Digital Help
Q And A For Digital Photography

This department will attempt to provide solutions to problems readers may have getting into and using digital cameras, scanning, and using digital photographic images with a computer and different kinds of software. All questions sent to me will be answered with the most appropriate information I can access and provide. However, not all questions and answers will appear in this department. Readers can send questions to me addressed to Shutterbug magazine, through the Shutterbug web site, directly via e-mail to: or or by US Mail to: PO Box 2830, Lompoc, CA 93438.

Transparencies From Digital For Publication
Q. I own a Canon PowerShot A200, which has been getting a lot of use. I am anxiously awaiting its return from being repaired (still under warranty). I also own an HP photosmart 7550 printer and a new Dell PC with Windows XP Home Edition.
In view of all this, here is my question: Is it possible for me to print my own transparencies to send with articles to various magazines for publication?
Kathy S.

A. Unless the original photograph was made on film (slide/transparency), and your original is digital, only a very few, very antiquated publishers would prefer a transparency. For a decade now all of my work has been accompanied by illustrations comprised of TIFF files in high resolution recorded on a CD-R disc.
If you have any doubts about how and in what format to submit photographs I would suggest you specifically query the publication to obtain their submission requirements.

How To Learn To Scan And Add A Logo To A Digital Photo Image
Q. I am beginning the process of changing from film to digital and would like to take advantage of the opportunities digital photography offers. I need to learn how to scan a logo or clip art, make the background transparent, size and save the logo, and apply the image to a batch of photos using Photoshop. Can you help me find information on this subject without having to read a 500-page book that I probably won't understand?
Ed Parsley

A. You have asked about two rather distinct question subjects, scanning and adding or compositing one image onto another. I have covered both topics (relative to some scanners) in articles published in Shutterbug, some of which can be found and recalled on our website, In addition, there is quite a bit of support on various websites relative to specific scanners and scanning software at,, and particularly from Lasersoft at

Basically, the most direct way to add a logo or some other image like a signature to a photograph is to first use Photoshop or Elements to Select the subject using one of the several Selection tools, from the scanned image. Then save this selected image with its "mask" as a .PSD file for future use. Then each time you need it, just open and use the Copy command, then with your photo open Paste the copied logo, etc., into your photo (as a layer). A more detailed explanation can be found in lessons that can be accessed on making a Selection at the Adobe website at

Converting Home Movie Film To Digital
Q. Can you tell me where or how I can transfer my old 8mm home movie films to DVD? I have approximately 800 ft to convert. I have a "transfer case" that I used to convert some to videotape many years ago. The quality was poor and cannot be improved on tape.
Jim Morse

A. Some years ago there were conversion services that used high-quality equipment to convert 8mm film to videotape, and with reasonable quality. I have not seen an ad for this service for nearly 10 years, so don't really know where even to look other than doing some laborious Internet searching. And, as far as I know there is not any equipment made which would accomplish a direct conversion from 8mm film to digital video, although making a digital conversion from analog videotape is supported and not that difficult to accomplish.

So what it really comes down to is finding someone still offering "professional" conversion from 8mm film to videotape. And, as I indicated, I've seen nothing advertised for some time. Sorry I cannot be more helpful, but just doing a quick search on the Internet I found the following websites you might look at:

Paint Shop Pro Color Management Yet Again
Q. In the August Digital Help you answered a question about Paint Shop Pro 7's color management and stated it (Paint Shop Pro 7) only provides the sRGB color space. This is not true.
The Paint Shop Pro 7 preferences screen will show all color profiles that have been installed in the monitor and printer color management setup screens provided by the operating system. If no profiles have been installed, Paint Shop Pro 7 will show only the default sRGB color space.
In your last paragraph you explain about monitor and printer profile support provided by the operating system but don't make the connection with the Paint Shop Pro 7 color management. Jasc documentation does not explain this setup process. I had to search the Jasc support area for references to "color management," but I now have both sRGB and Adobe RGB as options on my Paint Shop Pro 7's color management preferences screen.
Dennis Bartt

I find it interesting that you could access and assign profiles other than sRGB in Paint Shop Pro 7. I had downloaded and installed a trial version that did not provide a listing of the profiles in my Color folder. Regardless, that is somewhat moot because unless a user has installed either Photoshop or Elements they are not likely to have Adobe RGB (1998) .ICM on their system, and I don't recommend obtaining it otherwise because the profile is proprietary to Adobe and should not be used unless it has been acquired as part of licensed software.

Second, the ability to assign a work space profile other than sRGB is only a small part of an application having color management support. That would also require the application has its own internal Color Management Engine (CME), as Photoshop and Elements do, or as in the case of Corel the CME is licensed from Kodak and installed as part of the application.

One of the many functions of color management support, besides providing a universal color work space other than sRGB, is the ability to recognize and read embedded profiles in image files, and to then provide a translation to the application work space if the embedded profile is different, or does not exist, or is in monitor space from an unmanaged application on a user's system.

Another function of the application's color management support is the ability to embed the work space profile in the file saved when saving image files. This identifies its origin so it can be opened and translated correctly on another computer with color managed software.

Finally, one of the more important functions of application color management support is the support of profile to profile printing. This allows the user to select a specific Source profile for an image that is to be printed as well as the Printer profile, which may include custom profiles for a particular paper/ink/printer combination.
In other words, just the ability to choose a particular color work space profile for an application is only a small fraction of what color management support should include. In fact, if full support, as is the case with Adobe's Photoshop and Elements as well as Corel's PhotoPaint/DRAW, is not available I would not advise using a universal work space profile like Adobe RGB (1998). I would instead use a calibrated monitor profile and work in monitor color space with an application like Jasc's Paint Shop Pro 7.

An Animated Panorama
Q. I am looking for a program that is sort of a reverse panorama. I have a friend who is a true master of ice sculpture, and would like a way for someone logging in on his site to be able to see the sculpture by rotating it 360Þ. I have built a translucent 24" turntable that I have marked off in 24 equal segments around the edge so I can accurately rotate the ice as I take digital stills. I have seen the effect on websites. Can you suggest possible sources for a program that would allow me to stitch them together?
David Hannah

A. The effect you have seen on websites is probably either digital video or animation. Stitching 24 stills together will not obtain the effect of the piece revolving in one place. You could however achieve this to some degree using stills to make a digital video using a video-editing program, or even a simple GIF animation capability.

But to be candid, I have not been involved directly with this kind of graphics computing for several years, so am not really up on what to advise as the best way to accomplish what you want to do. However, for a website I would seriously look into just shooting the revolution of the sculpture with a digital video camera, even just one of the inexpensive videocams you can hook to a computer, and then just embed the video clip into the website.

You can explore the program/application possibilities by doing searches at

New To Photography
Q. I recently purchased a Nikon Coolpix 4300. I am extremely satisfied with the camera. My problem is Adobe's Elements 2.0. Actually, I think that I am the problem. What do you feel is the best way to become familiar with this software? I have tried to contact a local user's group but haven't received any response. I am open to any and all suggestions.
John Dooley

A. Adobe's Photoshop Elements has the most built-in and company-sponsored support of just about any software sold. If you have not explored all of the Help and Tutorials installed with Elements, as well as Hints and Recipes included in Elements, you can obtain further and copious information on how to use Photoshop and Elements from the Adobe website at the two following URLs: and
I would be pleased to be more specific myself if you ask a specific question about how to do this or that. In other words, what specifically do you want to do, and what specifically is it that you don't know how to accomplish with Elements?

Reader Tip On Scanning And Printing Black And White
Q. I have been working in Photoshop since Version 3.0 and through a lot of trial and error have come up with a few tips for making black and white ink jet prints without having a dedicated printer or having to change ink sets.

First of all, I scan everything as an RGB file then I desaturate the file. You get more digital information and a greater bit depth than scanning the image as gray scale. Then, I manipulate the desaturated image in any number of ways. But my favorite way is to go to Image>Adjust>Selective Color. In the "colors" drop-down menu (you will see a red square showing) bring up the color range that can be adjusted. At the bottom of the color choices, you will see white, gray, and black squares. Select a tone and judiciously adjust the sliders, adding or subtracting the value for each one--don't overdo it. Blacks will get "chunky" looking and whites will lose their punch, or blow out all together. But, you can really fine-tune an image this way. You can also use the channel mixer method by clicking the monochrome box and adjusting the RGB sliders. I usually do about 60 percent red, 25 percent green, and 15 percent blue...trying to make the numbers equal 100 percent.

When I was printing in the darkroom, I always selenium toned my prints, not only for its archival properties, but I liked the slight tone that the process imparted on my prints. You can do the same thing in Photoshop.

Go to Image>Adjust>Color Balance. Play with the cyan and blue sliders to create a cool tone or, play with the yellow and red sliders to create a warm tone. You can use the duotone or tritone method with the Pantone colors if you like, in the Image>Adjust>Hue/Saturation slider to take some of the color intensity out. A little goes a long way! Plus or minus 2 or 3 percent for each value can be plenty. If you give your color printer (I use an Epson 820) some color information to print, the whole monochrome printing process becomes less frustrating and the images have the appearance of a selenium-toned print.
Gil Frazee

A. Thanks for your e-mail with included tips. I believe I pretty well covered much of what you described in a Shutterbug article published in the December 2001 issue titled, "Digital In Black And White--Ink Jet Printing Problems And Solutions." I also covered an advanced black and white scanning technique in a more recent article (September 2002 issue) titled, "B&W Negative Scanning--A Step By Step, Easy Way To Quality Images."

I think that scanning black and white film as color to produce an RGB file for processing in Photoshop may not be so much an advantage with many of the scanners that have come out recently. And, if cleaner data, which has any scan noise eliminated as the goal, another effective and possibly more efficient method with scanners and software that support it, is to use multi-sampling.

As for printing using all colors of ink available with a dye-ink printer, it is a practice I used myself for several years. However, many of those earlier prints have shifted in the color tone of the gray values due to the inherent instability of dye inks. So with more recent Epson printers like the Photo 960 I found I can obtain as good or better black and white quality printing with black ink only, even compared to prints made with a dedicated QuadBlack ink printer. And, because black dye inks are inherently more stable than a mix of CMY color inks, I have confidence the print tone will remain neutral and provide a longer print life.