Friday, January 3, 2014

Restoring comics 101 - Align the page (1)

Align the page (1)

Back in the old days sometimes a comic book page was printed with the panels not aligned with the paper margins. If this is your case the page needs to be rotated.

Take a look at the first page of Kamandi #1 (the series Jack Kirby created for DC comics when he left Marvel Comics, staged on a post-apocalypse earth ruled by apes, like in the Planet of the apes movie)

During the printing process something obviously went wrong and we need to rotate it back.There are many ways to do it.

Quick method

The first and quicker method is doing it “by eye”. You can use Photoshop but for something quick I prefer Picasa, the free photo organizer and editing software distributed by Google. Go to the control panel of the editing section and select “Straighten” 

(The above is from Picasa 2, there is a Straighten command also in the current 3.9 version)

A grid and a slider will appear. Move the slider to the left or right and straighten the picture “by eye”. This technique is fast and quite effective. Do not underestimate the power and accuracy of the human eye: it is a very accurate tool very sensitive to misalignment and can perform this task better than many automatic algorithm (badly) implemented in (bad) photo-editing software.
(By the way, below is the first page of FF #057 - FQ #051. We'll come back to Kamandi later)

When you are satisfied hit the “Apply” button.

The artwork now is aligned and we can proceed further to clean the page, correct the colors etc.

Not satisfied with the “eye” method? Want a more precise way? Next time ;)

Dario Bressanini

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