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So, I generally only scanlate non-erotic doujinshi. As this is somewhat of a niche, I usually do everything (except the scanning) by myself, from 'cleaning' to translating to typesetting and proofreading. I suck immensely at drawing, so most of my 'cleaning' attempts are limited to "pick one image as a reference and then batch-level the rest."
Now, there's something I really like to translate right now but the 'raws' are of rather shoddy quality. The gutter shadows are horrible, and the screentones are even smudged in areas where the gutter shadows overlap. The images are also in .jpg, with many artifacts present. I could provide a sample, but I'm not sure if I'm allowed to link to the image. It is worksafe though.
I have Photoshop, Topaz Denoise, Topaz Clean, and Topaz DeJPEG. I have read some of the cleaning guides around here, and I do realize that the use of filters are discouraged around these parts, but I rather not spend too much time painstakingly redrawing and brushing over everything, as I consider myself to be a translator foremost and would rather spend most of the time and effort in doing the translations instead.
Any ideas on how should I use the tools I have? And in what order? Should I desaturate the image, level the image once, mask-level-nudge the gutter shadows away, and then apply one of the Topaz tools?
Thanks in advance.
Last edited by NNescio; September 16, 2011 at 05:03 AM.
Filters are mainly shunned because they can make the art look worse than the raw itself. They can help, in moderation, and on raws that actually need it. From what you're describing, I don't think filters will help much. Generally for smudged edges, the best way to make it look decent without too much work is to just use the sharpen tool along the edge, and the dodge and burn tools to get rid of any areas that aren't properly black/white from the base leveling. Your idea to use a second leveling on just the gutter shadow can work, though to make it work well you'll need to line up a black->white gradient on the mask, and that might be more tricky I guess, depending on the raw quality.
But anyways, yeah you can post a sample picture.
Hmm. That's pretty bad then. The only way I see to make the textures and line quality fit in is to redraw :/. Any kind of quick leveling on the edge just seems to make it look more out of place, and therefor harder for the reader to interpolate what's supposed to be there.
I'd say just level it and clean like normal, and leave the shadow there, even on the areas where it's easy to just white out. The advantage to doing it this way is that it'll at least look consistent along the edge.
The stuff on the left side though can be cleaned off easily with dodge/burn/sharp tools.
There are still some pixellation issues on the right side though, and a bit of the same at the top left. Should I blur those parts, or brush a mask on them and then run them through Topaz cleaner?
The left side is fixable with just dodge tool (highlights at about 3%), and maybe a little sharpening over some parts. For the right side, yeah blurring with a filter could help. The way I'd do it though is make a duplicate layer, apply the filter to the whole thing. Then put a layer mask on that and fill it with all black, and take a white brush and go over the general area where the gutter shadow is, then gaussian blur (around 8.0) the mask so that the filtered part blends in gently with the rest of the page.
Also, if you're releasing at that final size, it could use a .3 guassian blur (after leveling) since the textures are a bit sharp (and has a bonus of making them slightly more similar to the gutter shadow ones).
So, after poking around a bit, I've managed to find the artist's Pixiv account, which also has samples of the same doujin. Notably, there's one that is the exact same page of the one I posted earlier:
It is of lower resolution though, and the resizing has messed up the screentones severely. I could use the sample images instead, but only 1/6 of the pages are present in the samples (interspaced randomly), and it would be jarring if I switch between scans of radically different qualities multiple times within the same 'release', even if I scale them all to the same resolution. (The RAW scans are also slightly cropped, presumably by the scanner when rotating.)
That said, is there any way for me to use the sample image as a reference to fix the doujin scan? Could I copy lines from the sample image, enlarge them, and then paste and sharpen them on the RAW image? Would that work?
Gutter shadows are also present on the other pages, but they don't smudge as bad as the one on the first page, so I don't think the effect would be that jarring if I fix only the first page this way.
Last edited by NNescio; September 17, 2011 at 04:04 AM.
Yep that'd probably work. The trickiest thing I'd imagine would be rotating and resizing it to line up properly. You might wanna line up the top and bottom separately, since there's a blank white space above the hat-girl, so it's easy to select two different areas for copying over.
Worth it though. Should I Gaussian blur the whole thing under the text layer as well?
Last edited by NNescio; September 18, 2011 at 03:38 AM.
Yeah gaussian blur on just the layer that's just the leveled raw. If it's been merged with the new thing, it might still help even if it gets applied on the right side as well, though it is kinda blurry already.
For that top left area, I guess it is supposed to have texture there (looking at the digital version). So you can use the clone stamp tool to fill in some of that pretty easily from next to it.
You could also get the textures on the right side to match perfectly by using the polygonal marquee tool to select some of the same texture from another part and then copy paste it over, and keep pasting the same thing and moving it til it covers up the area. Then erasing the areas that overlap the linework. Might not be worth the time though.
I tried to copy-paste (and pattern-stamp) the textures on the right side, but it led to the formation of a weird-looking Moiré pattern, so I reverted those changes.
Edit: Oh nevermind. I used a layer mask to nuke the interference pattern. Here's one with the pasted textures.
Last edited by NNescio; September 19, 2011 at 01:22 AM.