Will PS Elements or Silverfast Help?

Have windows Xp;PS 9; just bought epson perfection 4990. it came bunded with PS Elements and SilverFast 6, will either of these programs do anything for me that PS9 wont do? I restore photos.
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PS Elements is Photoshop Lite, so you have the best program in using PS 9.

SilverFast 6 is scanning software. I have the Epson Perfection 4870 which I think is replaced by your 4990. Silverfast 6 uses Digital ICE which lengthens scan time considerably. But the healing results of Digital ICE are nothing short of PHENOMENAL! This coming from a PS user who is something of a control freak.

Seriously, you gotta use Digital ICE in your scans. <g> Will increase your productivity significantly. Also, SilverFast is now doing multi-pass scans to reduce shadow noise. Your scanner might have that new functionality as well.

In summary, SilverFast is world class scanner software and will get the best possible image into Photoshop for you.
nvslaterAuthor Commented:
The epson program uses digital ice. I had so much trouble installing silverfast on my old computer, that I didnt put it on the new one, which is build to accept 3 gig images. I scan at 48 bit color and 2400 dpi. I  do use unsharp mask in the scan, but that is all. I would rather make color corrections in PS. Unless of course Silverfast offers something I have not read about. I have not been able to talk to a salesman. And ofcourse support cost $2/min, even if you just bought it.
The CD should include quite a few Quicktime movies to help you get up and going. If not on the CD, they definitely are at the SilverFast website.

Not saying you have to use SilverFast, but my personal feeling is that it would be a good idea to master the use of it.
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The 4990 comes with Silverfast SE, the lowest end of the Silverfast line. However, even at that, it is great software. The basic Epson scanner driver is decent, but the Silverfast allows more control as you scan. You have control over removal of dust and scratches, grain, and sharpening, as well as color balancing and even an adaptive color correction mechanism. If you restore photos, and you tinker with these controls for a while, I think you'll find you can save yourself about 30% or more of the PS work up front in the scan process. Have done some of this work, I can tell you that the control and tools are, as Thinkwelldesigns put it, "PHENOMENAL!"

It's not going to work wonders on every image, and it certainly won't replace a trained eye and a skilled hand, but it is a powerful set of tools, and can really do a lot for your workflow.


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nvslaterAuthor Commented:
I dont like paying for support for the fist 30 days of use. The new computer is bare bones as far as programs.
nvslaterAuthor Commented:
If I can accomplish the same results in PS, thats where I am comfortable. I cut most of my photos into separete layers for each future color ( hair,skin,each shirt,pants,each piece of backround,etc.). Besides before I overload my mind learning a new program, it needs to offer me some benefits. Thats why I am talking to you. Please help me.

That's a bit like saying, "I love my old screwdriver with the slotted tip, so I'll never try a phillipshead, much less any powered driver."  Yes, there's a learning curve every time you start with new software. But if the software can automate things we otherwise have to do by hand, and can do the job as well as, or better, than we can in less time...

That's what I am telling you Silverfast can do. Do a portion of the job as well, and faster. That's the benefits.

Well, for starters, "I think you'll find you can save yourself about 30% or more of the PS work up front in the scan process. " from lherrou, and I fully agree with that. That time savings potential is huge reward for learning a new program.

As far as support is concerned, if you are having installation problems, it may be a hardware issue that EE can help with if you post error messages, etc.

P.S. The 4990 comes with Silverfast SE, the lowest end of the Silverfast line.       Hmm. That may be true. If it is, they've downgraded the software since the 4870 as my 4870 came with SilverFast AI.
nvslaterAuthor Commented:
Would you like me to post an image? And then maybe you could tell me what processes could be automated, that could not be automated in PS. I didnt mean to imply that I know PS.
No technology is perfect but I'd lay you a dollar to donut that none of those little specks would survive a skilled LaserFast scan.

"I cut most of my photos into separete layers for each future color ( hair,skin,each shirt,pants,each piece of backround,etc.)"

One thing LaserFast Digital ICE does is create a 4th channel and compares the other three for inconsistencies. Then, the fourth channel contains the healing work done by Digital ICE. So the software actually goes much deeper than you are when analyzing the image.

Does that mean it is better? Does that mean it does a better job than a skilled Photoshopper? Of course not. But its magic is very methodical and mathematical. Hence its precision.
nvslaterAuthor Commented:
Are you talking about Silverfast, when you asy laserfast

I'm a little surprised at what seems like an early closing of the question and the C grade. I hadn't had a chance yet to even look at the images you posted. Here's what I see: in your B&W original, there are dust spots or holes, and there is a lot of grain and speckling showing. The entire image is pretty "fuzzy" and most of that is from the focus in the original photo, some of that looks to be from the aging over time, and perhaps a little from the scanning process as well. With the Silverfast software, the dust specks would be removed and the grainy/speckling minimized - the result would be a clearer image to start with. If you applied some minimal sharpening through the Silverfast process, any blurring/fuzziness from the scanning and aging would be corrected. The results of this would be that your original would be in better shape before you started the colorization (I won't comment on your colorization, that's a topic for a whole different question). Given your work, would it change what you are doing now? No, I would say wouldn't give you much time savings, given the steps you appear to be using. Despite that, would it improve the final image? Yes, without a doubt.


p.s. As Page Editor, I can re-open your question if you are interested in re-assigning the grade.
nvslaterAuthor Commented:
I am interested in whatever suggestions you have. The image I posted was one of the better ones. In the past I was interested in the most information I could get from the scan and still allow cutting. I gold tone then auto level, before cutting.
   Color at this stage is rough. My wife uses a wacom cintiq to reinforce the colors (she is an artise), then I use Autoeye and others to complete the image.
 The 4990 has ditigal ice and the same controls as silverfast. For that matter PS has the same controls (I think). I ran all the movies on siverfast cd. This is silverfast se, not sure how mch has been removed from the real thing.
  Maybe I am just too old to handle all this (63).I guess if You think the SE version will help me, I guess I will try it, but not on the new computer. It takes 25 minutes to import a 3 gig image. I know most actions dont increase image size, but what about scan time. PS is not the easiest thing for me to work with, but I get by (comfortable).
 Please tell me what I need to do re-assiign the grade. And there is a problem on the new computer, I cant find the bigger tiles plug-in, I dont have a folder named extensions.

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