may not have an Epson. you may have an HP or Plustek or some other kind of scanner, but I think you'll find a lot of commonality between them. Then we'll move on and look at the SilverFast software, and here I want to focus on just basic modes for scanning. Notice that this software, like many, will default to the Full Auto Mode, and if you are using Full Auto Mode, you are really not controlling the scanner. you are just putting an image down on the scanner and then letting the scanner make all of the decisions. That's what Full Auto Mode is all about. This course is really designed to help you use some of the other modes and in this case, in the Epson scanning software, you have a Home Mode, an Office Mode, and a Professional Mode.
Let's look at these three additional modes and see how they are similar and how they are different. When you choose Home Mode, the next menu down, pull-down menu, gives you various kinds of scans, such as Positive Film, Negative Film, B&W Negative Film and what kinds of document choices you have here will depend upon the kind of scanner that you have. We are hooked up to an Epson V750, which gives us both film and reflective scan capability, so we have those kind of choices. If you don't have the scanner that has those capabilities, those will either not be there or be grayed out.
And then Illustration, Magazine, Newspaper, Text/Line Art, so you can make some basic choices as to what kind of document or image you are scanning. And then the software basically makes many of the decisions. This is far more powerful then just doing Full Auto Mode because in Full Auto Mode, scanner doesn't have any sense for what's actually on the scanner. So I would encourage you to at least use your -- in this case, it's something like the Home Mode that gives you at least some basic choice of what kind of document or image you'll be scanning. Underneath that, let's say you chose Photograph, then you can choose what kind of photograph, Color, Grayscale or Black &White, and if you watched the previous movie on bit depth, you know what these mean.
This means 1-bit B&W. That means 8-bit grayscale and that means 24-bit color. And then the rest of this interface is setting other characteristics in addition to the basic Scan Mode, which I don't want to go there right now. Let's take a look at the Office Mode and see how it's different from the Home Mode. It gives us many of the same choices in terms of Image Type and instead of choosing a specific document type, you go right to Image Type. 24-bit Color, 8-bit Grayscale, 1-bit B&W . Then you can choose the dimensions of your document and then other selections that you may have here, such as Descreening and Unsharp Masking, something we'll get into a little bit later.
The Office Mode takes you right to Image Type. Of the two, in this particular scanning software, the Home Mode actually gives you more choices in terms of document types and maybe a little bit more logical to use, than just the Office Mode if you are scanning a lot of different kinds of documents. Then let's move to the Full Professional Mode and the Full Professional Mode, you start out by selecting a document type like Reflective scan, and then Film (with Film Holder) or Film Guide. The Document Source will be a flat Document Table in this case, which is what the scanner has and then the type of exposure, is this a photo or a document? Is it like a printed page or a photographic image, and then you move into Image Type, and here you really start to have choices of the kinds of bit depth choices that you might have in the more advanced scanning software.
Start with the basic one which is B&W . You now know that that's 1-bit B&W, typically for line art, gives you an 8- bit grayscale, gives you 256 shades of gray. Then notice this 16-bit grayscale, in this particular scanner in the software will allow you to capture more than 8-bit of grayscale. It will allow you to capture 16 bits of grayscale to capture more tonal range. 24-bit Color, which is as we've learned, previously, is 8 bits of grayscale on these channel or it gives you higher dynamic range choice of -- instead of just 8 bits/channel, 16 bits/channel and 3 times 16 is 48, so you get 48 bit.
There's also in this particular scanning software, you won't find this everywhere, a Color Smoothing option, which will provide decreasing the choppiness that you have an image with a lot of hard color boundaries in it, you can choose Color Smoothing. But normally you will find in the higher end scanning software modes, the 24, 48, and 8 and 16-bit in terms of grayscale. We'll discuss more in terms of different kinds of images which one you want to choose a little bit later, but this gives you an introduction to some of the choices you'll have in basic scanning setup and the manufacturer-scanning interface.
Next, we'll move on and take a look at the SilverFast software, which is a full professional version of scanning software, which is supported by a lot of the scanner manufacturers. In here, now we've transitioned it to the SilverFast software. Again, this is a high-end scanning software, which is common to a lot of scanning manufacturers. I like to refer to this as kind of the Photoshop of the scanning world, because it provides us with a lot of controls, and because it's the same interface on just about every scanner. It gives us some consistency of interface, which is very nice. In this particular software, this provides you with two basic buttons, a General button, you'll start with the Scan Mode, where you'll get a choice of selecting Normal or Batch Mode for scanning multiple files, and then you select an original, which is Reflective, Transparency if you are scanning films or Transparency (full area), if you are using the full area of the scan bed.
We'll come back and talk more about the details of selecting these a little bit later. Just wanted to give you an introduction at this point, and then whether your image is going to be a positive or a negative, and if it's a positive image, then whether it's going to be, looks like an Ektachrome or Kodachrome type of image. Then when you move to the Frame Setup, you go to Scan Type and this is again where you have a higher end scanning program where you have the options of choosing the bit depth of which you are gong to be scanning, and this is the 1-bit black and white liner which you end up with 1-bit image with only black and white pixels.
In SilverFast, you don't get just an 8 -bit grayscale option if your scanner can actually capture more than that, and this Epson V750 scanner can indeed capture 16 bits. So SilverFast default choice here, kind of like the low end choices, captures in 16 bits and then converts to 8-bit. It will actually capture more tonal detail, 16 bits per pixel, and then it will deliver you 8-bit when you opened it in something like Photoshop. Same thing for Color, it's going to automatically capture in 48 bit if the scanner supports it, which this one does, and deliver 24 bits of color.
But if you want to capture and edit, say, open the image in Photoshop later on and work in 16 bits of grayscale data of tonal data, then you can choose a straight 16-bit scan, which it will capture in 16 bit and deliver 16 bit. Same thing for the color is you can select 48-bit color. It will capture 16 bits/channel and all three channels will deliver you a 48-bit color image. This is similar, by the way, to selecting RAW when you are working in digital camera. you'll automatically get 16-bit grayscale images, which is 16-bit times 3 are 48-bit color images.
SilverFast with this particular scanner also offers what's called as HDR or High Dynamic Range Mode. Notice if we choose like 48-bit color, we have all these controls which we'll get into a little bit later, for controlling the quality and quantity of your scan. They work both in all of these other modes, the 16 and 48-bit color modes. But when you choose 16-bit grayscale HDR, notice it just shuts down all those controls, or if you choose 48-bit HDR, again, it closes down all these controls. What it's telling your scanner to do is just capture as much data as it possibly can, all the way from Highlight and Shadow with the full intention of working on this image somewhere else, either in Photoshop or in LaserSoft's other application called HDR.
So you see you have a lot more choices for setting up your scanner. So it's very helpful to know about bit depth and what these various bit depth modes provide you for an option.