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Stealth3kpl

Colour Negative Scanning, Vuescan and ColorPerfect

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Plasticman, that's a beautiful image in more ways than one.

I don't have problems getting reds with ColorPerfect. The problem is without ColorPerfect. The notion that scanning is easy by just altering white points and black points of each colour channel is an oft quoted nonesense that really irritates me. But I would really love to be proved wrong by someone because I'd like to learn how. For the moment here are some ColorPerfect conversions to compare with Epsonscan conversions (I admit I haven't spent much time refining these scans), and the "the scanning is easy you just find the white point/black point of each colour channel, ba beep ba boop, run it through Photoshop with a little salt and pepper, and jobs done, easy as chips scan" that I really am not going to consider sitting down to to try to adjust.

Pete

ColourPerfect:

 

 

EpsonScan:

 

 

 

EasyAsChips:

 

Edited by Stealth3kpl

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I scan with Vuescan (it has RAW options with tiff outputs) and with multiple passes (seems to help with shadow areas.) But aside from that everything is done in PS. The film is Ektar with noise reduction, sharpening, and color correction (using the human eyeball method

) done in PS and not in the scanning software.

 

I'd like to see a video of you doing this.

 

 

The scanner is a Nikon Coolscan (48 bit at 4000 dpi.)

 

Thought so

. I think Vuescan can be set up slightly differently for the Nikon scanners compared to the V700. I'm convinced this is the source of my problem and explains why my experience of adjusting white/black points for colour channels then trying to colour correct by eye differs from everyone else on the net who insists scanning C41 is easy.

Pete

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p.s., I just wanted to add that with color the exposure and lighting and processing is obviously more important. I think that was already mentioned earlier.

 

Color crossover from poor processing is a pain to fix in PS. And light sources are equally important. I'm always conscious of my light sources and the time of day (with ambient light) etc.. Despite the latitude with negative film, proper exposure is still necessary. Color shifts (esp with E-6 films) can foul things up with post color corrections. Diffuse overcast days are great for bringing out the color in film.

 

Anyway, I realize everyone is aware of this but I though it's a good reminder that crap in will always be crap out.

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....my problem and explains why my experience of adjusting white/black points for colour channels then trying to colour correct by eye differs from everyone else on the net who insists scanning C41 is easy.

 

Relying on one's eyes takes time. At least it took me a lot of time (and I even had the benefit of working with a master printer.) You also should have a contained color managed system (and knowing the gamut spread of all your devices and making profile adjustments for each of them, etc..)

 

But there are some crutches I found that helped. Using the info palette helps a lot in figuring out the RGB values (check a neutral gray area in the image if there is one.) I use it all the time. Also you can use the hue/saturation adjustment and set each color individually and then move the slider to fully saturated. This will show you where wonky colors might exist (esp cyan and magenta) and you can then adjust them accordingly. This will also help you develop your eye for color and to understand color casts and to recognize them.

 

Plus you can't always color correct globally. In fact it's almost impossible to correct globally (in part due to color crossover in film and color absorption and reflections in certain scenes, etc..) That's where masking using brushes comes in. Mask your color corrections and brush in (or brush out) only the areas that need correcting. Choose soft brushes that allow for blending so that you don't end up with a distinct cut-off. And if you do use marquee, lasso, or magic wand tools then just be sure to feather them enough so it all looks natural. And don't forget the adjustments you can do to the layers themselves like blending and the fill and opacity levels.

 

All those aftermarket plug-ins are simply instructing PS what to do. It's already all there in PS. I realize that they are convenient but I think that they don't help in learning how things actually work in PS. People end up just clicking on a 'magic bandage' instead of understanding what's actually happening. I realize not everyone can spend the time to learn, but if you can take the time to experiment on your own then I think it's all worthwhile in the end.

 

Again, everyone has their own methods (even the experts have varying methods of doing things.) And of course there's no free lunch and it takes work. But the more you do, the easier it gets. And different films do have certain needs. e.g, with Ektar I find I need to sometimes desaturate certain colors and I'll have to do that locally with masking. Other films (esp E-6 films) seem to fall into place easily given correct exposure and lighting.

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It does sound extraordinarily difficult to do it right. I would love to be able to do everything from scratch just with photoshop and the scanner file. I think for the moment I'm quite satisfied with EpsonScan.

Pete

 

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any idea if the new plustek optic 120 (uses ice) makes all this a bit easier? is it the scanner itself or the software. it would seem to me that scanning is one thing and software adjustments are another, and those are best left to ps, lr, or c1. am i way off base here?

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I know that the Plustex boys see Ed regularly so I would hope that between them they've come up with some red button one push software for glorious kodak Portra colour. I really don't know why Plustek, Kodak and Ed don't get together and produce an incredible product to satisfy the film masses, but I suspect Kodak's CEO is more interested in diverting all Kodak funds to his bank account as he runs it into the ground.

Pete

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If Ed Hamrick updated his built in film profiles in Vuescan, that would be a start.

 

I've been using Vuescan for about 10 years and I don't recall any new or additional film profiles in there.

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I've been using Vuescan for about 10 years and I don't recall any new or additional film profiles in there.

 

I think that's because they're based on what was available when Kodak Photo CDs (remember those) were available.

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The benchmark...

 

I have no idea how much work is involved in setting up new profiles, but given the fact that Vuescan is the go-to scanning software for hundreds of thousands of film users, the small investment of Ed Hamrick's time must be a worthwhile update.

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Thanks all for the responses. Perhaps the optic 120 gets a bit closer to ideal. Am thinking of buying it but haven't yet read or seen any independent reviews

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Thanks all for the responses. Perhaps the optic 120 gets a bit closer to ideal. Am thinking of buying it but haven't yet read or seen any independent reviews

 

It's not out there yet, but it's going to come bundled with Silverfast.

 

As for the profiles in Vuescan, give them a miss imo. Vuescan is at it's best capturing a raw, negative linear scan and leaving color profiles to other more capable or targeted applications, such as Photoshop or ColorPerfect.

 

As for CP - it essentially does nothing one can do with much more work in Photoshop itself, but 95% of the time I'm more than satisfied with what it produces, and see it as a very good starting point, at the very least.

 

For local tweaking I've been using Nik Viveza 2 for a while. Again it does absolutely nothing that Ps can't do, but it creates incredibly detailed masks in a fraction of a second that would take minutes or even sometimes hours when done by hand. The changes can be previewed in real time, and the fine-tuning can be as subtle or as drastic as you wish (as witnessed by the HDR examples on Nik's site).

 

Just my way of working these days.

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Thanks. Are you saying silverfast is worse than vuescan? Or better? Assuming for the moment other software can run the 120 what software would be best? Never used color perfect. Use capture one and with constant crashing of new version i am using lr4. I get scans back from a pro lab on a cd and go from there. But scanning myself would ultimately be cheaper and better quality. So thanks for taking on these rookie questions

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Thanks. Are you saying silverfast is worse than vuescan? Or better? Assuming for the moment other software can run the 120 what software would be best? Never used color perfect. Use capture one and with constant crashing of new version i am using lr4. I get scans back from a pro lab on a cd and go from there. But scanning myself would ultimately be cheaper and better quality. So thanks for taking on these rookie questions

 

I'm a newbie myself, but I've tried to give all the options a spin. I wasn't making a value judgement about Silverfast - simply that Plustek have decided to bundle it with the new 120. It'll still be possible to use Vuescan when the software is updated to support the new machine.

 

I personally prefer the Vuescan interface in spite of some eccentricities and opaque terminology on many of the options. Sometimes Silverfast manages a better scan, and sometimes not - as I've only tried the demo version (which heavily watermarks the image), I haven't really persisted with it to make any definite statement about which really is best.

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Thanks. Well when I see some ind reviews I will make some decision. Appreciate your response

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The film is Ektar with noise reduction, sharpening, and color correction (using the human eyeball method ) done in PS and not in the scanning software.

 

It is interesting that you mention noise reduction. I find that it is a useful filter, esp. for reds actually. The desaturated noise "merges" well imho with the grain in colour negative photos.

 

But with color I feel that film has it all over digital. I'm really disliking digital color even after adding noise for a dimensional film grain 'look.' Maybe it's just me, but digital looks pretty lifeless and clinical in comparison.

 

Nope it isn't just you. I absolutely wholeheartedly and fully agree.

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Has anybody used ColorPerfect with Photoline ? I intend to start scanning some colour negatives and only use Lightroom/ Nik software so rather than subscribe to Photoshop I am considering Photoline given it has a one off payment and allows the ColorPerfect plug-in, according to their website. 

 

David

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