Color adjustments for Portra scans

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by revdocjim, Aug 23, 2012.

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  1. revdocjim

    revdocjim Member

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    Almost everything I shoot in film is medium format B&W or slide film. I develop my own B&W and send the slide film to a lab. Then I scan the developed film and work with it from there on my computer. I've tried Portra 400 negative film a few times but am not happy with the colors I get when scanning my negatives. In fact they really suck and I'm looking for some advice.

    I have an Epson V-700 and find that it works great for B&W and slide film. I used a cheap calibration software package called EZColor to make a profile for velvia slide film and it is really good. For B&W and color negatives I just use the drivers included in the Epson software. But the colors I get with color negatives are very unsatisfactory. They remind me of old faded prints from the eighties. I tried a few adjustments but haven't been happy with anything. I do PP in LR and none of the Auto settings get anywhere close and I just don't have good enough color instincts to know what manual changes to make.

    I'm including a link to some examples.
    http://www.pbase.com/revdocjim/bad_colors
    In this roll I selected the pre-set for faded photos in two or three of them because it seemed to help just a bit. But still I think you will see that the colors are not very realistic. To my eye the blues and greens look way off.

    Any advice will be great appreciated!
     
  2. mts

    mts Subscriber

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    Post in DPUG, the digital forum.
     
  3. F/1.4

    F/1.4 Member

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    I dunno what you're complaining about, but those look about right to me.
     
  4. coigach

    coigach Member

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  5. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    I agree. This is a pretty clear cut DPUG question, IMO.
     
  6. revdocjim

    revdocjim Member

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    OK. Sorry about putting this in the wrong place. I'm not very familiar with the DPUG but assumed it was about digital cameras and digitally captured photos where as my question is about film. But I will try it there too.
     
  7. jglass

    jglass Member

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    Those look okay to me in terms of color balance. You might be to used to garish colors in digital?!
     
  8. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Well, there's hybridphoto, too.:wink::wink:
     
  9. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    The colours all look perfectly natural to me.

    pentaxuser
     
  10. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    I generally use about the same workflow. The color comes out pretty well most of the time, but it almost always needs some adjustment for a really fine print. In most cases, but definitely not all, the automatic adjustment in Photoshop (and others) does a pretty good job.
     
  11. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Make a neg of a color checker or other subject with all the colors. SET THE SCANNER TO MANUAL and FORGET ALL THE PRESETS and easy stuff that turns out to be hard. Get a scan that is the best color you cam get. Then save the RGB setting as a preset. You will need to know how to color balance. Same as printing color neg.

    Use that for every frame of that type film from then on. It will be very close unless you expose daylight film under tungsten or some such error. They make filters for that.
     
  12. revdocjim

    revdocjim Member

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    Thanks for all the replies. I've found that by simply toning down the brightness many of them look better. It's interesting how the software tends to make these negatives brighter than the original when converting them to positive colors.
    But honestly, I'm surprised that some folks think these colors are ok. Granted, some of them are closer than others, and this certainly doesn't have anything to do with digital photos because my main comparison, as explained in the OP, is slide film (and yes I know that velvia is intentionally over-saturated). But to those who think this looks natural...

    large.jpg

    I am left scratching my head. My monitor is calibrated and I have reasonably good eye sight. I can do those online exercises where you line up the colors in a spectrum and I frequently get perfect scores. But I can assure you that in all my fifty years on this planet I have never seen a sky that is this color. And the trees look extremely fake as well. And as for the water color, I can promise you, it is not that weird algae like color in real life at all. How can this look natural to anyone? The only place I've seen these colors is in old, faded color prints from the 70s and 80s.

    But when I try to make adjustments in the color I just can't seem to find the spot where everything snaps into place...
     
  13. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Only you know what the colours actually were but looking from above and given that it appears to be a lake and not the open sea which is affected by the sky it seems to takes its colours from the green background provided by the trees.

    The sky looks a little cyanish but dependent on the weather conditions sky often looks more cyanish in real life than we assume when we look at a photograph.

    Overall I can see no obvious colour cast and a cyan cast normally shows itself more easily than most casts. Colours appeared slightly muted but still real.

    Maybe there are films that meet your colour requirements better or a scanning method that gives you more saturation.

    I hope so as my comments seem to have made things worse rather better. Best of luck in finding what you want


    pentaxuser
     
  14. coigach

    coigach Member

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    As I said earlier, use Colorperfect plugin - this accurately matches scans to the colours of a wide range of different colour neg film emulsions - that way you can be sure that what you are seeing is what the film should look like...
     
  15. revdocjim

    revdocjim Member

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    Well, I really do appreciate all the feedback and I guess I shouldn't string this out since I was told right off that this was the wrong place for it anyway. So I will work with the various excellent tips given and see where it takes me. Thanks to everyone!
     
  16. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Your black-point is too low and the gamma is wrong, both of which make the contrast too low and the result is, as you say, faded. I recommend using VueScan and pushing the "brightness" slider downwards to bring back the right gamma, and being very aggressive in choosing a black-point. The negs contains 10-12 stops of dynamic range whereas you can fit maybe 6 into a print/jpeg. So you have to throw away information.

    And yes, stuff is green. If you set the "lock colour" option in vuescan, you get separate R, G, B sliders for both black and white points. That'll fix any pesky casts; in this case I suspect the green portion of the blackpoint could be brought up a fair bit. Where there are casts in the shadows, that's an indication that your scanning software has improperly detected the film base colour.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 25, 2012
  17. revdocjim

    revdocjim Member

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    Thanks polyglot! I tried to follow your advice or the LR4 equivalent of it and while I still don't think I have it spot on, I'm liking it better.
    006-3.jpg
     
  18. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    Most of your pictures look OK to me. This is one of the pictures that are not OK. Excess yellow, I would say.

    Here is a proposed fast correction. Possibly there is a little bit of yellow still left.
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 26, 2012
  19. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Looks like you've had some good answers here, but this thread is off topic for APUG, please ask over at our sister site, DPUG. Perfect topic for them!
     
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