Some images just don't translate well.. (aka - bad p-p technique?)

Discussion in 'Australia Photography' started by mark.thomas.7, Jun 27, 2007.

  1. This slide looks great when projected (if I say so myself!) but when
    scanned or printed, it just dies..

    I've tried HDR-ish type techniques, even b&w, but somehow it just
    doesn't work for me as a digital image. Is it my lousy p-p? - if
    anyone wants to have at it, please do. I guess I could even supply a
    raw scan file, but there is a fair bit of high and low detail to work
    with in the jpg, and I'm really just after suggestions or opinions.

    FWIW, *I* think that the extra dynamic range afforded by (real
    optical) projection can be a breaking point for *some* images. I
    think I am wasting my time trying to somehow digitally capture the
    impact of this, when projected in a dark room on my dear old Rollei +
    Leitz SuperColorplan lens..

    Or can I somehow do better without making it look fake? (which is what
    seems to happen if I try to lift the darker areas significantly..)

    The original was taken on a Minolta X700, Tamron 28-50 (yes, really!),
    exposure unrecorded (but I can remember agonising over getting it
    right quickly before some elements of the scene vanished..). K64 I
    think - I'm too lazy to find the slide again from the pile in front of

    All comments welcome, kind or unkind. (O:
    mark.thomas.7, Jun 27, 2007
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  2. mark.thomas.7

    Bhogi Guest

    You project in a dark room. White brightly illuminated areas in dark
    room glow with brightness, white areas on paper (monitor) are... just
    paper (monitor) white. Darker areas still look great when projected in
    a dark room, on paper it's just dark or darker. Paper isn't a good
    medium for such pictures.
    Bhogi, Jun 27, 2007
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  3. mark.thomas.7

    k Guest

    do you have Vuescan?

    1. it accesses the hardware directly so you don't have clipping issues
    present in some scanner software. try it - you may be *very* surprised at
    how much clipping goes on inside the scanner!

    2. you can scan in RAW and go from there.

    I mucked around with a blocked up piece of film using a Canon FS4000US
    scanner and the Nikon equivalent for hours one day in the shop.. The Canon
    was clearly sharper but there was *nothing* I could do to drag out the
    detail .. (no probs with optical repro's though ;)

    The Nikon handled the density far better but couldn't get the sharpness at

    Loaded Vuescan, fired up the Canon and Vuescan punched straight through the
    densest regions and produced the superior results :)

    I bought the Canon scanner and the shop staff were downloading licensed
    versions of Vuescan as I left ;)

    k, Jun 27, 2007
  4. mark.thomas.7

    frederick Guest

    I did this:
    Using layer mask on adjusted layer and radial gradient fill.
    Using a simple ND filter type effect doesn't work in some cases as
    shadows create depth so lightening foregrounds can remove depth.
    I think it needed a little cropping too.
    frederick, Jun 27, 2007
  5. mark.thomas.7

    Karl Winkler Guest

    Hi Mark,

    I've often been frustrated by the same issue. Part of it I think is
    that film has more dynamic range and a wider color gamut than does
    digital. I've shot many images on Velvia and E100VS that just leap off
    the light table but I can't get a good scan to save my life. Let alone

    That said, I took a crack at your image. I did a levels layer to
    brighten it somewhat while keeping the high values and low values the
    same. Then I hit it with a curves layer to increase the overall
    contrast. I dodged the lower left shadows to keep them dark and also
    to keep them from getting too colorful. I cropped the image a bit. I
    added another curves layer with a mask to just increase the contrast
    and brightness of the kids. Then I applied an overall saturation
    boost. This was a quick treatment and may be a bit too extreme, but I
    tried to get back into the spirit of a high-contrast image with some
    color that pops a little bit.

    -Karl Winkler
    Karl Winkler, Jun 27, 2007
  6. mark.thomas.7

    frederick Guest

    I don't think that it does.
    Having shot transparency for 30 years or so, I think that the gamut is
    far wider for digital, colour far more accurate, dynamic range similar.
    frederick, Jun 27, 2007
  7. mark.thomas.7

    Karl Winkler Guest

    Maybe I was being too general. I probably should have said that many
    *scanners* do not have the dynamic range of film. True - digital, 16
    bit per color channel, that is, definitely provides a wide dynamic
    range and plenty of gamut if you are using a wide-gamut RGB color

    I have seen scans of transparencies that do look amazing, and they
    were often done with drum scanners at high bit rates. Unfortunately,
    most consumer-grade scanners do not offer the kind of color accuracy
    and dyanmic range of film. I recently was interested in a multi-
    purpose scanner that was well-reviewed in Shutterbug. But I wasn't
    able to find the DMax spec in any of their listings or on their web
    site. I sent an email to the manufacturer and they replied that the
    DMax for that particular model was 2.9, which is not nearly enough
    IMO. The Nikon Coolscan 5000 and 9000 do 4.2 I think, and drum
    scanners reach 4.9. This is a world of difference in terms of
    highlight and particularly shadow detail.

    Karl Winkler
    Karl Winkler, Jun 28, 2007
  8. There's nothing that can be done about that JPEG. The details are lost.
    Use a scanner with at least 36 bits per pixel and adjust the gamma in
    the driver. I'd even crank up the red midpoint a bit.
    Kevin McMurtrie, Jun 28, 2007
  9. mark.thomas.7

    Jewelspics Guest

    The image is off colour, even though it doesn't "look" like it is. Try
    working the cloud up a bit and it turns an ugly blue. There is no detail at
    all in the deep shadows. Even shifting the exposure offset in Photoshop will
    not improve the image. These sort of slides really need to be "wet scanned".
    Even at 8 bit, a wet scan will look exceptionally good. At 16 or 32 bit it
    will look almost as dynamic as the projected image.
    Here's the tough bit.
    The only bloke I know in Brisbane with a wetbed scanner who doesn't charge
    like a wounded bull is the bloke you get stuck into all the time about his
    canvas prints! Not much chance of getting him to scan it for you, I'd say
    Good luck with the scanning project.

    Jewelspics, Jun 28, 2007
  10. mark.thomas.7

    Joe Petolino Guest

    Here's my attempt at fixing it up:

    I did this:

    1) Fix the colors: a curves layer with black eyedropper sampling the
    shadows on the water and grey eyedropper sampling the left child's
    pants. I set the black eyedropper to leave the luminosity alone
    but make the color neutral.

    2) Fix the tone of the water and dock: a curves layer to increase the
    brightness and contrast. Blend mode = Luminosity, to avoid oversaturating.
    Use a layer mask so the sky and clouds are not affected.

    3) A Curves layer to increase the brightness and contrast of the dark
    clouds. Not as big a change as the Curves layer in (2).
    Use a layer mask.

    4) A Hue/Saturation layer, with the same layer mask as (3), to desaturate
    the dark clouds.

    5) Fix some big dust spots (or JPG artifacts?) in the sky and clouds,
    using the Healing Brush.

    It still ends up looking a little fake. Maybe you'd have better luck
    combining two scans, one exposed for the bright clouds and the other
    exposed for the children. Or maybe you've already tried that.

    Joe Petolino, Jun 28, 2007
  11. mark.thomas.7

    k Guest



    oops, meant to add that it allows multipass scans on scanners not designed
    for such a feature - more passes = better :)
    k, Jun 28, 2007
  12. Thanks for all the thoughtful and useful comments, and thanks a LOT
    for the thought provoking re-processing that was offered.

    I'll be back a bit later, but I'll mull over the images and comments

    Thanks again - much appreciated.

    (PS - I am not a copyright freak - feel free to leave the altered
    images up for as long as you wish.)
    mark.thomas.7, Jun 28, 2007
  13. mark.thomas.7

    DOCJohnson Guest

    For all that tedious, time-consuming, and convoluted mucking-about that everyone
    did using overpriced photoshop. I got this instead:

    by using the Colorwasher plugin from

    Using freeware Irfanview to run it.

    I just used the auto settings, adjusted some of the highlight and shadow sliders
    and it's done. Looks far better than anything they could accomplish with all
    their "talent" + photoshop.
    DOCJohnson, Jun 29, 2007
  14. mark.thomas.7

    Poxy Guest

    Poxy, Jun 29, 2007
  15. Is there a smiley missing? If not, well, er.. thanks, that's very
    nice, but I might pass on that bit of software, and you may wish to
    check your monitor gamma...
    mark.thomas.7, Jun 29, 2007
  16. mark.thomas.7

    Rob Guest

    Thats getting worse! than the first.
    Rob, Jun 29, 2007
  17. mark.thomas.7

    DOCJohnson Guest

    I keep my workspace's gamma at 2.05 to 2.1 so that MACs as well as PCs will see
    a decent image after editing. Your images are all so dark and washed out,
    low-contrast, and color-shifted that they're hopeless. Only one of them even
    got close to being usable.

    Granted I should have taken more time to tone down the saturation, and pulled
    back on the highlights, but considering those other piss-poor attempts at
    salvaging that photo the Colorwasher one is still better with only 10 seconds of

    Quite frankly, the subject isn't worth more effort than that. Talk about a
    crappy composition and lame subject. Wow. Show me something worth working on and
    I'll put more time into it.
    DOCJohnson, Jun 29, 2007
  18. Don't bother. Your efforts aren't appreciated here as no one knows what
    he's doing.
    John McWilliams, Jun 29, 2007
  19. I'm puzzled by your brief comment, John - would you care to expand and
    make it a bit clearer? Did you look at Doc's version?

    I'm sorry if my response to him came over as harsh, but given that
    pretty much the entire upper left of Doc's image was washed out (over
    230's) and the detail in the white clouds - which to me was a fairly
    important component - was wiped out *completely* I thought it was
    either overdone, someone with faulty gamma settings*, or perhaps a
    joke. I apologise if that was not the case.

    Back to the image - my intent, given it shows a large approaching
    stormfront, was for it to be somewhat dark and foreboding, but with
    the upper left as a stark (but not *blown*) contrast. If my intention
    was flawed and you think Doc's approach is better, so be it - but why
    not be a little more forthcoming with your reasons? I'm genuinely

    So far quite a number of folk have given very different versions of
    the image, but mostly they stuck quite closely to the overall effect.
    (Maybe they did 'know what I was doing'.) *I* really appreciated the
    time they put in, but then Doc said this:
    If I was "they", I would be a little insulted. Those "talented"
    people (*no* sarcasm from me) managed to keep the highlight detail
    quite well with their convolutions... That's partly why I was hoping
    it might have just been a joke...

    Anyway.. to Doc - if you didn't like the image, why did you bother?
    and, umm, why didn't you say that in your *first* post? (O;

    * It's also worth noting that I happily acknowledge that I shoot a lot
    of low-key stuff (see - feel free to critique it to
    all hell!), but I have yet to hear many (any?) complaints about that
    style choice. Doc thinks "Your images are all so dark and washed out,
    low-contrast, and color-shifted that they're hopeless." Should I
    change my approach on the basis of one posting from someone I haven't
    seen before? (O;
    mark.thomas.7, Jun 30, 2007
  20. Sure. I took Doc's posts and image as a troll, and my comments were
    meant to be ironic. I've been wrong before, and depending on what goes
    forward, I will be prepared to apologize if necessary.
    John McWilliams, Jun 30, 2007
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