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Archive 2013 · MF film, Scanning, color casts, HELP!
  
 
dswiger
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · MF film, Scanning, color casts, HELP!


I have been playing with MF film, using a Mamiya RZ67 ProII.
I love the images, the detail, the look of film, but I hate the color casts
I shoot mostly negs, Ektar 100 and occasionally either Velvia or Asta for transparencies.

I never seem to get it right, certainly the first time.
Firstly, true confession, I am color blind. The typical red/green thing.

If it's brought to my attention, I suddenly notice.
I have an Epson 4990, a pretty decent flat bed scanner.
I have used the Epson software, Silver Fast & Vue Scan.
Sometimes the simplicity of the Epson s/w works.
I dont' care for the Silverfast, especially the interface & its almost always off.
I use Vuescan the most.

I have even tried shooting a frame with a small grey/white card at the same time/lighting of a desired image. I rarely seem to get it right without coaching.

I tried processing negatives as positives, using Color Neg & Photoshop, but not enough to know the workflow

What I am hoping for is an easy to understand workflow that will keep me honest and the color right

Thanks

Dan



May 27, 2013 at 12:25 AM
jcolwell
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · MF film, Scanning, color casts, HELP!


Crapper! This is a tough one. So, am I right to say that you get the film processed at a shop, and then scan the images? I did this for a few years, while in transition from film to digital. I'm not colour blind, and it still wasn't easy.

I guess I'm in a similar position now, where I want to produce the "as printed" images on my U2711 monitors, and have it come out "the same" when my friends at Atlantic Photo Supply print them. For me, the dialogue with APS is key. I calibrate my monitors, I sometimes calibrate my images (i.e. Color Checker, colour temperature, ..) but usually not. A lot of my digital workflow is subjective, and a lot of it involves my interpretation of color...

There's nothing better than a second opinion to "keep you honest".



May 27, 2013 at 12:46 AM
Micky Bill
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · MF film, Scanning, color casts, HELP!


I use the same scanner for flatbed and both trans and neg scanning. I've had good results, sometimes with heavy corrections. Can't a color cast be corrected in photoshop? Scanning from a neg is subjective as you don't have a reference point.


May 27, 2013 at 01:25 AM
luminosity
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · MF film, Scanning, color casts, HELP!


I can't imagine scanning when color blind. I know people who are complete masters at scanning (and printing), and they still have to do a decent amount of work for each image. It rarely works out right away.

It takes a lot of work, and in your case, you may want to try to find someone to work with who knows what they're doing can guide you along.



May 27, 2013 at 01:46 AM
philip_pj
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · MF film, Scanning, color casts, HELP!


Yes, its a fine reason to shoot chromes, you can keep the transparency on a light box next to your monitor for reference. You can get E6 profiles for some scanners but really this is more of a craft these days requiring advanced CM and PS nous about its many colour controls. It is why scanned film so often looks pretty crook. It is also how I developed a phobia for poor colour output actually, I did this for years with a Minolta MultiPro Scanner.

Negs processed most ways are troublesome to work with, some people open the scanned file in a raw converter presumably to get a WB control. You have to engage in some extreme curve work to get the histo to work at all well. My avatar is a 690 neg frame (Pro 160) worked hard, so it can be done. It took hours...best way may be to use a good pro lab, they have all the profiles built-in to their drum scanners, and you can get fine results but you pay for them.



May 27, 2013 at 01:51 AM
theSuede
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · MF film, Scanning, color casts, HELP!


Scanning is a triple hit/miss - so don't feel let down if you don't get it right without some training. Especially if you're a protanope (does red apples and tomatoes look very "dark" to you?).

There are several severely twisted things going at the same time.

Light > reality
---Human vision/brain connection corrects for most color cast unconsciously. The casts are THERE - but you don't register them, even if you physically "see" them.
Reality > film
---The film does NOT in any way represent an "accurate" color recording as your eyes see it. Especially if you're not shooting with color correction filters on the lens.
Film > digital RGB
---Then you take an already twisted capture (both color hue and contrast curves are off) and "measure" that with another twisted device; the scanner.

Since the scanner isn't metamerically the same as human SML, you're basically taking a skewed capture of a skewed capture of a skewed target response.
So quite a lot of the color and contrast errors just simply can't be corrected without local adjustments and quite a lot of practice.

You can make some automated basic stuff so that most people won't see any blatant errors, but for finer points of tuning you really need a "hands on" approach.

Do you have any work you could show here? I could make some suggestions.



May 27, 2013 at 02:38 AM
rodmcwha
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · MF film, Scanning, color casts, HELP!


A simple work around would be to shoot a grey card at each session.


May 27, 2013 at 02:55 AM
dswiger
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · MF film, Scanning, color casts, HELP!


OK, some examples.
Here is an Astia transparency






Here is a Velvia






Now for a few recent Neg results

























Thanks

Dan



May 27, 2013 at 03:02 AM
PhotoMaximum
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · MF film, Scanning, color casts, HELP!


Ouch! I like your photos but see your issue! Being color blind is really an issue. It makes it harder to do it all in camera which really helps when shooting film. Actually it makes it harder to extract the feeling out of a scan as well...

I think your best option is to shoot positive film even though it is harder to scan on your equipment. The other option is to work with a fellow enthusiast who can guide you through enough scan sessions until you get comfortable.

If you have severe color blindness issues then I would devote more time to black and white work. You obviously have a good eye regardless...

Edited on May 27, 2013 at 04:29 AM · View previous versions



May 27, 2013 at 03:49 AM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · MF film, Scanning, color casts, HELP!


Scanning color negs is an art unto itself and the scanner and software used (as well as the person operating the scanner) can make all the difference in the world. It really helps to understand what the scanning software is trying to do as it inverts the image and negates the orange mask. There is usually some sort of Auto function that neutralized the highlight and shadow points whether you want that to happen or not. Then there is also usually a manual function that lets you set the highlight and shadows to specific numeric values. On top of that there is your (hopefully) calibrated monitor.

The best neg scans (and I've done thousands) are almost always a combination of starting with an Auto function which is then tweaked to create the overall look you want, but you do need a well calibrated screen as well, as going by the numbers only works for endpoints and known neutrals.

It's been a long time since I used anything but Trident to scan color negs, so I don't know the exact controls you have, but it appears that you're having some overall cast problems but maybe other things as well.

In the fence image, your blacks are not black at all, but red - 11R-0G-0B or thereabouts. Those numbers do not make any sense for that kind of image. Is that a result of your scanning software or something you did afterward in Ps?

The greenish tree image has exactly the same issue but feels like it also has an overall cyanish cast contaminating the image.

The image with the oak trees weirdly has shadows that are blue and highlights in the dried grasses that are way too green.

The Velvia shot has an overall cyan cast to it that could be what you want or maybe not.

All the image posted are untagged, so they may or may not display correctly depending on the monitor and browser being used here.

I think that most of your problems are from perhaps not paying enough attention to the small details like the exact RGB mix for highlights and shadow and deciding whether they need to be neutral or something else to support the mood of the image you're making. Remember that your software can only assume one thing, and it usually opts for neutrality unless told otherwise, although that seems to be not the case here.

I'd love for you to send me a couple negs and let me scan them to see if there's something else going on, like processing.



May 27, 2013 at 04:10 AM
 

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old yorker
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · MF film, Scanning, color casts, HELP!


Dan: you are not alone! The problem is confounded for me in that the best people to ask about scanning (such as Peter whose scans are superb) are unlikely to experience or understand colour vision issues (the colour technician job description ensures that).

Peter: you are a master scanner and most of what you say here is really useful and helpful for the 39 out of 40 men who do not have colour vision issues. But for the one in 40 of us who have red/green/brown confusions the one really useful hint in your post is to try auto functions. That often helps but programs I have used tend to overcook in auto and need backing off from a little to rescue shadows and highlights. And auto functions often stamp all over subtleties such as delicate lighting effects.

The nearest analogy I can come up with (to help the understanding of those poor souls who do not have the good fortune to see the world as Dan and I do) is a scenario where an expert such as Peter has to process a scan on a monitor that may or may not be calibrated. How would that work?



May 27, 2013 at 11:07 AM
ricardovaste
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · MF film, Scanning, color casts, HELP!


How much scanning do you have to do? Are you taking on a huge project of scanning an archive, or just scanning a few on the go?

If the latter, then I'd strongly recommend using a good lab for scanning. It'll save you a lot of time and stress. If the former, then I'll leave that advice to other folk on here



May 27, 2013 at 11:16 AM
theSuede
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · MF film, Scanning, color casts, HELP!


The images all suffer from DIFFERENT cast issues. Not any one clear solution to all of them.

Do you have any kind of auto black- and white-point setting in the scanner software turned on? Then turn it off! In the kind of images you show where both the highlights and the deep darks are actually supposed to have quite a bit of color saturation, the B/W-points can throw stuff off mark quite severely.



May 27, 2013 at 12:33 PM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · MF film, Scanning, color casts, HELP!


"In the kind of images you show where both the highlights and the deep darks are actually supposed to have quite a bit of color saturation, the B/W-points can throw stuff off mark quite severely."

This is essentially what I was saying and gave specific numeric examples. Without further input from Dan about exactly how the images were either scanned or worked on later in Ps, it's hard to come to any concrete conclusions at this point. I don't know about Dan's personal color vision, but the comments regarding that are certainly worth considering. Making basic scanning decisions based on numeric readings often helps to avoid larger problems down the road and understanding the implications of those numbers will almost always help the quality of the scan regardless of one's visual ability.

Or another way to approach it is to read the numbers and ask yourself if those make sense, roughly, for that area of the scene. You don't have to be exact, but it helps to be at least in the right direction. One of the reasons is that we have very little perception of shadow color changes in the deep blacks - they all look pretty much black to us, but if those blacks are off too much numerically (and perhaps they NEED to have some cast, not just neutral) those black will still look black, but throw the rest of the scan off without you realizing where the cast is really coming from.

Highlight casts are just the opposite in terms of our perceptions. We are generally extremely sensitive to the slightest bit of cast in a highlight and the cast or lack of one can have the same affect on our perception, which is why the dried grasses look "off" to us. We all know those highlights are not neutral white, but until you read the numbers and see that they're really green, it's sometimes hard to know which way they are off.

It's all sort of a balancing act and there's always some subjectivity involved, but usually we coalesce around a fairly close range of acceptability.



May 27, 2013 at 04:26 PM
dswiger
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · MF film, Scanning, color casts, HELP!


Thanks for all the input & suggestions!

OK, a few things to get out of this & clarify.

While my Red/Green colour vision is a problem, I can still appreciate colour. I am not ready to go to a B&W world only. I do some B&W but for it's "sake" only.

I have used the auto functionality in the Epson S/W in the past. I may go back to it after this discussion.
I have been using the manual setup with VueScan as of late & it looks like that has gotten me in more trouble
Currently I scan with a different PC in another room and my "main" PC I use Photoshop on is in a common area. Its a space/logistics thing. That will change soon now that the kids have launched .
Both monitors in use are calibrated, but a different times.

I scan MF film that I am currently taking. Maybe about 10+ shots per month. As a practical matter, getting them all scanned professionally would be a budget issue. That's why I got the Epson 4990 and have tried the various scanning S/W packages. I would confess that I probably have added some confusion into this process and that's why I posted this plea for some intervention.

Like a doctor evaluation a patient's symptoms, Peter has pointed out some stuff that I should look at.
For one, I will run calibration on both monitors to get them recent & do some comparisons. I have also considered running the computer with the scanner as a remote desktop. Not sure if that will solve the monitor issue fully for now. I will start out with the Auto settings and post some examples to see if I'm closing in on it.

Peter, I will PM you on the negatives to try.

More to come
Thanks

Dan




May 27, 2013 at 05:29 PM
theSuede
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · MF film, Scanning, color casts, HELP!


As Peter said, try to minimize the amount of uncertain scenarios.

I'd say that at least one of your biggest problems is that you apply curves and BP/WP editing in three different stages, in three different color spaces - sequentially. They throw each other off quite substantially, and the end result is VERY hard to re-rengineer back to a neutral result.

Maybe you should concentrate more on the initial VueScan preview? Try to get closer to your end result already in the VueScan settings. There's quite a lot to play around with already in the preview settings. Save the scan as raw, and keep on working on the "other" computer.

Getting balance more "right" here in the first step will exponentially decrease the amount of work you need to put down in post on the end image.



May 27, 2013 at 05:55 PM
dswiger
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · MF film, Scanning, color casts, HELP!


Someone noted that my images were untagged as to color space.
What would be the suggested color space that would be in-sync with what I edit in Photoshop?

Thanks

Dan



May 27, 2013 at 06:50 PM
dswiger
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · MF film, Scanning, color casts, HELP!


Another think I would like to explore, in a comparitive way, is scanning in a RAW mode.
I am willing to take the time and learn a clean workflow since my rush to results has gotten me lost/in trouble. I can do comparisons & post them for help/critique.

I can do this RAW scan with either the Epson or the VueScan software easily.
I just would need a consistent workflow in Photoshop.
The intent here would be to minimize the unnecessary steps in the workflow.
The RAW is theoretically untouched by the scanner software, allowing all the work to be done on just one monitor (best). I have looked into using Color Perfect as a plug-in.

I am also interested in using "the RGB numbers" as a check-point on certain areas of the scene.
If someone could chime in and suggest how to go about this or point me to a tutorial or book.

Thanks

Dan



May 27, 2013 at 07:25 PM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · MF film, Scanning, color casts, HELP!


Dan - Whatever color space you choose to edit your images in Ps is your decision. Arguments can be made for sRGB, AdobeRGB or even ProPhoto RGB, but you need to understand why and when to use different spaces. Whatever you use, you should convert images that are going to be displayed on the web to sRGB if they aren't already in that space - and embed that profile in the image so profile aware browsers and use the profile to help display properly.

For scanning color negs, there really is no such thing as a "raw" scan, untouched by the scanning software. Well, I can force my drum scanning software to do that, but the results are really really ugly and would be completely uncorrectable in Photoshop. You actually have to let the scanning app do its job, but coax it in the right direction.

I don't know how you check the number in your various scanning apps, but there is usually some sort of probe that will give you before and after RGB pixel values and also controls that let you alter the default settings for black point and white point target points. In Photoshop, you just have to have your Info Palette open and move your cursor over the area you want to monitor. The Info Palette will tell you the numbers, in RGB, Lab, CMYK, Grayscale, Total Ink, Actual Color, among others. You can set the readout to what you want, but either RGB or Actual Color is preferred most of the time. You can also place sticky probes (up to four of them) in the image in Ps to continually monitor up to four specific areas while you are doing color and tonal corrections. There are a couple of ways to place those probe points, but the easiest is to Shift-Click while you have your Curves (or whatever) dialog open. The Info Palette is perhaps the most important palette to keep open and monitored while working on images.



May 27, 2013 at 07:51 PM





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