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To get the details out of the shadows

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  • To get the details out of the shadows

    If I have a photo with real dark details I will actually scan it twice. In the first time I scan to get the best details without blowing out my whites. This usually makes the blacks solid with no detail.

    I then rescan and start tweeking gamma and levels on my scans to bring out the dark details. I will even go for a less contrasted scan to get as much detail as I can out of the darks and adjust them when I get them in Photoshop.

    I then select the dark areas and import them onto my good scan and adjust them accordingly to match the contrast without loosing detail. You can't tweek for details if you never got then to begin with.

    So far that seems to be the best way I found to do this. There may be better. Maybe with a better scanner you don't need to do this but I do with mine. If you don't have a scanner that can do these adjustments there may be software that will help like Viewscan or something similiar.
    Last edited by Doug Nelson; 08-14-2001, 01:54 PM.

  • #2
    Thank you so much for that tip! I have been wondering what to do when that happens and have tried many different tricks but this sounds great! Thanks


    • #3
      Thanks, I'm glad I could help. I have found that raising the gamma on your scans is the best way to get those darks to show detail. Sometimes it's better if you just adjust gamma and don't touch the levels. Don't be afraid to scan several times and play around with it til you get the best results.

      Don't try to get good contrast in the scan or you will loose the detail. Go for contrast in Photoshop once you already have the details.

      Also I usually scan severl different ways at a low res so it's faster and if I like the settings I will go for the big scan. That's a time saver if you are scanning at 600dpi.



      • #4
        I have a sloooooowwwww computer so that is a great hint about scanning at lower resolution! I have learned more from "you" talented, sharing, people here than my last year studying from books!
        I don't really understand the difference between gamma and levels? Is that one of those things you just do it and don't need to understand....Or you can go ahead and tell me "look it up!"


        • #5
          Hi Jill,

          I'm thrilled to be so helpful. Usually I'm the one asking for help.

          Ok, here's what my scanner help says about gamma:

          "Image Gamma
          Gamma values are another measure of a colors brightness. The higher the gamma value for a color, the brighter the color will be. All gamma values changed here directly affect the image and will be saved along with the image unlike monitor gamma values.
          Gamma values always follow a smooth curve; adjusting the gamma affect the entire tonal range for that color."

          Not all scanners have the ability to adjust the same way mine does so I can't say how or what you do to get advanced or enhanced settings on your machine. Mine shows a historgram, levels and gamma for each channel plus a black channel. If you can find gamma listed in the software on your scanner diolog box help file it should tell you how to work with it. I really have a cheap low end Plustek scanner thats about 3 years old but I am lucky in that it has a pretty good software to allow me to tweek before scanning. If yours allows you to adjust the gamma for each channel like mine then what I do is move the slider up to 1.28 for each channel and for the black I might go up to 1.55. I have gone up to 1.85 and gotten a good detailed scan if the subject was wearing all black. I then had to darken and set contrast in photoshop but at least you could see the details in the shadows.

          Let me know what you find in your scanner info.


          • #6
            Well, I did research my scanner...I had no idea my scanner did a lot of what I read about! It didn't explain much about the gamma adjustment but I played around and I guess that is the way I learn anyway! I will try a Google search on gamma next....I always forget that resource is great too! Thanks for the incentive to learn more! See you in the group


            • #7
              You're very welcome Jill.

              As I said, I can only go by my scanners abilities and it is possible that some scanners don't allow for gamma adjust or they call it something else. But I am glad it inspired you to further investigate your scanners abilities.

              Amanda did the same thing for me by starting a thread in the hardware forum on calibration. She asked how we calibrate our equipment to match each other. That got me wondering so next thing you know I am hunting up the answer and finding out all kinds of things I didn't know. So sometimes even a question can bring new discoveries.


              • #8
                Good thread Debbie. Thanks for the tip. I'll have to check out my scanner to see if gamma corrections are possible.



                • #9
                  You're most welcome Ed. Happy to finally give helpful advice, usually I'm asking for it.


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