Jump to content


A Note to Publishers and Content Owners
This site is set up to digitally preserve video game magazines from 1999 and earlier for current magazines. The rules for defunct magazines vary on a case-by-case basis. We do this because issues of these magazines are not readily available from publishers/content owners. While we don’t have legal permission, we operate in a way where we do not release anything that will reduce any potential income for you, or magazines that are available from you, nor do we release scans that are of a quality that may reflect poorly on you. So far this has worked, with several publishers/content owners basically ignoring our existence. However, if you wish that we do not make content that you legally have ownership available on this site, just let us know and we will remove it. While we would prefer permission, we will fully oblige with your wishes concerning your content. This is a hobby we do out of passion and love for the video game magazines of yesterday, and not worth legal battles of any kind.

Follow Us


Help us purchase more magazines for preservation!

eBay Spotlight

Latest Submissions

Latest Classifieds Ads



New Topics

Latest Blogs

We Recommend

RETRO Magazine

Physical Sub!

iTunes Sub!      Kindle Sub!

Our Friends

Retromags > Guide > Scanning a Magazine



Monitor Settings


In order to get an accurate scan as far as color goes, it is important that your monitor is as accurate as possible. No one expects you to own or purchase one of those spider calibration tools that are used for pro calibrations unless you are already a graphic designer. Windows has a built in calibration tool that will work quite well. Everyone's screen/monitor is different, and people will have their reader program/app settings tailored to their screen, so it's best to make color adjustments to scans based on your monitor after it's been set to something that looks good to you and it fairly accurate in color.


Scanner Settings

Almost all scanning software lets you make image and color adjustments at the point of scanning. However, one thing to keep in mind is that if you make adjustments in the scanner, and it turns out you don't like them after you are done scanning, it is harder to undo them in editing as opposed to making the adjustments during editing. Normally it is better to make the adjustments in the scanner, but because you are scanning many pages, if it doesn't turn out, you have many pages affected. So we will keep the adjustments to a minimum.


Unless your scans are looking washed (too much lightness, high brightness and low contrast), most scanners get the scan pretty close on their own.


Your scanner/All-in-one software should have settings to make several adjustments to your scans. Sometimes these settings will be prominent, and sometimes you have to select something like "Use Scanner Driver" to get the settings to come up; it depends on your scanner's software. We will go through these settings and the ones you should be adjusting.


Your scanner will ask you what kind of document you are scanning (sometimes called Scan Mode or Scan Setting, or Document Type), such as a photo, a black-and-white document, etc. If your scanner software has a setting for Magazine, select that. Otherwise, select Color Photo (with millions of colors).


The scan resolution should be 300dpi. 600 dpi is unnecessary, and less than 300dpi is not enough.


If there is a checkbox for descreening, check it as this will prevent moiré, which occurs when you scan magazines. If there is also an option called "Unsharp Mask" or "Unsharpen", check that as well (if you find scans are not sharp enough when looking at the scan at 100% resolution, try one with it unchecked and see how it looks). Any box labeled "Reduce Show-through" or "Reduce Bleed-through", or anything similar, check as well. Make sure "Reduce Dust and Scratches" off.


Some scanner software, like Canon's, has several other adjustments under the advanced tab if you select to use the Scanner Driver. Most things can be left off, such as Grain Correction, Backlight Correction, and Fading Correction. Gutter shadow is good if you are scanning a magazine that you did not debind as it will help correct the darkening that occurs near the spine of the magazine.


If you find bumping up the saturation at the scanner gives you a nicer scan to work with, go ahead and bump it up. Usually anything above 20 points of the default ends up being too much, but again, it depends on your scanner.


If you have the hard drive space, it is highly recommended that you save the initial scan as a TIFF file. It is a lossless format, so no information is lost to compression, and the quality doesn't degrade each time you save it. The files are large though. Each scan is about 25 megs, making a 200 page unedited magazine take up almost 5 gigs of space. If you are using an outside program like Photoshop to get scans from the scanner, make sure the TIFF files are 8 bits/channel, and not 16-bits. 16-bits/channel files are twice the size and cannot be saved to JPGs during editing, so they would be reduced to 8-bits/channel anyhow. Doing it from the start will save you a lot of hard drive space. If you don't have that kind of room, change the settings to JPG at the highest quality possible.


Set the save folder to something easy to find and access.


Some scanners can auto detect the edge of the page and only save what is inside the edge. Some can also auto-straighten scans as well. While these both tend to work fairly well, there will be times when the scanner gets it completely wrong. This is especially true for gaming magazine when ads and article often had text at angles. The scanner will sometimes straighten the page out based on that text, thus getting it all wrong. It's best to just scan the entire surface of the scanning bed to avoid any mistakes the software makes.


I mentioned bleed through when talking about auto document feeders. You will get bleed through on a flatbed scanner as well, but it is easy to over come this. All you need is two pieces of black construction paper and some scotch tape.


Because the lid is white, colors will bleed through a page that is light colored. While the scanner setting to bleed-through helps, it may not do a good job 100% of the time. So to get around this, we tape one piece of black construction paper to the lid. You can use double-sided tape, or make your own by looping some scotch tape onto itself. Place it at the top end of the lid, where we will be putting our pages.


Construction Paper on the scanne lid


If you are scanning a staple bound issue that you have not taken apart, this is where the second piece of paper is used. On pages where you think it will bleed through, place the construction paper in the magazine behind the page you are scanning. Ideally, you can put it behind every page just to ensure there will be no bleed-through on any pages, though it will take some extra time.


Scanning a Debound Magazine


When scanning a page, make sure that the top of the page is nicely aligned with either the top or the side of your scanner. Different scanners will either start the scan at the top of the glass, or it will cut a bit of the scan off. The same thing can happen along the side. Do a couple of tests and see if the scanner is capable of scanning the entire glass or if it cuts a bit from the top or side to determine where to edge up your page. If you can line up your page against the top of the glass, do so. Magazines are almost never cut straight, that's why it's wise to always use the top side of a page as a reference.


If you can edge the page up against either side because part of the scan will be cut off, try to get the page in the middle of the bed in relation to the sides of the scanner. This will ensure you are not losing part of the page from the scanner not being able to scan right to the side of the scanner. It will result in needing to do more straightening in Photoshop, but you will have a scan of the entire page. Close the lid slowly enough that it doesn't cause your page to move.


With your scanner settings in place, click or press whatever you need to to scan the page. Some software will give you a preview of the page you have on the scanner bed. This is often where you can make adjustments to saturation and descreening. If your software does this (notable, HP Solution Center, CanoScan Scanner Driver) go ahead and make those adjustments mentioned under Scanner Settings; the preview will reflect the changes you make. You can make these adjustments once and then click the Scan or Finish button to save the scan to a file; flip the page in the scanner over and click Save or Finish again and it will save the new page to a file. You can keep going along like this since the settings are already adjusted and will be applied to all subsequent scans. Other scanners will let you scan the page without a preview (e.g. Canon MP Navigation software).


If you come across pages, such as supplements and ads that are not counted towards the total page count of the issue, it is best to stop scanning once you get through those so we can make an adjustment.


The scanner will use whatever prefix you chose in the settings (usually "scan"), and add 0001 to the first scan, and increase the number by one for each scan. Because we want the page number in the file name to match the actual page number, we will change the filename of those pages not counted towards the magazines page count.


So let's say you just scanned 8 pages of ads from Konami, and you notice that the page before them was page 88 and the page after is page 89. Those 8 pages are not part of the page count. Find the first page of the ads and rename it from scan0089 to scan0088a. Rename the rest scan0088b through h, and that is it. Now, when you scan page 89, the scanner will give it the file name scan0089, and you'll be back on track.


Some magazines do not count their covers as pages. GamePro is one of these. Page 1 is the first page after the front inside cover. The easiest thing to do here is scan the Front cover, and inside front cover, and rename then to scan0000a and scan0000b before moving on with the rest of the magazines. When you are done scanning the magazine, rename the inside back cover scan0999a ad the back cover scan0999b.


When dealing with missing pages, we'll have to rename files once scanning is complete. We'll get into file renaming later. Or, you can save blank scans so the numbering isn't changed, and you can replace them after editing with the Missing Page image.


If you plan on scanning more than one magazine at a time before editing, create a folder where your scans are, and give it the name of the magazine (i.e. GamePro Issue 090 January 1997) and move the scans in there. Otherwise, move onto editing!


Scanning a Staple-bound Magazine


Staple-bound magazines follow the same procedure as scanning a perfect-bound magazine that has not been debound.


Scanning a Poster


Some issues included posters that could be removed and hung on a wall. If your issue has a poster, the best thing to do is scan it. It will be more work, but it will also make the magazine that much more complete.


The easiest way is to scan each piece of the poster separately as it's folded, and then piece it together in Photoshop. There are no real tricks to it. If you can unfold it a bit and scan a bit extra around each panel, it will give you some leeway when piecing it back together.