A Tutorial on Working with the VueScan 9


Now I'm not going to proclaim that these theories of scanning with VueScan are right or wrong. But based on the number of issues I've had while scanning; these were the resolves. I'm a huge supporter of scanning your own film: saves money, more control, and creates self-reliance.

The Setup

Here's what my workplace looks like.

Credits: clownshoes

What You'll Need

  • Canon CanoScan 8800F: This is a decent sized, affordable, and quick flatbed scanner.
  • HP 530 Laptop: I won it as a part of a scholarship after high school. I think my PC (it's a six core) is much fast, but the majority of my software in on the laptop. I've had it since 2008.
  • Photoshop Cs3: I had Cs3 and Vuescan before getting Cs5. So I installed Vuescan 9 plugin for photoshop with Cs3.
  • VueScan 9: It can do great things, but it's been a headache at times. I needed another scanning program so I could scan sprocket holes. Canon doesn't scan them on their own.

Starting with VueScan 9

Step 1: If you are going to use any of the Lomo scanning masks; you can't have it pushed to the top of the scanner. Vuescan will try to scan by making a bunch of stop-and-go sounds; then fail.

Solution: Push the mask to the bottom of the scanning bed, it keeps it level. There is a drawback, part of your image area will be lost. You can always just flip it around when you get to that end of the roll; or use something to space the bottom of the scanner from the mask but it should be something that is perfectly leveled.

Step 2: With VueScan, less is not more. Down at the bottom click on 'More'. It's all the same options.

Step 3: If you are only posting photos on Lomography or just sharing them. I would say use a lower DPI. I find 1200 dpi does it for me: plenty of quality and workable file sizes. When I first started scanning my own photos I would jack the DPI as high as it would go. Well if it's a 120mm shot you are going to end up with 50mb to 60mb image and it will take over an hour to scan each frame.

Step 4: If you are scanning sprockets or weird image sizes set Crop to manual.

Credits: clownshoes

Step 5: 'Filter'. This was something that was giving me the worst headache and I had no idea that's what it had been. The issue I had with it was a drop box called Infrared cleaning. I was getting: weird distortion exaggerated grainy look, and underexposure. I drove myself mad and couldn't figure it out. Now it doesn't affect most photos; that was the crazy part.

Solution: All that stuff in Filter? Turn them all off. Honestly, I don't know who those settings are for.

bottom row: turn filter of

Step 6: The 'Color' tab. Go to the color balance drop box and switch it to manual. There are a ton of sliders here; some you will use and others you will not. Focus just on: Black point, White point, Curve low and high, and Brightness. You will have to tweak these to get your desired results. I find I need just a tab of White point for all my photos; like .02 at least.

Step 7:'Output'. Now to keep yourself from having to resize your photos later I say set your max Log file for 5mb.

Step 8: No because I am using the photoshop plug-in; when I hit the last page my photo is taken straight from VueScan and dropped into photoshop. In Photoshop I do my last few adjustments: rotate, maybe a curve, then take it from a 16bit image to an 8bit, and save it as a jpeg.

First photos is with filters on, second is with filters off

So these were some of the challenges I had with scanning my own film with Vuescan. Despite the difficulty having Vuescan has been terrific. I do historical preservation and get odd size negatives that Canon's automatic settings can't handle. I also hope this helps anyone who was looking for more information on Vuescan.

Credits: clownshoes

This tutorial was written by Community member clownshoes. Follow clownshoes by setting up a LomoHome and exchange tips and tricks with fellow analogue lovers.

written by clownshoes on 2012-01-24 #gear #tutorials #negatives #tutorial #scanning #tipster #vuescan #troubleshooting #photoshop #problems #solutions #file-size


  1. nick_a_tron
    nick_a_tron ·

    Nice to see a Vuescan article. I noticed you missed out locking the exposure and base colour! Preview a piece of film and crop a small area between two shots where no light has hit, click lock exposure (now you've told vuescan where black is in the spectrum.) then preview again and click lock base colour (now you've told vuescan what you're colour cast is.) This way your colours will always be accurate to the film, your exposure correct and all X-pro will look awesome.

  2. bramadis
    bramadis ·

    Thank you so much, it makes my frustration cured

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