Scanning Family Images

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by bedifferent, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. macrumors 603


    Jan 8, 2009
    I have an HP scanner and have a painstakingly long process of scanning a couple of hundred photographs. I'm extremely proficient in Photoshop/Aperture, etc. but not so much in batch scanning.

    It's a flatbed scanner and HP comes with an adequate scanning program. I installed the Twain plug-in for Photoshop CS5 and am running it in 32-bit mode. I edited one of the HP workflows so that it opens the scanned images in Photoshop. I made certain both are running 32-bit but it claims there is an issue with universal compatibility in the workflow application.

    I'm checking out Vuescan as well, but I would really like to know two things:

    1. The best application for scanning photographs
    2. Any workflows that will scan, straighten, auto-seperate images, adjust color and fading, dust and scratches, then save them as jpg's to a folder.

    I've been doing this for a few months now but could really use any help. Thanks!
  2. macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    You are still going have to do the image adjustments by hand, even if you automate some of it. I've just done a batch scanning job, using VueScan. There is an autorepeat setting. Basically, it will do the same scan every X/time unit (eg, 3 secs, 5 secs, 10 secs, etc). It allows you pop the top, remove the print, place the print, close the top, repeat. It saves a lot of time not having to go and push the scan button each time. I scanned 247 prints in a matter of a couple of hours.

    Sort the photos into similar sizes, and then draw the preview crop around the biggest photo. There may be an auto crop in VueScan, but all of my prints were the same size so I didn't have to look it up.

    Scan to TIFs initially. JPGs are a lossy compression. With the TIFs you can do much more corrections without losing info. Once every thing is done, you can then save a folder to JPG and then delete the TIFs for space.

    Photoshop has a cool tool to automate straightening the print out. In CS3 (CS5 may be different) you go to Analysis, draw a line with the Ruler Tool that you want to be horizontal or vertical (this is for small adjustment, not for rotating 45 degrees) - then go to Rotate Canvas -- > Arbitrary and then OK.

    Lightroom (30 day free trial) makes it even easier. You just draw a line and it rotates the image so that the line is either horizontal or vertical.... so one step.

    Actually - now that I've mentioned it.... Lightroom is the way to go. Makes colour corrections and dust removal easy. You can tune up one photo, and then "Synchronize" a whole folder (or just one or two images) with the same adjustments.

    There really isn't a fast way to do this....each photo needs your personal attention.

    Good Luck.
  3. pna
    macrumors 6502

    May 27, 2005
    Honestly, if you've got the time to wait for it, just have scancafe do it. They'll do a great job, color correct, and have taken great care of now thousands of my negatives and prints. If your time is worth anything to you, definitely consider it.
  4. thread starter macrumors 603


    Jan 8, 2009
    Thanks everyone for your help. I greatly appreciate it as you didn't have to go to the trouble, and you've given me a lot of info.

    I wish I knew about Scancafe, I just spent $79 on Vuescan and hours and hours on reading up on workflows, TWAIN plugins, etc. I don't mind doing the work either as I enjoy learning, just hate the time it takes :).

    Here is how I am doing it:

    1. Scan using "Vuescan":
    Scan to file
    Auto Skew
    Filters based on prints (restore colors, Gradient reduction "Light", All Frames)
    ICC Profile - scanner.icc, sRGB
    Tiff format w/ Auto compression, fixed 300dpi

    2. Open in "Aperture":
    Import into Project
    Apply the necessary preset to the scanned batch (I have saved presets depending on
    b/w, faded, new, etc. photographs)

    Repeat process, over, and over, and over lol
    I am working on a workflow application to scan the images, change image name, save to file, open Aperture, import into project. This may cut down on time.

    Like you stated though, it is time consuming, but if I do a little each day while I work (grad student and work from home/small business) hopefully I'll be done by, New Years? :eek:

    Thanks again everyone!
  5. snberk103, Jan 24, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2011

    macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Just a couple of thoughts, and of course they may not apply in your case... or YMMV.

    At 300 DPI you are limiting yourself to making prints that are the same size as your originals, or perhaps a bit bigger. This may not be a "limitation" for you needs, but I just point it out.

    Some/most of the filters that VueScan can be duplicated in Aperture. VueScan has the ability to scan to a RAW/DNG file. I believe Aperture should be able to read this file. If not save to TIFF.

    There is nothing special about the "processing" that VueScan does vs "processing" it in Aperture or Lightroom. It's just where you want to work. As long as the file from the scan has all the information in it, any good SW package (Aperture/VueScan/Lightroom) can "fix" it.

    I think you are working too hard, and I believe you think that each scan needs to be worth the "sweat equity". There is no way to make batch scanning "easy", but it can be made "easier".

    Set VueScan to take a really good scan of the print to RAW/DNG or TIFF (don't fuss about the colour) the set auto-repeat and stand there for an hour or two listening to your favourite tunes while you swap prints in and out every 3 to 5 seconds. Make the tunes loud - helps.

    Then find all the images that have similar colour issues. Fix one, and save as a preset (I'm using Lightroom terminology, but afaik Aperture works similarily). The apply that preset to those images. If Aperture works like LR, you simply apply the preset to the group and it takes as long to do one as ten images.

    (Note: Aperture may already ship with presets to fix faded colour, etc, or they may be available as free plugins)

    Flag those images as done.

    Find the next batch that share a characteristic, rinse, repeat, (don't forget to add keywords as you go)

    Personally, I really like VueScan - it does an amazing job, but I'd rather work with a different interface (Lightroom in my case, probably Aperture for you).

    I don't mind taking the time to scan and fix one image, if I know that I can then use that to automate a bunch more scans. In my project, it took me an hour or two to get the first photo/scan "right". It then took me 3 or 4 hours to do the next 246 images. Including rotating the entire folder of scans 90º CW. My photos were all the same size, so not exactly the same - but it gives you a sense.

    Update: Just re-read your post. I see that I missed the bit that you are already partly automated. So, ignore those bits in my post. However, use auto repeat to further automate. Also, VueScan can rename for you. Read the help. Pay attention to the bits about using @. Also, I would use ProPhoto RGB or Adobe RGB. sRGB is a lowest common denominator colour space that is designed to be consistent across standard, average, monitors. Modern inkjets have a bigger colour space, plus in a few years average monitors will be able to display more colours, and the sRGB colour space may be very limiting.

    Lots of info to digest....

  6. thread starter macrumors 603


    Jan 8, 2009
    You are the best! Thanks! All your info helped tremendously. I changed the settings to RAW/DNG (why did I not see that?), ProPhoto or Adobe RGB, 600 (?) dpi, etc. I've used Aperture more so than Lightroom, so I'm more familiar with the settings. I've created various presets that allow me to apply one preset to as many photo's as I chose which saves time. Importing them into Aperture Projects helps organize them even further, and Aperture allows for editing metadata in batches as well. I'll keep Vuescan at the settings you recommended, and use Aperture to fine tune one photo out of the batch scanned and then apply those settings to the rest.

    I'll read more on the "@" saving of files in Vuescan, and I'll check into batch scanning timing. I don't mind doing a few a day, no rush, but all this info is great as it saved me HUGE amounts of more time researching and taught me a lot more about digital photo tech.

    Like yourself, I like helping people out especially on MacRumors. Most read a topic and move on, it's great when someone takes the time to really help out a stranger. Thanks again! :)
  7. macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea

    Thanks! And no worries.... I've learnt lots from people on this board who have taken the time share their knowledge. Makes it a nice place to hang out, eh?

    VueScan is a great program..... but the documentation takes a bit to figure out. I'm just getting to the point where I can (more or less easily) find the section in the manual that explains the settings that I'm interested in.

    I'm sure you'll get it all sorted out... and if you are doing just a few a day, you'll be done soon and it won't feel like you've devoted a lot of time to it.

    Post an update here every week or so. Besides reading the front page of Mac Rumours, I search on threads where I've posted in the past 2 weeks. Post something weekly and I'll be sure to see it, even if it's just a "going fine".
  8. thread starter macrumors 603


    Jan 8, 2009
    So far I'm doing well, taking my time reading on the various advanced settings in Vuescan. At the moment I'm scanning very old black and whites and have a question.

    My scanner has a white top, and black and white photo's seem harder to scan (especially as the photo's I'm scanning have straight and rigid white borders that I want to keep). I read that placing a darker background for scanning makes a difference, however Vuescan isn't detecting multiple images after the scan. I decided on saving the scans as RAW+DNG, and proceeding through the photo's until they are all scanned and saved. I'll use Photoshop to crop and straighten each photo from the scans and polish each with the healing tool, etc. For black and white images, is this the most effective strategy?
  9. macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    unless it's changed, scancafe sends your material to india for scanning. some might be ok with it, but to be honest, i wouldn't mail any of my personal videos or photos anymore.

    definitely personal preference and i'm not saying those who do are wrong.

    just saying that these are personal memories and unlike an ipod or anything else material which might get lost or damaged, you can't get those memories back....unless you somehow have copies, which is fairly doubtful for the older photos.

    to the OP, a suggest for when you're all done, if you have a gaming consoler or an appletv, hook those photos to your TV and enjoy them on a massive digital photo frame. Really neat bringing back the old photos and seeing them up close and personal :)

    Best of luck,
  10. macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    I haven't tried scanning multiple images, so this is guess work. If you are saying that you are in fact using a dark background (you don't say you are, but it's implied) and multiple images, then I'm not surprised. VueScan is expecting to see pure white except where there is an image. The dark background, being 'non-white', is being confused for an image and I'll bet that VueScan is thinking is one very large image instead of several smaller.

    Can you manually add the 'scan here' rectangles?

    You might pop a message off to the developer, while you are at it. It seems to me that having a setting that tells VueScan that there is a black background, and to detect white borders for the multiple image scans would be useful.

  11. macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    I have been told differently. It's better to do the processing in VueScan as it is working with the RAW data. When you take it into Aperture although it may be in RAW or TIFF form it does not have all the data of the original scan and therefore I would do all of my adjustments in VueScan before adjusting further in aperture.
  12. macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2011
    There are a few people out there with personal scanning businesses. I know. I have one. I do bulk scanning for people's boxes of photos. My clients I will meet at a coffee shop, have them drop the photos off to me, or I will pick them up. I scan about 1000 photos in an hour.

    I see that you are in NY. I can see if there is a consultant in your area if you would like.

    If you are thinking about having a company do them, please check to see where the photos get shipped to. As previously mentioned, some scanning services do send the photos to India.
  13. macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    Out of interest what sort of equipment do you need to scan 1,000 photos a year?
  14. thread starter macrumors 603


    Jan 8, 2009
    That was exactly was I was hoping to do as a gift to my family for the Holidays (unfortunately time got away from me and I wasn't able to scan them).

    I've been using VueScan, and aside from a few issues, the 64-bit version is working very well. After everyone's help I spent a lot of time reading through the manual and have been scanning with these settings:

    Colour Photographs (RAW with TIF extension):

    600 dpi
    Auto Skew

    Crop Size - Manual
    Show multi outline

    Restore Colours
    Grain Reduction - Light
    All frames

    Color balance - Manual
    Scanner colour space - Built-in
    Printer colour space - ProPhoto RGB
    Output colour space - ProPhoto RGB
    Monitor clour space - ProPhoto RGB
    View - RGB

    Printed size - Scan size
    Auto file name
    Raw file
    Raw size reduction - 1
    Raw file type - Auto
    Raw output with - Scan
    Raw save film
    Raw compression - Auto

    Right now I'm scanning the photographs, and I'll use Aperture 3.0 to import and correct them in projects.

    Since the black and white pictures are older and have decorative edges I wanted to keep with the scan, the white background wasn't distinuishing between the borders and the actual photograph. I read placing a dark background over the images allows for the scanner to better see the borders. Unfortunately there is no option to crop images outside of a simple four sides rectangle. I scanned the TIF then used Photoshop CS5 to Auto-Separate and Align the images (took more time but I got the images exactly as I wanted).

    Great idea on recommending an option in VueScan for adjusting scans to background. I'll shoot an email to the developers.

    That's so great of you to offer, thanks! So far I'm doing well, and I've learned a lot that I needed to in digital photo editing/scanning. :)

    Thanks again guys for all your advice!
  15. macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2011
    My company partnered up with Kodak a few years ago, so we have access to professional scanners. I use that with the software that is provided. The software does touch ups in bulk. If someone wants further editing done, I use Lightroom or Photoshop.
  16. macrumors 6502


    Jul 20, 2003
    One thing I didn't see mention of was scanner calibration.

    Even if you get a inexpensive reflective target and adjust your scanner prior to scanning you will have to do less color correction in lightroom or what have you and your results will be consistent as the scanner shifts over time. It's only a one step addition per session shouldn't add too much in the way of cost or time to your workflow.

    Just a thought.

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