Provides: Scanner software and drivers
Format: Digital download
Developer: Hamrick Software
Minimum System Requirements: Mac OS X and a supported scanner
Price: $39.95 standard; $79.95 professional
Version Reviewed: 9.0.22
Hamrick Software, developer of my favorite scanning software VueScan, last week released its version 9.0.22 of the application, mostly a bugfix update. However, in my estimation, the most interesting recent addition to frequently upgraded VueScan’s deep and extensive feature set is support for importing scans directly into Adobe Photoshop, allowing for faster, more convenient image importing directly from the scanner.
“We have tens of thousands of Photoshop users, and we have had numerous requests asking for the ability to import directly into Photoshop. This feature will provide our customers with both time savings and convenience,” commented Hamrick Software President Ed Hamrick. “This capability automatically installs when you install VueScan, and makes it easy to use your scanner from Photoshop. It works with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Photoshop, on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Mac OS X (Intel and PowerPC). Basically any configuration of Photoshop will work with VueScan’s Import filter.”
“We also added support for TWAIN drivers for importing images from your scanner into other programs,” Hamrick continues. This also works with 32-bit and 64-bit systems, on all versions of Windows and Mac OS X. This means that importing images using other programs is a lot faster and easier, and also uses less memory when scanning.”
VueScan is claimed to be the most popular scanner software in the world with a customer base of over 130,000, and once you try it (it’s crippled demoware—watermarked scans, otherwise fully functional ) you’ll understand why. It works with many types of scanners, is easy, even fun to use, and doesn’t cost a whole lot.
Not only that, VueScan is very actively developed, with frequent version updates keeping it abreast of the latest new hardware innovations and refining its performance. I’ve heard some users complain about the frequency of VueScan updates, but really, folks, you don’t have to update if it doesn’t suit you. An old copy of VueScan 7.6 I have still works just fine on my old Pismo PowerBook. However, Ed Hamrick does go above and beyond to keep VueScan current with new scanners on the market and to constantly improve and performance and enhance features.
VueScan supports more than 1,500 flatbed and film scanners, and produces scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. It’s easy to use, relatively inexpensive, and includes advanced features like restoring faded colours, batch scanning and other tools used by professional photographers and graphic artists. VueScan also incorporates an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) engine for converting hard copy text to editable text. It works with prints, transparencies or negative photographs and printed text.
Start up VueScan, and it will identify and configure itself for your scanner. Press the “Preview” button and the scanner will preview your image, which will appear in the right hand pane of the VueScan interface window after Vuescan processes the scanned data. A text readout in the bottom field of the interface window keeps you apprised of scanning and processing progress. Once the preview image appears, you can use the crop box to specify the desired crop for your actual scan.
You can just leave VueScan in its automated mode and let it do its thing, which it does very well, or click the “Advanced” button and provide yourself with an array of scan configuration options.
For example, if colors don’t look quite true in the preview, try Control-clicking on an area of the image that should be gray. To reset to the automatic color balance setting, Control double-click on the image. If the lighting in the scene is unusual (i.e. at sunset or with stage lighting), try setting “Color/Color balance” to “Neutral”.
When everything is to your liking, press the “Scan” button and the scanner will do its stuff. After another processing interval, a scan of the image will appear in the window. Click “Save” to save it to your hard drive or open it in an image editing/viewing application. VueScan can save scanned images as JPEG files (by default) or TIFF files (optionally). You can also copy and paste scans to image editing apps via the Clipboard.
VueScan lets you change options in the tabbed panels on the left side of the interface window and displays images and histograms on the right side of the window. The bottom left corner of the window gives instructions for the chosen task, and the bottom right corner of the window shows the dimensions of the image that will be written if you press the Scan button. Other commands are available in the menu bar, and the most commonly used commands are available as buttons at the bottom of the window. A vast number of settings and adjustments are supported by the various menus and entry fields. VueScan keeps you informed as to what it’s doing with text readouts at the bottom of the interface window.
The preview window is primarily used to show the crop that the automatic cropping has selected and to let you change it if necessary. It’s also used to give you a rough idea of what the color and contrast will look like in the final scan. The scan window shows the cropped image that can be written to a file or printed.
Vuescan is a pure scanning application and doesn’t have any post-scan image editing functions. It supports scanning of negative and positive (transparencies) film images as well as prints and hard copy.
Vuescan does color-correct scans from photographic images by referencing profiles for over 200 different types of color negative film and four types of slide film, and can also color-correct raw data based on profiles for your particular scanner, as well as allowing for a wide range of manual adjustments, and VueScan is engineered for crop and white-balance accuracy to minimize the amount of manual post-scan adjustment necessary, which will be especially appreciated when scanning batches of images using the “Input|Batch scan” option.
Available for Mac OS X, Windows and Linux, VueScan offers a full range of advanced features; including options for scanning faded slides and prints and automatically adjusting images to optimum color balance that reduces the need to manually do it in Photoshop. It includes built-in IT8 color calibration of scanners, producing colours that look true to life, batch scanning and other advanced and powerful scanning and productivity features, including PDF output.
For a detailed listing of VueScan features, see the Hamrick website.
VueScan is available in two editions: Standard Edition ($39.95 USD) and Professional Edition ($79.95). The Professional Edition adds unlimited free upgrades, advanced IT8 color calibration and support for raw scan files. Multi-user licenses are available. A fully functional trial copy (watermarks scans until registration fee paid) of VueScan is available.