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Scanning and/or using Gimp to improve photos?



gawain3

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Of course, the biggest issue with color correction is that it only really "works" in a guaranteed way for the individual. If you can control your entire pipeline from initial capture environment to the final viewing, then you can "correct" color. However, if you lose control of *any* of the steps in between or at the ends, it's almost game over. You can color correct all the way to the end of the pipeline, and still have a majority chance of things being wrong at the other end, because the vast majority of people have improperly adjusted color settings on their monitors. You can't control what others have on their computers, and therefore you cannot do anything to improve the color situation there, and it might even be that a badly color corrected image on your end would result in a *better* image on their end. And then there's even the definition of what it means  to be "color correct." I might not care, for instance, what a color looks like in a pure white environment under perfect conditions with the paper exactly the right tone of white. I might care more about how the color looks under the warmer white balance of household accent lighting on cream or off-white paper, and there's little way that I can tell how that is going to work with an ink accurately from looking at a color corrected ink sample viewed on a color corrected monitor that was applied to perfectly neutral white paper and photographed under ideal lighting conditions. 

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Karmachanic
13 minutes ago, arcfide said:

1) Of course, the biggest issue with color correction is that it only really "works" in a guaranteed way for the individual.

 

2)If you can control your entire pipeline from initial capture environment to the final viewing, then you can "correct" color.

 

3)However, if you lose control of *any* of the steps in between or at the ends, it's almost game over.

 

1) I'm not sure what this means.

2) If one can control the entire pipeline there is no need for colour correction.

3) This is precisely why colour correction is needed.

 

There's a large number of professionals who make beaucoup de bucks (TM) correcting colour for both photography and video/film.

 

If a person wants to write on blue paper with green ink, on under a red light, obviously that person is not interested in colour fidelity. I'm under the impression we are talking about presenting images on the web, by which we can judge an ink. From that point of view, I infer that there is an interest in rendering the colour of said ink reasonably correctly. Having done so, we have no control over the viewers monitor, or lighting conditions, but at least we have presented a correct representation.

 

I mentioned including a grey scale in the image. @A Smug Dill does this, as you may have noticed. This allows those who have the means and know how to obtain a correct rendering. @visvamitra's reviews are consistent in their rendering, for example, as are @lgsoltek's. Their renderings of the same ink may differ, but because of their consistency and care in colour correcting their images, we can make informed decisions. Some reviewers use a scan and a photo. Most scanners can be calibrated for reasonably correct rendering.

 

So we can use Gimp, Lightroom, On1, Affinity and so on, to share images that render the inks reasonably correctly. Or we can fly by the seat of our pants, and hope for the best. We're free to choose either method, or somewhere in between.

 

However, if we develop a relatively uncomplicated, consistent method to light (D65 bulbs bounced off the ceiling) and photograph the inky pages, colour correction won't be needed.

 

For myself, I pay no attention to reviews/images of inks, that are underexposed and/or on grey/yellow paper lit by a 3800K desk lamp. Which is a shame because someone took the time and effort to share, but they do not allow me to make an informed decision.

 

 

 

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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A Smug Dill
4 hours ago, Karmachanic said:

I'm under the impression we are talking about presenting images on the web, by which we can judge an ink. From that point of view, I infer that there is an interest in rendering the colour of said ink reasonably correctly. ...‹snip›... Which is a shame because someone took the time and effort to share, but they do not allow me to make an informed decision.

 

The way I see it, ink reviews and images of related artefacts are (information) products, in the way biscuits are products. Of course, if I bother to make a batch of biscuits, I'd want the products of my efforts to be recognisably biscuits, edible (to the extent they won't poison or otherwise harm someone if ingested) and preferably palatable — something that I would approve of and eat as biscuits myself any day.

 

Then, if specifically I was baking biscuits for my family or friends, I'd take into account their preferences, tastes and dietary restrictions. On the other hand, if I was baking biscuits in the hundreds intended for consumption by a (potentially) large number of people who are not targeted (as either individuals or a group) and not expected to be homogenous, I'm not going to care about whether some of them are diabetic, allergic to nuts, or are unable to chew even moderately hard foodstuff; at best I'd put some advisory information on the container or packaging about the biscuits (e.g. “may contain traces of nuts”) that is removed from the perspective of the consumer (e.g. “do not consume if you are allergic to nuts”).

 

Moreover, if someone with whom I don't have an established (personal or working) relationship came, in the preparation stage, to inform me that they plan on eating my biscuits but can't handle hard foods with their teeth, I'd tell them, “Tough bikkies,” and where to go — there are any number of shops from which they may have better luck getting what they want, and it isn't my obligation as an amateur baker (just doing my own thing) and/or a member of the community to adjust my recipe to accommodate them, or see to it that their needs are satisfied. That doesn't mean I'm any less inclined to give or share the fruits of my endeavour with the community (or strangers), or want to withhold from someone spitefully; but if what I produce does not suit the individual's requirements or tastes, they're welcome to choose not to partake, and I won't see it as either devaluing my efforts or a personal slight.

 

If I want to improve what I produce, it will be in ways that I recognise as being of value to me, adding to my knowledge and/or refining my technique, and not based on whether it makes someone else happier or better off as a fellow in whatever capacity. My interest is in the products and the production process; and if faceless others benefit from that, that's nice, but they're not anywhere near being the primary focus or reason for doing what I do.

 

Just to be clear, I genuinely want to encourage more fellow hobbyists to take the time to produce ink reviews to please themselves, not anyone else, and to not be unduly burdened by the would-be audience's expectations or demands. It'd be a better landscape if, instead of two or three ‘comprehensive’ reviews of a particular ink, there are hundreds of different takes on it to be found, and whoever wants to know more can peruse and sort through those themselves to extract what they personally find useful and aligned with their interests.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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It's a little less functional, but I often can't be bothered to move a photo into Photoshop or another photo editing program nowadays and opt for the limited settings on my phone. It won't look perfect (and the phone background UI surrounding the photo often makes me realize too late my correction was off) but it's pretty seamless and convenient for modifying brightness/contrast/etc on the fly.

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On 4/8/2021 at 7:39 PM, A Smug Dill said:

I gratefully learnt from fellow members, such as @XYZZY and @BaronWulfraed, who freely shared similar suggestions when interested folk such as @LizEF and myself were discussing ink review methodology (oh my, how time flies!) — because clearly we wanted to know, and even now we're still exploring.

 

 

Because of this reference, I went back and reviewed what was said in that thread.  I had long-since forgotten there was any advice on image manipulation.  Back then, what I was doing was all I could do and I wasn't ready for the instructions.  Now I am, and I must say, the instructions there are more useful than those here.  Specifically, including in the image something black (or very dark) and a grey card (and white if your paper isn't white) and using all three of the adjusters in the levels dialog referenced in this thread.  That works far better than just setting the page to white.

 

Of course, it's too late for images already posted, but it'll help moving forward.  I'm also going to increase my lighting in hopes it will even out my coverage.  (I'm really bothered by the uneven coverage on my page right now, and I can't find a physical arrangement that doesn't leave darker areas, so more lights it is.)  I don't think I can do what @Karmachanic is suggesting, with 6500K bulbs bounced off the ceiling, but I'm hopeful that my increased light will even out my coverage, and the lights plus the 3-way adjustment mentioned in my old thread should give me better color.

 

So, thanks, @A Smug Dill for pointing out the old threads! (I have yet to finish going through them, but I've bookmarked them so I can.)

 

Also, the scans I posted (along with the 94 scans done for my reviews) demonstrate for me that color manipulation is hard in real life scenarios.  Saying it's easy or simple is a disservice.  Saying it's hard, but learnable, would be less discouraging when it takes longer than half an hour to figure out.

 

FWIW, using my ancient PaintShopPro, I've found that using the Color Balance and Hue/Saturation/Lightness tools (sometimes going back and forth), have let me do some decent color correction of the scans.  If I pair this with the GIMP manipulation already mentioned (or figure out how to do all of it in GIMP), then I'll probably have even better results.

 

Anywho, I'm doing what I can and am game to learn more and do more, if it's within my resources.

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The most important thing to get right with whatever software you use should be the ink color as it was written. If that skews the original tone of the paper or any lines on it then that's secondary.

Slightly veering off topic:

I still use Adobe Photoshop CS6 Extended layers > curves and/or levels for adjusting my scanned images because I bought it (plus other versions before it) and it wasn't cheap. I'm no expert and don't use many of it's complex features, but can muddle through with what I'm used to.

I'm also an Apple Mac user and have had to stop upgrading my OS because it apparently means that Photoshop CS6 will no longer open even though it's 64bit. Is Gimp a decent alternative for when I have to upgrade my OS and lose my beloved Photoshop CS6? Any other ideas?

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mizgeorge

Dione, I'm in the same boat. Having invested heavily over the years in Adobe products (both for personal and professional use) their switch to subscription only was a huge disappointment to me. I still use the CS6 suite quite happily (and I don't think it's evolved a great deal since then) but will have to move on eventually. I'll probably use Gimp, which does the job just fine, but without the nice user interface and additional resources. 

 

I'd paid a great deal of money for a full CS6 suite, with the promise of continuous upgrades, and found the switch to monthly payment plans offensive, especially for products that I don't necessarily use all the time. Shame on Adobe.

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