Thanks for very informative mail and it helped me.
Hope other's too share thier technique.
From: TonySleep@halftone.co.uk [mailto:TonySleep@halftone.co.uk]
Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2001 11:07 AM
Subject: Re: filmscanners: Sprintscan 120 and new negative proile scheme
On Wed, 13 Jun 2001 11:28:21 -0600 Michael Moore (firstname.lastname@example.org)
> Tony: Would you be so kind as to give a step by step outline of your
> for dealing with color neg from exposure to final output? Am
> interested in how you are dealing with 1. inversion...do you do it with
> scan software or take it into PShop 2. setting white/black/gray
> points/ etc.
> Mike M.
I don't actually have a single regime, but a rather variable recipe which
I adapt ad hoc depending on the problems that emerge. But I'll try and
give an idea.
First off, nowadays I invariably use Vuescan for colour neg, scanning to
16 bits. Having messed about plenty with Insight, Binuscan and Silverfast,
I've found that whilst all of them can give very good results a lot of the
time, each can occasionally result in a scan which an utter b*tch to sort
out. Vuescan just seems more consistent, or at least I have evolved a way
of working with it which works reliably for me. But this route is slow,
far slower and requiring vastly more effort from me than the others. This
suits me because I would rather scan once then do things incrementally.
With the others, any significant problem I can't fix usually means
I aim to do the gross colour correction in Vuescan ('cos it's rather good
at it), but leave levels, saturation and final tweaking of curves and
colour to be done in PS. VS handles mask removal, so I don't even need to
think about that.
Typically this will mean using VS with 'white balance' selected, but
sometimes it isn't the best choice. This is just a trial and error thing,
based on the preview from memory. Whatever is closest to ballpark is best.
I'll select VS image controls so I get a scan which has headroom at both
ends - ie from dark grey to pale grey rather than max.black to white
highlights. VS default white point setting is too high for me, so I reset
it to 0.01. I want to try and get everything off the film at this stage
and make those decisions later in PS.
Typically the VS output scan will look washed out, low contrast and
desaturated as a result. This is good! With 16bits, there's plenty of room
for improving things.
First job in PS is to open the VS scan000n.tif file and do all the tedious
spotting and damage correction then save the image over itself. Then again
immediately to a different name/location. That way I can always go back,
or create another version with different corrections for a layer. This is
often the easiest way to get good highlights and good shadows in one image
- two separately corrected scans from the same VS original.
(Spotting is why I hate to have to go back and re-scan - it means
re-spotting and that takes ages and is criminally boring).
With a scan that is otherwise fairly correctly colour balanced, I'll then
set the levels. I'll clip the black point slightly, leave a bit of
highlight headroom, and get the overall gamma about right with the midtone
slider. Sometimes all that needs doing after that is to increase
saturation - I usually have to dial in +30 to +40 or so. Other times, I'll
need to revisit levels (or contrast/brightness) as well - it just depends.
Logically it would seem more sensible to increase the saturation as the
very first step (to make colour errors more obvious), but I find I can
never get it right if I do it before levels and have to adjust it again
With a scan which is 'off' regarding colour, there are various things I'll
try depending on what I think will work best. Usually I'll start with
levels again, and the channel histograms can be useful. I generally fix
the black point first using the slider, again clipped a bit. What happens
next is a bit suck it and see. You can mess about with the midtone and
highlight sliders on each channel, but this can result in chaos. If that
sort of thing is necessary, I find curves more intuitive and precise.
A useful shortcut to correcting casts is to double-click on the PS
highlight tool and set the tool to the tone and colour you want to
achieve. For example if you have a bit of white shirt collar which is
looking a murky pale blue/cyan, you'd select a neutral near-white. Drop
that on the offending bit of collar and PS will adjust the whole image :
magic! (though it can take some experimentation with the sample area, and
the precise tone/colour you want). This works particularly well for colour
negs shot in flourescent or tungsten, but it's best IMO to leave some
trace of the illuminant colour - fully corrected just looks wrong.
You can do the same thing with the shadow and midtone droppers, but I find
the highlight one usually the most helpful.
After getting the colour more or less balanced, I adjust the saturation
and then make any final adjustments to levels, colour balance etc.
Except it isn't (oh, I love the history list:). I fairly often run into
trouble with levels and end up using curves instead of crude midtone gamma
setting. Where there's a lot of important shadow detail, straightforward
levels adjustments tend to extinguish too much. Then I will edit the curve
shape to preserve the shadows. You have to be delicate here and realise
than any separation you add to shadows is robbed from elsewhere in the
tonal range - easy to get great shadows and flat, lifeless midtones and
If none of that has worked satisfactorily, I'm going to end up doing one
version which works in the shadows/midtones, and another with good
highlights, knock both down to 8bits and then combine them as layers.
Last stage is reduce to 8 bits, caption and save. Unlike most people I
don't usually keep the high-bit scan at all. It has served its purpose,
and I never want to see it again :) However I invariably do *all* the
above at max optical resolution and keep the final version. Anything
smaller gets derived from that.
It'll be quite interesting to hear how this differs from other peoples'
methods. I have no qualms about admitting I'm far from being clever with
PS, the above has just fallen out of masses of trial and error, usually
against the clock.
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