School Project Scanlation Help


Registered User
初心者/ Shoshinsha / Beginner
Jan 15, 2019
Reaction score
United States
Hello everyone.

Nice to meet you. I’m Jipangu97, and I’m a new user here. There’s a very important thing I’m doing with a translation, and I’d like your advice, please.

I’m currently doing my senior project at my college, which is a scnalation of manga that I have translated into English. I was asked by my project adviser to research different programs that people have used to scanlate manga in the past, and I’ve found four that seem like good options. Based on some of your experiences with scanlation, which of these programs do you recommend? Or, if there are other recommendations that you have, I would be very grateful to know about them. Here are the ones that I’ve found thus far, along with the links to their websites if you need them (and they’re safe, I promise):

Smith and Tinkers:

Gnu Image Manipulation Program:

GMAO (Great Manga Application Onizuka):

Adobe Photoshop (this one came up frequently in my research):!3085!3!301413807968!e!!g!!adobe photoshop

I also have a question about the image file type that I scanned the manga’s pages into. They’re currently in a pdf file format, but is there a different format that I should convert them into to make the scanlation process easier for me, such as editing out the original Japanese text in the image? I’m extremely new to the whole scanlation process, so I’m not entirely sure.

Thank you very much for your help. I look forward to hearing from you.



中級員 / Chuukyuuin / Member
Jun 4, 2008
Reaction score
I suggest you start by reading - it'll give you a lot of info about scanlations.

As for what software to use... There's nothing better than Photoshop.
You can, of course, use any image editing software to scanlate (some people even used MS Paint in the past) - it all depends on what quality you want to finish with.
I've worked with a dozen or so groups, and none of them used software other than Photoshop (though there are tools that work with Photoshop).
Some people say that the 2nd best app is Gimp, but IMO it'll only work with high quality tank scans or webrips (pages taken from official online releases). Otherwise, you'd have to manually fix all imperfections from the magazine raws (if you do care about quality).
Also, even if somebody did edit the scans in Gimp, there's basically no way a typesetter would be allowed to use it too. Gimp's text layers aren't editable in Photoshop and vice versa.

As for the scanning format you should be using, I recommend TIFF. Or high quality JPEG, at the very least. Fully edited pages should be saved as PSD (editable Photoshop file) for yourself, PNG for everybody else (Save as web > PNG-8, at least 48 colors, preferably 64, though it depends on the raw source, art type, etc)

You can also read some of the threads in here, perhaps starting with this one:

Good luck!


MH Senpai
英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member
Jan 2, 2006
Reaction score
United Kingdom
Unfortunately no format will really help with the editing out of original Japanese text, but since most of the time the text is in text boxes it's not always a problem. Unfortunately though for poor scanlators not all text is in text boxes, some text is almost always overlaid directly on top of the artwork. This necessitates a process called redrawing where by parts of the original artwork need to be redrawn so that the English text can then be overlaid over the newly redrawn art. This is not strictly necessary of course as the text can be just overlaid over the japanese text if want but it is usually the mark of a decently high level scanlation if done. Sadly there is no way of making this process any easier.

Last edited: