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Family Computer Magazine Issue 010 (April 18, 1986)

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About This File

This issue is a perfect example of why I think CBR is a better format than PDF for magazine scans (there's not even an argument of which is better for comics - CBR readers were created in the first place because PDF is such a godawful format for comics.)  When we have facing pages forming images/text that can't be properly read unless both pages are viewed at the same time, such as the maps for The Legend of Zelda found in this issue, it makes sense that those pages be left as a single jpg.  Whether the CBR reader is set to view single pages or two pages at a time, when it gets to a two-page join that has been saved as a single image, it will display ONLY that two page join.  PDF viewers aren't able to make the distinction between pages of different sizes, and leaving the pages joined would cause the PDF reader to display the joined pages as one page with the following page set as the facing page, thus displaying 3 pages side by side and throwing off the facing pages for the rest of the mag thereafter.   If two 2-page joins immediately followed one another, a CBR reader would display them one at a time, while a PDF reader would put them side by side, trying to squeeze 4 pages on screen at once.

Stupid PDF reader displaying 4 pages in "two-page mode":


Also, pages like the Goonies maps, which were printed sideways in the mag, can be rotated into landscape orientation and the CBR reader knows to treat them the same as a two-page join - displaying them one at a time regardless of whether you're reading in one or two-page mode.  PDF readers would take two of those rotated images and display them side by side if you were viewing in two-page mode.

Another plus of a CBR reader is that pages of different sizes don't cause problems.  You can set the CBR reader to display all pages at any pixel height you like, it will shrink or enlarge the images to match your desired size, giving images of different sizes a uniform appearance.  PDF readers don't do this, so if you had an image followed by another image twice the height of the first, they would be displayed side by side at two completely different sizes (this is the root of the rule that mag pages be saved at a uniform height, even though it isn't actually necessary for CBR readers.)

Whenever I upload a mag to the Internet Archive, I include a note reminding people that the mag was edited and intended to be read as a CBR.  The preview reader they have is based on the compressed PDF they auto-generate, and it quite often displays things incorrectly (just as any PDF reader would.)


But hey, maybe you prefer PDFs.  In which case... YOU'RE OVERRULED!  This ain't the place to complain, get out of here, ya lousy bum!! 😜


P.S. As usual kids, you've got to set your CBR reader to Japanese/manga mode if you don't want all the facing pages to be in the wrong order.

Edited by kitsunebi

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The quality of these scans are phenomenal, HardcoreHubz and Kitsunebi 🤯

Edited by TresHombres
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5 hours ago, TresHombres said:

The quality of these scans are phenomenal, HardcoreHubz and Kitsunebi 🤯

Thanks.  I'm about to dump some heavy info on y'all, so TLDR: Thanks again.

There are a number of reasons for the quality of this scan, but the main one is: the magazine itself.

The Japanese book/manga/magazine industry is important on a level of magnitude higher than it is in the USA.  When I visit America, I hardly ever see any bookstores anymore, and it seems the only reason people go to a Barnes & Noble is to relax in its mostly empty peace and quiet while having some Starbucks.  Meanwhile, there's a 3 story bookstore a couple of blocks from my home that is always so packed it has to have 2 parking lot attendants directing the traffic which is always backed up so far it spills into the street.  People still love printed media here.  Back in the 80s when these mags were published, it was probably even moreso. 

But what really helps us out, when it comes to scanning mags, is that Japan has MUCH MUCH higher standards of printing than the USA/UK.  USA/UK mags are almost always printed on very low-quality paper.  USA/UK paper is thin (the loose pages would probably fly away if I sneezed on them), and it's never WHITE WHITE to begin with, let alone after 30 years, when it turns into a lovely shade of splotchy brownish yellow.  Japanese mags, on the other hand, especially older ones, are printed on paper that we Americans would think of as "coffee-table book quality."  It's thick (not much danger of bleed-through when scanning), and it is WHITE.  And more importantly, 30 years later, it's still WHITE.

Now, don't get me wrong, a Japanese mag stored in a shed outside for 30 years isn't going to be immune to the elements, and some mags are printed on better paper than others.  Family Computer Magazine is a much higher quality mag than Famitsu, for example. And for that matter, any given issue of a Japanese mag may have several different paper stocks used - older Famitsu's have 3 different types of paper used in every issue, some of which age well, and others that don't.  But I can always tell when I get mags that have been taken care of over the years, since they look brand new, no matter how old they are.  I've got an issue of Family Computer Magazine from 1990 I haven't scanned yet, and its pages COULD NOT BE MORE WHITE.  It's pristine.  I dare you to find a gaming mag from 1990 printed in the USA/UK in such a state.  Even sealed in a vacuum, they simply never looked that good hot off the press.

So I'd say Japanese printing deserves the lion-share of the praise for the actual SCAN quality, since what does the best scan do if not capture the source accurately?  An excellent-looking source = an excellent looking scan.  That said, harcorehubz creates just about the best scans possible and his efforts are certainly vital to the final result.  First of all, he uses a Fujitsu fi-7460, which is an A3 scanner that currently costs $2500 on Amazon.  That's like 6 times the price of the scanner most of the rest of us are using.  It allows him to remove the staples and scan the pages without separating them.  While this isn't strictly necessary for getting a perfect scan, it IS important in one crucial way - the entire page is getting scanned.  I have to use a heat gun or scissors to debind my mags in order to fit into an A4 scanner.  Many of the scanners at Retromags, however, use a guillotine cutter to debind their mags, which slices away a small amount of the image on the gutter side of every single page.  If you ever switch to two page mode and wonder why a double page ad doesn't match up on one of those scans, that's why - part of the ad got cut away before it ever even went through the scanner.  I very rarely edit other people's scans, and one reason for that is that I refuse to edit mags that have been cut with a guillotine cutter, since creating a perfect edit from such scans is impossible.

This is one of harcorehubz's RAW scans.  Completely untouched by any editing software (other than shrinking it so it can be inserted into this post).  As you can see, the entire page has been scanned, and the pages themselves are already looking quite good on bright white paper:


Which leads to the final step in creating quality scans - editing.  harcorehubz has given me complete pages to work with, but on a stapled mag, aside from the very center page, facing pages are still completely separate elements from each other (the above sheet of paper is pages 4 and 112, for example.)  Most people tend to edit pages one at a time.  What I do is, any time there are pictures or text crossing both facing pages, I take both pages and edit them together as a single image.  Once they have been joined as best as I can, I separate them into two files again to save in the CBR.  If it's necessary for the reader's eye to cross from the left page to the right and then back again over and over to accurately read the information, I'll leave the pages joined.  But otherwise, if people want to see the images joined, they simply need to switch to two page mode (preferably not Sumatra PDF or some other crap reader that puts a gap between the pages.)  I sometimes don't bother when the only background element crossing both pages is something unimportant, like a page border.  And other times, I make sure those match up as well - it just depends on my mood, I guess.  Though since these are someone else's scans, I tend to err on doing everything to the best of my abilities.


As an aside, the previous 4 issues of harcorehubz's Famimaga I edited weren't in the great condition this one was.  On this one, all of the editing was in straightening, merging images, and repairing minor damage.  The colors were pretty much good to go.  The previous issues were either printed on different paper or had been stored/aged poorly.  The beginning (and ending) 20-30 pages or so suffered from severe yellowing around the edges of the pages, while the pages towards the center of the mag suffered less so.  I did the best I could to remove the yellowing without damaging the images/text, which is what would happen if you were to simply crank up the white levels (I actually never even touch the "levels" adjustment anymore, and work mostly with "curves.")  But if you look closely, there's still a big difference between issues 6-9 and issue 10, and it's all down to the quality of the source - the magazine itself.

(Here's a raw from issue 6 next to my edit:)


And now we've come full circle. 



Did anybody actually read all that? 🤣

Edited by kitsunebi
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