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Thread: scanning alt process prints

  1. #1
    500+ Posts earlj's Avatar
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    scanning alt process prints

    I can't seem to find the right settings for scanning prints on art paper - salt prints, cyanotypes, or in this case argyrotypes. It is hard to get the color right, and the scan just doesn't seem to be able to do the print justice. Any suggestions?

    1. the actual print is not this gray - it is more brown.
    2. the red streak in the upper left is there, but it is barely visible in the print
    3. the greenish tint in the foliage near the cave gate is not there at all Attached files

  2. #2

    scanning alt process prints

    Have you tried re-photographing the print with your digital camera? I know that seems redundant but it might work. I know the scan is not what you want but I like your outcome here just the same.

  3. #3
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    scanning alt process prints

    This is not square or straight, but I think that the color is better. Shot outside with North light with my Canon PowerShot.

    Attached files

  4. #4

    scanning alt process prints

    The second is more what I would expect from a salt print tonaly. May be time to dig up a copy stand.

    When did you take that picture Earl ;D ;Dl?

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    scanning alt process prints

    This image was captured on August 1, 2010. Patty had to go in to work for a couple of hours, so I dropped her off in downtown St. Paul and proceeded to the Bruce Vento trail along the base of the bluffs. This image displays a cave that was used by one of the St. Paul breweries until the early part of the 20th century. The image is one of my 8x10 captures, and the negative is stone cold rock solid for alt process prints. The step wedge exposed beside the negative on this print reveals 21 steps on the 31 step wedge, which translates to a log density of 2.1.

    By the way, this looks crappy on my living room monitor, but on my Mac in my studio (in the basement), it looked pretty good. However, neither version on any monitor is quite right.

  6. #6

    scanning alt process prints

    Have you ever done a profile of the scanner? Sounds like you need to do a calibration. It's been a few years since I've done any calibration so there are undoubtedly new methods I'm not aware of, but it usually entails scanning a target like an IT8. Because that's a standard, the calibration software "knows" what it should look like, so it can make adjustments to the calibration so the scan comes out right.

    While a digital camera can do a decent job with the color if the white balance is dead on, unless you have a good copy lens it's going to introduce other problems. Getting flat art into digital form is what scanners are for.

  7. #7
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    scanning alt process prints

    Thanks, Robert (or is it Bob, I never found out) - I need to profile both my scanner and my printer. Why does this digital universe have to be so complicated (and so expensive)?

  8. #8

    scanning alt process prints

    Either, but usually Bob. I think there's some cal stuff out there that isn't that expensive. You don't need to get too carried away.

  9. #9

    scanning alt process prints

    Earl, there is no other way to get the colours right. You have to profile all your monitors, the scanners and the printers. An easy solution to get your scanner right without profiling it with a IT8 target is to scan at the same time or with the same settings (but you must be sure that every kind of automatic is switched off) a gray scale and a colour scale. Then you can adjust the scanned image to the correct values of the gray scale and the colour scale.

  10. #10

    scanning alt process prints

    The problem you're running into has to do with the scanner picking up the paper fibers. Your scanner is actually doing too good of a job recording the information. There are levels that you can adjust in the preview mode, but the best solution that I have found is to do what you did and photograph the images. I use two daylight balanced lights and a magnetic board. Everything is vertical.

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