Manga News: Check out this week's new manga (10/13/14 - 10/19/14).
Forum News: The nomination phase of the Community Awards 2014 is live! Visit new sections for Nisekoi and Kingdom!
Translations: Gintama 515 (2)
April 26th, 2006
- File handling settings updated
- Link to better Pen Tool tutorial added
- Levelling section updated (thanks pzero)
- Links to more grey patterns added
April 1st, 2006
- Table of Contents Added
- Another example on how to do the greys by Itaku added.
- Further clarification on the Frame/Panel outlines section
- Cleaning the SFX section has been fixed - "Contract Selection" is no good 90% of the time.
March 31st, 2006
- Compendium posted.
- Compendium made available for public use.
Table of Contents
- Letter from Shinwei
- File Handling
- Photoshop Techniques
- Lasso, Fill, and Stroke
- The Brush - Love and Hate
- Pen Tool Primer
- Cleaning Process
- Step One: Levels
- Step Two: Rotation
- Step Three: Bubbles
- Step Four: Frame/Panel Outlines
- Step Five: Clean the SFX
- Step Six: Blacken the Blacks
- Step Seven: Enhance the Lines
- Step Eight: Greys!
- Step Nine: Clean the Whites
Letter from Shinwei
Hello everyone, I should have done something like this a long time ago but I just never got around to it. I feel it would probably be a good idea share all of the techniques I use for cleaning with all of you. I do not claim to be a perfect cleaner nor do I expect any of you to be, we are all here to learn from each other and to release One Piece because it is a manga that totally deserves the highest level of cleaning love <3. That said, I present to you the Rampage Cleaners' Compendium and I hope that it will grow over time as stuff is added by both me and you.
First things first, I'll start off with a little bit of cleaning philosophy which I believe is one of the cardinal rules of cleaning:
If there exists a technique that will take a longer time, that technique will probably produce higher quality results.
Cleaning is a test of patience. There are times when you just want to tear your eyes and hair out in frustration when you just can't get something to look the way you want, or when it takes you a two hours just to do a single panel only to realize there's 4 more on that same page. I know its happened to me, and its times like those that you really start to wonder why your doing this in the first place. Don't be afraid to take breaks, we want to keep this experience as enjoyable for everyone as possible, and the ultimate goal is simply to please the reader we are trying to reach. At times it will not feel like its worth it, because its very true that this activity does not come with very high rewards. Nevertheless, I am very glad you all chose to join me in our desire to release high quality manga to the masses, and here in this thread we will try to assemble everything we need to know in order to clean at the highest possible quality at the highest efficiency.
File Handling *Updated 4/26/06*
PNG is the best format to use for manga pages. The settings I use in Photoshop when saving are as follows:
File > Save for Web
The screen should look like the one on the right.
I have those settings saved as "PNG-8 16 No Dither" and you should too. To save and load settings, click that arrow thingy on the right side of the screen above the word "Interlaced".
Those are my favorite settings. However, note that if you use some fancy patterns or whatever, 16 colors may not cut it and you may be forced to crank it up to 32 at the expense of some filesize. Just remember quality is of #1 importance.
All the stuff we use to clean:
Lasso, Fill, and Stroke
The first tool you should probably familiarize yourself with is the Polygonal Lasso tool (L). Its very simple to use, and if you don't already know how to use it you probably wouldn't be here. Using this to make selections then filling them with either black or white is something you should find yourself doing over and over again while cleaning.
There are also two functions in the Edit menu that come in very useful when you make selections with the Lasso. These are Fill and Stroke. You should be familiar with Fill. Stroke is very simple as well, and if you open it up you should easily be able to understand how to use it. Stroke is very useful to enhance the lines of manga panel borders and text bubbles.
The Brush - Love and Hate
The Brush. A universally useful tool that can also be the biggest pain in the butt. I generally have two presets saved for my brush to allow for easy switching, and they are:
-1px Hard Round Brush
Extremely useful for the fine points. This can be used to trace lines and everything.
-5px Hard Round Brush
This is the setting I use for broad cleaning purposes. Brush black to clean white specks on black areas, brush white to clean black specks on white areas.
Pen Tool Primer
The Pen Tool is my favorite tool in Photoshop. It is phenomenally useful and I can't imagine having to clean manga without it. However, for some reason its not that popular and many people who I've met have never even used it before, so here I'll give a short primer.
Let's start by setting it up. We want to draw PATHS and not SHAPES, so make sure the settings at the top of your screen after selecting the Pen Tool (P) are as follows:
Now just try drawing shapes with the Pen Tool on a new document. You should find that it is very similar to the Lasso tool, but that's not all it is. Paths drawn using the Pen Tool can easily be saved and manipulated, so if you make a mistake you don't have to start all over like you do with the Lasso tool. Play around with the Paths palette, which should be in the same window as your Layers and Channels palettes to see what you can do there.
Next comes the main strength and power of the pen tool: the bezier curve function.
Try drawing another shape, but this time whenever you make a click, hold down the mouse button and move the mouse around. Notice how two curve guides appear and your lines are now curved? That's what the Pen Tool is all about. Holding down ALT lets you alter those curve guides, and holding down CTRL allows you to move anchorpoints. When you are done drawing your shape but still want to make corrections, use the Convert Point Tool, which is listed under the Pen tool in your toolbar.
After you are done drawing your shape, right click somewhere on your path. The two main functions we are going to be using are Make Selection and Stroke Path. Make selection does just that... it makes a selection based on your shape. When you get used to drawing paths, I find that the Pen tool owns the Lasso 90% of the time to make selections.
The Stroke Path function will allow you to apply your current brush settings and brush along your path - also very useful for enhancing lines.
I found a VERY good tutorial online to introduce you to the pen tool if my explanation was no good, it's available at:
Check it out, I mean it.
Down to the nitty-gritty:
Step Number One: Levels *Updated 4/26/06*
In a Jump scan, to avoid overlevelling there's a rule of thumb to follow: you look for the "peaks" in the level graph and adjust the sliders just a little bit further than those peaks. The location of these peaks depends on the scanner, because sometimes the scanner will do some levelling him/herself before posting the raw. I have attached an image to help you get a better understand of what the peaks are.
From pzero: Look at the picture on the right, the stuff that's highlighted red is what is intended to be black in the image, blue would be the grays, and green being roughly where you should level. Of course, the other option is to level just to the peak, but then go in with burn on midtones or shadows and manually darken the remainder.
Note that if your levels dialog does not say Channel: Gray at the top, you should probably change the mode to Grayscale first.
Image > Mode > Grayscale
Overlevelling occurs when you drag that slider too far past the peak. Here's an example of why not to do that:
Now let's talk about levelling the whites.
The first thing we want to do is create a Layers adjustment layer on top of our manga layer. To do this go to Layers > New Adjustment Layer > Levels. You will be asked to give it a name, do so and hit OK.
Now you will be presented with the familiar levels window.
Here, drag the slider all the way to the right, and your image should look like this. See all the dirty specks in the white area?
Go back and select your original manga layer, and this time hit CTRL-L to perform levels on it directly, and slide the right slider in until all the dirty specks are gone.
Finally, you can go ahead and disable your adjustment layer that you created.
Step Number Two: Rotation
I find that slojo's rotation technique is the one that makes the most sense for me. The goal of rotation is to make it so the page is not crooked. Simple.
To help us out we will make a guide or two in Photoshop:
View > New Guide > Vertical
Take the Move Tool (V) to drag the guide you just made close to the vertical edge of several manga panels, then just Free Transform (CTRL-T) the manga and rotate it so the panels line up with the perfectly straight vertical guide. Note that if Free Transform isn't working, its because your working on the background layer, which is locked. Just cut & paste the manga into a new layer.
Step Number Three: Bubbles
Depending on the quality of the scan, you may or may not have to do this, but I recommend doing it anyway because it will make your life a lot easier later. The reason we are going to redraw the bubbles is because in a manga page, bubbles are for the most part the "top layer" and everything else is under them. After redrawing bubbles, it makes it a lot easier to redraw other stuff because we won't have to worry about drawing over the bubbles.
So let's start off by creating a New Layer and renaming it to "Bubbles". We are going to be doing all our work on Bubbles in this layer.
Whip out our handy-dandy pen tool and trace the bubbles' exteriors as shown in the picture to the right. Then right click > Make Selection, and fill with white. Now before you deselect, go to Edit > Stroke and set Width: 1px and Location to "Center" and hit OK. Then do it AGAIN, this time with Location on the "Outside". The width and location can be adjusted depending on the width of the original bubble lines and how you traced it, but the settings above should be OK for the most part. If not, play with it.
Repeat for every bubble on the page. Now we have our bubbles redrawn. This also makes sure there's no black specks in our bubbles so we have killed two birds with one stone.
Step Number Four: Frame/Panel Outlines
If you didn't redraw the bubbles in the last step, this step will be a little bit more difficult for you, but not that much more. Anyway, here we are going to redraw the outlines of each panel in two very simple steps. Once again, make yourself a new layer for this to work on (arrange your layers so everything is under the bubbles layer).
- Select the entire frame using the Lasso tool. Zoom in to 300% or so or further if necessary to do this. The selection should look like the picture to the right.
- Edit > Stroke
For most manga panels I set the Width to 3px and the Location to "Inside", but the outlines for this particular frame in the picture look thinner, so I am going to set the width to 2px. Hit OK.
Now your panel's outline should look nice and sharp.
Note that some panels are located at the edge of the page. You don't want to stroke the edge of the page, so when you use your polygonal lasso tool, make sure you extend your selection "off the page" by clicking outside of the document. Don't use the marquee tool for square frames either, that'll stroke the edge of the page as well. Refer to the second image to the right for details.
After you've stroked all the outlines on the page (they should all be in the same layer, and nothing else should be in that layer), take your magic wand tool and select the white area outside all the frames. Everything should be easily selected in one click, fill this area with white to remove any rough edges and ALL DUST (yay!) from outside the manga panels. See image below:
Step Number Five: Clean the SFX
Now the next step is to clean the SFX. SFX also tend to be very high on the layers ranking so they are good to do.
Start by creating a new layer for the SFX. I've actually created two new layers for this set of particular SFX because some are overlapping others.
Select the characters one by one using the pen tool or lasso tool (Picture 1), and then fill with black. Do this for each of the characters. For the two characters labelled "a" and "b" I actually did them on another layer UNDER the layer where the other characters were done, the reason for this should be obvious.
When you have done that, your SFX should look like the ones shown in picture 2. In other words, they are ugly as hell. What we need to do here is to right click on the layer containing the SFX, and select Blending Options. Here we will give it a Stroke: 2px Outside, White. Do this for both layers, and they should now look like Picture 3.
Now if you'll remember, there was gray inside these SFX before! We have to bring that grey back, and make it look better too. This is very simple. Load up the selection of the first SFX layer by holding CTRL and clicking on the Layer Thumbnail for that layer (not the name!) in your Layers palette. Now go to the Select menu and select Modify > Contract. In this particular case I am going to contract by 6 pixels. Your image should look like picture 4.
Fill with a shade of grey to reach picture 5. Now, before you deselect, go to the Filter Menu and Noise > Add Noise. My noise settings were 15% at Uniform with Monochromatic checked. You can play around with the noise settings and use different shades of grey for the fill to achieve different results. I probably should have used a lighter shade of grey for this one, but oh well.
Repeat for the other SFX layer and you are done (picture 6). Just remember you don't need to add grey when there was no grey on the original SFX.
You CANNOT use Contract Selection to do the greys on 90% of the SFX! It only works for SFX that have no corners or bends in them. This is because Contract Selection produces rounded edges when there are bends and corners in the selection. Here's an example:
In this case you want to manually select the inner area to be greyed using your lasso or pen tool, then grey it however you like. I put my grey in a new layer this time, just in case.
Step Number Six:
Blacken the Blacks
Let's go back to our previous example, which looks like Image 1 to the right.
Jump scans suck. They have all these white specks all over the black areas. Create a new layer, and using your skills with the Lasso and Pen Tool, select all these black areas and fill them with black. I shouldn't really have to explain this in any more detail.
The image should now look like Image 2 to the right.
Step Number Seven:
Enhance the Lines
A lot of lines in Jump scans look broken and faded. Correct them using the Pen Tool and stroke with 1px brush. Don't overuse it, and don't use it on faces. For lines that are finer and need more detail, use the 1px hard round brush ALONE and MANUALLY enhance the lines.
In Image 3 you can see me tracing a strand of his hair with the Pen tool. I'm actually going to stroke it with a 1px brush TWICE to get my desired appearance.
After I am done stroking with the pen tool, if I were to disable the layer containing the manga itself, my panel should look like Image 4. Note that I did not stroke his eyes, nose, or eyebrows. Those need to be done manually using the 1px Hard Round Brush. Brushing those in yields Image 5.
Step Number Eight: Greys!
Greys usually suck in Jump scans too. We need to replace them.
First, download the grey pattern we are going to use:
Put this file inside your Program Files \ Adobe \ Adobe Photoshop CS2 \ Presets \ Patterns directory.
There are more patterns available at http://psychobob.xepher.net/screentonez/. I especially like their Dots and Screens 2 pack, as there are a lot of patterns in there that are better than the one I have linked above.
The technique is:
- Roughly select area to be greyed (Image 6).
- Enter Quick Mask mode (Q), and brush out all the features with the 1px Brush (Image 7). In Quick Mask mode, everything that's red is not selected and everything that's clear is selected. Yes, I know you have already redrawn most of them, but some of them will look weird unless they have the original artwork underneath, so make sure you do this step. Obviously I used the Pen Tool and Lasso to red out the big areas, but for all the little lines use the brush.
- Exit Quick Mask (Q), you should have all the grey area selected, as shown in Image 8.
- Fill with the grey pattern in a new layer. Your image should now look like Image 9.
- Take a look at your lines again and make sure they are good. Redraw those lines under his eyebrow with the Line Tool (U).
For another example on how to do this, Itaku has made one available here.
Up until now, your image should look like the one shown on the right. There are only two more things we need to do to it. Notice we haven't touched his staff that still looks really ugly. His teeth also have specks in them that need to be brushed (ha ha). So let's do that:
Step Number Nine: Clean the Whites!
The white areas need to be cleaned too, not just the black areas. I know there appears to be a nearly infinite number of black specks all over the white areas, and it looks like it will take forever to clean, but cleaning them DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE. At the very least, make sure you clean all the specks off of people's faces, their hair, their body parts, and all the stuff outside the frames.
Finally, apply motion blur to the stick:
- Select the stick in the original layer that contains the manga. Sometimes I get lazy and blur directly in the original layer, but if you are so inclined you can make a copy of the original layer just in case.
- I applied Levels again to the stick selection ONLY - making it darker.
- Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. The settings I used were to have it blur straight up and down, and 10px of distance.
The final image is displayed to the right.
Last edited by Allashandra; September 14, 2007 at 06:09 PM.
Thanks Xal, I don't know how this applies to manga other than One Piece though. I know Naruto art is a lot less detailed (less lines) so you probably don't have to do as much work for those.
Naruto has quite a lot of lines too in action-packed chapters. It's a dread to redraw those especially in grey panels. But good and nice tips on cleaning manga.
Updated! I found out some of those techniques I put up there are only good for a select few situations. A few sections have been expanded.
Thanks for the thumbs up Zenith!
Thank You very much guy's!
I was searching all the web for something like that!
It's the best cleaning tuto ever!
After you load selection -> go to select -> transform selectionQuote:
Now you can resize selection to what you need
I try to send the details with picture
for file handling:
32 colors is overkill. One of the main reasons to use png is a filesize reduction over jpg, which you won't get really with 32. 15-20 is generally enough. Using 16 or less lets you go down to 4bits instead of 8bit if you use advdef/pngrewrite plus crush, giving a small but stepwise reduction beyond simle palette size. This reduction often is negligible though. Dithering you can go up to 100%, but it makes little difference. For color reduction algorithm, usually you wanna start with adaptive or selective, though once you start manually picking out colors then it'll automatically go to custom.
Leveling just to the peaks is wrong (though not as big a deal the way you're doing things, since you redraw most everything of interest anyway). Here's why. Take the left hill for example, for leveling the black. You can think of that hill as a gaussian distribution of what should be black, spread out into <color> (tip of the peak), <darker than color> (left of the peak), and <lighter than color> (right of the peak). All of it *should* be black. the problem comes in that that hill isn't just the distribution of the blacks, it also includes distribution of the dark grays, so if you level completely past the hill you're blackening things that shouldn't be black. How much overlap will depend on the page, and how much false black is tolerable is up to you, but generally you wanna level a bit past the peak of the hill.
a bit idealized, but roughly what i mean. red is what is intended to be black, blue would be the grays, green being roughly where you should level. Of course, the other option is to level just to the peak, but then go in with burn on midtones or shadows and manually darken the remainder.
if you adjust the middle arrow in the levels window (or the middle box in input levels in the levels window), slide the arrow all the way to the right (value should go from 1.00 to 0.10), you can see why your white leveling is bad. See all the ringing? it's not visible to the naked eye, but it's there, and it can be removed. The easiest way to me is to go to layer>new adjustment layer>levels, create a levels layer with that middle arrow all the way to the right, go back to your art layer, and level the white until the ringing is gone. you can also leave this layer on and hunt for stray specks, erasing them on your background/art layer
if you just want to do single edge alignment, there are easier ways to be more precise (especially since rotating using free transform isn't all that accurate given the artifacting, since photoshop doesn't resample until you commit the rotation). In that case, using the ruler method with rotate>arbitrary is good. The problem with single edge alignment is that many pages aren't perfectly orthogonal. oftentimes, the major diagonals will differ in length by a few pixels (for good scans, this could be just ~5px for a 2000+px height raw), but it's still there. Then when you rotate, if you align by the vertical, you'll have a bit of error on the horizontal, and vice versa. If you rotate using the crop rectangle, you can see how much of this error you have, and balance your rotation between vertical error and horizontal error. Generally this ends up looking slightly better, although some would feel that the difference is negligible. Another advantage to using the crop tool as you rotate is that you can eliminate corner wedges all in one step. If you simply rotate, if you have art to the edge you'll often end up with a few pixels in the corner in the shape of a wedge where art that should go to the edge doesn't. Using the crop rectangle lets you line up your crop with the art, and makes it clear how much you're gonna end up cropping off (or how much you'll have to redraw to get the art to the edge)
highly exaggerated of course, but basically here's what you have. if you have good scans, you probably won't notice it until a good 300% magnification
for frame/panel outlines:
just an addition to what you say here. for the magic wand check to work, it needs to be set to 0 tolerance, and you must NOT have antialias selected, or you'll miss things. But ultimately you want to do this at the end, since later manipulations can screw it up anyway
for the sfx:
as yasnoken said, transform selection works fine, though sometimes it takes a bit more work to get the thicknesses right, and you're assuming the heavy outline of the sfx is uniform thickness which often isn't the case. If you're really a perfectionist about it, the best way is to do it manually, by going back and defining the inner shape with lasso/pen/whatever.
for the grays:
that one pattern you linked actually isn't all that great, and isn't very representative of many screentones used in publication. http://psychobob.xepher.net/screentonez/ as a good set of screentones to use, though you'll still have to adjust them to your needs.
for your motion blur thing:
not always a good idea. You can get termination artifacts sometimes, especially if the lines you're blurring aren't unidirectional.
Essentially your guide was a vector tracing guide, to which there are others out there (though not manga oriented, but more in depth on how to use some of the tools), so a google search can help people trying to do something like this. The problem with vector tracing is that you can end up with a very artificial looking image that looks more like a webcomic than a manga (whether or not this is good or bad is up to you). Good use of screentones, and retaining some of the original (albeit somewhat noisy) art helps offset this though, but not always, so just be careful.
Wow, thanks a lot pzero. That's a lot to take in. Let me study it some more and when I have time I'll update the compendium.
Also question: where did you learn this stuff? Do you clean manga for any groups?
That guide is pure pwnage...great stuff...
Wow , extraordinary , i really have to learn all of those things better
could you guys give me a little tip??
is there a possible way to clean the grey scales only(the ones i marked red)
and not lose too much detail???
I'd love to help, but to be honest, it looks fine to me. If I were to TRY and make it better, the only tools I would use are brush, clone stamp, healing brush, blur, and smudge. Try them out and see if they can do anything.Originally Posted by johanna4life
Agreed ^^ - it has just everything you need to know to go HQOriginally Posted by thatbabo
Do you have any more tips on outlining the bubbles? Mine don't quite match up with the
orignal ones, I've gone around it a bunch of times and redone it and still it just doesn't work out.