Digital Help
Q&A For Digital Photography

Digital Help is designed to aid you in getting the most from your digital photography, printing, scanning, and image creation. Each month, David Brooks provides solutions to problems you might encounter with matters such as color calibration and management, digital printer and scanner settings, and working with digital photographic images with many different kinds of cameras and software. All questions sent to him will be answered with the most appropriate information he can access and provide. However, not all questions and answers will appear in this department. Readers can send questions to David Brooks addressed to Shutterbug magazine, through the Shutterbug website (, directly via e-mail to: or or by US Mail to: David Brooks, PO Box 2830, Lompoc, CA 93438.
--George Schaub

Keep Those E-mail Messages Coming
Thank you so very much for your advice. In this modern world of unintelligible off-shore tech support and the purgatory of interminable voice mail menus, it is indeed refreshing to communicate with someone who cares enough about his fellow man to offer one-on-one communication in real time.
As usual, your advice was timely, on the mark, and extremely valuable. Thank you again for your expertise, timeliness, and caring. I am extremely grateful. Keep those columns, CDs, and articles coming; you are doing a great service to the photographic community.
Martin H. Spar

Thank you for the complimentary message. I am gratified I can be helpful and provide a service to the readers of Shutterbug. But, much of the credit should go to you and all of the readers who send me e-mail questions, problems, commentaries, and stories of the solutions to difficulties they have discovered themselves. Without your participation Digital Help would not be something you have found valuable and worthy of praise.
So in response I should also ask that you all keep those e-mails coming.

Keeping Up-To-Date With Plug-Ins And Device Drivers
Having used Genuine Fractals for some time I have experienced similar problems as Jake Borromeo (August 2005 issue). Genuine Fractals works well with Adobe's Photoshop 7.0 and CS, but not CS2. The .STN image can be loaded in Elements 3.0 but changes made to the image are not saved.
I'm sure LizardTech is aware of the problem. Being a "stepchild" product, the powers that be in Japan may have decided it's the end of the line for Genuine Fractals.
Jerry Hester
Soddy Daisy, TN

It is not unusual that plug-ins require some upgrade to run in a new edition of Photoshop. With Genuine Fractals that may be a problem because the software is a stepchild several times removed from the parent developers. The original programming of Genuine Fractals was a development of Iterated Systems in Georgia, but they licensed the rights to another company, which then transferred the plug-in to LizardTech.

Genuine Fractals, Part II
In the August 2005 issue of Shutterbug a question concerning compatibility of Genuine Fractals with Photoshop Elements 3.0 came up. I had the same problem last April when I received an upgrade from Genuine Fractals LE to the new 4.0. I e-mailed to find out why the new software would only load to Photoshop. The response below suggested the strategy. The problem was solved, and I am now happily using Genuine Fractals 4.0. It is much easier to use than the LE version. Hopefully this will resolve the problem experienced by Jake Borromeo and yourself.
Jack Polk
Homestead, FL

"Thank you for contacting LizardTech. In order to install Genuine Fractals 4.0 into your Photoshop Elements 3.0, please follow the steps below:
Go to Start/Run and type in `regedit.' Navigate to the following folder: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Adobe. You should have a `Photoshop' folder and a `Photoshop Elements' folder.
If you do not have Photoshop installed on your machine, delete the `Photoshop' file; otherwise, rename the Photoshop folder `Ronald' (or whatever you would prefer).
It sounds like the installer is finding the `Photoshop' folder and closing down before it finds Elements 3.0. By changing the name of the folder to something without the word `Photoshop,' the installer will skip over that folder and proceed to install to `Photoshop Elements.'
Once you've completed the steps above, try to install Genuine Fractals (ensure you have Photoshop closed before installing). Verify that Genuine Fractals 4.0 has been installed successfully in Photoshop Elements 3.0. You can do this by opening an image (in any format) and going to File/Automate/Genuine Fractals Help/About Plug-ins/GF should be listed.
Once you've verified that Genuine Fractals 4.0 is functioning properly within Elements, return to the regedit directory and rename your `Ronald' folder `Photoshop.'
Please let me know if this resolves your issue.
Regards, Sally Dankas, Licensing & Tech Support Level I, LizardTech, a Celartem Company, 1008 Western Ave., Ste. 200, Seattle, WA 98104"

Thanks for the message and attachment. I'll pass it on assuming Mr. Borromeo is a Windows user like yourself.

It Takes Both Skill And Good Software To Produce Image Quality
With reference to the Digital Help column in the August 2005 issue about scanning older Kodacolor negatives: I also have lots and lots of such images (beginning about 1968). Many of these images have gone through a color shift which, among other things, causes a shift of the orange mask to purple. I was able to rescue all but one image with a Nikon LS-40 with Digital ROC and sometimes GEM. I suggest that one should not attempt this effort unless the scanner has both of these products.
I can't imagine using scanner software which does not compensate for the mask. I use both Nikon Scan and VueScan with about equal success. My experiences with the various types of color negatives are:
Kodacolor-X (late `60s)--Slight color shift which is easily corrected.
Kodacolor II (`70s or later)--Very significant color shift which requires use of ROC. The film also seems rather grainy, but GEM helps a lot.
Kodak VR--Mild color shift.
Kodak Ektar--Almost no color shift; by far the best of this era.
Kodak films from the late `80s onward have almost no color shift. Fuji films also have no color shift. I used the 400 and 800 speed films.
Jim Norris

To be quite candid, you must have developed considerable skill in color correction, considering the software you specified using. I agree that with older film images Kodak's Digital GEM PRO 2.0 is very useful to reduce grain and noise after a final scan has
been made.
However, my experience has been that I can do more by a considerable amount, and easier, with Photoshop Elements 3.0 to color correct after making a high-bit raw scan. And, I can go well beyond that with either LaserSoft's SilverFast HDR or SilverFast Ai 6 to drive my scanner, and also get 3-4 times as much work done in the same amount of time.
You might consider downloading a trial version of LaserSoft's SilverFast ( I think you will find the amount of correction and adjustment control in every dimension of color quality is great. The software also contains effective tools to reduce grain, restore color intensity, as well as clean dirt and scratches from black and white silver-based films and Kodachromes.