Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: [1]   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: Scanner color management software advice  (Read 2901 times)
kenoli
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 35


« on: September 22, 2012, 08:02:28 AM »
ReplyReply

I am running a Mac with Mountain Lion software.

I am scanning artwork for reproduction purposes.  I have been using an old Epson Stylus Pro 2450 which has given me very good color output compared to the original.

I recently bought an Epson Expression 10000 in order to have a larger format scanner and am not happy with the color output.  In addition, all of the Mac software provided by Epson is written for the PowerPC CPU which has been obsolete for years.  Nothing runs on my computer.  The color profile they provide was written in 2009, who knows for which model of computer.

I need some software that will provide me with a good color profile that will give me pretty reliable and consistent color output, something like what I was getting with my 2450.  I can't afford to spend the time to color correct every scan in Photoshop.  I'm happy to do little tweaks, but I need basically good color output from the scanner.

It seems like the two pieces of software out there for generating scanner profiles are are Vuescan and Silverfast.  Most of the reviews I have read are by photographers looking at features that don't apply to my needs.  I read on this forum somewhere that Vuescan produces scanner profiles with little effort but they are not very useful.  I have read little about silverfast scanner profiles.

I would love some advice from people with needs similar to mine and experienced with these pieces of software, or others, as to how best to get fairly accurate and consistent color output from my scanner.

Thanks,

--Kenoli
Logged
Mark D Segal
Contributor
Sr. Member
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 6883


WWW
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2012, 10:14:40 AM »
ReplyReply

This is the way to go, http://www.silverfast.com/product/Epson/472/en.html, and buy the Ai Studio version just in case you will need to make custom profiles within the SilverFast system. Don't bother with this till you try their canned profiles which can be very good - depending upon the consistency of your scanner's performance with the scanner they used for creating their canned profiles. While I'm at it, please note, being one of two authors with instructional material on the market for using SilverFast 8 (click the link under my name), I'm speaking from an accumulation of knowledge and experience with this software. The test scanner I used for my flatbed work is an Epson V750 Pro. The 10000 of course allows you to scan larger originals in one pass and is one hunk of a machine.
Logged

Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
kenoli
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 35


« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2012, 11:32:44 AM »
ReplyReply

This is the way to go, http://www.silverfast.com/product/Epson/472/en.html, and buy the Ai Studio version just in case you will need to make custom profiles within the SilverFast system. Don't bother with this till you try their canned profiles which can be very good - depending upon the consistency of your scanner's performance with the scanner they used for creating their canned profiles. While I'm at it, please note, being one of two authors with instructional material on the market for using SilverFast 8 (click the link under my name), I'm speaking from an accumulation of knowledge and experience with this software. The test scanner I used for my flatbed work is an Epson V750 Pro. The 10000 of course allows you to scan larger originals in one pass and is one hunk of a machine.

Thanks.  One of the things I heard about SilverFast is that there is a huge learning curve.  Would a person inexperienced with it like myself have a significantly different experience than you describe, being very experienced yourself?  I am more interested here in developing a profile that will work for us consistently as opposed to taking on a new project.  I'm hoping I won't really need to do much more than scan images once the profile is set up.  My highest hope here is to do something like I have done with our printer, namely taking some time to develop a profile and then simply use it.

I have heard criticisms of the quality of the profiles Vuescan produces, while I have heard, on the other hand, it is very easy to actually create a profile in vuescan, while it can be quite a challenge in SilverFast.

Thanks,

--Kenoli
Logged
schrodingerscat
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 369


« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2012, 03:05:46 PM »
ReplyReply

I'm going through the same thing with an old Nikon V film scanner. I'm about half way through a series of tests comparing the Nikon software, PPC only, against Vuescan. So far, have been getting better results with Vuescan. The Nikon software is running on an old G4 Cube with an 800Mhz upgrade that is dedicated to this use only, and Vuescan on an i7 27" iMac. After upgrading to the pro version of Vuescan, to save linear RAW files, will put it all through the ringer again. Testing slides(Kodachrome 25) and B&W negs.

While poking around I also came across this - http://www.colorneg.com/scanning_slides_and_negatives/creating_linear_scans/, which looks promising. Have a feeling that Vuescan and Colorperfect in combination will trump the Nikon software.

Going to be in the Sierras for about a week and will start drilling down again when I return. Will post results when I get done.

Logged
Mark D Segal
Contributor
Sr. Member
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 6883


WWW
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2012, 08:13:09 PM »
ReplyReply

Thanks.  One of the things I heard about SilverFast is that there is a huge learning curve.  Would a person inexperienced with it like myself have a significantly different experience than you describe, being very experienced yourself?  I am more interested here in developing a profile that will work for us consistently as opposed to taking on a new project.  I'm hoping I won't really need to do much more than scan images once the profile is set up.  My highest hope here is to do something like I have done with our printer, namely taking some time to develop a profile and then simply use it.

I have heard criticisms of the quality of the profiles Vuescan produces, while I have heard, on the other hand, it is very easy to actually create a profile in vuescan, while it can be quite a challenge in SilverFast.

Thanks,

--Kenoli

There was a time when SilverFast was daunting because the interface was so arcane. That has all changed with SilverFast 8. They have made scanning as easy as it can get while still getting good results. That said, there is no way you'll get top quality results at the push of a button. ALL imaging applications ave a learning curve, and if you're not prepared to learn to use the software, I'd suggest you send your photos to a scanning service. It will save learning effort and time and the better ones produce decent results at quite low cost. It gets more expensive when you want them to make more than very basic adjustments to the images, as the scanning applications allow you to do yourself.

As for profiling the scanner, nothing is easier than the in-built algorithm that SilverFast contains if you use their profiling targets. It's literally a one button-push operation. Everything else happens under the hood. But as I told you, you may well find their canned profiles (bundled with the application) good enough for your purposes, so if you buy this software you would want to try that before buying targets.

There's a very large price difference between SilverFast and Vuescan for your scanner, so you may wish to download free demos of both applications and see for yourself which is better for you. What other people say isn't a substitute for your own judgment based on actually using them.

If you want to make "linear scans" you don't need any third party plugins. SilverFast and Vuescan both allow you to do this within their own applications.
Logged

Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
kenoli
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 35


« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2012, 10:08:49 PM »
ReplyReply

Thanks, Mark.  This is good solid and useful advice.  I will check both demos out.

--Kenoli
Logged
kenoli
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 35


« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2012, 03:44:00 AM »
ReplyReply

will look forward to hearing what you learn.

--Kenoli
Logged
kenoli
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 35


« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2012, 06:03:42 PM »
ReplyReply

I've loaded the demo, but am having trouble really evaluating it.  The profk and profr settings in the CMS preferences related to this scanner give similar results to the results I get when using simply the ICA driver and the setting for this scanner without the profk and profr give a hugely washed out result.  The color shifts are almost the same as with the default profile Epson provided, which makes me think that SF may be including the default Epson profile somehow when it scans an image.

You mentioned that I might like the profiles that SF sends with tehir software for this scanner, but I have no real way of know what profile SF is using when it scans.  Are the profiles in the cms settings in preferences that name this scanner profiles SF has created for it.  There is nothing at all clear in the documentation about this.

I can't test the SF function that creates an it8 profile (I presume this is what the article I was reading on the site means by "calibrate"  because that is "only available when you have purchased the option."  I'm not sure how to really evaluate this software without being able to test this feature.  Interestingly, I am having the same trouble testing VueScan as the profile feature is also not available in the demo version.

I am a bit nonplussed about where to go with this.

--Kenoli
Logged
Mark D Segal
Contributor
Sr. Member
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 6883


WWW
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2012, 08:49:04 PM »
ReplyReply

I've loaded the demo, but am having trouble really evaluating it.  The profk and profr settings in the CMS preferences related to this scanner give similar results to the results I get when using simply the ICA driver and the setting for this scanner without the profk and profr give a hugely washed out result.  The color shifts are almost the same as with the default profile Epson provided, which makes me think that SF may be including the default Epson profile somehow when it scans an image.

You mentioned that I might like the profiles that SF sends with tehir software for this scanner, but I have no real way of know what profile SF is using when it scans.  Are the profiles in the cms settings in preferences that name this scanner profiles SF has created for it.  There is nothing at all clear in the documentation about this.

I can't test the SF function that creates an it8 profile (I presume this is what the article I was reading on the site means by "calibrate"  because that is "only available when you have purchased the option."  I'm not sure how to really evaluate this software without being able to test this feature.  Interestingly, I am having the same trouble testing VueScan as the profile feature is also not available in the demo version.

I am a bit nonplussed about where to go with this.

--Kenoli

LaserSoft Imaging makes its own profiles using at least one scanner of each model they support. It is their own profiles that you see in CMS>Preferences. ProfK is for Kodachrome, ProfT is for non-Kodachrome transparencies and ProfR is for reflective media (e.g. paper prints or artwork put on the flatbed for scanning). I have no idea why you should be getting washed out results based on the information provided. The testing I've done on an Epson V750 Pro indicates that these profiles or a custom profile work as well as can be expected (canned), or better (custom). But none of them may give you what you may perceive as a totally correct scan without some post-scan adjustment. I think this is inevitable. The profile SilverFast uses when it scans is shown in Input>Preferences>CMS>Profiles>Input (or Scanner - however it's named in the most recent dot release - I'm away from my scanner just now and can't check). If it is not loading the correct profile automatically based on your media selection in the main application interface, you can change it manually right there. One needs to know more about all your preference settings to perhaps diagnose why you are getting unsatisfactory results.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2012, 07:07:42 AM by Mark D Segal » Logged

Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Mark D Segal
Contributor
Sr. Member
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 6883


WWW
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2012, 07:18:32 AM »
ReplyReply

Kenoli, further to my immediately previous post, there are two things you can try in SilverFast to help diagnose your problem:

(1) Use the Workflow Pilot mode (Blue globe in the upper left corner of the interface, which guides you through the scanning process step-by-step from start to finish. This is SilverFast's way of providing a very basic "I don't want to have to think too much" scanning procedure. The possible merit of trying this approach is that it may eliminate a number of the more complex issues that cause your scans to be coming out so badly, and thereby focus on the real basics, of which correct profiling (under the hood) is one.

(2) (if the demo download allows this - I'm not sure): Make a scan in 48-bit HDR mode. This turns off all adjustments except the most basic ones needed to produce a useable scan in either SilverFast HDR or in a post-scan application. For this one, in Preferences>General I recommend checking the box enabling Gamma 2.2 for HDR scans. This will allow them to open with more satisfactory luminance and contrast in a post-scan application such as Photoshop. Here again, the purpose is to try to isolate whether your problem is lodged in fundamentals or in various other adjustments that may have gone askew.
Logged

Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
kenoli
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 35


« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2012, 07:40:32 AM »
ReplyReply

Thanks.  I'll give it a try.  When I re-booted the program last night, I checked some boxes that deleted any files that would have re-set to default any settings I may have inadvertently changed.  I will follow your directions and see what I get.

--Kenoli
Logged
kenoli
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 35


« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2012, 03:26:50 PM »
ReplyReply

Mark -- I appreciate the time you have put into responding to me.

I suspect what I am looking at here may be a bit challenging.  I followed your workflow and setting suggestions and got about the same result.  Things changed a little.  (Incidentally, I clicked on service dialog when opening SF which purported to return everything to defaults before trying out your suggestions).

In the process of doing this, I tried scanning some photographs and noticed that the hue shifts I am seeing with are not nearly as noticeable in a photo as they are when photographing paintings.  In paintings there are often large blocks of color, so hue shifts are very noticeable.  Two of the shifts I am getting are from a pinkish rose toward a more pure red pink and from a turquoise blue towards a more pure blue.  I notice that by correcting the pink towards a green in an RGB context, the hue shifts more towards the original (in terms of the red hue shift)  These are just two of the shifts I am seeing that are most noticeable.  In a photo these shifts seem to be much less noticeable and, perhaps, not as important if one is looking for something that works, is effective and looks good.  When reproducing art, the artist is going to be looking primarily at whether it is true to the original piece.

Am I trying to do something that is not possible?  Can a properly generated profile produce color output files true to the original?  If I invest in one of these pieces of scan software, will I be able to produce a profile that works (neither offers any money back if it doesn't work nor provides a demo that allows for demoing profile creation)? 

I came to this assuming that it was possible to preserve accurate colors with a scanner and am rather confused as to why I am having so much trouble.

Any thoughts?

--Kenoli
Logged
degrub
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 273


« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2012, 05:58:37 PM »
ReplyReply

Any chance "color cast removal" is >0 ?

Frank
Logged
Mark D Segal
Contributor
Sr. Member
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 6883


WWW
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2012, 08:20:38 PM »
ReplyReply

Mark -- I appreciate the time you have put into responding to me.

I suspect what I am looking at here may be a bit challenging.  I followed your workflow and setting suggestions and got about the same result.  Things changed a little.  (Incidentally, I clicked on service dialog when opening SF which purported to return everything to defaults before trying out your suggestions).

In the process of doing this, I tried scanning some photographs and noticed that the hue shifts I am seeing with are not nearly as noticeable in a photo as they are when photographing paintings.  In paintings there are often large blocks of color, so hue shifts are very noticeable.  Two of the shifts I am getting are from a pinkish rose toward a more pure red pink and from a turquoise blue towards a more pure blue.  I notice that by correcting the pink towards a green in an RGB context, the hue shifts more towards the original (in terms of the red hue shift)  These are just two of the shifts I am seeing that are most noticeable.  In a photo these shifts seem to be much less noticeable and, perhaps, not as important if one is looking for something that works, is effective and looks good.  When reproducing art, the artist is going to be looking primarily at whether it is true to the original piece.

Am I trying to do something that is not possible?  Can a properly generated profile produce color output files true to the original?  If I invest in one of these pieces of scan software, will I be able to produce a profile that works (neither offers any money back if it doesn't work nor provides a demo that allows for demoing profile creation)? 

I came to this assuming that it was possible to preserve accurate colors with a scanner and am rather confused as to why I am having so much trouble.

Any thoughts?

--Kenoli

Scanning artwork is more challenging than scanning most photos because the demands on colour accuracy are challenging in the sense that you have the original to compare side by side, and as you say, artists are sensitive to the accuracy of the reproduction of their artwork. The same can be said for product advertising photography compared with landscape photography. Neither from a digital camera, nor from a scanner, will you get totally accurate colour at the push of a button. Both require some post-capture editing. The purpose of the profiling is to bring the result as close as the technology allows, and therefore minimize the number and extent of these adjustments.

Franks' point about making sure CCR is set to 0 is worth verifying. However, by making a scan in 48-bit HDR mode, all such adjustments are turned-off, and it produces a linear unadjusted scan, except that by checking the Gamma 2.2 box in Preferences>General, you are instructing SilverFast to include a Gamma adjustment for purposes of seeing a result in Photoshop that has more contrast and luminance than you would get from the Gamma 1.0 result that an HDR scan otherwise provides.

Your point about the irreversibility of a purchase including profiling targets and profiling capability is correct. Hence it is a bit of a risk. For scanning artwork on the flatbed the correct target you need is the reflective target, and for slides there are options to get a Kodachrome target (quite expensive because supply is dwindling and not replaceable) or a non-Kodachrome target. Unfortunately, it's not possible to predict what amount of incremental improvement you would observe from custom profiling, because we don't know the extent of difference between the colour and luminance rendering of your scanner compared with the one LSI used to make their canned profiles.
Logged

Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
kenoli
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 35


« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2012, 09:22:46 PM »
ReplyReply

I will look into the ccr setting.  As you point out, Mark, I did try try the 48-bit hdr mode with a 2.2 gamma setting and didn't notice any real difference.

I managed to generate a profile using Ezcolor, the profiling software Epson provides that runs on Windows and obsolete mac computers.  I ran it from Windows using parallels on my mac.  It ran fine and produced an icm profile.  I used the ColorSynch utility on my mac to assign this profile to the scanner. The result of all this was  that the scanner hung until I reset it to the default.  I have trouble even finding my way around Windows so haven't yet tried to scan using this profile from the Windows emulation version.  That exploration will have to wait until tomorrow.

I'm surprised there is not more discussion of this issue on any of the forums I have looked at.  There are a lot of people reproducing art in the world and they must be up against the same color issue.

I did find a post on a forum on the SF site from someone who had produced profiles successfully on the same scanner using the same iMac and operating system I am using.  I sent him reply asking how the profiles came out but haven't heard back.  I will keep you posted.

Thanks,

--Kenoli
Logged
Mark D Segal
Contributor
Sr. Member
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 6883


WWW
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2012, 09:39:11 PM »
ReplyReply

Interesting. Perhaps a question you have already looked after - is your display (monitor) properly calibrated and profiled? If your display is to bright or not correctly colour-managed that could explain some of the problems you are noticing. Are you making prints from the scans, and how close do the prints resemble the scans you see on your display? As you may well know, a colour-managed workflow is only as good as the least properly managed component of it.

The profile you generated in Windows in principle should work and not cause the scanner to hang. I don't understand why that should be happening. Have you checked in Preferences>CMS to see whether the profile you generated is actually the loaded profile? If it is not, you should be able to load it manually provided it is in the correct Profiles folder where SilverFast looks for profiles. If it is not in that folder, you can manually put it there. If it is selected or selectable from the Profiles dropdown menu and you load it, I believe the colour management system and SilverFast should cohere to make it useful without hanging the scanner. People have sent me scanner profiles made from non-SilverFast applications that worked fine within SilverFast, hence in principle the use of third-party profiles should not *per se* be problematic. The only other thing I can think of is that the profile was not correctly formed - i.e. is corrupted. Perhaps try making another one, make sure it is "within reach" of SilverFast CMS and try again.

Many people reproducing art use cameras, not scanners. That may be why you don't see much discussion in forums.

Do keep us informed of your findings.
Logged

Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
kenoli
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 35


« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2012, 10:01:20 PM »
ReplyReply

I have calibrated the monitor and repeat it regularly.  I have what seems to be a good printer profile.  It is pretty good a reproducing what is displayed on the monitor.

I actually didn't try scanning from SF but rather using Mac's ICA driver, as this is what I would use if I didn't buy SF.  I will look into scanning through SF using the new profile and see what happens.  Is there any issue with a profile being an icm as opposed to an icc profile?  I have had trouble with printer profiles that turned out to be related to the characters used in the file name.  Devices seem to be a bit skittish about profiles.

My next move is to calibrate my camera.  I jumped on this new scanner as with our older scanner we had been getting much better results than with a camera.  Need to get lights and other things in alignment.

Thanks,

--Kenoli
Logged
Mark D Segal
Contributor
Sr. Member
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 6883


WWW
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2012, 11:28:48 PM »
ReplyReply

I have calibrated the monitor and repeat it regularly.  I have what seems to be a good printer profile.  It is pretty good a reproducing what is displayed on the monitor.

I actually didn't try scanning from SF but rather using Mac's ICA driver, as this is what I would use if I didn't buy SF.  I will look into scanning through SF using the new profile and see what happens.  Is there any issue with a profile being an icm as opposed to an icc profile?  I have had trouble with printer profiles that turned out to be related to the characters used in the file name.  Devices seem to be a bit skittish about profiles.

My next move is to calibrate my camera.  I jumped on this new scanner as with our older scanner we had been getting much better results than with a camera.  Need to get lights and other things in alignment.

Thanks,

--Kenoli

OK - you can't assess whether SilverFast will improve upon your situation unless you use the application for performing the scans. May I suggest you do that and let us know what the results are like. In principle there should be no problem for a Mac to pick-up and use either *.icc or *.icm profile names. As long as the profile name is in "valid" form it should not cause a problem. I'm not an expert in naming profiles, but to minimize the risk of trouble I keep the name in one string, avoiding symbols except for underscore, keep it as short as possible and not tinker with the name after the profile has been generated. This recipe has kept me whole, so whether all of it is necessary or not I'm not sure, but what is tried and tested is tried and tested...........
Logged

Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
dmerger
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 686


« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2012, 11:07:50 AM »
ReplyReply

It seems like the two pieces of software out there for generating scanner profiles are are Vuescan and Silverfast. 

There are many other options for creating scanner profiles.  There are free apps available over the internet, there are commercially available profiling products, and there are businesses that offer custom profiling services.

There are also some past discussions in this forum about color accuracy when copying artwork, either with a scanner or a digital camera.  You may be able to find some of those discussions with a search.  Iím not sure any of the discussions addressed your specific question, however.

I donít have any experience with your equipment or scanning artwork, but my experience with different profiles for positive film scans leads me to suspect that a custom profile is not likely to solve your problem completely.

Iíve tried the generic profiles that came with my scanner, custom profiles made for my model of scanner and type of film (made by others on their scanner), and custom profiles I made with my scanner for particular film types.  All the profiles were very similar, but there were still small noticeable differences.  I didnít have software that could give me a numerical comparison among the profiles, so I canít say for sure if one was perhaps more accurate than the others.  Comparing the results to the original film on my light table, however, showed that none of the profiles produced a 100% accurate reproduction of the film, but all were close.  In the end, I couldnít say which profile was the best.   
Logged

Dean Erger
schrodingerscat
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 369


« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2012, 03:04:10 PM »
ReplyReply

will look forward to hearing what you learn.

--Kenoli

Hi - Don't know if you were referring to me, but if so, just got back and it will take a little while to clear the decks and continue the test.

In the meantime, remember that the demo for Vuescan won't save linear files, you have to buy the pro version for that. Makes it hard to do a serious comparison without making the purchase, and my experience with Vuescan so far is prodding me in that direction.
Logged
Pages: [1]   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad