Creating perfect photos from your slide and negative scans with ColorPerfect: HP, Photo & Imaging Director

Increase the quality of your slide and negative scans from HP Photo & Imaging Director with ColorPerfect! Find out more about how to scan with your HP. ColorPerfect processes scans with color integrity and gives unprecedented flexibility in creative image editing. To harness the full potential of our Photoshop Plug-in it's important to obtain image data that has been subjected to as little processing as possible (RAW data). The following tutorial gives a step by step explanation on how to achieve this with HP Photo & Imaging Director.

Creating linear Scans with the HP TWAIN-Interface and HP Photo & Imaging Director

These instructions are based on the HP Scanjet 4670 with transparency adapter using the standard HP TWAIN interface in Photoshop, based on the HP Photo & Imaging Director software. This HP software is implemented in dot-Net and is quite flaky, partly as a result of that. One consistent problem is that settings frequently do not "stick". Until you establish a routine that you know works it is always necessary to double-check what you do.

 Before you can scan from Photoshop you have to set up certain things in HP Photo & Imaging Director. Start by closing Photoshop and starting HP Photo & Imaging Director. Once the software opens select "Scan Preferences" from the settings list to get to the following dialog. On this dialog, make sure "Automatically Adjust Color" and "Use Enhanced Color" and not checked. We prefer to leave "Automatically adjust exposure" unchecked and find that there is no difference in result whether checked or not on our test system, but you may wish to try this for yourself if your negative scans are unsatisfactory or if you are using a different scanner model.

On the "Quality vs. Speed" tab you will need to check "Scan at maximum pixel depth," which is the setting to get 16 bits/channel. Then OK out of the dialogue by use of the OK button and exit from the HP Photo & Imaging Director software.

Now start Photoshop and scan using File -> Import and selecting your HP scanner from the list. Note that it is possible to make most of the above settings from the HP TWAIN interface that comes up at this point. However, we have found that some settings made there do not stick, sometimes not even for the current scan.

 You will need to check "Slides from TMA" to get the slide adapter to work. Be sure not to select "Negatives from TMA" as any negative scans are intended to be processed in ColorNeg later on and thus have to be created in a way preserving the negative. Choose "Slides from TMA" for any type of transparency including negatives. When you have the scanned image preview showing for a negative scan, make sure the preview is negative; else go back and review the above setting.

To prepare for scanning you will need to click the appropriate side-arrows to get the following settings to display. Starting from the top, be sure that Scale is 100%. Please don't ask why the default is 300%. Next, we prefer to set the Highlights and Shadows both to zero. Shadows must be set to zero, but Highlights normally can be set to positive values without harm.

Midtones is what HP has decided to call gamma and they have given it a completely nonsensical scale as well, going from -100 to 100 and agreeing with no one else in the world. While they give no clue at all exactly how they warp gamma into this form, a value of -67 appears to give a good approximation to a linear scan. Very likely it is not perfect, but it is as close as you will get with this software.

We generally choose not to sharpen at this point, believing that Photoshop does this better where it is needed. Finally set the resolution to your scanner's physical maximum and commence scanning. If you require a smaller image file it is generally best to sample the resulting image down in Photoshop later using suitable techniques instead of scanning at a low resolution to begin with.