Sunday, April 26, 2015

Scanning Negatives the Easy Way - Part 2 Photoshop

If you haven't read Part 1 of this guide then head there now - if you have, well you're halfway to amazing scanned negatives! As in Part 1, a huge enormous shout out to Michael Fraser who set me on the right path of scanning negatives - this guide is directly based off of his so feel free to bypass mine and go directly there!  I do things a tiny bit different but will also be referencing directly his steps, full credit goes to Michael and much love for preventing my full blown, scanning meltdown which I wasn't far off before I found his tutorial! Okay onward to the steps!

Using Photoshop : 

Open your scanned image in Photoshop after completing Part 1.

1) The first step is to remove any dust or scratches visible on your image using the healing brush tool.  There shouldn't be too much if you used a dust blower/lens clothes on your film strip + scanner's glass before scanning.  Remember it's easier to do a quick wipe/blow then it is to bother around in photoshop!

2) Next you need to open a curves layer


As per Michael's instructions you also need to change some of the auto options (you only need to do this once) found in the curve window.

Click the little arrow at the top right of the Curves properties window, and select "Auto Options...".  Click "Enhance Per Channel Contrast" and "Snap Neutral Midtones", and set the shadow and highlight clipping to "0.01".  Click "Save as Defaults" and then "ok" out of the Auto Options window  - Source

Now select the grey middle eye dropper and sample a space of black film - remember how I said to make the crop a bit bigger than the image in Part 1 well here's why you need to do that, to have some film to sample.  You then need to hit 'auto' and you should have a pretty good base image.


3) Now it's time to crop your image – if you hold down cntrl whilst cropping it allows a more fine tune of your crop (thanks Michael for the tip and your whole tutorial!).  Make sure there is no surrounding black film and hit 'auto' again.


4) Now we need to open another curve layer

Again Michael's instructions are really helpful

In this layer, you're going to normalize the RGB brightness (gamma) of the entire image.  If your image is too bright, grab the middle of the linear RGB curve and drag it right, along the midline.  If the image is too dark, do the opposite (ie. drag left) - source

Above you can see I wanted my image lighter so I dragged the curve to the left along the midline.

5) Next we open another curve layer and repeat step 4 but this time with each individual colour channel – red, green, blue.  I find if I grabbed the mid point and move it clockwise around the very center mark (or a little out from it) I could find the best position of the mid point and position it there and in the process remove any excessive unwanted colour casts.

You can see in the screen shot above I'm on the blue channel and have moved the midpoint up and to the right slightly.  You can access each different channel by hitting the drop down arrow next to the 'auto' button.

6) The last step to do is open a final curve layer, in this layer we give our image some contrast if needed.  A simple S curve does the trick.

 You can see in the screen shot above the very slight S curve I did for this particular image.


If after step 6 you're still unhappy with your scan, there are a few other options in photoshop.

You can use the dropper on the colour you’re not happy with and then have a play around with hue and saturation, moving the sliders until you're happy.

Another layer with some sliders to play around with

But hey, sometimes you just took a bad photo and you have to own it, accept it and move on :P

I like my bananas though which I eventually tweaked to be slightly warmer.

For those wanting to know this was Ektar 100, rated at 400 and shot using my Canon 1000F

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