Friday, May 12, 2017

How to Scan Color Negative in Photoshop

Another Photoshop tutorial for today. It's a simple but very useful procedure that shows you how to properly scan color film negative for Photoshop use. To clarify, I begin by assuming you have already scanned the negative, and you try to figure out how to proceed.

Perhaps you thought that all it would take would be to apply an "Inverse" filter. But then you realized the result didn't look like a photo positive. The reason is that color films come with a color cast that needs to be removed.

At this point, let's take a step back in my... assumption. Because the step one of the procedure is...

1. When you scan the negative, make sure you leave a bit of the area outside the frame. You can crop it out later, but it is essential in order to remove the color cast.

Make sure to leave some area outside the image frame, where the film is unexposed.

2. Invert the image (CTRL+I). It doesn't look right, because it has a color cast (the orange cast of the negative has now become a cyan cast).

It looks more "normal", but it's still not proper
3. Add a new Curves adjustment layer. Select the "set gray point" eye dropper tool (the middle one), then click on the unexposed area outside the frame.

4. The image is now positively... positive, without a color cast. You can further adjust contrast if needed.

Simple, effective, perfect for all your color negatives

I completed the procedure by rotating the canvas, cropping out the unexposed area, and adjusting contrast.
Impurities and streaks are related to problems with the specific exposure, film & camera (I was experimenting with an expired Ilford film and an ancient Nikon F) and are irrelevant to the Photoshop procedure

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