slide scanners usually come complete with scanning software,
which has to be installed on your computer before you can
get down to scanning your favourite pictures. If you are using
a SCSI interface, then you will need to install the appropriate
software and SCSI card first or get your computer supplier
to install it for you.
scanning software is usually quite easy to install and use,
enabling you to select film type, image resolution in terms
of dots per inch, and gives you some control over contrast
and brightness. The scanning software usually interfaces with
image manipulation software, normally purchased separately,
so that you can capture an image via the manipulation software.
you start scanning, however, it is very important to calibrate
your monitor so that the colours you see on screen are the
same as those on your transparency. For this you can use calibration
software such as OptiCal 3.3. If you are using a PC, set the
gamma at 2.2 and the colour temperature to 5,500K, which is
similar to a light box.
it is tempting to push the resolution beyond the optical limit
of your scanner using interpolation, where the software fills
in the detail between individual scanned point, you should,
if hoping to sell the results, check with your photographic
agency as to whether they will accept such images.
images should be saved as 24 bit RGB TIF format using Adobe
RGB (1998). This file format does not lose detail with subsequent
manipulation like JPEG format. If you subsequently need to
reduce file size for web-deployment always keep the TIF file
as an archive and name copies appropriately.
is vital that all shadow and highlight detail in the slide
is retained in the scanned image. Assuming you are using Adobe
RGB (1998) then the RGB 'density' reading for shadow should
not be much less than 10 while the highlight detail should
be around 240.
the finished file size should be 50-60 Mb, or larger if you
are intending to sell your digital images through an agency,
or if there is relevant detail or scanning medium/large format
film. If you are scanning to generate A4 or smaller prints then a file size of 20-25 Mb may be adequate. If selling your
pictures as digital images and your agency is using PCs than
they may only accept PC compatible files.
captured, you may want to manipulate the image, to increase
or decrease sharpness, contrast, brightness, colour saturation
etc and perhaps to crop the image to improve its composition.
Manipulated images can produce stunning results, but again
if you are selling your pictures through an agency, you should
check that such images are acceptable.
most popular image manipulation software is probably Adobe
PhotoShop 6.0 (cost approx. �560 for Windows; �575 for Mac)
, followed by JASC's PaintShop Pro 7 (cost approx. �90.00,
Windows only). The latter is considerably cheaper. However,
Adobe PhotoShop Elements, a cut-down version of Adobe PhotoShop
is slightly cheaper still (cost approx. �70.00).
image-manipulation software programmes can do most things
that could be achieved in the darkroom and much more. The
results you can obtain are limited only by your imagination
and skill. If you really are serious about manipulating your
scanned pictures then I recommend that you attend one of the
many courses that are becoming available.
you cannot afford either the time or money, then you could
consider sending your images to a bureau, but bear in mind
that you get what you pay for.