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Author Topic: re-issueing our back catalogue and implementing improved settings.  (Read 5490 times)
meppi64
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« on: May 29, 2014, 11:00:54 AM »

After talks about how to improve our digital releases and how exactly they should look like, I've been spending nearly a full week on testing out dozens upon dozens of settings to implement on both our old releases as well as the ones that will be coming up in the future.

Due to changes in scanners as well as editing applications, drivers and actual scanning software, getting a picture perfect rendition of a scanned magazine is near impossible unless you invest in professional high-grade equipment.
So using consumer electronics, getting the "perfect" image will always remain a bit challenging.

Up till now we've been trying our best to present vibrant and colourful looking magazine releases, but when you take a step back and look at how the original physical magazines look compared to how you think they look by going on just memories alone, it quickly becomes apparent that even our releases were not quite perfect, especially when examining the colour temperature and brightness of the images.

Which is why I've been doing a ton of testing and recalibrating of my settings to get both our older scans as well as the recent ones to look as close as I can possibly get them to the actual physical magazines.
Getting all of this correct without ending up with a dull looking palet due to messing with hue, brightness, colour temperature and vibrance has proven to be quite the task. As it's surprisingly easy to get a beautiful looking page to look dull and drab.

And since our goal is to provide the best looking digital renditions of classic video game magazines out there, such a thing obviously would not do for us.

After all this time, I think I'm finally satisfied with the results I'm getting right now, which is why I feel confident enough to share a couple of comparison shots.
Here you can see a picture of the actual magazine, although you do have to account for glare from the sun, even though they were taken with indirect sunlight to avoid it as much as possible.
Then you'll see a rendition of the same page you have been able to download from our site up till this point, and finally you will see the same page again, but with the new settings that are much closer to the original and capture the actual look and feel of the physical magazine.

First Example:



Second Example:




Last Example:




Re-authoring all these magazines will take a bit of time though, and I'm planning on giving every page a final passover before creating what I believe to be the final re-releases of these magazines.
As some might remember that in certain cases, this will be the 5th iteration of these magazines over the past 8 years or so, especially with some of the OSSM issues. Wink

Then again, I think all of this can only be a good thing and hopefully raises the bar on the digital preservation of these classics once again.

Not sure how I'll do the rollout. Perhaps one series at a time.
But I will certainly post a news article on the website as well as on the forum when these are finally ready and online.
And for the people following us on Twitter, I'll post a link with the info about he new renditions there as well.

Hope you all like what you're seeing. Smiley
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sblack
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2014, 03:53:00 AM »

Hats of to you Meppi, these changes look brilliant and to the naked eye look like the original magazines back in the day Smiley
Im looking forward to the re-issues but not the time it will take to re-download them  Undecided WinkCry
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meppi64
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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2014, 08:27:46 AM »

Oh believe me, I'm not looking forward to re-creating all those cbz files, going over them one by one and re-upping everything to ff either. Gonna be quite the undertaking. But in the end, I believe it'll be worth it.

I'm just now working on getting the newer scans to the exact same levels as the older ones that you see above.
Since the new ones are done with a different scanner, the changes are even more drastic when you compare them between the original scan and the end results.

Was planning on getting all of that set up during this 4 day weekend I had, but due to health reasons that didn't go as planned.
Had to call the doctor yesterday afternoon due to problems with my kidneys. Quite a lot of pain so I didn't get to do anything at all for the rest of the day. And I took friday off to play Mario Kart 8 for nearly 8 hours straight. Wink
Today I'm feeling a lot better thanks to the medication, but if the problem persists I'll have to be administered to the hospital for a couple of days. So I'm hoping for the best.
Certainly nothing life-threateing as far as we know, but it really sucks nonetheless.

Oh well, it could be worse.
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sblack
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2014, 04:07:17 AM »

Hey Meppi, hope you get better soon as that's the most important thing Smiley
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meppi64
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2014, 04:13:54 AM »

Me too. Smiley

I'm hoping it was just a one time thing, but my doctor seems to think otherwise.
Called him today to inform him of what happened since he wasn't available this weekend.
I'm cleared to go to work today, but if it happens again I'm to call him ASAP and probably spend the next day or two in the hospital. With a bit of luck the next month or so at home with not too much discomfort. Wink
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meppi64
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« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2014, 06:29:25 AM »

Since I have been using a different scanner for a while now, these settings only applied to the older scans I've done.

So after weeks upon weeks of testing and experimenting to try and get the new scans looking spot on, I think I finally nailed all the correct settings.
This process was a lot tougher than with the old scanner as the new one not only had trouble with colour temperature, but also with contrast, spectrum curves, saturation and vibrance levels being way off.
So correcting all of those and coming to a picture that looks as an exact replica of an actual magazine is pretty damn hard.

But I think I have finally figured it all out and I'm ready to share the first comparisons.





Do note that the original photo versions will not look exactly like the magazine does in real life since these were taken with an iPad and under cloudy condition with a bit of glare of the glossy pages.
So these colour corrected ones should not look exactly like the photos in the gifs as those are a bit too muted/washed out compared to looking at the actual magazine with your eyes.

The problem with all of this is, that you'd think that once you find the correct settings for a magazine series, everything would be good to go.
But sadly these settings do not carry over to other magazine sets, so I'll have to repeat these experiments for everything besides OSSM.
Although now that I have the baseline adjustments down, it shouldn't take more than a couple of days per magazine set to figure out how to get them looking just right.
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EarMuffs
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« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2015, 10:29:21 PM »

the last gif with the alien dude looks clearer in the picture than the color correct scan. No complaints, just the grain and sharp detail is much higher. Curious if that is intentional, like trying to have the scans end up like that actual digital art the magazine was printed from. Or is it just smooting that happens due to the editing process/old scanners not as good and the ipad cam and you are working with an old scan source?
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meppi64
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« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2015, 05:01:10 AM »

Sorry for the late reply.

Been extremely busy over the past week and a half and somehow missed these posts.

It's most likely due to having to resize the images between the 2 different scans as well as the actual photo taken of the magazine.
Trying to crop them so they are almost the exact size and then resizing them to the actual dimensions so they match up.
The iPad photo was taken at extremely close range so that only this image was shot. Compared to the scans of the full page which were then resized to match up.

Keep in mind that this image is only a couple inch in the actual magazine, so getting that kind of quality scans would mean that they would need to be taken at 600dpi or perhaps even 1200, compared to the 300 dpi setting that has been used up till now.
In the past people even argued to keep it down to 150dpi or even 72dpi as monitor resolution wasn't up to the standard that it actually benefited image quality.

Since the full sized scans at 300dpi are already quite large with certain magazines ending up around 500MB, upping the resolution even more would certainly become a bit problematic.
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meppi64
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« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2016, 06:15:46 AM »

I'm going to copy&paste this here from the news thread so it's easier to keep all the info on remastered magazines in one place for reference:

Certain magazines need a bit of special care as I look back on them. Especially since some of these scans are from 2009. So I'm going over every single page once more and correcting whatever blemishes that I can find that were not fixed in the past, either due to me just missing them, or because I lacked the skills to deal with them at the time.
To give an example of this, I've uploaded 2 pages that I think show why it might be best to download the new versions of these magazines ones they are released.
The difference in the Mean Machines cover looks dramatically different in the full page scans as the resized ones below seem to hide the change due to the downsampling and artifacting.










Now, the problem with these is that up till now it has been nearly impossible to know what version of a scan you had compared to the one that was up on the site.
Therefor I've added a date to both the bottom of each "Thank You" page at the end of the magazine starting with OSSM19.
You'll notice that on the catalogue page right under the dates for the first and final issue of the magazine, I've also added the scan date. So it'll be easy to see, whenever an update should occur on a magazine, that these dates do or do not match up.






The one thing I'm not sure of is on how to release these re-releases.
I can either release them one by one as they get finished, or wait till a set of a certain magazine is completed and then update them in bulk.
Let me know if you prefer either way. The only thing that might be a bit annoying with a bulk release of a certain series is the download limits on the file host. Downloading one or two magazines at a time certainly is easier than having to cue up 10 issues or so, at least without an account at that file host. So just let me know how you wish I should proceed.
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Retron
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« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2016, 12:21:52 PM »



Now, the problem with these is that up till now it has been nearly impossible to know what version of a scan you had compared to the one that was up on the site.
Therefor I've added a date to both the bottom of each "Thank You" page at the end of the magazine starting with OSSM19.
You'll notice that on the catalogue page right under the dates for the first and final issue of the magazine, I've also added the scan date. So it'll be easy to see, whenever an update should occur on a magazine, that these dates do or do not match up.


Can You explain this part?
You added the scanned date on the last page of the scanned magazine?
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meppi64
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« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2016, 02:49:22 PM »

Absolutely.

Normally when releasing a magazine, we only add a final page that thanks everyone involved in making the original physical version. This page up till now didn't have any date on it, but from now on, with every magazine that gets released or rereleased, it will have a date on the bottom of that page as you can see in the example picture above.

When this date is the same one as the date on the magazine's webpage, then you know that you have the latest and best possible version.

If there isn't a date on the release page yet, a page such as this one: http://www.outofprintarchive.com/catalogue/CVG/CVG168.html
Then it means that that magazine is yet to receive the remaster treatment.
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Retron
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« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2016, 12:04:20 PM »

ok thanks
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