Paul Walding wrote:
Hi, I'm fairly new at LF but have made a start at scanning and printing my transparencies.
My initial results are at least encouraging but there is no colour management in my workflow so I suspect they could be a lot better!
Oh yes, unless you are the one-in-a-million who bought their monitor, printer and scanner not needing calibration, you'll be amazed how easy it is to get perfect colour balance once things are profiled.
Paul Walding wrote:I'm using an Epsom V750 with the bundled Silverfast to scan and do some manipulation in Elements 6.
Will Elements and the Silverfast and EZcolor that also came with the V750 be any help or will it be better to go for different software completely?
Elements 6 is not really up to the job for correcting scanned photos. It is very much a "consumer" product for those who use diddy digi-cams. Unfortunately, the full version is a very much better product - it's just a matter of biting the bullet pricewise.
As for Silverfast, I have found the Epson driver to be much easier to use and perfectly adequate.
Paul Walding wrote:I now understand that my scanner, monitor and printer need to be calibrated but do not really understand how to apply these results practically.
The essence of profiling is to ensure that what you see on your screen should be what you get out of your printer.
You always start by profiling the screen - this is not just about getting the colour balance right, you also need to adjust the screen brightness so that your perception of light/dark on the screen is the same as looking at a print under viewing conditions. Most monitors come from the factory with a setting that could give you a suntan - this needs changing to around 90cd/m2. Failure to adjust brightness means that prints usually end up with blocked shadows that seem perfectly clear on screen.
You need to profile a printer to ensure that variations in the reflectivity of paper and differing absorption of inks, as well as variation in ink batches, are eliminated. Profiling is achieved by printing out a page of coloured patches whose colour values are known to the profiling software. Then the print is allowed to dry and then, either using a dedicated spectrophotometer or your scanner, the printed patch values are read back into the software and compared to the known values. The profile is generated in such a way that future prints made with that profile have all those minute adjustments applied to the colours so that the differences in paper and ink are eliminated.
Print profiling is not as simple as just applying an overall colour correction to an image - this is rarely satisfactory. A profile is not linear across the colour range, it can have spikes and dips for individual shades of individual colours. Datacolor's Spyder3Print can print a chart with over 700 patches.
Finally, scanners need profiling (but only for transparency film) because the supporting base of transparency film can vary in a non-linear fashion. Wolf Faust sells inexpensive transparency targets for profiling different films. Once the scanner is profiled, the workflow is to scan the film in with absolutely no corrections on the scanner then, in Photoshop, apply the appropriate profile to the image.
Last year, I arranged and led a workshop on scanning and printing LF film. Maybe it's about time I did another one?