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Old 10-30-2014, 06:31 PM
SandeVBL SandeVBL is offline
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Question on Retouching the Blacks in Scans

I've been having trouble knowing how much is enough when I retouch the black areas on a scanned image to prep it for printing. My inclination is to just keep enlarging it and going over more and more areas getting every speck of the dark areas back to black - but then I feel more than a bit compulsive and it takes forever to finish.
So...here are a few images and maybe some of you will give some thoughts on this.
The images are closeups of this tiger, 9x12". This is my mostly cleaned up version. I finally got this one sprayed and the original artwork is out to be juried for a local show this weekend.

The first is the original scan, not touched up at all.







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Old 10-30-2014, 07:37 PM
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Foxyheart2002 Foxyheart2002 is offline
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Re: Question on Retouching the Blacks in Scans

Welcome to the world of 'the scan is not right but better than the photo'. Most of mine seem to come out a greenish instead of a black and if I print, it will be a greenish with different shadings. With the backgrounds, I usually cover the whole area again going down into the fur to blend it better, and the parts within the fur I do it individually.
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Old 10-31-2014, 02:49 AM
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PaintDog PaintDog is offline
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Re: Question on Retouching the Blacks in Scans

If it's just a black & white (no color, or no green if it is color), in Photoshop, I desaturate the green completely and desaturate the cyan a little bit.

As for how tight to zoom for clean up, I zoom to actual size of the largest print I plan to make. Typically, I'm not going to print much larger than the original drawing.

Once I get all the cleaning done, I lighten the entire image a bit, and sometimes pull up the whites a little further, as I find that most images print a little darker than I want.
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Old 10-31-2014, 08:15 AM
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ggart4u ggart4u is offline
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Re: Question on Retouching the Blacks in Scans

Like Ann, I also desaturate. I noticed so much more detail in the original scan. I usually have my scan with black a little litter and go in to darken it down. Pain in the rear even if you mask it with layers in PhotoShop, but worth it in the end. I also have to find a place to say enough is enough. I also find prints end up darker so mine are a tad lighter.
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Old 11-01-2014, 08:59 AM
SandeVBL SandeVBL is offline
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Re: Question on Retouching the Blacks in Scans

Thank you, Sue, Ann, and Ginger, for the responses. I guess I should print more of them, then I'll get a better idea of what is enough. Cleaning scans is not one of the more pleasant jobs in scratchboard!
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Old 11-01-2014, 07:28 PM
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PaintDog PaintDog is offline
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Re: Question on Retouching the Blacks in Scans

Goodness no, it's an awful job sometimes! It took me over 6 months to get a scan of one of my images cleaned up for printing. There were so many little hazy black sections within the scratched areas that I just had to leave it alone for a while, it was making me crazy! The good news is that the prints look great
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Old 11-01-2014, 08:39 PM
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Foxyheart2002 Foxyheart2002 is offline
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Re: Question on Retouching the Blacks in Scans

I agree with the lightening. The hardest time you can have is if it is a color board since you cannot desaturate. I see a local printer who will work with me standing there until we get a good print, then I do a series. The darker (more like the original board) images do better for entries.
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Sue Kroll, Signature Member ISSA, associate member WAOW and AWA........ Sue's Art .....Musings of a Scratchboard Newbie
I always welcome C & C. Even if I have finished it and applied fixative, I can always apply your thoughts to the next one.

Last edited by Foxyheart2002 : 11-01-2014 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 11-02-2014, 05:12 PM
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Crias Crias is offline
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Re: Question on Retouching the Blacks in Scans

Haha.... I admit I am lazier than you guys! I touch up the background and larger dark areas, and the area around the eyes/nose/mouth, and anything else that catches my eye, but I don't try to touch up every little, tiny dark area. I sometimes find that it, if anything, makes the image look too dark if I go to pure black in every tiny area, since most scratchbaords are more of a matte black than a true pure black. I think it is easy to lose some of the subtler midtones and shading if you go too dark too. I guess it does depend how large you are printing a work too. Just my personal opinion.
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Last edited by Crias : 11-02-2014 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 11-02-2014, 08:00 PM
spikeaboo spikeaboo is offline
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Re: Question on Retouching the Blacks in Scans

I'm with Cathy, although so far all my prints have been small ones. If I print some of the larger pieces I guess I'll do more retouching. Right now what I do is I create a layer over the background layer , fill it with black, add a layer mask to the black layer. Then I loosely paint on the layer mask to let the background layer show through. Then I zoom to about 200% and clean up around the edges of the mask. Sounds like a lot of work but it really isn't. I usually drop the opacity of the black layer so it's not so glaringly black.
I used to do photo retouching in a photo lab for a long time and I've worked with Photoshop since PS2. And that's my two cents.
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Old 11-04-2014, 09:00 PM
SandeVBL SandeVBL is offline
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Re: Question on Retouching the Blacks in Scans

I know Photoshop somewhat, but I guess I don't understand how one would use layers in cleaning the backgrounds, Tina and Ginger. I just work on the image itself. If using layers makes it any better or easier I'd like to learn more on that.
Cathy, I worry about getting the black too dark too - it seems to be a balancing act to get it as close as is reasonable.
Sue, I think working with a good printer would be wonderful!!
Ann, I accidentally found an interesting way to see how you clean your scans - that powerful zoom tool on Fine Art America really shows the details Yours look great with it.

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