This guide will be written using a flatbed scanner for scanning and Adobe Photoshop for editing, since they are the most common methods used on the site.
While it is generally advised to use a flatbed scanner rather than an auto document feeders (ADF) because you have greater control over the scans even though it is slower, if you have an ADF that does a good job scanning, feel free to use it. It will cause more bleed-through than an flatbed scanner, but most of that can be corrected in the editing process during colour correction. With an ADF, some pages may come out too crooked to edit properly, so you will have to scan them again. And pages that fold out will probably have to be scanned manually. If your ADF does not support two-sided scanning, you will have to run the pages through once, rename the files appropriately (page 1, page 3, page 5, etc), re-order the pages and run them through again. It's a bit of a nuisance, but it is still faster than using a flatbed scanner. And obviously, an ADF scanner cannot be used for staple bound magazines you are not taking apart.
For editing, I will be using Adobe Photoshop for this guide, simply because that is what I use, and will be providing an Action Sets for colour correction in the editing section. I will provide the settings from the Action Sets in the editing guide for those who are using a different program.
So you want to scan a magazine? Bravo! You are about to undertake a rewarding process in which the end product is something to be proud of! Let's start off at the beginning: picking a magazine to scan. You can make this decision many different ways...
- What's interesting?
- What's old?
- What do you own?
- What still needs to be scanned?
- What's your rarest magazine?
In the end what you scan is really up to you. Retromags only tries to be a centralized location for people to come together and preserve a part of video gaming history. However, we abide by some of our own rules in order to good will towards publishers. We ask that you do not submit the following:
- For magazines still being published, we have a 15-year rolling cutoff date. So for 2016, everything up to December 2001 can be scanned. In 2017, this changed to everything up to December 2002.
- For defunct magazines, there is a rolling 10-year cutoff date. For instance, in 2015, you can submit anything from December 2005 and earlier, but nothing from 2006 and later. In 2016, everything from 2006 and earlier is allowed.
- No Gamefan magazine
- No Game Informer magazines
We also ask that if you are going to scan and submit a magazine that it is as complete as possible. While we don't expect anyone to bother scanning a subscription card (though you can if you want), we don't want our members to skip sections of magazines that they don't have interest in. The most common things we see people ignoring include:
The general feel of a magazine is lost when only the articles are scanned, so please include everything listed above. Also since everyone probably has a different scanner, if another member chooses to go back and scan the missing pages, the issue won't look the same from page to page (also known as Frankenstein syndrome).
If the issue you are scanning is missing a page or two, or part of the page cut out, don't worry. We have custom “Missing Page” images for such an occasion that can be inserted where the missing pages are. We'll deal more with this in the Editing section.
The last thing we ask is that you only submit magazines that you have personally scanned. When you take the time to scan a magazine and release it, the last thing you would want is someone else passing that work off as their own. This also applies to magazines you found on the internet and fixed up. We have more than enough magazines that could use touching up if this is how you want to help.
Here is a quick list of the basic guidelines we would like you to follow for your scans:
- Please scan the entire magazine
- Share with everyone
- Submissions to Retromags must have the Retromags "Thank You" Page (coming soon)
- Submissions are forever
- You can share your scans anywhere you wish.
Now you have a magazine that you would like to digitalize, consider the following:
- Make sure no one else is scanning it
- Make sure it hasn't been scanned already
- Make sure falls within what is allowed to be scanned
- Decide if you wish to debind it
- Create/Update a Work in Progress thread in the Magazine Talk Section if you want
When you go into the Magazine section, you will see that under the cover of every magazine in the database, there is a small status. The most common and important ones are:
Missing: No one on the site has this issue, or it has not been scanned
Scanning: Someone is currently scanning this issue
Acquired: Someone has this magazine on hand (helpful if you are looking to buy/find magazines that need to be scanned and do not want to purchase issues that someone else already has)
Preserved: This magazine has been scanned and is available for downloading
Preserved (R): This magazine is currently preserved on the site, but could use an updated/better quality scan
Not Allowed: This magazine/issue is not allowed on the site
Deciding if you wish to Debind (aka remove the binding) is dependent on the value of the magazine to you. (See: Debinding).
If you want, you can also start a thread in the Magazine Talk section of the forum called "(Your username)'s Work in Progress". This is an easy way to show people who aren't scanners/contributors and who don't need to use the Project Tracker what they have to look forward to. Once you already have a thread, you can just add posts to it as you have updates.