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RE: filmscanners: Merging multiple scans in Photoshop to deal with very high-contrast scenes


What a great little tool this process is! I was just bemoaning the results
of having used slide film in a VERY high contrast situation. This process
makes short work of turning those too-contrasty slides into usable pics.

Thanks for the great tip!

Norm Unsworth, Owner
CS Golf (formerly Clark Systems Custom Golf)
Outstanding Quality and Value in Custom Golf Equipment
609 641 5712
Please send email to me at: csgolf@home.com
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-----Original Message-----
From: owner-filmscanners@halftone.co.uk
[mailto:owner-filmscanners@halftone.co.uk]On Behalf Of Julian Robinson
Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2001 1:33 AM
To: filmscanners@halftone.co.uk
Subject: Re: filmscanners: Merging multiple scans in Photoshop to deal
with very high-contrast scenes


Maybe I am getting the wrong end of the stick on this, but I do more or
less this process most of the time to improve my many too-contrasty
shots.  I don't often do more than one scan because mostly I can get the
required info out of a single 12-bit scan, but sometimes I scan the same
neg twice with different analogue gain, or sometimes I take two photos with
different exposures as you do.

My process is so simple that maybe this is not what you are wanting but
I'll describe it anyway and you can tell me what is missing for you.  the
descriptions are in detail in case anyone is new to photoshop...

1. In Photoshop, start with your two images, call them "dark" and "light"

2. Copy one on top of the other so that you have them as two layers.  I
copy the one that has the  most useful info on top and the "minority"
version to the bottom.  In the case of your Eiffel tower, I'd copy the
"light" one above the "dark" one because the dark one only contains a small
area (the sign area) that you want.

[To do this...Click on the image to go on top / Ctrl-a to select all then
Ctrl-c to copy.  Click on other (bottom) image to select it. Ctrl-v to

2a  If the two layers are from different negs/slides or different scans you
probably need to align them.  Set layer transparency to 50% and move the
top layer till they perfectly overlap, using the cursor keys for fine
adjustments. If you have to rotate then you have more of a problem but it
can be done easily enough.

[Use move tool and cursor keys]

3. Create a layer mask for the top layer.

[Layer / add layer mask / reveal all  OR click on button at bottom of
layers palette]

4. Select the mask and select suitable paint brushes and black as the
colour.  Paint the areas that you want to see of the underneath layer - in
your example, paint the sign area and surrounding glow so that you see only
the underneath (correctly exposed) version of the sign and surrounds.

[Click on the mask icon in layers palette (should be selected by
default).  Select paintbrush tool, suitable soft-edged brush and black as
the colour.  Start painting on the sign area]

5. You can correct and change this mask by changing between black (reveal
what's underneath) and white (hide) as much as you like and using different
brushes till you get it just right.  Or you can use shades of grey to mix
part of each image.

6.  Flatten layers

[Layer / flatten image]

This is much easier than trying to do things with selections - it is very
easy - the whole process apart from 2a) if needed would have taken 30
seconds with something like the Eiffel image.

Is this what you wanted?


At 09:42 26/09/01, you wrote:
>On 9/25/01 10:26 AM, "Anthony Atkielski" <atkielski.anthony@wanadoo.fr>
> > Has anyone here done any significant work with merging multiple scans to
> > overcome limitations of film in high-contrast scenes?  I'm talking about
> > exposing exactly the same scene over a couple of frames with different
> > then
> > scanning the results, overlaying the scans in Photoshop, and carefully
> editing
> > each layer so that the best exposure is revealed for each part of the
> scene.
> > This is a tremendous amount of work and I've only done it on a handful
> > occasions, and it does require a static subject (unless your camera can
> > bracket
> > in multiple exposures very quickly) and typically a tripod mount, but
> > scenes practically require it in order to get anything useful.
> >
> > I'd be interested in hearing about the experiences or experiments of
> others in
> > this domain.  What techniques do you use, what pitfalls have you found,
> > what
> > kind of results have you obtained?
> >
> > I have one image on my site composited in this way:
> >
> > http://www.atkielski.com/Wallpapers/images/EiffelNightPaper1024x768.jpg
> >
> > I'm not thrilled with the results, but there was simply no way to get
> anything
> > useful with one exposure, as the stupid sign on the tower was blindingly
> > bright,
> > and the rest of the scene was fairly dark; in one exposure, you could
> get the
> > tower exposed right with a blinding ball of pure white in the center,
> or the
> > ugly signed exposed perfectly but immersed in near-total darkness.
> >
> > -- Anthony
> >
> >
>www.serenescenes.com and look for the "Levels Mask" tutorial.


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