SilverFast Ai & HDR

SilverFast Box

Tutorial - 6

Colour Management Explained

By Ian Lyons




A Computer Darkroom Tutorial

22 December 2003
SilverFast features many advantages over the OEM scan applications supplied with many of today's scanners. However, to ensure that we can make best use of these features in our workflow we need to understand the approach adopted by LaserSoft when managing colour.

SilverFast Ai and HDR and Colour Management

SilverFast differs from many of the free offerings from vendors such as Canon, Epson, et al in so far as colour management is at its core rather than an after-thought that really does little more than squeezes our images into the sRGB colour space. On the other hand SilverFast incorporates two important colour mangement functions:

  1. Automatic colour matching with Photoshop to ensure that what you see in SilverFast is what you get in Photoshop
  2. An integrated IT-8 calibration module (optional extra) or scope for assigning a third party custom scanner profile. Both methods ensure that SilverFast has match the colour rendering characteristics of the scanner.

The following is a short explanation of the various possibilities for configuring the SilverFast Colour Management Settings (CMS) dialog. The settings shown are compatible with SilverFast 36 to 24bit colour, 48 bit colour or HDR colour modes.

The CMS window has four separate sections which are used to determine the extent to which SilverFast will manage the colour of your images. These are:

  • Colour Management - In this section we define whether and/or how SilverFast will integrate with the PC operating system and image editing applications such as Photoshop.
  • Profiles for ColorSync/Image Colour Matching - In this section we select the various Input profiles (scanner/camera) and Output profiles (e.g. Photoshop working space) .
  • Embedded ICC Profiles - In this section we decide whether to enable profile embedding. Remember that embedding an ICC profile is the means by which other applications can decode the colour recipe used when previewing and editing our images in SilverFast.
  • Plug&Play CMYK - This section is only relevant when the user has chosen to export scanned images in CMYK.


Example 1




Using the above settings mean that SilverFast will NOT manage the colour of  your documents and NO profile will be embedded within the document. Furthermore, the document previewed on your display is unlikely to match that which finally appears in Photoshop.


Example 2




As with the previous example you are instructing SilverFast to NOT colour manage our documents. However, in this instance you're embedding an ICC profile that describes the scanners colour rendering characteristics. So we could describe these settings as providing a function "similar" to the Assign Profile in Photoshop 6, 7 and CS. Again, the preview display will NOT be a true colour representation of how the image will appear in Photoshop.

For normal scanning the settings described in this example are NOT normally recommended.  However, by  embedding the scanner profile it does at least provide colour savvy applications with some knowledge as to how the document should appear. It is also one of two possible CMS configurations when scanning for archive purposes. The other method is described as Configuration for User Group 1 in the HDR High Bit scanning tutorial to be found here.



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