Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 03/28/2019 in Tutorials

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.