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Editing And Restoring Old Magazines

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I think most will know the basics for scanning and editing magazines, so I'm just going to briefly touch upon that before getting into the main part of this post.

You scan a page in 300dpi, rotate if necessary so that the text does not appear slanted.

Afterwards you crop the page and fill in the edges with the clone option in Photoshop or Photostudio.

This way you'll get a nice straight edge around the page.

Then you resize the page to a width of 1280 and if the page doesn't require additional editing, then you're done.

Now save the page as a JPG at 90% quality to get the best result while keeping the size at around 500kb.

But most pages could use a bit of touching up, be it white/black dots, scratches, dog ears, etc.

The most important tool to deal with all of these problems is the clone tool.

That one will solve 90% of your problems.

For covers and pages that need to be scanned in several pieces you can always cheat by copying parts of the page to another one you're working on. (See my tutorial for scanning pages larger than your printer size)

The techniques remain the same.

Now on to the main problem.

With old magazines one of the most common problems is discoloration of the pages.

Leaving darker smudges or complete areas on pages that should overall be white or any other plain background color.

This also happens at the bindings of the magazine if they are scanned without debinding them.

Until now I thought that the best option for this was to use the Bucket Fill tool.

The big problem with this technique is that you get lots of artefacts around pictures and actually also around all the text.

You also lose the feel of the original magazine as everything becomes very sterile.

The way I'm doing things now preserves the "texture" feeling of the original magazine and at the same time remove all the smudges and darker spots.

Again, the Clone tool is your best friend.

Set the opacity at around 80 and the Brush Size anywhere between 40 and 60.

Now pick a nice open spot close to the discoloration and clone this.

Then go over the nearby spots and dirty looking open spaces until you get a nice even looking area where everything blends in.

Repeat this for every part of the page that has nothing but background.

Hopefully this example page will illustrate what I'm trying to explain here.


You clone the parts at the green hart and then go to the pink strips where the arrow points at on this page.

Since you are using a large brush, but also an opacity of only 80 or so, you don't get to clone the original spot completely,

but instead you paint a transparent layer over the dirty parts which pretty much cancels out the dirt.

As an example, once you've done the short bar on the top left, you can use this newly painted part as a basis for the very long part just under it, indicated by the smiley.

The same thing goes for the parts on the right, which in this case are at the bindings side, so these will need more attention than the left side here.

After writing all this down, it actually sounds much more complicated than it actually is.

And while it could sometimes take up to a half hour to make a problematic page try to look good with the bucket fill method, after a bit of practice with this technique it will only take up 5 minutes at most.

After all this is said and done, the best option is to not have to do any of this at all.

So if you get very clean pages after the standard scan, crop and resize, so much the better. ;)

If not, I found this to be pretty quick, effective solution to deal with these problems.

Like I said before, this way you keep that actual magazine feeling intact which is very important to me.

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The paint-bucket tool is horrendous for that, If I was going to try to hack at it, I would use the magic wand tool, then alter the selection, perhaps contract and feather it, with the select menu. At least that way I could ensure that what I select is contiguous, as well as alter the selection with various tools including quick-mask which would allow me to brush out unwanted selections with a... brush.

A word on rotating, my advice is to do it in conjunction with Photoshop's ruler tool.

The following images are hosted by :

Open up the crooked image of your choice, then select the ruler tool, which should be available by holding down the left mouse button over the eyedropper tool in the tool pallet, then selecting the ruler looking thing, or by pressing Shift+I until it magically appears:


Find something on the page that should be perfectly straight. If this is a photo where you can see the horizon, you could use that, if it's a magazine, you can use the bottom of a photo that's on a page that's supposed to have a straight alignment, or you can use the baseline of text if need be (the bottom of letters that don't have tails, go across as many on one line as you can find), or you can use some weird box of text like I did. When you find what you think should be a perfectly straight line, but you realize that it isn't, click and hold the ruler tool from the bottom left of the object, and drag it across to the right, tracing the edge as best as you can (zoom in if you need to, I did).


Here's where the magic comes in, once you have that line made with your ruler tracing the edge as well as possible, go to [image>Rotate Canvas>Arbitrary], leave the number and direction at what they are (the ruler tool filled them out for you), and press OK.

The result is that everything on the page should now be quite straight, assuming no flaws in the scan:


Then you would crop and resize. It is best to do this before any initial cropping, editing, or resize, if you have the raw image, that's the best time to do this as this trick will likely make it so you have to crop again.

When resizing an image, always keep in mind that it's better to reduce the size than increase the size, this is important, don't increase the size unless you have no other choice. When reducing an image size, you're taking away already existing information, when increasing the size, you're forcing Photoshop to take a wild guess at what should be there, all it does is blur the hell out of pixels and make the image look fuzzy. That's not too much of a problem if you're only resizing a large image by 1%, but if you're resizing a small image, or if you're resizing a large image by a great amount, expect fuzz. Avoid up-sizing if at all possible (redundant enough?)

If anyone wants to follow along on the page I used (I dunno why, any image/page will work so long as it's crooked) It's Nintendo Power March 1996 issue 82 page 32

[edit] Oops, someone already mentioned the ruler/rotate technique in another post :: bangs head :: [/edit]

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