"White balance" on TIFF film scans

I wouldn’t be so sure about that, Mark !
Regardless, tho; great tip … I have bookmarked this.

John M

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Yeah, if I had a dollar for every time I heard someone (usually not a photographer) talk about Photoshop like it’s a competitor to, say Luminar or ON1. It does my head in. I mean… you can use Photoshop to rotate a 320px jpeg, too, but it’s like buying a trucking company to get your groceries home. But… see below.

Hmmm, yeah, not the way I’m going about it. Try scanning 270 negatives (with the intent to process most of them) without going batty and you’ll probably decide, like me, that your scanner software’s ability to perform the colour conversion, while also cropping out the 4-6 negatives per strip is a worthwhile. I’m still hesitating on the exposure locking procedure that @mikemyers highlighted in another thread.

I mean, I want good colour, but I’m not out to make too much work for myself to get it perfect.

In any case, @stuck’s point about using Affinity Photo has panned out very well. While I lose the convenience of the “darkroom” experience, I do have more flexibility at my disposal. So yes, for this task, a small trucking fleet is in order. :slight_smile:

So far I’ve done three photos. One I spent a lot of time fiddling with numerous filters and adjustments and the other two I just copied those and tweaked. I’m still not 100% on whether I need them all, but I have deployed Unsharp Mask, Noise Reduction, Curves, White Balance, Colour Balance, Vibrance, and Vignette. I’m not sure about White Balance versus Colour balance as yet. I think I might be able to do with just the latter but I need to experiment more. The White Balance picker didn’t give me a decent result, so it is all dialled in by eye.

The result is quite pleasing…

Strange tone curve, I mean for me.
You inverted the rgb channel but are using the individual r,g and b channels too. But they are not inverted.
And from what I see from the blue curve you changed the gamma correction for that channel.


Hi George. Yes you have to invert the RGB curve in order to see a positive image. You can invert the individual color channels if you wish, but I just choose to use them backwards. It is very similar to adjusting color with an enlarger colorhead, which I am very familiar with. Yes, the gamma on the blue channel is slightly higher(lower, backwards). I was adjusting by sight. Good observation!

I just ask for there is something I don’t understand with that inversion.
By example. Two tools: tone curve and selective tone. Selective tones lightens the image when moving the slider to the right and darkens when moving the the left. All based on what I see.
But when inverting the image with the tone curve tool, the selective tone behaves just in the opposite: to the right is darkening and to the left is lighter.
On what data are they based?


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There are quite a few threads on making a negative positive…
Here’s a quick selection:

Again, check out https://www.negativelabpro.com for more hints,
also about capturing with VueScan… NLP uses techniques in order to make very good conversions easily. Tone curves can get very refined, depending on what I set.

Here, the three curves look similar because the negative was easy to convert.
Difficult negatives will produce curves that look quite different.

Manualy adjusting so many points on the tonecurves is not practical. Manual adjustments can be limited to something as shown by @rrblint above, still providing decent results.

In a raw negative workflow, a few sliders work the other way as you noticed. The reason for this lies in the tonecurve(s). Usually, the tonecurve makes a 0 from 0 and 1 from 1, an inverted tonecurve makes a 1 from 0 and a 0 from 1 instead, effectively decreasing light while the slider is pulled to the right. On negative film, more light means darker negatives.

I use a variation of the “Optical corrections only” preset and then additionally adjust the tone curve only. Then export to DNG for further processing. Now everything is positive and the sliders will work as they should. :smiley:

Hi platypus. Yes, to try to do that manually would be way too tedious. I’m very happy with the results I’m getting keeping the curves at near straight lines. :smiley:

Off topic, but this discussion got me to wondering - I bought Affinity Photo years ago, but never ended up using it very much, probably just too busy with other things. Are you suggesting that if I start scanning color photos, Affinity would be a good tool to have available to use along with PL4? I never realized that before.

The orange mask on a colour negative is notoriously tricky to correct but the latest update to Affinity Photo adds a ‘divide’ blend mode that is very helpful for removing the orange cast. This divide blend mode is demo’d in this video, starting at about 0:38:


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You know, I’d watched a demo of that in the larger “what’s new in 1.9” video and had already forgotten about it. It works a treat!

Once PL has done the RAW to TIFF/JPEG/whatever conversion then, yes, personally, I think Affinity Photo is a good tool to use alongside PL for all images. Others may disagree.


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I’ll give it another try. I already have it - it didn’t do something I needed many years ago, but I’ll try it again. My first choice is PL4 now, but I have cameras such as my Leica M8.2 that PL4 won’t work with.
PL4 doesn’t recognize that old Leica, and there’s little chance that this will change. Sure, this would be fun. Thanks!!

You should find the first thing it does when you open it is ask you to download the latest version (v1.9.0). I’ve had no problems with this latest version but there is a thread on the Affinity Forum, here:
about known issues.

That one is supported, see here:


Thank you. I do have Affinity Photo version 1.9.0 but I didn’t know that raw images on my Leica M8.2 are supported. That alone makes it very useful to me. I guess I should dust off my M8.2 and see how well it works for me. Is there any way to export an image (taken with a camera not supported by PL4) from Affinity, that will allow it to be imported into PL4 ?

I guess I’ll save that for later - first thing is to learn how to use Affinity.

Yes, once you have ‘finished’ processing an image you can export it as a TIFF / JEPG and probably others, which PL can read. You can also save your processed image in Affinity’s native format (.afphoto, which PL cannot read) and if you do that you preserve your workflow to date.

Start here:

Hope this helps,


Thanks for the link - I’ll try this out with the next photos I take with my M8.2 camera.

I did manage to use Affinity to edit several images. I was neither overwhelmed nor underwhelmed. It left me with a feeling that I really miss PL4. So if I shoot my Leica M8.2 again, I just need a good way to convert my RAW images from the M8.2 into TIFF, of find a way so that PL4 will with the Leica raw files from the M8.2 - can I edit the EXIF data so PL4 will think they were taken with a Leica M9 ?

I guess Affinity is OK, but I’ve gotten spoiled by how much more I enjoy working with PL4.

I’ve edited a few of my TIFF scans of negatives in Affinity Photo and I keep telling myself I need to do more. I want the results but it’s not drawing me into doing the task.

Compare this to processing my RAW photos with PL4, where even when I don’t take new photos I go back to find old ones and process them instead. In their hundreds!

Affinity Photo is a powerful tool that I love using for what I would call “graphics” tasks. I’ve recently used it to take someone else’s photo of a new server and cut it out to place on a clean coloured background for a web image, and mock up a screen capture I could not take directly by carefully cutting and pasting pieces of it. I also use it to place multiple images on a single canvas, composite multiple images into something new, and and create occasional humorous meme. Much of this is in service of web sites.

Affinity Photo is also M1-native and ridiculously fast (even on Intel it was way, way faster than PL4 at similar tasks).

But… the RAW conversion and workflow in PL4 is vastly superior for “processing photos”.