VGBounceHouse

VGBounceHouse work-in-progress

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Posted (edited)

I've posted updates in my Xbox Documentary topic but in case that title is less likely to browse I wanted to share updates here. I have 2 magazines ready to go...

Official Xbox Magazine, March, 2004

000a-small.jpg

You can preview all the pages and download the 300dpi CBZ here: http://vgpavilion.com/mags/2004/03/oxm/pages/

Xbox Nation (XBN) Issue 2, Spring 2002

001-small.jpg

You can preview all the pages and download the 300dpi CBZ here: http://vgpavilion.com/mags/2002/sp/xbn/pages/

I'd love to contribute them. The OXM issue is still marked "Not Allowed". Both archives need the Retromags leadout image and well as resizing the pages from 300dpi to the Retromags standard.

I am currently working on OXM Issue 1 and hope to have it finished early next week.

Edited by VGBounceHouse
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Adding both files to server. But Phillyman needs to add these magazines to the 'Create File Download' option since its not selectable yet.

Awesome edits by the way. Looking nice.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks so much MigJmz!

I'd happily prepare proper CBZs but I've been out of the loop so long I'm not sure of the changes. Before the max size of pages was around 200dpi and file naming was a bit of a mystery. Are there updated guidelines somewhere for me to follow?

I haven't finished scanning OXM Number 1 but I have used the hairdryer method to separate the issue and have scanned some of it. Working on some early edits to confirm page size. Here's how the inner cover ad turned out:

Edit: looks like my 72dpi version doesn't pass muster like the above covers so here's a link to the 300dpi version: http://vgpavilion.com/mags/2001/12/oxm/pages/000b-001.jpg

Edited by VGBounceHouse

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You're a team member now, so you're able to upload and release files yourself.  If there isn't a download category for a magazine you want to upload, PM Phillyman and he can whip it up lickity split.  You also have access to the team member forum which has several topics which explain the uploading process in detail.

We've got over 1500 mags in our download section that should give you an idea of what the naming conventions are, but in case you've never downloaded a magazine from our site, the basic gist of it is: Magazine Title Issue # (date)

So something like Nintendo Player Issue 006 (October 1989) or whatever.  If the mag doesn't use issue numbers, it's better to use whatever system is used by the magazine itself, i.e. Game Player's Strategy Guide to Jaguar Games Vol.1 No.4 (January-February 1994).

As for file size, we don't size anything by dpi.  All jpgs must be resized to the same constant height (making sure that "constrain proportions" is selected so that the width adjusts automatically.  The minimum official size allowed is 2200 px high.  I believe E-Day's releases are still that size.  Since the restructuring of our downloads a while back, bandwidth has been less of a concern and so bigger files have started creeping in.  For the most part, there's little to no additional visual clarity at ordinary reading sizes, but the size you want your files released at is something you can decide.  I'm fairly certain anything close to 600dpi sizes are unwelcome, though.  Both by Retromags as a host, and by the majority of people who download mags and don't want a single mag taking up 2-5 GB.

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Yes, mine are still 2200 pixels in height. I also save a full size version (about 3240 pixels high) for future proofing in case they are ever needed. I know we've replaced scans that used to be smaller just to have something with better resolution, so I'm prepping for that just in case we decide to do that again.

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The macro edits (as in cropping, straightening, and merging of ads) look great, but I've got a couple of comments about the adjustment-level edits.

I went ahead and added the Xbox Nation issue, since it looks pretty good.  The sharpness looks a little soft to me, but it isn't a big deal.  Not sure if that's your scanner or something that happened during editing.  It seems to me that the filesizes are smaller than a typical mag of that size, so maybe your initial scan was saving the images at a higher compression ratio than normal?  Dunno.  I'm probably just overly used to big files since I scan at 600dpi and save at 2500px high or more, depending upon the size of the text in the mag being scanned.

Regardless, it's the Official Xbox Magazine that concerns me a little.  It's dark.  I mean, really dark.  The white pages honestly can't be called anything other than gray.  Or rather, a dark white/light gray with a darker mottled gray pattern overlayed on top.  I assume that the scanner is at fault here, but I'm curious if maybe it couldn't be ameliorated somewhat during editing.  There are a lot of ads with white text printed on solid black backgrounds, and I have to strain my eyes to read them because the contrast between the white and black is so slight.  I'd be curious to see if they might be able to be given a bit more clarity in Photoshop.  I wouldn't want to try editing files that have already been reduced to 2200 px high, but if you've got the originals it might be worth a shot.  If you're able to upload any of the original files to the QNAP I'd be happy to take a look. 

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Good morning everyone!

First, I have to apologize for being lazy. I've been so focused on the needs of my Xbox Documentary that I wasn't thinking about the procedures here, it had been so long I figured someone else would just point out mistakes and I'd go from there rather than looking things up or remembering my past work.

The softness levels you may have seen are most assuredly tied to me saving at JPG 9 instead of 12. I did this to fall under restrictions on social media sites where I was sharing work in progress as part of my daily updates on the documentary. I have gone ahead an re-saved both XBN and OXM at JPG 12 and created new CBZs which are significantly larger:

http://vgpavilion.com/mags/2004/03/oxm/pages/200403oxm.cbz

http://vgpavilion.com/mags/2002/sp/xbn/pages/200205sp-xbn.cbz

As for your kind offer kitsunebi77 I have created a ZIP with 6 TIFFs and 3 PSDs of each issue used to generated the JPGs. I have also included the same for OXM Issue 1 to show that this particular issue of OXM that seems "dark" really is. If you look at the stub page here you'll see the paervasive darkness even in the reds. I have 2 copies of the issue and they are equally dark. Here's is the archive with the pages, which include adjustment layers following the Retromags guide (though the Brightness/Contrast adjustment isn't active as it seemed to lessen the image quality based on my source scan and eyeballing):

http://vgpavilion.com/mags/2002/sp/xbn/pages/retromags.zip

All pages are equal height except for the subscription cards as I didn't do that overlay effect some of you do. Since these are loose it didn't seem to make sense but I could overlay them on a blank background. I start with my 600dpi scan and reduce to 300dpi and save to JPG there without regard to pixels. In this case the XBN issue is 3070 pixels high, while OXM is 3131. If it's preferable to lock the height it's easy enough for me to adjust my Action and export again. Please let me know.

Thanks again for the patience and I promise to take what I've learned/been reminded of here when I finish up OXM Issue 1 in a couple of days.

Chris

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1 minute ago, VGBounceHouse said:

The softness levels you may have seen are most assuredly tied to me saving at JPG 9 instead of 12. I did this to fall under restrictions on social media sites where I was sharing work in progress as part of my daily updates on the documentary. I have gone ahead an re-saved both XBN and OXM at JPG 12 and created new CBZs which are significantly larger:

Oh dear. 😆

One should NEVER save something at quality level 12.  It doesn't make the image better, but it DOES increase the file size.  Go ahead, drop any jpg into Photoshop, save it at jpg 12 without changing a thing, and watch as the new file ends up being a significantly larger filesize than the original.  It's just adding extra bloat.

No, based on what you described of your process, if there is any softness not present in your original 600dpi files, it would be because you reduce to 300dpi and then reduce again for your final release.  Better to edit in 600dpi and reduce once to your final output size.  But it could just be the scanner

Btw, yes, it is absolutely necessary to resize to a constant height for mags to be released at RM.  It doesn't really matter so much for people using CBR readers, since those are usually set to display images at a constant pixel height.  But I've heard it can cause problems if the files are ever converted to PDF (there are some people who prefer that format for reasons that elude me.)  So constant height is a must.  The files you uploaded earlier were a constant 2200, so no worries.

 

As for the OXM, if the original mag really was simply printed on gray paper, I guess nothing can be done about that.  I guess there must have been some sort of screw-up at the printing factory that month. 🤔

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Okay, my bad again, I re-checked the guide and it shows saving at JPG 9 which is what I had done before. Now back to re-exporting them all again. I only do a single resize before save. My Action crops the facing pages 600dpi original, resizes to 300dpi, then saves the JPG.

If you get the chance to look at the archive with the TIF scans and PSD edits and notice something I should be doing differently please let me know and I'll batch them again.

As for the OXM definitely not gray paper or wear, but dark and thin paper. If you reenable the brightness/contrast layer using the guide's suggested settings you'll see far more bleed. I use black paper on the scanner hood as recommended but this particular issue is just a lower grade stock and it shows.

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2 minutes ago, VGBounceHouse said:

Okay, my bad again, I re-checked the guide and it shows saving at JPG 9 which is what I had done before. Now back to re-exporting them all again. I only do a single resize before save. My Action crops the facing pages 600dpi original, resizes to 300dpi, then saves the JPG.

I'm not exactly sure what you're saying here.  It sounds like you're saying the only resizing you do is from 600 to 300 dpi, but the files you uploaded are a constant 2200 height, so there was definitely another step involved, since the 300dpi files would be larger than 2200px high (nor would they all be a constant height).

 

By the way, isn't it funny how we all use "dpi" when that's actually a completely different and unrelated thing from what we're actually talking about, which is ppi or pixels per inch.  I wonder if younger generations do that or if it's just us older people who grew up using dpi because of our need to constantly print things out to make them portable rather than just open them up on our laptops and tablets.

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59 minutes ago, kitsunebi77 said:

I'm not exactly sure what you're saying here.  It sounds like you're saying the only resizing you do is from 600 to 300 dpi, but the files you uploaded are a constant 2200 height, so there was definitely another step involved, since the 300dpi files would be larger than 2200px high (nor would they all be a constant height).

Someone else must have edited the files in my original CBZ files. In my XBN archive the pages are 2460x3070. In my OXM archive they are 2391x3131. It wasn't fun lol but I converted my files back to JPG 9 and the downloads now reflect this:

http://vgpavilion.com/mags/2004/03/oxm/pages/200403oxm.cbz

http://vgpavilion.com/mags/2002/sp/xbn/pages/200205sp-xbn.cbz

If you guys prefer I can adjust my action and build versions that are at 2200px tall. Should I do this?

Yeah, I started in the print world and am used to Lines Per Inch which has no real Dots Per Inch Analog, much like 4K movies versus 35MM film. I guess I stick to DPI as scanners typically use that measure at like standard units it's an easy talking point, 72dpi or 96dpi screen, 300dpi print, 600dpi scan etc.

Again sorry for all the mess. Let me know about the 2200px height resize and I'll run it, otherwise my currently available CBZs are ready to go for the most part.

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Took a look at your TIFF files and I'm gonna chalk the blurriness up to your scanner, since the 600dpi TIFF is blurry as well.  Here's a page of OXM at 600dpi followed by something I recently scanned at 600dpi.  One of the images was very slightly resized to make them both the same pixel height and they're shown at the same zoom (I forget, but it's around 38% zoom, I think).  Obviously the fonts and text sizes are different, so it isn't a 1:1 comparison, but I think there is a softness to the edges of the text in the OXM that can only be a result of the scanner itself:Untitled-1.jpgUntitled-2.jpg

 

I'm not going to reedit your files - they're yours to edit as you see fit, and everyone has different tastes. But for the hell of it, I ran the above page through PS and brightened it up a bit as well as sharpened it some (a step I normally don't do).  These are both re-sized to 2500px high (if you right-click and open them in a new tab you can see them full size).  I don't know which one is better.  Neither, really.  As you pointed out, the original mag was printed unusually dark, so you're stuck between a rock and a hard place with leaving it as is or overcompensating in the editing process.😕

09new.jpg09original.jpg

 

As for your uploaded mags, I suppose MigJmz must have sized them at 2200 when he uploaded them to the QNAP.  No need to make larger versions unless you're unhappy with the 2200 size and want your larger files to be the ones that get shared.  The file sizes on your higher res files are still reasonable, so it wouldn't be a problem if that's what you'd prefer.

 

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I have the scanner software set to Unsharp Mask Medium and Descreening set for Magazine (133lpi I Believe) otherwise no settings changes. Do you recommend something different?

What Brightness and Sharpening did you do? I'd like to try the settings and run a batch to see the difference particularly on the advertising. I can then prepare a new CBZ and we can decide whether that's worth sharing.

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5 hours ago, VGBounceHouse said:

I have the scanner software set to Unsharp Mask Medium and Descreening set for Magazine (133lpi I Believe) otherwise no settings changes. Do you recommend something different?

What Brightness and Sharpening did you do? I'd like to try the settings and run a batch to see the difference particularly on the advertising. I can then prepare a new CBZ and we can decide whether that's worth sharing.

I don't have your scanner, so I can't offer any advice.  I don't use any additional tweaks like unsharp or descreening on my scans, but I'm not using a flatbed.  Flatbed scanners are another of those aforementioned "between a rock and a hard place" where you have to try to find a balance between being blurry and producing hideous moir.😋  Every scanner is different, so all you can do is experiment. 

And...I didn't save a profile for that page I edited.  I just quickly eyeballed it before posting it and going to bed.  I know I had to pull the white level in much more than I typically would in addition to giving it a small brightness boost.  Sharpening was applied after I reduced the page since the original size was too large for normal sharpening to have much effect.  I can tell you though, that I don't personally use a single group of adjustments universally across all pages in a mag.  In my opinion, different types of pages require different settings.  A white page with mostly text is not the same as a dark page with edge-to-edge picture like an advertisement.  In fact, while I create an action set for ordinary mag pages, I usually edit advertisements on an ad by ad basis to ensure they look their best since I'll be uploading them to the ad Gallery here.

Anyway, I already created a download category for Official Xbox Magazine.  You're free to add the issue that is already in the QNAP yourself to the download section whenever you want, or else you can upload a different version to the QNAP and add that one instead (in which case you may need to ask Phillyman to delete the one that was previously uploaded).  Instructions are in the member's forum, and the new release post should be auto-posted, so no worries there.

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I have finished Official Xbox Magazine, Issue 1, December 2001. I want to prepare a proper RetroMags version and after comments here I still have a couple of questions.

The issue is viewable here: http://vgpavilion.com/mags/2001/12/oxm/pages/ with a direct download of the CBZ here: http://vgpavilion.com/mags/2001/12/oxm/pages/20011200.cbz

You'll immediately notice how much brighter this issue is than the other one I finished, and nothing different was done during the scanning/editing process. Both copies of the other issue were still bagged so the darkness of that one seems tied to the printing.

As for questions: my CBZ is 300dpi as usual, should I scale it to some fixed pixel standard? If not should I scale the RetroMags trailer page to match my pages?

Do I need to overlay subscription cards on a normal-sized page as I've done occasionally and I've seen in archives here? Right now they are cropped to size and scaled to 300dpi as usual so they don't match the height of the other images:

086a-small.jpg 086b-small.jpg

I also scanned Demo Disc sleeve:

sleeve00-small.jpg sleeve01-small.jpg

Should I include this? I also scanned the disc but it's essentially useless. If it looked as it appeared on Page 119 I could work with it, but the black in that image is just a dull silver on my disc.

On 6/14/2019 at 5:21 PM, kitsunebi77 said:

I don't have your scanner, so I can't offer any advice.  I don't use any additional tweaks like unsharp or descreening on my scans, but I'm not using a flatbed.  Flatbed scanners are another of those aforementioned "between a rock and a hard place" where you have to try to find a balance between being blurry and producing hideous moir.😋  Every scanner is different, so all you can do is experiment. 

After originally posting I forgot about my scanning process. Im knew my scanner could grab "clean" text so I ran some tests and assembled them into a single PSD for comparison sake. You can download it here: http://vgpavilion.com/mags/2001/12/oxm/pages/scan-test.zip

The "problem" boils down to scanning method. I know many people would think of a magazine as a "Document", and my software has a Document mode. I use Photo mode as it captures the color gradiations closer to how we see ads, artwork and photos in magazines. Even the clean scan in Document mode gets heavily anti-aliased just by running Descreening which is essential for images. Anti-aliasing is also introduced by the page straightening process. Theoretically I could double scan and merge the cleaner text from Document mode with the imagery from Photo mode, however I find the pages easily readable on an iPad with not zooming. I've asked my followers on Twitter and the common response was they had to zoom in real far to even see the anti-aliasing on the text.

Hope everyone's having a great week!

Chris

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I'll address some of this :)

The standard height for released scans is 2200 pixels in height (at 300dpi). I should say that is the minimum; if you want to go taller, feel free. I release at 2200 pixels tall but during the editing process  create a version that is full size (at 300dpi). This is usually 3240 pixels in height. I have a Photoshop action that does all this for me.

Thank you pages are here and come in two sizes: 2200 pixels tall and 3240 pixels tall: https://www.retromags.com/downloads/thankyou_missingpages.zip. If your scans are inbetween this, I think you can just use the full size one and not worry about scaling it down.

For subscription cards, they are annoying. I only include them now if one of the actual magazine pages it is with is about subscribing. If it's a card in a random place in the magazine, I toss it and pretend it was never there. I tend to overlay them on a black page, but some people don't bother. I see a benefit to both methods, but I think most people prefer the overlay method. I have never received a complaint about doing it that way.

I would include the demo disc sleeve as it's part of the magazine, sort of. I think I would put it at the end.

My flatbed scanner software has a magazine setting, so that's what I use. My ADF has document, and I think photo, but I use document. If it has photo, I will give that a test.

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Thanks E-Day! I grabbed the updated support images. I'm gonna tweak the Official Xbox Magazine archive to remove the cards and add the sleeve. In the meantime I finished one that had been on the burner far too long, Electronic Games Issue 25, March 1984:

001-small.jpg

I tried to follow the instructions to upload but couldn't get them to work. I thought I could just go to then issue and upload it there but the Edit button doesn't seem to have the option. I made a Retromags-style CBZ and made it available here: http://vgpavilion.com/mags/1984/05/eg/Electronic Games Issue 25 (March 1984).cbz

You can view the issue on my site here: http://vgpavilion.com/mags/1984/05/eg/pages/

I'll play around some more and once I've got it figured out I'll do the OXM release.

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I edited the Official Xbox Magazine Issue 1 entry along with the Electronic Games issue. The link to download Electronic Games from my site appeared but not for OXM. The link is:

http://vgpavilion.com/mags/2001/12/oxm/Official Xbox Magazine Issue 1 (December 2001).cbz

The final archive includes the sleeve which I named so it would appear after the pages but before the Retromags page.

 

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I've finished work on this issue of XBN and am finalizing things for release. You can view it online here:

http://vgpavilion.com/mags/2002/su/xbn/pages/

Lots of editorial and printing issues with this one. I have two copies, both in very good condition, yet the number of offset errors, printed blotches and other irregularities appeared in both. Their use of white text was a constant complaint from readers thought the magazine's run but they never wavered. Also on Page 89 under the advertiser list it implies there was a pullout from Vivendi Universal Games. I didn't have such a thing in either copy, and the one I debound with a hair dryer had no indications of an insert at that page. I still had a loose subscription card so I'm thinking this was just an editorial error, but just in case if anyone else has a copy of this issue can you check for an 8 page pullout?

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Is there a way to clone you 10 times so that you can edit everything? I don't have the patience to make everything look immaculate the way you do. I could use 10 clones of you myself to edit the non-GamePro stuff I'm scanning :).

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I'm hoping to have a surprise for everyone before the end of the weekend but in the meantime I wanted to share a link to the HTMLized version of Xbox Nation  (XBN) Issue 3, Summer 2002.

http://vgpavilion.com/mags/2002/su/xbn/

I still have some final touches to make like internal links, but every article is available for reading, something that was often difficult with the printed magazine due to their use of white text, particularly when there were offset plates out of alignment or oddly small font sizes.

Some fun for a hot day from the surprise I'm working on:

015a-rm.jpg

015b-rm.jpg

015c-rm.jpg

 

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