Re: Scanner Training Advice (was: UCR vs GCR...or Neither - RAW CMYK?)

Martin Orpen <orpy@...>

I was wondering if you and perhaps the list have any thoughts on
how I could maximise the training. I know many on this list attend
specific training or seminars - are there any tips from all those
people who have 'been there - done that'.
I have no experience of CreoScitex training (apart from LeafCapture on the
Volare camera). However, I have been to a number of scanner demos and would
offer the following advice:

Take your own originals rather than allowing the demonstrators to use their
own standard demonstration images. This will enable you to see how the
demonstrator copes with an image from scratch rather than have them rattle
through a set routine that they have no doubt done hundreds of times before.

Make sure that your originals are tough scanning propositions, for example:

1. An *arty* image that has no natural looking highlight, shadow or gray
midtones. One that has been shot using coloured gels with vibrant RGB
colours. This should demonstrate how well the demonstrator can cope with
numbers only -- or whether the scanning software has profiles for standard
film stocks.

2. A tranny that has had a hard life. See how the demonstrators cope with
scratched and pitted originals. If the demo is on drum scanners then oil
mounting will fill in most of the damage. If it's on a flatbed is it still
possible to oil mount?

3. Under- and over-exposed transparencies. Take one of each and see how the
demonstrator and scanner hardware cope with pulling out shadow and highlight

4. Black and white prints. Take one of these along as a test of the
scanner's light source. Some scanners have real problems with dust and
surface imperfections on prints. You can do the scan in 5 minutes, but then
have to spend an hour removing the blemishes.

5. A negative. Don't know what CreoScitex's position on negative is? Most
conventional repro houses refuse to go anywhere near them. If the software
is able to produce positives from neg, watch the adjustments that the
demonstrator carries out.

Large format negatives and positives are also ideal for spotting
deficiencies on CCD scanners. In particular, check for banding artefacts in
blue skies or red sunsets. If you see these, then you know that your scanner
is using Kodak's last generation of 10K CCD chips. The banding is caused by
connecting wires which run beneath the red and blue colour filters. Kodak
recently redesigned their CCDs -- but most scanner manufacturers are still
using stockpiles of the older model.

While your originals are being scanned, take a detailed look at the USM
functions of the scanner software. Scanner USM is usually far superior to
Photoshop. However, this usually leads to a fairly complicated interface
that you tend to forget after the demo and switch to "auto" when you get
back to the shop :-)

Likewise, with the separation settings, the scanner manufacturers usually
tell you that profile x is best for this and profile y for that. Get as much
information on the profiles as you can. Find out how easy it is to edit the
CMYK profiles and whether the same profiles can be used in Photoshop.

That should be plenty for one day!

Idea Digital Imaging Ltd - the "image" specialists

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