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If the MARKMAN wants to scan his early editions because he feels he can do a better job creating issues that are better than what is already available then by golly, just let him do it. If he's a little OCD about it so what right?

Ultimately people have a choice on whether they want to download a different version or not so no real harm in it other than possibly some "umming and ahhing" over the pros and cons causing mild headache in some people with a low broadband usage disposition.

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Definitely better resolution. I scan and edit at 600 DPI. I'll be separating the pages with a heat gun and getting closer alignment on those double page ads. It looks like the old scanners used a cutter. Since I have an A3 scanner, I can scan the entire cover piece front and back and capture the continuous art that Next Generation often had on its covers, including the spine, which the old scans do not have. The colors will be more accurate. The old scans have pale blues where there should be whites and bright bleeding reds where the red should be more subtle, probably the result of a really cheap color enhancement filter that uses red to draw attention. If you compare my scan of issue 1 with the old one, a good example of that is the double page ad on pages 68 and 69. My colors aren't perfect either but they're significantly closer to the actual page.

Then there's the simple fact that my scans are properly credited. I mean here we are talking about these old scans and we don't even know who made them. All we have is, "didn't JohnSmith scan of them?" Yeah, I guess. Scanning all the magazines would allow me to share all of them in one complete collection without having to ask permission or have someone someday say "hey I scanned that!" and then make demands on me, or contain any splash pages or credit pages, a collection that is already primed to be replaced in the future by full quality 600 DPI versions of itself, and one that I can look at without ever ever having to wonder if I could have made it better if I scanned it myself.

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Definitely better resolution. I scan and edit at 600 DPI. I'll be separating the pages with a heat gun and getting closer alignment on those double page ads. It looks like the old scanners used a cutter. Since I have an A3 scanner, I can scan the entire cover piece front and back and capture the continuous art that Next Generation often had on its covers, including the spine, which the old scans do not have. The colors will be more accurate. The old scans have pale blues where there should be whites and bright bleeding reds where the red should be more subtle, probably the result of a really cheap color enhancement filter that uses red to draw attention. If you compare my scan of issue 1 with the old one, a good example of that is the double page ad on pages 68 and 69. My colors aren't perfect either but they're significantly closer to the actual page.Then there's the simple fact that my scans are properly credited. I mean here we are talking about these old scans and we don't even know who made them. All we have is, "didn't JohnSmith scan of them?" Yeah, I guess. Scanning all the magazines would allow me to share all of them in one complete collection without having to ask permission or have someone someday say "hey I scanned that!" and then make demands on me, or contain any splash pages or credit pages, a collection that is already primed to be replaced in the future by full quality 600 DPI versions of itself, and one that I can look at without ever ever having to wonder if I could have made it better if I scanned it myself.

That sounds great. I don't know if you know but Next Generation is also one of my favorite mags. I actually preferred it to EGM during the time they coexisted. The scan crediting thing I think goes back to maybe like a little over a year ago when we the site got an upgrade and a lot of previously credited stuff was credited to Phillyman in the DL section when uploading to our server. Plus I think John Smiths stuff he just submitted it to the admins here and they uploaded it as the team member structure wasn't really as in place as it is now. I looked back on his work in progress thread and he maybe did 6 Next Generations. I only mention because his stuff was top notch and he had like perfect alignment on the scans he did. I kind of looked at his scans as the kind of quality I'd someday like to match. He talked a little about the difficulty doing so in his work in progress thread.

https://community.retromags.com/topic/9651-johnsmiths-work-in-progress/page-2#.Vu_Ej_BpZCk

The ones I did DL were honestly spectacular scans. So I was just thinking I'd be hard pressed to see improvement on those particular issues. But I haven't looked at any of the others to compare. Although I do know, at least with EGM, a lot of the older stuff is kind of subpar to what is being released in the last 2 years so I know where you are coming from. But make no mistake I Would love to see any scan that is technically better updated.

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His scans are very good, much better than the earlier issues. Their resolution is good (over 2600 px tall), the colors look mostly on point and the pages are all straightened, but his double-page graphic spreads could use some work and he doesn't have the spines.

Some of my old scans are like that too. I'll want to update my own scans someday to include spines and repaired double page spreads. I look at some of the Official Dreamcast scans I made last year and I regret being so rough and sloppy with page separation. It just didn't occur to me that I needed more patience and practice with the heat gun.

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Here is one of my scans from issue 22 of Next Generation followed by one from JohnSmith for comparison.

MTJScomparison.jpg

I have to admit his colors are more accurate, but they are a little oversaturated in the other direction. The real color is somewhere in between, but closer to his. But I did manage to scan the whole page and line two of them up so they connect almost perfectly. My scans are not perfect and people would be wise to hold on to JohnSmith's scans because they are excellent. I still want to make my own.

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That's a very good comparison. And kind of emblematic of all the problems you can run into in getting a scan to have that right balance of color. I stress about this all the time myself. I'm still not completely happy with my results. In my scans the colors I think are really good but I still haven't got them to really stand out quite as much. When I do get them to so called pop more the colors become off from original and some of the colors look a little over saturated. There is definetly a fine balance.

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That's a very good comparison. And kind of emblematic of all the problems you can run into in getting a scan to have that right balance of color. I stress about this all the time myself. I'm still not completely happy with my results. In my scans the colors I think are really good but I still haven't got them to really stand out quite as much. When I do get them to so called pop more the colors become off from original and some of the colors look a little over saturated. There is definetly a fine balance.

I suppose it comes down to the color temperature of the scanner's light source. Even different models of the same bulb can emit cooler or warmer light than another, and that will cause more blues or fewer reds to reflect back from a magazine.

I made a few selective color adjustments to see if I could match JohnSmith's scan just to see if it could even be done in principle. I think I got pretty close.

color_adjustments.jpg

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Well you guys I'm learning as I go, but it looks like what professionals to do is scan a test sheet of colors called a "target" provided by some company specializing in color standards like Kodak or Fuji. Then, through special automated software that compares the scan to how it should look, they create a color profile that automatically adjusts every other scan. Or they do what I just did and manually look for adjustments, except I didn't scan a target.

I found an old page that reviews targets from different companies and makes some recommendations. In the end using a substandard target is still better than not using one at all.

http://www.computer-darkroom.com/it8cal/it8_page_1.htm

I really should get on that.

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Not to say that I don't spend time in editing (I average about 2 minutes per page, unfortunately), but I don't think I've ever adjusted the colors on anything I scanned myself (black/white levels, yes, but not colors). A lot of scans out there look WAY over-saturated to me -which I can only assume was the failed result of an attempt to make things "pop." The colors from my scanner usually look pretty good to me, so I don't risk making them worse.

Edited by kitsunebi77
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Calibration targets are apparently very expensive. Ideally the sheet should be made of the same material as whatever you're scanning. There are many different kinds of magazine paper and I'm unable to find a calibration sheet for any kind. If I called a magazine printer they might be able to help but they're probably not cheap. Most of what's out there commercially is for slide and film scanners but there are some for reflective photo paper. I'm looking at one that costs 300 bucks. Just for a sheet of colors! Although there's a re-seller in Germany who buys them in bulk and then sells them individually at a discount. I really don't know how calibrating for color on photo paper will affect scans of magazine paper. It might help.

I'll keep looking.

Edited by marktrade
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I have to say I'm with kitsunebi77 on this one. I scan mine and tend to keep them as scanned for everything but the cover pages where I apply a tiny amount of color correction so the colors to my eyes look the same as the hard copy. No scientific analysis, just how I think it compares.

I am too darned old and have way, way too many mags to scan. If I do what Meppi does over at OoPA I might only get 10% of my mags scanned in what's left of my life. I'd rather scan and get them out there for others to play around with. Anything I put out is way better than Mort's scans which are the defacto, read only, UK content available in most cases so I take the opinion people would rather see bulk scans in good readable quality than a few scans in uber quality.

Maybe I'm wrong though if donations to my site are anything to go by....... :unsure:

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Calibration targets are apparently very expensive. Ideally the sheet should be made of the same material as whatever you're scanning. There are many different kinds of magazine paper and I'm unable to find a calibration sheet for any kind. If I called a magazine printer they might be able to help but they're probably not cheap. Most of what's out there commercially is for slide and film scanners but there are some for reflective photo paper. I'm looking at one that costs 300 bucks. Just for a sheet of colors! Although there's a re-seller in Germany who buys them in bulk and then sells them individually at a discount. I really don't know how calibrating for color on photo paper will affect scans of magazine paper. It might help.

I'll keep looking.

You are officially taking this way more seriously than I ever want to. Not that it's a bad thing - if you're that passionate about it, we all benefit. But I think I'll just keep winging it. :P

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I have to say I'm with kitsunebi77 on this one. I scan mine and tend to keep them as scanned for everything but the cover pages where I apply a tiny amount of color correction so the colors to my eyes look the same as the hard copy. No scientific analysis, just how I think it compares.

I am too darned old and have way, way too many mags to scan. If I do what Meppi does over at OoPA I might only get 10% of my mags scanned in what's left of my life. I'd rather scan and get them out there for others to play around with. Anything I put out is way better than Mort's scans which are the defacto, read only, UK content available in most cases so I take the opinion people would rather see bulk scans in good readable quality than a few scans in uber quality.

Maybe I'm wrong though if donations to my site are anything to go by....... :unsure:

Well the thing is if you scan a color target sheet and create a color profile for your scanner, then in theory you should be able to automatically correct any other scan you've ever done. I read in some places that professionals re-calibrate their scanners every few months or so just in case but I also read that scanners tend to be durable. Color correction should be a quick and automatic process if done properly.

I think.

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Great job on scanning Next Generation magazines, marktrade. I'd easily recommend rescanning any issue you have.

As for me, I've only uploaded four Next Generation magazines: May, June, July and September of 1996. All of the rest are from someone else, so those comparison pictures you're showing aren't from my scan. The issues I scanned were to fill in holes of digital collections I've come across, and they're all posted in my upload thread (I haven't done anything in a good while, due to other projects). I had plans of going back and redoing some of the posted NextGen mags, because their quality is generally poor/average, but when you're using a flatbed scanner those large Next Generation magazines are very daunting.

Also, I wasn't aware of using a heatgun to separate pages (I actually have a heatgun I could use, oddly enough). I use an exacto knife and try to cut as near as I can to the edge of the page. I've noticed my uploads are better than most for preserving edges in comparison, but your method has really produced the best two-page spreads. Is there any trick to using the heatgun? You just point it at the bind until you can tear the pages away?

As far as color and editing on my issues, I use the standard setting from the scanner, then snip the ends of the level chart to make the blacks and whites closer to black and white. Color is a tricky issue, and I generally don't mess with it. I find the blacks and whites more important since it makes text easier to read.

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  • Retromags Curator

The scan crediting thing I think goes back to maybe like a little over a year ago when we the site got an upgrade and a lot of previously credited stuff was credited to Phillyman in the DL section when uploading to our server.

When I initially installed the Download Manager everything was great until 2009. That is when HostGator told us to stop hosting files. Back then I was less knowledgeable about MySQL and did not know how to dump tables from the database. So we started over again, and re-uploaded everything to MegaUpload. Well then we all know what happened with them, they went down hard and again the Download Manager was broke. So we went to Rapidshare and redid the Download manager again, they went down and we started moving everything to FileFactory and then about 90% done I said lets get a dedicated host and we wiped the Download Manager again and are where we are today.

Anyone who scanned a magazine for Retromags, if the file is sitting under my account in the Download Manager, just let E-day or myself know and we will credit it back to you!

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I received word back from a color calibration professional saying that a standard IT8 photo paper target will correct most color faults in scanners, especially ADF scanners, which typically have a greater color fault as they are usually made for speed and not quality.

Because photo paper dyes are different from offset printing dyes used in magazines, there will be a "metamerism fault" in the resulting color profile, but this fault is preferred to not having a profile at all. I'm told that while this fault is often visible, it is much more easily corrected manually than the faults inherent in the scanner. I'm interested to see what this looks like.

He gave me a lot more technical information which I still have to parse and research, particularly regarding problems that might occur during profiling, what software to use and how to use it, but basically the answer is using a photo paper target is a lot better than not calibrating at all.

Great job on scanning Next Generation magazines, marktrade. I'd easily recommend rescanning any issue you have.

As for me, I've only uploaded four Next Generation magazines: May, June, July and September of 1996. All of the rest are from someone else, so those comparison pictures you're showing aren't from my scan. The issues I scanned were to fill in holes of digital collections I've come across, and they're all posted in my upload thread (I haven't done anything in a good while, due to other projects). I had plans of going back and redoing some of the posted NextGen mags, because their quality is generally poor/average, but when you're using a flatbed scanner those large Next Generation magazines are very daunting.

Also, I wasn't aware of using a heatgun to separate pages (I actually have a heatgun I could use, oddly enough). I use an exacto knife and try to cut as near as I can to the edge of the page. I've noticed my uploads are better than most for preserving edges in comparison, but your method has really produced the best two-page spreads. Is there any trick to using the heatgun? You just point it at the bind until you can tear the pages away?

As far as color and editing on my issues, I use the standard setting from the scanner, then snip the ends of the level chart to make the blacks and whites closer to black and white. Color is a tricky issue, and I generally don't mess with it. I find the blacks and whites more important since it makes text easier to read.


It's good to see you JohnSmith!

It took a lot of trial and error but so far I find the best technique with the heat gun is to point it at the page near the binding, so as not to melt all the glue, just loosen the point which the paper is attached, and then pull the sheet perpendicular to the binding and parallel to all the other sheets. I experienced a lot of problems earlier by pulling pages apart opposite one another.

I think it's possible making a color profile for our scanners could be very helpful. I'll learn more and report back.

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What I did is research the the best color scanners out of the box when I bought a new one last year. The scanner I got has top reviews for consumer level photo scanning for accurate color and features. A lot of it has to do with using an LED scanner light which generally gives more consistent results over time and has basically zero warmup. It's a a Canon LiDe model. So far on the test scans I've done it is extremely accurate. It can be improved by using a color profile though.

As far as software color correction, I like John Smith use vastly different methods than our site guide. Mostly based on info that adjusting saturation etc. alters the original image. The only thing you should have to do is adjust you curves or levels with a good scanner. There are two methods I researched to get the best results. The one John Smith uses is called cutting off the tails. You go to the levels graph of the image and should show a series of humps that trail off on both sides towards pure white and pure black. And quick and easy method to get good color is to cut off the tails on eighter side. I use the sampling method that is a little more involved but supposedly more accurate. You apply a threshold adjustment layer to the image and slide it left and right to find the brightest and darkest pixels on your image and mark them. Then remove the adjustment layer and do a regular levels adjustment and use those marked pixels as your sampling points for your white and black levels. As far as the grey adjustment, you can apply an adjustment threshold layer to find the pixels on your image that are absolute grey and then sample them. But I find it easier at that point to just manually slide the grey point slider manually to tune the image to what looks best while looking at the original page. I save the level profile and use it for that magazine. The problem I have is maybe my mo it or is not calibrated , but the lower number I use on the grey point the better the colors look but tends to make the image a little darker, while higher numbers tend to make it brighter but offset the colors a bit. I think I've found the optimum point for my scanner now though at .9 grey level. If you look at the last three scans I did I purposefully used 3 different values to see how they would come out when I put them on my iPad. The Bonk issue in ,y opinion was the best. Lower grey level numbers tended to make the screenshots in the mag look a little dark. Overall I'm really happy with the results I get as when I compare them to the page there is little to know difference. Also I do my covers separate;y from the rest of the Mage mostly due to the different paper and I want nice looking covers. I am totally happy with all my covers on my scans. The only other tip is in the levels I set absolute values on the RGB levels from 0-255 to 10-245. This keeps the whites from looking too white in relation other elements and was another tip a lot of people use color correcting.

Edited by Sean697
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That's all good and I remember posting about the sampling method in one of VGBounceHouse's threads. My scanner even had some auto-thresholding, which I've been using on all my scans. But the color correction I'm looking for doesn't come from white balance issues or contrast.

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If my head doesn't explode by the end of the day, I'll have a much better understanding of color spaces and color profiles, or at least the use of them.

I haven't even started color calibrating my scanner yet, but already I've discovered that my scans can be made a lot more accurate simply by adding an Adobe RGB 1998 color profile to them. The default working color space in Photoshop and the default color space in general for most computers is sRGB, which is good for monitors but not for print because print is capable of wider gamut of colors. Because I'm scanning print, it's more appropriate to use a wider color space. The most popular color space that's wider than sRGB is Adobe RGB 1998 and the effect is a much more faithful representation of the printed pages.

sRGB color profile

Next_Generation_22_page_00070_71_s_RGBws

Adobe RGB 1998

Next_Generation_22_page_00070_71_24bit_R

However, these images will look different depending on your browser and how it implements color management. In Firefox for example color management is very poorly implemented by default. You have to alter some settings in the config or download an extension to help you do it. I'm not kidding, even in the extension you have to click on the "advanced" tab and select an option that asks Firefox to respect the intent of embedded color profiles. Pretty inane. If a color profile is embedded, it's there to be respected, I think. In Safari and Chrome they should look fine.

I could start adding Adobe RGB 1998 profiles to all my scans now, but I'm wondering if I can do better, since I still haven't tried calibrating my scanner yet.

Edited by marktrade
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However, these images will look different depending on your browser and how it implements color management. In Firefox for example color management is very poorly implemented by default. You have to alter some settings in the config or download an extension to help you do it. I'm not kidding, even in the extension you have to click on the "advanced" tab and select an option that asks Firefox to respect the intent of embedded color profiles. Pretty inane. If a color profile is embedded, it's there to be respected, I think. In Safari and Chrome they should look fine.

This, combined with the fact that everyone has their displays tuned differently are exactly why I don't really worry about getting "true" color, since it won't actually look that way on most people's displays anyway. As long as it looks good to me, I'm satisfied.

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