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Showing content with the highest reputation since 08/15/2009 in Tutorials

  1. 3 points
    I've decided to jump straight into the prequel, because it will be applicable to the most people. If you're reading this and are not actively contributing scans, then this guide applies to you. No Scanner, No Problem - Anyone Can Help Magazine scanning isn't for everyone. Not everyone owns magazines that are in need of being scanned, for one. An even more common problem is lack of access to a scanner. And even if a decent scanner and a stack of magazines is at hand, very few have the brass cojones needed to debind the mags so that they can be properly scanned. But that doesn't mean they can't help. Far from it, there are a number of ways to assist in the preservation of magazines without actually scanning any magazines. EDITING Debinding and scanning are only the first steps towards preserving a magazine. The most time consuming part of the process is editing. This is usually done in Photoshop, but there are a number of free alternatives such as Gimp which are just as capable of making scans ready for release. "But wait," you say - "I don't have a scanner - just what exactly am I supposed to be editing?" As it turns out, Retromags has a repository of raw scans (over 20 issues' worth at the time of this writing) just waiting for someone to volunteer to edit them. Anyone serious about doing so has simply to contact one of the staff and we can hook you up with a trial issue for you to edit (following Retromags' editing guidelines, of course). Even moreso than scanners, we are in desperate need of people willing to dedicate some of their time towards editing. If your edit is approved for release, you'll be promoted to Team Member and be recipient to all of the acclaim and riches which that entails. (*It entails no acclaim or riches.) I'd personally be happy to help you on your way, so what are you waiting for? DONATING This is a bit less vital, but is still a good way to help out, especially if you don't have the time to dedicate to editing. Donated mags usually take priority when a scanner is deciding what to scan next, so donating something you want to see preserved is a good way to ensure that it happens sooner rather than later. However, I do have some advice and words of caution for anyone looking to donate: There are (currently) very few active scanners to whom magazines can be donated, and all of them already have a queue of donated mags waiting to be scanned. So before you send someone that giant box full of 50 mags, make sure you are comfortable with the fact that it may be quite some time before they get scanned. Sending a small number of mags or even just a single "must-have" issue might actually increase the likelihood of seeing it scanned sooner. Of course, if you're cleaning out your closets and need to get rid of the mags regardless, then by all means, donate them to one of our scanners rather than tossing them out or contributing to the problem that is eBay. It may take a while, but they'll be scanned eventually. Don't expect to get the mags back. Our scanners debind all magazines in order to get the best possible scans, so all that would be left is a pile of loose pages. And even if you were OK with that and wanted those loose pages back, it's unlikely (though not necessarily out of the question) that the scanner is going to want to be bothered with arranging a return shipment in addition to doing all the work of scanning and editing the issues. Another thing to consider when donating is LOCATION. Retromags currently has scanners living in the USA, Canada, and Japan. Magazines are quite heavy, and international shipping is very expensive. Finding the scanner nearest you should definitely be a priority. Alternatively, it is always possible to donate magazines by buying them via auction or online store and having them shipped directly to a scanner. This isn't really something we've ever done before, so far as I know, but could actually be the most cost effective way of donating for some. Using myself as an example: I live in Japan, so shipping anything to me would be cost-prohibitive for most of our members. However, Japanese game magazines can be bought quite cheaply on Japanese auction sites, and there are several online stores in Japan which carry vast amounts of magazine back issues for prices much lower than what a typical American magazine costs on eBay. Theoretically, if there was an issue of a Japanese mag someone desperately wanted to have scanned, they could always purchase it (or arrange to have it purchased) and shipped directly to me for scanning, which would be FAR cheaper than either shipping the issue internationally or trying to acquire the magazine outside of Japan. Obviously this sort of thing would have to be arranged with the scanner on a case by case basis, but could be helpful for anyone wanting to see magazines preserved that they don't personally own or have an easy way of acquiring. ✪ SAYING THANK YOU ✪ Wait, what? How is being grateful going to help preserve magazines? Actually, this could very well be the most important way of all to help. Preserving magazines is a lot of work. For every mag you download, someone put in hours and hours of work, giving up their free time and getting nothing back for their efforts but the satisfaction of having helped contribute to a hobby they enjoy. But no one wants to contribute to a vacuum. Nothing saps a scanner's enthusiasm more so than an unresponsive reception to their efforts. Let's say I spend all day slaving away in the kitchen making an elaborate feast. You silently let yourself in through my front door, remove a plate from my cupboard, fill it with food, and then walk out the door again without so much as a glance in my direction, let alone a "thanks for the food." Now imagine dozens of other people doing the same thing, every single time I prepare a giant feast. Would it surprise you if I eventually decided to just stop cooking for anyone but myself? As a matter of fact, this has already occurred at one of the other major scanning sites, which got so fed up with people downloading everything under the sun without so much as a word of thanks that they've recently made the decision to become a closed community accessible only to people who contribute scans or donations. Retromags won't be going that route and will continue to be open to everyone, but I completely understand and sympathize with what led them to their decision. It sucks to put in so much personal time, effort, and money for other peoples' benefit and then not have them acknowledge it with a simple thank you. Retromags has a handy button located on every single download which with a single click can leave either a "like" or a "thanks" to show your appreciation. That's actually one less click than the two it took you to press the download button and then save it to your computer. It's likely that the scanner/editor spent at least 4-5 hours working to make that scan available to you. Surely it's not too much to ask one second of your time to click a single button? Feeling like people are actually appreciative of their efforts is the greatest motivation a scanner can have. I can't stress enough how important this is towards ensuring that the scans continue to come on a regular basis.
  2. 2 points
    Sometimes an image in a magazine stretches across two or more pages (with a fold-out poster, it could be up to 9 pages). Editing them back into a seamless image is something of a pain, but here are some tips. Debinding For this example, we're going to use a two-page spread from a glue-bound magazine, since that's more of a challenge than a stapled mag. First of all, this is what a glue-bound page looks like when removed using heat: All of those holes on the right side of the image are where the page is glued to the spine. The page has not been torn - those small pieces of the page simply aren't there to begin with (or rather, were removed during the binding process). This is as perfectly complete as you can possibly get when debinding a glue-bound mag. All of those holes are going to have to be filled in during editing. But this method of debinding is absolutely necessary if you want a seamless join. Suppose you had saved a few minutes and debound this magazine with a paper cutter, slicing away the spine and gutter. This would be the result: Looks fine, right? Yes, it looks perfectly good, and the small loss of image on the far right might be acceptable if this was a single-page image. But if you try to join two pages that have been similarly debound using a paper cutter, you can see that the image is not going to look seamless at all: Fixing the image at this point is pretty much impossible, since there is simply too much information missing (indeed, an actual paper slicer is almost definitely going to crop off even more than I did for this example picture). Because of course, this is actually what the two pages look like side by side after being debound with a slicer: ALL of that space in the center needs to be filled in order for the picture to look good. Suddenly those tiny holes from a heat-debound mag don't look so bad, eh? Editing: When joining images in Photoshop, you will be extremely reliant upon a handy feature called the "content-aware fill tool." First, you'll want to fill in all of those holes on the gutter side of each page. Sometimes this is very easy. If a page has nothing but solid color or very simple shapes with straight lines extending to the edge, you can usually just select the length of the gutter side with a rectangle tool, use the content-aware fill tool, and presto - you're done. This is what you will do with most pages which don't actually have images reaching all the way into the gutter. When joining images across multiple pages however, using the rectangle tool across the length of the page when selecting the area to be filled will make the image harder to match up with the facing page since it will alter all of the space between the holes as well. Look at the following pair of pictures carefully and you'll see that the image on the right isn't quite what it should be after having the selected rectangular area filled in: The answer, of course, is to use the lasso tool to select each hole individually, and using the content-aware fill on those holes only, leaving as much of the original image as possible intact. The next step is to line up the pictures as closely as possible. They will almost never align perfectly, so you will likely end up with some empty space at the top or bottom of one of the pages that will need to be filled, again, using the content-aware fill tool: Next comes detail work, using the fill tool (or sometimes the clone stamp) to more seamlessly blend areas that don't quite match up: Often times, the angle of one page will be slightly different that that of the other. Getting them both to align perfectly is almost impossible, so another trick worth experimenting with, particularly when it comes to straight lines that don't quite line up from one page to the next, is the warp tool: (After warping the image, you'll want to use the fill tool or possibly clone stamp to fix the warped pattern of the color dots in the background). Saving And finally, when you've got your image joined to your satisfaction, simply select one half of it (one page), cut and paste it into a separate window, apply any level adjustments, and save. Then with the remaining half, crop the area where the second page was by zooming way in to make sure you get the crop pixel perfect so that the pages will look seamless when viewed in two-page mode in a CBR reader: (select one page) (cut it away and paste it in a different window) (Zoom in to crop) Be sure to use the exact same level adjustments on both pages. You could do this before splitting the images apart, or course, but it's likely that you'll have already created an action set that will adjust levels, resize and save your image all with a single button press, in which case, you'll want to wait until the images have been split before performing the action. Voilà!! Now you see why editing can take so damn long if done well!
  3. 2 points
    OK, this is a VERY basic tutorial, but I've seen this handled incorrectly before, so I'm putting this here to clear things up. You may be interested in adding a missing cover to our galleries/databases, or perhaps you want to add an advertisement scan to our gallery. Sure, you could do so by scanning your own magazine, but another option is to simply extract the image from a magazine file that has already been scanned and edited. This is how you do that. We've got a lot of magazines available to download here, and most of them are in CBR format. CBR is essentially exactly the same as a RAR file. Likewise, CBZ is the same as a ZIP file. All of these types of files are simply containers for whatever is inside of them, in this case, the JPGs that make up the magazine scan. To access the files, all you need to do is un-rar or un-zip the file and extract the desired image(s). There's no need to rename the extension - you can open a CBR directly using Win-RAR simply by right-clicking the CBR and selecting "open with Win-RAR archiver" (or whatever program you're using.) This is one of the reasons we prefer CBR over PDF - it allows easy access to the images inside using free programs. A PDF locks the images into a proprietary format owned by Adobe so that they can only be directly accessed if using the paid version of Adobe Acrobat which costs a minimum of $13 per month for the most basic version. Unless you happen to be an employee or stockholder of Adobe, most people would agree that having free and open access to the files is the preferable option. But Retromags isn't the only place offering scans, and a lot of other places out there provide their mags as PDFs. So what can you do if you want to extract an image from a PDF and don't subscribe to Adobe? There are a bunch of free online programs out there that will convert PDF to JPG for you, but most of them will compress the JPG output, giving you a lower quality file than what was originally contained in the PDF. I realize that this is where I should recommend a free program for you to use, but I honestly have never found one that can extract the JPGs from a PDF without reducing their quality (including many that claim to have "lossless" extraction.) Have I mentioned that I think PDF is a horrible format for anything that is intended to be shared freely (such as our scans)? It really limits what you can do should you wish to alter or edit the files. If anyone knows of a good program for converting PDFs to JPGs, feel free to comment. Of course, what I do to access the files is simply drop the PDF into Photoshop. Photoshop is also an Adobe product, and thus is capable of extracting the images without lowering their quality. (And of course, Photoshop ain't free, either.) However, if you happen to have Photoshop and decide to use it for this purpose, there is an important step you need to be aware of. When you drag and drop a PDF into Photoshop, you will get the following box, from which you can select the image(s) you want to extract: By default, "pages" will be selected in the top left. YOU DO NOT WANT THIS TO BE SELECTED. Opening a file this way will change the image dimensions to whatever size is selected in the boxes on the right. In this case, it would enlarge the image to a 300ppi size, even though the actual image is smaller than that. So much like transcoding a 128kbps MP3 into a 320kbps MP3, it simply enlarges the file's size without increasing its quality (in fact, the quality is lowered.) To accurately extract the images, YOU MUST SELECT "Images". This will open the image at exactly the same quality and size as the original image that was converted to PDF. To be fair, it IS possible that the images in the PDF were originally the same size as the resolution selected on the right. So for example, if an image was originally 300ppi, then the image would be the same regardless of whether "Pages" or "Images" was selected. But there's no way of knowing that unless you extract it both ways and compare, so you're safer just always using "Images." The exception to this is a "True PDF." This sort of PDF allows for images to be cut up and stored in a heavily compressed form, while keeping the text as perfectly crisp digital font. A True PDF will undoubtedly be a commercial or official release and is not something that would be created by a scanner. Trying to extract a page from a True PDF using "Images" is impossible, since a single page is often broken up into a dozen different images, each stored separately within the PDF and recompiled when opened in a PDF viewer. In this case, you would have to select "Pages" which will open all of the images that comprise a single page as one coherent image, much in the same way a PDF reader recompiles the pages. Just be aware that the size and resolution of that image as it will appear when opened in Photoshop is somewhat arbitrary and based upon whatever settings you have selected in the box on the right. As I said, the images on such pages are often very low quality, and the text is perfect quality, so there isn't actually a single "true" size or quality for a page in a True PDF (ironic, no?) Just keep in mind that since True PDFs almost always sacrifice quality for small filesizes, opening an image in "pages" with a high resolution like 300ppi selected is only going to enlarge a low resolution image, probably making it look even worse.
  4. 2 points
    kitsunebi77's Guide To Magazine Preservation This guide is not meant to invalidate the separate pre-scan/debinding/scanning/editing/compiling guides in our support section or suggest that it is a better way of doing things. Rather, it is simply an alternate approach to the process based on my own personal preferences. No single guide will be applicable to everyone, since different scanning hardware and/or editing software will require different steps to be taken. Hopefully by sharing this alternate approach, the different viewpoints and advice found in both guides will allow a greater number of people to find them useful. All advice given in this guide is based upon the hardware and software I use to preserve magazines, which is as follows: Fuji Scansnap ix500 Photoshop CS6 ver 13.0 Weimall 1800w heat gun Scissors Part 1: Pre-Scan So you want to be a Retromags scanner. It's understandable. The fame. The prestige. The irresistibility to members of the opposite sex/same sex/non-binary gender sex/durrrty freaky anywhichway sex. Who could blame you? But wait. First, there are a few important questions you should ask yourself. Do you have the goods? You're gonna need magazines, a scanner, and some kind of editing software. Not all of that stuff is free, so if you don't already have it, there will be costs involved. I can personally recommend the Fuji ScanSnap ix500, since that's what I use. Barring that, I recommend that you find some other nice ADF document scanner. Magazines CAN be scanned with a flatbed scanner, but good god on a stick are they SLOW. I'm fairly certain that most people who begin scanning a magazine on a flatbed scanner realize before they're even halfway finished what a horrible, horrible mistake they've made and vow never to scan another mag on a flatbed again. At least, that's what happened to me and prompted my purchase of the scanner I currently use. For that matter, in my experience, flatbeds don't deliver results that look as nice as scans from a decent ADF. This is not to say that you CAN'T use a flatbed, especially if that's all you have and you don't want to invest in a better scanner. But if you choose to go the flatbed route, you'll need one more thing before you get started: the Patience of Job. You might be able to find those at Amazon, I'm not sure. OK, you've got the goods, but have you double checked to see if the mags you plan to scan are needed/allowed? There are several sites besides this one that release magazine scans. It would be a shame to put hours of work into scanning and editing a mag only to find out that it had already been scanned elsewhere. This is not to say that you can't make a better scan of something that's already out there. Lots of magazine scans at places like the Internet Archive are of dubious quality, and even here at Retromags a lot of our older scans could do with a higher quality re-scan. But unless having a better quality version of something that's already available is especially important to you, it's probably best to concentrate your efforts on scanning magazines that are as of yet unavailable in digital form. Some titles are not allowed to be hosted here due to specific requests from the copyright owners not to share scans. Others are not allowed because the publishers sell digital PDFs of back issues, and we are not interested in depriving them of their right to make money off of their products. So magazines like Diehard Gamefan, Game Informer, and Retro Gamer (to name the top 3 most well-known no-no mags) are not allowed to be hosted here. We have a 15-year cut-off date for magazines still being published, and a 10 year cut-off for magazines no longer in publication. As of 2018, that means that currently published mags up through December 2003 are allowed, and out-of-print mags up through December 2008 are allowed to be hosted here. Every year on January 1st, those cut-off dates roll forward one year Are you fully aware of what scanning a magazine entails? This might seem like a silly question, but a lot of wannabe scanners don't really understand the sacrifices that must be made. Your magazine will be destroyed. Yes, Virginia, all the mags you see here are scanned the same way - by placing the loose, de-bound pages into an ADF document scanner or else onto a flatbed. I know you think you can lay that still-bound mag flat enough on a flatbed to get a decent scan, but you'd be wrong. While technically possible with something extraordinarily short, such as a 20-page supplement, even a short 80-100 page stapled mag is going to have gutter distortion if scanned by pressing the still-bound mag against the glass of a flatbed (a square-bound mag will be even worse.) If you want to scan mags that way, it's your choice, but don't expect them to look good enough to be allowed to be hosted here. To be a Retromags Scanner ™ and lay claim to all that fame and sex appeal we discussed earlier, you're going to have to be willing to tear those mags apart like a chicken dinner. Keep the loose pages in a bag when you're finished if you must, but unfortunately good scans require sacrifice. Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime. Yeah, click on that link. Listen to it on repeat a few million times. BELIEVE IT, SON. Debinding is fairly quick. Scanning (assuming you aren't using a flatbed) is also quite manageable. But editing is no joke. It takes time. And then it takes more. And this isn't the sort of thing you multi-task, like watching TV while eating dinner or making mental plans for the weekend while "listening" to the boss's presentation. Editing is a dull, repetitive task that nevertheless requires your full attention for hours on end. I don't think I'm out of line to say that it's extremely rare that a mag would be edited from start to finish in a single day. An hour here, two hours there, and eventually you'll finish and wonder if it was all worth it. Um, hello? Were you paying attention earlier? Did I mention the groupies? Part 2 to follow... *disclaimer: scanning for Retromags does not guarantee attainment of fame, sex appeal, or groupies, however it does come fairly close to guaranteeing you'll never have any of those things. What did you expect? You still read magazines about video games. Nerd.
  5. 1 point
    If there's one single function of Photoshop I see horribly misused more than any other, it's the "saturation" adjustment. Saturation increases the intensity of the colors in your image. More color = better, right? Good lord, no. Too much saturation is one of the surest ways of ruining a perfectly good scan. If you have a decent scanner, YOU SHOULD NOT NEED TO EVER ADJUST SATURATION. Never. Ever. It's true that a photograph could be taken in less than ideal lighting conditions, or with a poor quality camera, and so the colors of a photograph can sometimes be in need of a saturation boost. However, we're not in the business of editing photographs, we're scanning magazines. The images in magazines have already been professionally edited to look their best, and our goal is to digitally capture that look with a scan. A terrible scanner cannot capture colors perfectly. In particular, florescent colors are notorious for being difficult to capture accurately by lower-end scanners. But a good scanner should be able to capture colors without much need for adjustment. Perhaps a small tweak here or there, but nothing significant. And I would like to again stress that saturation is one adjustment that should not need increasing. I'm going to pick on an image that just got uploaded to our gallery. I apologize to the uploader and want to stress that I'm not trying to pick on them at all. I don't know the source for their image or how (or if) they adjusted it in editing software. But because this particular image is from a new magazine, there are pure digital versions of it available at the publisher's website, which allows us to compare the one uploaded here to an untouched digital image (a digital proof). The untouched digital image is on the left. This is the image as it is meant to look. The edited or scanned picture is on the right. The first thing you should ask yourself is: which do you think looks better? Remember, the pic on the left is exactly as it was intended to look. If you prefer the picture on the right, you should consider that either the color settings on your display may need adjusting, or else that your preferences in color composition are leading you to prefer something very different from what the image is supposed to look like, and you should keep that in mind whenever editing scans so you can rein in your natural inclinations when editing color. The image on the right suffers from over-saturation. The colors are blown out, creating an unhealthy glow over the entire picture as well as creating some posterization (a loss of gradation between colors particularly noticeable in the shaded areas of the picture such as Yoshi's egg). The shadows on Yoshi's white areas have turned much more green. Almost all detail on the yellow area under the...dog-thing...has disappeared. Now, to be fair, since I don't know the origins of the pic on the right, the colors could be the direct result of the scanner used, and not due to any adjustments in editing. Regardless, by decreasing the saturation of the picture on the right, we can eliminate some of the yellow glow, even if lost detail can't be regained. From L to R: Digital, saturated, de-saturated. However, the colors in the original pic on the left don't actually match the de-saturated pic on the right. Presumably the middle pic was not created using the digital pic on the left as its source, so the starting hues were likely different. The hue of the color green in particular is noticeably different (in all three pictures). So if you want to match the colors to those in the leftmost pic exactly, you'll have to get more creative than simply adjusting saturation levels, and doing so is probably beyond the skills of the casual user. And assuming the middle picture (and thus the right pic as well) came from a scan, it's entirely possible that the printed mag itself had slightly different hues than the digital image. However, I'd still argue that the colors in the center pic are grossly oversaturated, either as a direct result of a scanner or else editing in Photoshop. Of course, the above is ultimately a silly example in the first place, since you're unlikely to ever be trying to edit a pic that has already been edited. But this picture aside, sometimes you may feel that a scan absolutely doesn't have enough color to do the original image justice. Particularly if you're using a flatbed scanner or other low-end scanner, the colors may be washed out and in need of a punch. But still, I say - DON'T TOUCH THE SATURATION. Not using the "Hue/Saturation" adjustment, anyway. However, you may find better and more natural results by experimenting with the "Vibrance" adjustment (which has its own unique saturation adjustment, as well). Rather than try to make my own tutorial, I'm going to defer to people who know much more than I do about Photoshop. Here is a nice video detailing the difference between saturation and vibrance, as well as the difference between the saturation adjustment in "Hue/Saturation" versus the saturation adjustment under "Vibrance." It's a much better demonstration than I can do, so I encourage anyone interested in color to watch: There's a million videos on YouTube about color adjustments, pretty much 100% of which are focused on editing photographs. But with a magazine scan, I want something a little faster and easier than creating a million layer masks and adjusting different colors in different areas separately or other high-level, time-consuming techniques. Here's another simpler trick worth experimenting with. I saw this video and have had fun experimenting with this technique. It can have pleasant results even with decent scans since it's a more subtle adjustment. At the end of the day, of course, we're stuck with whatever our scanners spit out as our starting point. A bad scan will be hard to make beautiful no matter what you do. I just want everyone to be extremely careful if you're considering adjusting the saturation levels of your images. It seems a shame to put effort into editing only to make an image worse.
  6. 1 point
    The Retromags collection at the time of this tutorial is over 1300 releases. Therefore in order to keep a project of this size organized we ask that items submitted into our Download Manager are accompanied with an MD5 checksum value. These checksum values act as digital fingerprints of the files found at this site. This fingerprint does not change if you rename the file or change the file extension. Only by modifying the contents of the file will the checksum value change. For example, just changing one pixel of one page in our Nintendo Power Issue 1 file, would change the checksum value for that file. So how do you calculate these checksum values? OnlineMD5.com http://onlinemd5.com/ Nothing to install, just open the web page and drag and drop the .CBR/.CBZ or .PDF file into the box above (1) and 15 seconds later you should have a checksum value in the highlighted box (2). MD5Checker http://getmd5checker.com/ MD5Checker is a free Windows based application that just unzips and runs from your PC. Again you just drag and drop your file onto the application and 10-15 seconds later the MD5 value appears. You are able to drag entire folders of files to be calculated for checksums with this program. It is also a portable application that can run off of a USB flash drive. WinMD5 http://www.winmd5.com/ WinMD5 is yet another free program to generate MD5 checksum values, this application only does one file at a time though. Still works the same as above, just drag and drop to get the checksum value. This program also can run off of a USB flash drive.