SilverFast Ai & HDR

SilverFast Box

Tutorial - 5

Using Job Manager

By Ian Lyons

A Computer Darkroom Review

Job-Manager is now integrated with all LaserSoft supported film scanners and SilverFast HDR. This feature enables the user to pre-scan and edit multiple images from filmstrips, APS and bulk loaders. However, the actual scan can be delayed until all images have been edited.  Job-Manager also allows for re-editing of each image within  the "Job".


Users of scanners such as the Nikon 4000ED with its bulk slide feeder and roll film adapter should find Job-Manager a great productivity tool, likewise any scanner that has a facility for holding multiple frames. The Polaroid SS4000 and SS120 can handle between 1 and 6 frames depending upon film format and so are also good candidates for Job-Manager. There is virtually no limit to the number of images that can be incorporated into the "Job".

One thing that should be noted about the operation of Job-Manager is, whilst it's a batch scanning tool, it's essential that SilverFast is NOT set to Batch Scanning mode. When using Job-Manager scan as you would a single image and all will be well, scan in batch mode and the result will be one frame only, so be warned.

The step-by-step procedure described in the following pages is the approach that I have adopted when using both SilverFast Ai and HDR. It is not necessarily the best or only method, but I know that it works equally well on a number of scanners and SilverFast HDR. A more comprehensive explanation of how Job-Manager operates is provided within the new SilverFast user manual.

Step 1 - Configuring the Frame Control Panel

Since using Job-Manager will automate much of what the user would do manually it's important that we ensure that these processes are to our liking and not necessarily the SilverFast defaults. We begin by configuring the: Scan Type:, Filter:, Image Type/Image Mode:, the frame dimensions and resolution. Once each has been set as required we simply choose Settings: Save and give the settings a name (red asterisk).


Configuring the Frame Control Panel

SilverFast is now ready to Prescan our images using these customised settings.

Step 2 - Creating the overview scan

We now want to create a palette of thumbnail images to be included within the "Job". By pressing the b3 button the "Overview" window will appear. Simply choosing the "Refresh Overview button will cause the scanner to create a series of thumbnails for each image on the filmstrip.

Scan Overview

Overview scan of images available on film strip

Once all the thumbnails have been created we simply click OK and SilverFast will produce a preview image of the highlighted frame. The frame with the wide "white" border will be pre-scanned. However, the choice of frame is not important.

Step 3 - Creating the "Job"

Press the Job-Manager button B1 and the control panel shown in the screenshot below should appear. The "Job" area should be completely clear.


Job-Manager Control Panel

The screenshot below describes the various controls associated with Job-Manager.


Job Control Panel

Job-Manager Control Panel

Step 4 - Previewing the "Job"

To preview/add all of the thumbnails created in Step 2 above into the Job-Manager overview window we must press the Job-Manager Overview button. Notice that whereas the Overview button within the main SilverFast control panel had buttons labelled OK and Cancel in the bottom right corner we now find Add and Cancel


Overview scan of thumbnails

Step 5 - Adding Images to the "Job"

Highlighting all of the thumbnails requires that we hold down the Shift key whilst clicking each thumbnail in turn. Don't worry about the red boundary, so long as ALL the thumbnail surrounds turn "white" they have been selected.


Overview scan with all thumbnails selected

Click Add. The following dialog will appear and we should choose our customised configuration (created at Step 1 above) from the Settings popup.



Choosing Customised Settings

Final Layout

We also have the option of choosing to allow SilverFast to Auto Correct the  images or even apply on of the special correction algorithms programmed into the software. I tend to keep Image Type set to Standard and Adjust image automatically "Checked". Next we click OK and the selected image will be added to the "Job".

The screenshot below shows the Job-Manager control panel with four individual frames (pre-scans) preset with the unique requirements as defined in Step 1 above. Note that whilst Auto Correction has been applied to each image it is NOT yet optimised, we'll need to "Crop" and edit each "Prescan" in turn to match our personal preferences along with any other requirements specific to the image, such as - adjusting resolution, colour editing and sharpening. Note that rotating an image can significantly increase the time required to process the final image.


Pre-scanned Images in "Job"

We have now completed the series of steps which make up the initial  Prescan stage of the process. The next stage involves carrying out our desired image optimisation and the final scan.


A "Job" need not comprise only those images that can be contained on one loading of the film carrier. We can actually reload the film carrier as often we like (subject to hard disk space). Typically, with the Polaroid SprintScan 4000 and 120 I will create a "Job" that comprises twenty 35mm transparencies. This means that the actual film carrier must be reloaded up to five times so that all the pre-scan images can be saved to the "Job". When using SilverFast HDR with Job-Manager this number can extend up to many hundreds of images since no scanner is involved, although it can be make a fair dent in the available space on the hard disk.

Step 6 - Editing "Job" Images

Our next task is to select an image for optimising. This is relatively simple to achieve since all we need do is mouse click the image in the "Job-Manager" control window and then choose the "Edit" button. The screenshot below shows this in red.


Selecting an Image for Editing in SilverFast

Once the image is selected and the "Edit" button clicked the image will be pre-scanned into the main SilverFast Prescan window. When the pre-scan is completed we MUST crop the image. If the image is not cropped the colour/contrast corrections will include the frame border within the analysis and so a poor result will almost inevitably follow (especially the case with negatives). Now we can use all of the SilverFast colour/contrast/sharpen tools as required to optimise the image. Once completed we simply select the "Save" button (circled red in the screenshot below). Notice that the "Save" has replaced the normal "Scan" button.


The optimised image is saved back into the "Job". We can now proceed to the second image and repeat the above process of image selection, however, this time we do not need to press the "Edit" button. A quick check of the Job-Manager window below shows that Image 1 has been cropped, colour corrected, gradation corrected and some Unsharp Mask (USM) has been applied. Image 2 has also been cropped, colour corrected and gradation corrected but no sharpening has been applied.


The above process is repeated until all images within the "Job" have been edited.

Step 7 - Saving the "Job" Images

Once all the images making up the "Job" have been edited we must "Save" the "Job" so that it can be scanned at a later time. However, before we save the "Job" we must tell Job-Manager that the editing process has been completed. This is achieved by pressing the "Edit" button so that it is released (see screenshot below).


Now we can choose the "Save" command from the "Job" menu and give it a name, ideally one that reflects the content of the "Job".

Save Job

Save "Job"

At this point it's also a good idea to choose the location to where the scanned images will eventually be saved. However, make sure the destination disk/folder has adequate space to hold the images. The file sizes are show adjacent to the thumbnail so calculating the amount of space required shouldn't present any problems.


Choosing the final location of scanned images


Even after saving the "Job" it is still possible to re-edit any single or group of images making up the "Job". It's simply a matter of selecting the image and pressing the "Edit" button. However, this time round the scanner does NOT need to pre-scan the image since a copy of each pre-scan has been saved to your hard disk. Of course, after re-editing we must again save the "Job".

Step 8 - Scanning the Images

Up until this point we have only pre-scanned our images and carried out the cropping and edits, now we must actually scan the sequence of images to our hard disk. Select each of the images by simply holding down the Shift key and clicking the thumbnail. Selected images will be shown with a "white" surround (see screenshot below). To begin the actual scanning process simply press the "Start" button.


Scanning the Images

The process of scanning our sequence of images can take quite a long time, especially if the edits included rotation and the images are large. However, during this phase we can be doing something else as the scanner need not normally be attended, at least not until we need to reload the film carrier. We can also use the "Stop" button to stop the process and thus allow reloading of the film carrier if that is necessary. LaserSoft have provided some visual feedback to denote progress through the "Job". This takes the form of coloured LED's that are positioned on the right hand side of the Job-Manager control window. The LED's have the following meaning:

  • Yellow - the image is currently being scanned

  • Green - the image has been successfully scanned

  • Red - Image has failed to scan

  • Grey - Image has not yet been scanned

If the "Job" is stopped at any point and then restarted only those images that don't have green or red LED's will be scanned. Those with a green LED have already been completed and those shown with a red LED have failed. Always check the status of the LED's before restarting the scanning process.

SilverFast with Job-Manager is an extremely powerful and useful productivity tool. Hopefully this tutorial will have provided sufficient insight as to how it works that you will decide to try it for yourself.

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