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Masterclass: Slide Scanning And Further Processing  
User currently offlineBeechcraft From Germany, joined Nov 2003, 828 posts, RR: 41
Posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 6366 times:

Hi crowd!

Time to start a topic i don´t know a thing about!

We have a lot of photographers, who upload their old slide collections here.
The Screening Team is always looking forward to these shots, as they are often showing rare planes, colour schemes and add depth to the database.

Well, to make it short, most of us love these shots, they are highly valued...

But a lot of them are marginal in quality, which is a shame, because they could often be a lot better, if the photographer only had better knowledge of scanner setting, workflow, and so on.

So, let´s kick off another masterclass!

How do you process your old slides? Which scanner are you using, which settings, how does your workflow look like, etc...

Or maybe you just have questions about all this?

Share your knowledge,

best regards,

Denis

[Edited 2006-05-21 15:14:48]


That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college!
7 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineGranite From UK - Scotland, joined May 1999, 5568 posts, RR: 64
Reply 1, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 5 days ago) and read 6344 times:
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Hi all

Same for negatives please  Wink

Regards

Gary


User currently offlineDendrobatid From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2004, 1667 posts, RR: 62
Reply 2, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 6310 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
HEAD SCREENER

I guess I must be one of the ones who does most with negatives and slides and some (a lot) have marginal quality.
Firstly I must say that I wish that the screeners had been far harsher (yes, harsher) with me on my earlier uploads. I frequently see photos accepted where with a bit of guidance they could be so much better. I know that this is also an area of contention for others here who submit oldies. Rare or not, I feel that where there are correctable errors such as large colour casts etc they should be rejected. Scanning from film means that, due to fading, the colours out of the scanner cannot be relied upon. I think that where someone appears here as a first time contributor but where it looks as though they need a bit of help, they could be passed to someone who could help them, someone like me. Where I do see these errors I often contact the photographer and offer my help. Some accept, some not, presumably taking the view that if it has been accepted, why bother. I am slowly re-scanning most of my old stuff and re-uploading it with a massive improvement in quality.(go on, tell them Gary)
My early scans were all done on a Nikon Coolscan III and I am now wondering if it ever worked properly. When it packed in I got the Konica Minolta Dimage ScanElite which has a maximum resolution of 5400DPI. File sizes are however massive and I usually scan at 2700, the same as on the Nikon. Where the Minolta one scores is in the shadow detail. The shadows are far less likely to block up making for more acceptable scans.
Scanning from colour slides or negatives I use the Digital Ice feature which helps to soften dust and scratches. My worst negatives are black and white where many have grown bad mould, but unfortunately the Ice function does not work and I have to clone a lot.
Some Flatbed scanners have a facility to scan slides and negatives and I also have a Canon 9950 which I use for 120 rollfim. Having the 35mm dedicated scanner, I have never tried it with 35mm but it has a resolution of 5400DPI and should give excellent results with well exposed slides or negatives. Epson have the 4770 and 4990 models which give similar results, though shadow detail is reportedly not so good for any of these as for the dedicated 35mm scanners.
Once the image is scanned the workflow is fairly standard. I use the curves to correct the tonal quality and level etc in a full sized JPG file.
If the negative was from a well-exposed low speed film I then crop. resize to 1024, use the magic wand to deselect areas I do not wish to sharpen and then use the CS Smart sharpen function, generally about 50% @ 0.3. Before getting CS I used about 300% @ 0.3 USM but I raised the threshold to 4 (from the more usual 0) to avoid sharpening the grain.
If the negative was of poorer quality as many of my very early ones are, with reticulated grain, after the scan and levels are corrected, I save a full size scan and apply Neat Image. I use the auto function to assess the grain but turn it back to 10 or 15 %, occasionally 20%. If it needs more than 20%, no matter how good the subject, you will never see it !
After Neat Image I then save the file again and treat it as normal. If you have a grainy image there is little point in sharpening the grain so areas such as the sky should be deselected before sharpening, I sometimes, in an emergency use the dust and scratch filter in photoshop CS on the sky but the negative has to be very bad and the aircraft very good before I do this as I do not like the effect for example.

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Mick Bajcar


I am pleased with most of my recent scans and re-uploads and ashamed of a lot of my early ones. The photography was not generally bad, the scanning and processing appalling.
If someone had guided me more earlier a lot of my time and that of the screeners would have been saved.
One of the Head Screeners has an excellent guide to scanning but I do not want him to be inundated with requests so have not named Tim, sorry him.
I do not understand the processes behind what I am doing and would welcome advice from anyone. I now feel that I am getting the best out of images that I can, something that was certainly not the case before.
Mick Bajcar


User currently offlineIrish251 From Ireland, joined Nov 2004, 969 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 6280 times:

I have been using a Nikon Coolscan V for the past couple of years and have not encountered any problems with this. I scan both 100 ASA Fuji and Kodak 64 slides, dating back to the early 1980s. The ICE/dust removal tool works very well for the 100 ASA but can’t be used with K64. I scan slides at 4,000 dpi and save as TIFFs initially. This gives a typical file size of 65 MB so your PC needs to be able to cope comfortably with working on files of this size. To prepare the image for upload I use a combination of PS Elements 2.0 (which was included with the scanner) and FocusMagic software.

Using PS Elements I first rotate as necessary to level the shot, and then crop. If the brightness and contrast of the photo is generally OK, then I use the automatic colour correction and contrast tools to get a general idea of how the shot will look. Otherwise I use combinations of colour correction and brightness/contrast and maybe a little fill-in flash adjustment to achieve the best overall result. This was a trial-and-error process initially but at this stage I have developed a good ides of what works. My own preference is to try to produce a result as near to “reality” to my eye as possible, so I don’t like to over-brighten or use excessive contrast. If working on a K64 image, the process of removing those minute specks of dust or just minor imperfections in the slide is the slowest part of the job. I use the lasso tool with Filter/Noise/Dust & Scratches and a radius of about 12 pixels to take these out one by one. There may be a faster way but I have not found it yet! Knowing that you have to do this is a good incentive to give the slide a good dusting and also blowing it well with a puffer or other strong source of air to get it is clean as possible before scanning.

I find that virtually all but the sharpest scanned shots benefit from using the “fix out-of-focus blur” feature of FocusMagic on the full-size image and this works as a plug-in with PS Elements. Generally I take a blur width of 5 or 6 pixels and sharpen at 100%. This produces a much sharper image and, given that it is going to be shrunk down to a width of 1024, any excessive sharpening effect is unlikely to be apparent in the finished result. Once I have completed this stage I usually proceed to resize down to 1024 and then sharpen again with USM, usually with threshold of 5, radius of 0.2 pixels and 500% as the amount. Like Mick, if a greater degree of sharpening is needed I would set the radius to 0.3 and use an “amount” setting of 250-300%. Finally I save the image as a JPEG to facilitate uploading.

I would agree with Mick that, knowing what can be achieved with reasonable slide images (and most of mine were taken with a manual camera and a consumer-standard zoom lens) it is disappointing to see photos being uploaded which, with the right processing, could be much better. (Mind you, I sometimes wonder also at some of the digital images I see where the colours of the aircraft bear little resemblance to reality – this is especially common with the current Aer Lingus scheme, for some reason – but that’s for another day!)

Fergal


User currently offlineMalandan From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 380 posts, RR: 15
Reply 4, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 6245 times:

Quoting Irish251 (Reply 3):
I scan slides at 4,000 dpi and save as TIFFs initially. This gives a typical file size of 65 MB

Fergul, this is interesting to me as I have an Epsom 3170 PHOTO flatbed scanner, from which I download TIFF images of around 100MB in size. The quality seems quite good to me but I'm puzzled as to why the file size is so much larger at a lower dpi setting than you use yourself.

Quoting Irish251 (Reply 3):
I use the lasso tool with Filter/Noise/Dust & Scratches and a radius of about 12 pixels to take these out one by one.

Why do you not use the Clone Stamp Tool which is available in Elements?

Quoting Irish251 (Reply 3):
I find that virtually all but the sharpest scanned shots benefit from using the “fix out-of-focus blur” feature of FocusMagic on the full-size image and this works as a plug-in with PS Elements.

Can you please advise where I may obtain a copy of this plug-in to work with my copy of Elements 4?

Elements is of course is much more restrictive then CS and one tool I do find useful is Shadows and Highlights, particularly for lightening dark shadows, hanger interiors, etc.

But like Mick, I would have wished for Screeners to have been much more critical towards my early scanned uploads, although I accept that the prime cause was my lack of both scanning and processing techniques born out by the fact that I have so far re-uploaded over 500 to date.

I also agree with both Mick and Fergul regarding some older scanned images appearing in the database, particularly the number having quite distinct colour casts which are often easily corrected using auto tools. I sometimes wonder whether there are those who believe that old photos should have such an appearance to add to their authenticity, but suspect that most would prefer to see these image in their true colours.



My interest lies in the future as I am going to spend the rest of my life there!
User currently offlineBeechcraft From Germany, joined Nov 2003, 828 posts, RR: 41
Reply 5, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 6199 times:

Hi,

i got a mail today from Anthony Noble. He doesn´t have a forum account, but allowed me to quote his mail: Here´s what he has to say:


i have a minolta dimage scan elite 5400 it is a dedicated film scanner and i have had this now for about 3 years .
i find that this type of scanner produces better quality
scans than a flatbed type, mind you i have seen Gary Watts scans from his
flatbed and i think he has produced some first class results - a lot depends
on the person using the scanner and knowing how to get the best out of it.

I take a lot of time working on each image to be sure as much as possible
that i can obtain the best quality - i always scan the image at about 4.000
dpi this produces a large file size but of course this is later downsized this
way i feel that quality is higher - i always use the digital ice as this removes
any dust or scratches from the neg - one drawback is it adds to the scan
time but is worth it i feel .

one of the critical parts is adjusting the scanner settings for the best results such as experimenting with curves , contrast , colours , time spent here before hitting the scan button can help reduce later adjustments .

when i feel happy i scan the image then make any level adjustments and crop etc . i then downsize to 1024 x 675 or thereabouts and then start to fine tune by using the histogram sliders to set brightness and tonal ranges - next i fine tune the colours and remove any casts ,again here its a good idea to take time and make sure you are happy before moving on - with me its check and re check.
i find that hue and saturation settings can vastly improve the look of the image - last of all is sharpening before this

i make copys of the image as a safeguard and this saves time if things go
wrong - i deselect areas that dont need sharpening and where possible may
use a touch of smart blur on the sky then use the usm mask to apply the
sharpening - i only have photoshop elements 2.0 and here i experiment with
the settings to get good results often using a strength of 200 + 0.3 or 0.4
radius and the threshold set to maybe 3 or 4 - one experienced person did
say that often with old negs and slides that you can increase to maybe 250
or 300 and take the the threshold up to 6 or 7 this way you get extra sharp
image ( if needed ) and a higher threshold helps to keep back the grain .

grain is often the big problem and can be the most frustrating thing and often
neat image is needed to cut it back - used with care it can be a good help
but again time and experimenting is needed - another step where you should
not rush , anyway at some point here i arrive at my photo that is then ready
to upload .

the way the image looks determines if i think that i need to use neat image if i can get by without i do but to reduce grain for fine tuning it can be needed .

for me scanning is a slow process i cant go at a fast pace
i wish i could as i have such a large collection to choose from and some rare
material too - i have of late been getting a lot more of my uploads accepted
but i proceed with caution and care as best possible and i view my own work
with a critical eye as i am a perfectionist ( i like things to be just so )

Gary Watt and Mick Bjcar have been very kind in helping me with my work and Mick has passed on a lot of helpful info to me . when i got my first photo accepted i thought how can i just leave it at this and now i have 185 images on so i must be doing something right i guess.

best wishes.
Anthony.



That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college!
User currently offlineIrish251 From Ireland, joined Nov 2004, 969 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 6171 times:

quote=Malandan,reply=4]Fergul, this is interesting to me as I have an Epson 3170 PHOTO flatbed scanner, from which I download TIFF images of around 100MB in size. The quality seems quite good to me but I'm puzzled as to why the file size is so much larger at a lower dpi setting than you use yourself.[/quote]

I'm not sure why this is but my scanner software offers 65.3MB as the file size with the dimensions settings I am using. I leave these alone so I don't know too much about what would happen if I changed them!

Quoting Malandan (Reply 4):
Why do you not use the Clone Stamp Tool which is available in Elements?

I have tried this on occasion but it is not necessarily faster than my method - maybe I need to read up some more on how to make best use of it.


Quoting Malandan (Reply 4):
Can you please advise where I may obtain a copy of this plug-in to work with my copy of Elements 4?

Focus Magic is available as a download from http://www.focusmagic.com/
I think you get ten or so free uses before you have to pay ($45 or so). I recall reading different opinions on this product before - some people liked it, while others favoured alternative sharpening systems.

Fergal (note spelling!)


User currently offlineGranite From UK - Scotland, joined May 1999, 5568 posts, RR: 64
Reply 7, posted (8 years 3 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 6038 times:
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Hi all

Some nice responses so far......could be more though....where is Bob G  Wink

Anyway, not had the time to detail my process but will do soon. The image below was taken 21 years ago with cheapo Kodak film.

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Gary Watt - AirTeamImages


Not the best scan in the world but with time and dedication you can get results.

Flatbed scanned negative. Scanned at 2400dpi and re-sized. Cannot remember the rest of the settings. Like other adaptors the negative slots into a flat plastic frame and placed directly on the the bottom of the scanner. Top half has the negative scanning machine while the light from the bottom half lights it up.

I am using Vuescan and one good thing with this program is the ability to match the film emulsion. Look at the film used, pick the same from the dropdown menu. Colour is matched, not always but near enough.

Many people say sharpening before re-sizing is not needed. Personally I find it helps. The above was sharpened twice at my regular setting before re-sized. Sharpened once more after that.

Regards

Gary


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