Distinctive "Crust" Around Whites on Scans and Prints

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by aaronmacdonald, May 27, 2010.

  1. aaronmacdonald

    aaronmacdonald Member

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    Some Background:

    I normally take my C-41 colour film to one of the nicer photo stores in town to be processed and often printed. In the last little while I've been noticing a "crust" on parts of images that are very bright, and often against darker areas. The edges of the bright part often look very rough, and this hadn't started happening until recently, using the same films I normally do.

    It was noticeable on prints, and I talked to the guys at the shop about it. We looked at my negatives with a loupe and couldn't see what we were seeing on the prints. So the tried tried doing another print of a couple of frames, yielding the same results. Eventually, they attributed it the fact that I was using expired film and I was slightly overexposing.

    However, I'd been using that same film and been having it processed that same way for quite a while without having problems, and now I see it on nearly every roll (not every frame, only those with really bright parts.) So, instead of ordering prints the next time I went in, I asked for the negatives to be scanned and burnt to a CD, thinking that since we couldn't see any problem with the negative that the negative scans should be perfect. But that wasn't the case, the scans showed that same "crust" only it was much more visible at the higher resolution. It must be mentioned that I've had the same issue on different types of film too.

    Here is a good example (resized to 600px wide):

    [​IMG]

    And a cropped section from the full resolution scan:

    [​IMG]

    Anyone have any ideas? They seem to attribute it to my expired film (as an easy-out I suppose), but since I've had the issue with several films, and because it popped up out of nowhere, I don't the that's the case.
     
  2. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Looks like excessive digi sharpening to me, from what you describe, it's probably occurring during the scan.
    If this is 35 it may be tough to see on the neg even with a good loupe. If you have an enlarger, try making a B&W print at high magnification to see if it's really on the neg (or just look at the projected image).
     
  3. aaronmacdonald

    aaronmacdonald Member

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    Thanks –
    I specifically ask for "no adjustments" when I get my negatives processed and printed or scanned. It is 35mm.
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    That's definitely a digital artifact. "No adjustments" is something of a myth like "unscented" products that usually have some kind of fragrance to cover up undesirable odors. There is probably a default amount of sharpening being applied that can't handle adjacent areas of high contrast, and it's producing this kind of artifact.
     
  5. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Perhaps they were trying to "darken" the highlights and didn't get an exact outline. The thumb looks okay. Try another lab or one of the one hour drugstore services with the negatives not the cd. Ask them to print the film as is with no corrections.
     
  6. Tony Egan

    Tony Egan Subscriber

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    Looks like excessive sharpening at first glance.
    I had a problem with my scanner a few years ago where I got halo-ing around the highlights and it turned out the mirror on my scanner had collected an excess film of dust which was considerably "unsharpening" and softening the negs. After a careful dismantle and clean the scan quality improved considerably. Now I clean the mirror every 12 months or so or when I start to notice this effect creeping in again. Do you know someone else with a well-maintained scanner that you could conduct a test on?
     
  7. stevebrot

    stevebrot Member

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    Another voice in the chorus:

    Excess Digital Sharpening​

    (Maybe some excess smoothing/grain reduction as well.) It was after a big go-round with the supervisor at the Costco photo lab about just this sort of thing that I finally decided that I needed my own scanner. It was costly, but worth it in the end.

    Steve
     
  8. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I agree with everyone else. It's an over sharpening issue. Take the same neg with the "crust" and have an enlargement made. The ultimate test is an enlargement that done with an analog enlarger. I'll bet the crust won't be there in the final print. You could also use a good old fashion 8X loupe to check the neg also.
     
  9. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    That's got to be over-sharpening.
     
  10. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Not an 'analog problem'.... :wink:
     
  11. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    "no adjustments" probably translates to them as 'default settings', which includes some sharpening and grain reduction and auto contrast and red-eye reduction and auto saturation and whatever else.
     
  12. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Cheap, lousy scans (which are digital, by the way, not analog, as should be the content of the discussions in these forums). Send your stuff to a real pro lab if you want good results. There are very few remaining, so get used to the idea of mailing if you have to. Oh yeah...and talk about problems with your scans at Hybrid Photo dot org, not here. this Website is supposed to be a haven from exactly this sort of topic.
     
  13. stevebrot

    stevebrot Member

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    My local pro lab has their scans done at the Walgreens down the street :surprised:

    As for whether such stuff is appropriate here...That is a real toss-up, in my opinion. When you have a problem with the final image, the question always comes down to shooting technique, materials, and/or processing. In this case, the problem was apparently with the digital processing and as such is outside the scope of the APUG forums for extensive discussion. The original question, however, was perfectly legitimate as were the few simple hints and clarifications that followed.

    In regards to "purity" of discussions and freedom from digital pollution, if you want to share your work online on this forum or elsewhere, eventually you will have to digitize your work. Many of us also use scans for proofing. It is a small indulgence for the sake of practicality.


    Steve
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 27, 2010
  14. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    This is crazy talk! Simply put, the lab is not a "pro lab" if it contracts Walgreens to do its scanning.

    The problem has nothing to do with digitizing in order to show work over the Internet. It is an obvious digital issue, which, once identified as such, should be directed to Hybrid Photo dot org, and the thread ended, IMHO.

    For those who scan for whatever reason, their problems with and discussions of it, as well as arguments about it (such as whether or not it is really "practical"), belong on Hybrid Photo dot com. Just because we scan prints and film to share our work here does not mean that this is a Website for discussion of the scanning of prints and film.
     
  15. stevebrot

    stevebrot Member

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    Lighten up. The "pros" that this lab caters to are biased to traditional wet processing and optical prints. Scanned proofs are offered as a courtesy only.


    Steve
     
  16. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Again...not a pro lab...but a niche lab! Pro labs are full service. Nobody can call themselves a pro lab these days unless they offer a full range of in-house digital and analog services.
     
  17. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Or, since they look like digital "zaggies", it might be that your film was printed digitally from very low res scans of the negatives. This often results in the effect you see. Some labs resort to low res scans to save time. This results in what you see.

    PE
     
  18. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Aaron, I don't think it's oversharpening, actually.

    It looks more to me like an ICE (ICE= image correction and enhancement) artifact. Ask them if they are running digital ICE or any other dustoff process in their scanning workflow. The way digital ICE / infrared cleaning works is that you do two scans- one is infrared and the other normal, and they are combined to give an image that (usually) looks free of dust and scratches and therefore "cleaner." The problem is if you have a high contrast edge, the two have to line up perfectly or else you get edge artifacts. Also I think there are some older films that simply are not compatible with digital ICE.

    Ask for a straight scan with no ICE. If they do a *much* higher res scan, the problems may disappear, but you shouldn't have to pay for the larger scan.
     
  19. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    These are usually referred to as 'edge artefacts' and like everybody else making astute observations, it is a result of either/both default sharpening or imprudent use of Unsharp mask, often post-scan in that program. The skill, knowledge and judgement of the person operating the scanner seems to play second fiddle to the defaults of the bloody machine itself, so awfully common 'High Street' labs. This is not the way pro labs do it, when we (I) explicitly state what is to be done to the scan (nothing!) and I'm there to oversee it.

    How did this bit about digital get here, anyways?
     
  20. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I think that this is a reasonable topic for APUG due to the prevalence of digital printing of scanned negatives. After all, we scan our negatives into the APUG gallery and would all be interested in getting the best quality.

    PE
     
  21. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    P.S. on the topic of whether we should be discussing this: I think we should. Here is a person who is using film; let us help him get the most out of that and help him present his images without unnecessary artifacts. Moreover, I do sometimes see scan artifacts in the gallery images here e.g. sharpening halos, posterization, clipping etc.

    P.P.S. Oh, so I agree with Ron :wink:
     
  22. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    They are both good and valid responses and I concur.
    Drum scans, despite their often obscene cost (e.g. $45 for a 35mm tranny at hi-res) deliver the best results.
     
  23. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    you paid for scans like this ?
    take them back and ask for them
    to be done without ice, and other enhancements. or your money back.
    even a cheaper than 100$ scanner gives better results than this ...
     
  24. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I agree with Ron, low resolution printed too big, not over sharpened as many here suggest.
    I have a Fuji roll scanner here and there is no setting of sharpening that could produce anything close to that artifact.