The IT Enquirer has a brief and helpful review of SilverFast 8 ($49 and up), along with a longer analysis of this latest version of LaserSoft’s remarkable scanner software. Read them at www.tinyurl.com/7q4wv5b.
Not only does SilverFast 8 produce scans that are superior to those produced by the software included with scanners, it drastically increases efficiency. Version 8 has an updated interface, a WorkflowPilot feature that lets you set up specific steps for various scanning requirements (Web, Archive, Print, etc.) and save them as a workflow. It also lets you work on one scanned image while scanning another.
One of the keys to the high quality of SilverFast’s scans is that it uses multiple exposures to eliminate shadow noise. Multi-Exposure dramatically improves the dynamic range of the scanner by scanning the same image several times to identify and remove shadow noise.
SilverFast supports more than 250 different scanners, including many that have been abandoned by their manufacturers. It even increases the dynamic range of scanners that already offer multi-sampling.
Besides producing clear and accurate scans, SilverFast has several unique and important features: you can roughly encircle objects whose color you want to change, then drag sliders to quickly change them (such as a car, plane, shirt, etc.); easily remove dust and scratches; restore faded colors; reduce grain and noise; scan more than 120 types of negatives with professional results; and remove color casts.
Its two-level interface gives novices good results and provides experts with all the power they need. You can scan at the full bit depth of your scanner, and save a raw, unprocessed 48-bit file. Or, you can make color and sharpening adjustments in SilverFast, then save an optimized 24- or 32-bit file.
SilverFast works as a Photoshop-compatible plug-in or as a TWAIN plug-in for other apps. Its integrated QuickTime Movie Tutorials help you quickly understand each dialog box.
A free demo version is available at their website.
Jay Nelson is the editorial director of PlanetQuark.com, and the editor and publisher of Design Tools Monthly. He’s also the author of the QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7 training titles at Lynda.com, as well as the training videos Quark includes in the box with QuarkXPress 7 . In addition, Jay writes regularly for Macworld and Photoshop User magazines and speaks at industry events.