Thursday, April 5, 2007

Scanning and Image Processing

Now that I'm shooting regularly, I'm already getting behind on the scanning and processing part. And naturally, since scanning and optimizing images requires developing skills that I don't have yet, the results of my scans are a bit wild.

But I'm practicing and learning, a little at a time, one image at a time.

LightRoom is turning out to be very helpful for image management, and for quick processing. It helped for processing a bunch of old RAW files to send to someone, but for actually optimizing images, I'm finding LightZone to be much more useful. For one thing, LightZone lets you apply changes locally, so I can fix exposure in hot spots, and selectively correct color shifts caused by tweaking the global exposure (or by Lightroom's Vibrance control). Also, LightRoom's sharpening tool is much more powerful and effective than LightRoom's, which doesn't appear to do anything. On top of that, LightRoom simply won't load an image larger than 250 MB, while LightZone loads them happily now that I'm up to 2 GB of ram. Unfortunately however, LightZone has some trouble loading SilverFast's TIFF files directly, though it loaded a monochrome image without any problems.

So far, however, the LightRoom -> LightZone workflow is great for scanned 35mm slides. With a little experimentation, I think it will work for 4x5's also, though I think it will work out much better when I get Photoshop CS3, hopefully later this month.

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