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  1. #1

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    Scanning prints for the APUG galleries?

    Before everyone crucifies me for going all d*****l here, I'm asking because I want to share some prints in the Gallery here and I'm just not liking any of the scans I get of my lovely FB prints. I'm using a decent scanner (4990) and have reasonable success at scanning negatives, but I just can't seem to get a print scan that comes close to capturing the details and tones in a way that reflects what I have on paper.

    So for those of you scanning B&W prints and posting them here, what is your workflow? I'm using the Epson scan software and scanning in TIFF to give me the most flexibility. I just keep getting blocked up shadows or flat midtones; overall it just looks like crap. There are so many great scans in the gallery I'm hoping someone will share their secrets. Might I just have better luck photographing a print with a DSLR?

  2. #2

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    hi pete

    when i preview, i grey the whole print out.
    i drag the sliders all the way to the right and left
    and the middle one to 1.0
    after it scans
    i just adjust the brightness/contrast or levels to match the print
    i always scan in color, and desaturate and tint to match the print.

    goodluck !
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  3. #3
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    I'm using an Epson flatbed scanner as well. Use your levels before you scan and make sure you bring your highlights and blacks down. Basically once you scan you can always bring the contrast up to the appropriate level in PS but you can't bring back highlight detail if you clip the highlights when scanning. Same holds true for negative scanning. I also like to keep some border of the print. And after scanning I'll choose my highlight selector in levels and click on the paper base white. This helps alot with MGIV or coldtone paper prints, but not so much with warmtone prints. And then I'll use the levels to set the black. Sometimes there lower midtones and shadows are still a bit dark and I'll lighten then to match the print. As far as color, this is what I struggle with the most. Many times saturation and color balance adjustments are necessary to match the scan to the real print. Overall I prefer the look of a scanned print rather than a negative that is tinkered with in PS. But tinkering is still fun to find out whether or not an image is worth printing.

    BTW.. I hope the moderators DO NOT remove this thread from this site. This is a legit question and others will find this useful.

  4. #4

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    I use the same scanner and SW. As John suggests, I usually scan in color then covert to B&W in Photoshop, using channel mixer. For prints that are on warmtone papers, I keep them in color. I don't use any sharpening at the scanner, I usually set the exposure in the scan software to what looks best in the preview, then fine tune in Photoshop to get as close as possible to the print in overall look.

  5. #5

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    I use EPSON V500. EPSON's scanning software does pretty awful job in determining white point and the black point. It tends to place it well INSIDE the actual tonal range of the print. The result is loss of both highlight and shadow details. Because it happens at the capture time, even if you save it as TIFF, they aren't there - thus you won't be able to bring them out after the fact.

    My workflow is similar to John's except I do not put the white point and black point all the way to the edge. I scan into jpeg and select least compression. This is more of a trial and error process - not so outside of the actual range but leave some buffer. Histogram on the software does not appear to be all that accurate. (or maybe I'm reading it wrong?) Then open it with an old version of Element and touch up the tonal range.

    Not the best of method but works for me for very little scanning I actually do.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by brian steinberger View Post

    BTW.. I hope the moderators DO NOT remove this thread from this site. This is a legit question and others will find this useful.


    Scanning discussion in regard to getting print scans uploaded to APUG are AOK and always have been. There have been some people who have purposely tried to muddy the water in this regard. If you'll notice, the worst offenders are now quite mysteriously missing. That's all that is needed to be said on this subject, and let's please endeavor to keep the thread on topic.

    Regarding the OP:

    When I scan a my usual approach is to scan it with low contrast settings to capture as much of the range as I can. No black blacks, no white whites. After I have captured all the detail I can, I adjust the curve to best represent the actual print. I usually scan in color because a black and white print has a color, and I adjust this as well to be faithful to the print, which is what I view the galleries main objective to be. Very very few prints IME are actually bonafide monochrome.

    I have found fauxtographing to be the next best thing, and it's what I do for prints to large for the scanner. It's a lot easier than trying to scan pieces and stitch them, at least for me, that is.
    Last edited by JBrunner; 02-22-2012 at 08:07 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #7
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    I shoot them with a digital camera on a copy stand with strobes using standard copy techniques.

    Some people can manage to get good print scans with a scanner, but I think it depends on the size of the print and scanner, how flat the print is, and the paper surface. Some FB papers won't lie flat enough unless you dry mount them, and some surfaces seem more prone to artifacts when put into contact with the scanner glass, and if you print larger than the surface of the scanner, it may not be possible to scan the print in sections without damaging it, particularly if the scanner glass is recessed.
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  8. #8

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    Not sure it would apply to your scanner but with my cheap Epson I need to make sure the autoexposure is turned off. Else the highlights seem to be blown out. My software always seems to want to turn the autoexposure on by default and I have to make sure to turn it off.

  9. #9

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    I wanted to make a similar post but thought i would get booted for asking a scanning question! Since this topic is ok on Apug i will ask my question. What is the best way to get good detail when scanning the print for posting in the gallery? Should i scan it at 1200 and then re-size it for upload to the gallery or would there be no difference if i just scanned it at 200?

  10. #10

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    My 2c - my experience (graphic arts business) is that, like analog image capture, you are fitting a range of values (and colors) into the range of another medium, which, in this case has 256 values, including both ends. In analog film work, you do this by finessing expose and development, as is discussed at length on this forum. The same is true in scanning - you are fitting a range of tones into a file. The closer you come to filling up the range of 256 values, the better the separation you get between adjacent mid-values.
    So - my approach is to scan manually (I use the Epson SW with a 4990 also) set the sliders in the levels to just include both ends, with a small amount to spare (the densitometer tool can help with this). Then I scan to open the file directly in Pshop, tweak the end points, and adjust the curve if needed for middle values to the print, and save in Pshop. Also, remember that you are adjusting mid tone values for your display, so, when others are viewing your work in the gallery, they may not see what you are seeing anyway.
    Cantore's last question - I like to scan for 300ppi at the print size, or slightly larger, then resize the scan later to APUG gallery guidelines.

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