VueScan Multi-Crop – How To

Continued from a few years ago … VueScan is a great scanning app but it has a UI that only an engineer could love. Multi-Crop is a feature where you can scan several things at once on the scanner deck and have them saved as separate files. I use this to scan 35mm film, since my scanner can load 12 frames at a time. While this feature is very useful, it’s hard to figure out how it works. Here, I describe how I use this feature to scan 35mm film with my Epson V600 which has a tray that loads 12 at a time.

First, load your media in the scanner. For this, I use the 35mm film negative tray and load up 2 parallel strips each having 6 photos.

Next, turn on the scanner, start VueScan, and make the right settings:

  • input mode: Transparency
  • input media: Color Negative
  • input bits per pixel: 24 bit RGB
  • input batch scan: List
    • This will make it scan each cropped sub-image and save as a separate file
  • input scan resolution: 3200 dpi (anything higher is overkill for most film negatives)
  • JPEG, quality 95 (anything higher is overkill for most film negatives)
  • output default folder: make sure it exists
    • else VueScan won’t save the pictures and it won’t give you any error message

Now hit the Preview button. It will scan then show the slides all together. With this displayed you can set up the Color tab. Read the fine print along the edge of the film to get the vendor, brand and type.

  • negative vendor: Kodak (or whatever)
  • negative brand: GOLD (or whatever)
  • negative type: 400 Gen 5 (or whatever)

You will set the rest of the image settings later, for each individual picture. Now go to the Crop tab. For 35mm film in my scanner’s tray, VueScan’s 35mm film setting works and is simpler.

  • crop size: 35mm Film
  • multi crop: 35mm Film

A grid will appear over the scan preview. It shows a dotted line rectangle over each of the slides. It won’t be perfectly lined up, but as long as it’s reasonably close it’s OK because you’ll fix that next.

Note: if it’s not even close, or if you haven’t filled the entire tray and you don’t want to waste time scanning blanks, you can select CUSTOM and do your own layout (rows, columns, sizes).

  • Note the blue <- and -> arrows at the bottom right of the screen; right of the image rotate buttons.
    • These move the focus forward and back across the sub-images of the multi-crop.
  • Click the left <- button until it disappears (so you can only shift right -> not left), to shift focus to the 1st image.
  • When focused on each image, VueScan remembers the settings you make for that image.
  • Click the + button (lower right of UI) to zoom so this single image fills the screen.
  • In the image preview, click inside the image near a corner, then drag a rectangle to mark the crop area to contain the image.
  • If needed, click the rotate buttons (lower right of UI) to ensure the image is right-side-up.
  • Go to the Color tab and ensure the exposure is right. The key controls for this are:
    • Black point: what % of the pixels are mapped to black (lowest intensity).
      • I find that 0.1% usually works well.
    • White point: what % of the pixels are mapped to white (highest intensity).
      • I find that 0.5% usually works well.
    • Curve low & high: set the shape of the contrast curve
      • Low and high are the 25th and 75th percentiles
      • If you set them to .25 and .75, you get a 1:1 linear mapping
      • To increase mid-intensity contrast, at the expense of losing detail in the darkest and lightest parts of the image: increase the low, decrease the high
  • Images on old film often look washed out. To fix this, go to the Filter tab and check one of these options:
    • Restore colors
    • Restore fading
  • After you’re done with image, click the blue next -> arrow to focus on the next image.
  • Repeat the above steps to set the crop box for each image.
  • When you’re done, click the previous <- arrow to review each of the images, ensuring your settings are correct.

Now click the “Scan” button at the bottom left of the screen. VueScan will scan each image, which can take about 3 minutes per image (over 30 minutes for a deck of 12). This is fully automatic so you can walk away and come back later to check the results.