SilverFast has robust support for Color Management. Color management gets set in the Options window. There are no less than three sections in this dialogue window. To set up SilverFast's color management correctly, you must work your way down this dialogue window from top to bottom.
By default, SilverFast does not use any color management. This is the setting represented by 'NONE' in the Input -> Internal command inside the "Color Management" panel. To change this to managed colors, you must first make sure that you are in Reflective or Transparent mode with the Positive parameter selected. Negatives cannot be color managed.
The Input -> Internal command line controls what happens with the image data as soon as it leaves the scanner and gets stored as a file. If you have calibrated your scanner, the Calibration option is automatically selected.
You should calibrate your scanner using the SilverFast calibration option. This option includes an IT8.7 target which has been branded with a barcode. When you click the Calibration button (only available when you have purchased the option) after pre-scanning the target, SilverFast will show a grid that you must position over the target's patches.
The rest of the process is fully automatic. As soon as you click the Start button in the Calibration window, SilverFast will connect to the LaserSoft Imaging server, download the correct reference file for the target - that's what the barcode is for - and create the profile for the scanner.
The Color Management Panel
You are of course free to calibrate your scanner using third-party tools, but the SilverFast option is by far the best, especially as LaserSoft Imaging sells targets for most uses (Fuji, Kodak, etc), all with the barcode embedded. No errors can be made because of a wrong reference file.
To start with a managed color workflow, the step after calibration is to set Input -> Internal to ColorSync (or on Windows to ICM). The Internal -> Monitor setting should now be set to either ColorSync or Automatic.
You choose Automatic if you want to leave the color matching process to Photoshop - softproofing uses an output profile to let you see what the image will look like when printed on specific profiled media.
If you want to 'hardwire' the profile used for displaying your images, then you'll choose ColorSync. In this case, SilverFast will use your monitor profile to determine the colors of your image.
Internal -> Output will determine how the image's color data will be output. RGB means you're going to generate a RGB file. If you want to specify a profile for output in the ColorSync panel, then the setting here should read ColorSync. Other options are CIELab and P&P CMYK. CIELab allows you to save the image as a CIELAb file, which can be converted in Photoshop to another color space later on in the process.
P&P CMYK is only useful if you are going to convert the image to CMYK output immediately, e.g. for use on a commercial printing press.
The Profiles For ColorSync Panel
In this panel you will assign the profiles you want to tag the image with. If you calibrated your scanner - you really should! - then the Scanner (Reflective) (or if you are working with Transparent selected in the General dialogue, the "Scanner (Transparent)") option will show you the profile you have just created by calibrating the scanner.
The Internal command line becomes available if you chose ColorSync (or ICM) or Automatic in the Internal -> Monitor option. You can select any installed profile here, but the general idea you should keep in mind is that you are going to tag your image with this profile. You should not use a monitor profile unless the image is going to be shown only on that particular monitor. Selecting a printer profile follows the same reasoning: it is only good when you're going to print the image only on that particular printer.
If you're not sure where the image might end up, a profile with a larger colour space is preferable. AdobeRGB or ProPhoto is a good choice. sRGB is less optimal because it has a small colour gamut - if you're going to print on a modern inkjet, you'll be throwing away lots of colour.
For grayscale images, it is advisable to at least select the Generic Gray profile. Creating a custom gray profile is even better, but this one will do.
Only if you selected ColorSync from the Internal -> Output option, will you be able to select a device/paper profile in the Output/Printer setting. This is good only if you know you're going to print the image to this particular device/media combination.
Rendering intent follows the rules of rendering intents which we explained earlier in our colour management introduction.
Finally, the Embedded ICC Profiles panel allows to tag or not tag your images with the profile mentioned in the box right underneath. This allows you to work with untagged images in Photoshop. If you're used to working with a late binding workflow, you might leave the checkbox un-checked. Images will then be scanned and when you save them in Photoshop later on, you can tag them with a colour profile.