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How to get uniform colors in old comics.... ?

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  #1  
Old 02-26-2007, 09:57 AM
dario dario is offline
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How to get uniform colors in old comics.... ?

Hi all

As a personal hobby sometimes I try to digitally restore some of my old comic books (I have asked you help already in the past )

Today I would like imitate what the professional publishers do. Suppose you have an old comic (see picture 1) to restore. What they do professionally is to digitally "bleach", that is eliminate all colors and retain the black ink, then recolor from scratch. And you get picture 2. It takes a lot of time to do this.
I am trying to find a reasonable compromise between the quality of the resulting picture and the time you need to invest. The goal is to retain as much as possible the details of the black ink and to "smear out" the colors, hopefully even eliminate the "dottiness" of some color due to the printing process.

Is there a way to do it without recoloring, using some of the Photoshop CS2 filters? So far the best, but still unsatisfactory, attempt (picture 3) I obtained by duplicating the background layer, applying the Noise->Median filter (set to 1) and then use the Screen blending (and readjust the colors). I also tried to use the Surface Blur with similar results. I am not satisfied because the black is smeared (look at the letters at the top for example)...

Any suggestion?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg atom2.jpg (80.7 KB, 80 views)
File Type: jpg atom1.jpg (64.3 KB, 69 views)
File Type: jpg atom3.jpg (57.9 KB, 77 views)
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Old 02-26-2007, 12:32 PM
videosean videosean is offline
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Re: How to get uniform colors in old comics.... ?

Try a selective color adjustment.
1, Select->Color Range
Select some of the blues that are in where it should be yellow, play with the preview options so you can see what you are selecting better. Hit OK when it's good.
2, with your color range selected, press ctrl+J (Mac cmd+J) to copy what you selected to a new layer.
3, Make a hue/saturation adjustment layer, adjust nothing and click OK.
4, Layer->Create Clipping Mask (with the adjustment layer selected).
The clipping mask will 'clip' this adjustment layer to the layer just below it and will only affect that layer, which is only the blues you selected earlier.
5, double click your Hue/Sat Adjustment layer, set to 'colorize', hue 60 saturation 100% - just an example that didn't look terrible to me.

Repeat as necessary. You can always mask out any areas that get changed that you don't want changed.
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Old 02-27-2007, 12:59 AM
Craig Walters's Avatar
Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: How to get uniform colors in old comics.... ?

that's kinda fun, isnt it

i did a color balance first. then a digital noise removal in psp 10. next was an unsharp mask at 2/100/5 to bring back some definition. after that i selected out the yellow/gold background and repainted it. it was kind of messed up. with that selection then set as a new layer, i touched it up a bit more with a paintbrush.

but you probably could have done the whole image with with this next step. i chose various colors from the image, made a new blank layer over all the rest and airbrushed in some more color where needed.

i was hoping that just the color balance and noise removal would do the job and thus keep the job simple and fast, but there's a bit of damage and grime on the image, so i did the extra steps. well, not damage so much as the printing errors you mentioned.
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Old 02-27-2007, 02:19 AM
dario dario is offline
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Re: How to get uniform colors in old comics.... ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kraellin
that's kinda fun, isnt it
Absolutely . Some of my best restored images I use as desktop background.

I was hoping for something more "automatic", possibly to be use in batch processing. I would then take care of the details manually..

Dario
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Old 02-28-2007, 10:56 AM
LadySedim LadySedim is offline
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Re: How to get uniform colors in old comics.... ?

Have you tried running it through the auto levels/auto curves/hue & saturation/ Shadow+Highlight options? Those 4 together usually produce a reasonably decent effect, just tinker a bit. If you like the results, create an action that runs them in sequence. After that, you'll be able to batch-process, using that new action you created.

Also, somewhere in the "photoshop actions" of Adobe's Studio Exchange, there are a couple of actions that restore images qute a bit. You'd have to dig though, as I don't recall where they are buried in there.
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Old 02-28-2007, 11:03 AM
LadySedim LadySedim is offline
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Re: How to get uniform colors in old comics.... ?

P.S.

If a lot of the comics are in primary colors like that, I would suggest creating a color-swatch set from the truest-color restoration, to be able to use the colors in any future "paint-jobs", and for a reference in restoring future comics. It's quite easy.

with your image open, Go to Image>mode>indexed color. A box will open. Choose local(perceptual) from the palette list, then set colors to 256, forced to none, dither to none, and click OK. Now go to Image>mode>color, to see the color table thus generated. Save it, then load into your swatches palette in Photoshop.
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Old 03-02-2007, 06:11 AM
dario dario is offline
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Re: How to get uniform colors in old comics.... ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LadySedim
Also, somewhere in the "photoshop actions" of Adobe's Studio Exchange, there are a couple of actions that restore images qute a bit. You'd have to dig though, as I don't recall where they are buried in there.
Thanks! I have found an action that it is helpful, and the way it works is absolutely counterintuitive to me, because at first it *adds* noise to the image, before cleaning

It works!, especially if I combine this trick with SurfaceBlur

Dario
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