Understanding scanning, especially with Epson SW, and cleanup

Since I do this for a living, a better understanding of it is in order.

I regularly scan very old, often very trashed:
proof sheets
I just got an Epson 4490 after doing a lot of research. Good reviews, good price, decent means of scanning odd size negatives and slides.

I was also interested in the Digital Ice technology, which I didn’t expect to perform miracles, but if I can get a lot of the worst damage and mess fixed during hte scan, it’s a big time saver.

My goal, generally, is to have nice but not flawless scans for the web taken from a large, high-dpi original that might be used for print at some point.

I’ve used VueScan in the past, but there is so much about it that’s irritating and unathomable I’m over it, so as I said the Epson software was part of the reason I went with the 4490.

So I’ve been messing around with it, and FIRST things first: are you KIDDING me that I cannot NAME my own settings, they just become “settings 1”, Settings 2, etc??? On what planet does ANYONE think that’s a reasonable plan? INFURIATING as hell. (I worked with this software in an earlier incarnation and that made me crazy then, that this still hasn’t been fixed astonishes me)

Now that that is out of the way, I am going bonkers trying to figure out why certain options go gray and unusable, especially the DIgitial Ice, which is almost never available. The options for input size and target size are largely not available, either, which is very frustrating because I often scan very small images with a very much larger target size.

Since I don’t have the option to do that by indicating exactly what size or percentage most of the time, I’m just reverting to boosting the pixels to boost my sizes, something which I only understand in the dimmest way.

(If anyone knows of a very straightforward “for dummies” type tutorial explaining the whole issue of DPI and print size, I’d be much obliged. I kinda sorta get it…but not really)

Next is the issue of cleanup. Even when Digital Ice is not available, dust removal is. I just tested this on a proof sheet and it works great…but it also removed some key features like the whites of eyes (the mess on the pictures were white spots) and blurred the whole image so much it’s not usable, at least not at that intensity.

So I have Eye Candy Image Doctor dust and scratches filter, which so far I only know how to use by picking out the individual spots manually. Works great, takes way too much time and effort. If I choose big chunks of the picture, it kinda falls apart and uses weird parts of the picture to do the fix.

Since I’m covering a number of things here, this might be better off in IMHO if the mods elect, but since it involves facts I stuck it here (much higher liklihood of solid factual information for stuff in GQ). I’m just looking to understand all this better and get some leads on ways to acheive my goals efficiently and with as little frustration as possible.

Digital ICE is only available during transparency scanning.