An aunt asked me to scan some film for her (my best guess is they're 40+ years old), but my usual workflow has been challenged.

Some background:

I use Linux. And I have an Epson Perfection V350 Photo.

Normally, I open a VirtualBox with WinXP and run Epson's software for scanning; to take advantage of dust removal, color correction, and backlight correction features. Also, I'd normally scan just a few dozen pictures and take my time to fix them up (using Picasa for quick stuff or GIMP for more detailed work).

Turns out that these films were taken with a camera that shot at 4:3 aspect ratio; and my scanning software doesn't handle that well. Apparently it just assumes that 35mm film should be 3:2 ratio.

The other problem, is that I'm not quite skilled in image processing.

I'm looking at several hundred pictures; so it'd be nice to automate as much as possible. Note that I still have to crop manually, because most of my scans will be a raw GIMP image with 6 pictures in it.

Here's a sample image: Sample scan before and after AWB

The top part of the image is the raw result provided by my scanner. The one in the bottom has GIMP's AWB applied.

As you can see, I'm facing several problems:

  • Color correction.
  • Healing for:
    • Dust
    • Scratches
    • And other stains.

So my questions:

  1. Is there a better way to do batch automatic color correction? (other than GIMP's Color > Auto > White balance)
  2. Is there a tool to process dust+scratch+stains removal in batch?
  3. Can you identify any other steps I should take to better scan/heal these images?
  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you taken a look at the Scanning tag here, or this existing question: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/2907/… I think this might answer many of your questions. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Nov 5, 2012 at 1:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your comment and the link @dpollitt. I did browse the film and scanning tags for a couple of days before asking; but my question is a bit more specific than the answers I could find. I already have a scanner, and the software bundled with my scanner fails to do the job for me. That's why I intentionally left the scanning tag out (but I'll take your advice and leave it in). Scan services might be hard to get by (unless you know a good one available in Mexico). Finally, if possible, I'd rather have tools that run on Linux. \$\endgroup\$
    – Roflo
    Nov 5, 2012 at 2:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ If the scanner aspect ratio is a problem you can capture with a camera with good results. You need about 0.1 megapixel per square inch to get 300 dpi, which should be more than adequate. So eg a 6 x 4 " photo needs 6 x 4 x 0.1 ~+ 2.4 megapixels. With good strong suitably diffuse lighting most cameras of suitable mp rating will do moderately well. ie you dont need an APSC sensor size if light level is good. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 5, 2012 at 3:28

1 Answer 1


I'm not sure your going to be able to find an automated tool to fix things like scratches and stains. Even if you do, you'll definitely want to check the scripts work. Photoshop's healing tool or even lightroom might be your best bet for repairing the image.

To get the images white balanced, you should check out: http://www.fmwconcepts.com/imagemagick/whitebalance/index.php Looks like he uses imagemagick to apply the auto white balance to images and you can do that with a script if your confortable.


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