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need a good automated process for color correction/ contrast of slide scans

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Jon Iverson
need a good automated process for color correction/ contrast of slide scans
on Sep 4, 2012 at 1:56:58 pm

I have recently completed a rather large scanning effort of several hundred 35 mm slides of family from past years. Many of the slides have various color casts, some red/ orange, some too blue, etc and on many there could stand to be contrast and brightness enhancement. While I was able to tackle some of this in the scanning software, there are still plenty of corrections to be made and I'm wondering if I can create a Photoshop action that would address color correction, contrast and brightness enhancement for all of the slides? I've come across a few videos where the corrections are pretty good, but they still require splitting up the files into various folders for specific corrections and I was looking for something that addressed all of them. I am using CS4. Auto color enhancement and auto contrast, etc have been tried, but of course these functions are too general and many slides still aren't as corrected as they should be. Although I'm looking for a good action, I would next be open to any free plug-ins that might be suitable followed last by paid plug-ins. Thanks in advance, Jon


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Bill Stephan
Re: need a good automated process for color correction/ contrast of slide scans
on Sep 5, 2012 at 6:29:23 pm

Jon,

Just as you are doing, I am creating a digital archive of all the family photos, including prints back to my mother's 1st grade class photo, about 50,000 Kodachrome slides, negatives and digital files. I've encountered just about every possible issue one can have with old photos.

There is no magic button (software application or utility) that will magically fix all of this. There are many things that are good at fixing one problem or a range of issues (such as sharpening plug-ins). You must remember that computers are devices that execute the instructions taught to them via their programming. Nothing replaces the human eye for making creative choices, although Photoshop contains an amazing amount of artificial intelligence.

My workflow is to get the grayscale set correctly for each photo in the scanning software, then bring the files into Adobe Lightroom for final repair. Lightroom works on .tif, .bmp, and .jpeg files as well as camera raw files. The fixes you make in Lightroom are non-destructive -- they are applied when you output an image.

Lightroom can save presets of multiple processes applied to an image, so you may be able to create presets that fix a good deal of your image problems. Also, Lightroom has tools not available within Photoshop -- I've saved a few severely blurred photos that were candidates for the recycle bin. You also get a good image library system for storing and finding your images.

Lightroom is not outrageously expensive, and you get a lot of capability for the money. It is seriously complex software, as formidible as Photoshop, so you would be wise to invest in one of the books that teach Lightroom. I believe Adobe has a trial version of the software.

Bill Stephan
Senior Editor/DVD Author
USA Studios
New York City


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Jon Iverson
Re: need a good automated process for color correction/ contrast of slide scans
on Sep 9, 2012 at 1:21:39 pm

Bill,

Thanks for the info. Since I don't have Vista on the main PC, I do have a laptop with it and decided to download and try out Lightroom. In all honesty, I can't see where it's that much different from Photoshop except for simpler organization maybe. I can see where it's easier to fix a bunch of photos at once, but I have used Photoshop actions also. When you speak of being able to save some severely blurred photos in Lightroom, how were you able to do this? I have a few that could stand rescuing.

The above being said, I also downloaded the latest Photoshop CS6 and wanted to compare it with the CS4 I currently have. I didn't see very many changes though and to me it wouldn't justify the upgrade cost at this time.

I'm new to Lightroom, so if I'm missing anything or I am incorrect in my assumptions, please share.

Thanks in advance,
Jon


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