Tuesday, 20 May 2014

George Peter Gatsis: A Response To SMR's Proposal

Previously on 'A Moment Of Cerebus':
Dave Sim, working with George Peter Gatsis, has remastered the first two collected volumes of Cerebus to restore details and quality in the artwork lost over the thirty years since they were originally published (as detailed here and here). After Cerebus' original printer Preney Print closed its doors, Dave Sim moved his printing to Lebonfon in 2007 as at that time they were still capable of working with photographic negatives and making printing plates as Preney had done. And then Lebonfon switched to digital scanning and printing - a technology which struggles to faithfully reproduce Cerebus' tone without creating moire patterns (as detailed in Crisis On Infinite Pixels). The following was written by George Peter Gatsis in response to Sean Michael Robinson's Cerebus restoration proposal.

GEORGE PETER GATSIS:
My thinking is simple:

The best way forward is to stick with the greyscale files.

We are 1 year into the printing problem, which started when Lebonfon provided me with in-accurate proofs.

Out of the 1000 plus pages that were printed in the unbound copies, only 111 pages were a problem and that was ONLY with the Cerebus moire.

All the line work was fine, which included the Cerebus 30% screen in the remaining 900-ish pages.

Months pass and FINALLY, after Lebonfon provided me with accurate proofs, I fixed the files and waited.

Then the debate of bitmap and greyscale flared up, which brought the project to a standstill.

I jumped in to help Sean by reviewing the bitmapping and pointing out what got missed in the conversion. After a few times of back and forth, a good bitmapped file was created.

BUT!

In my opinion, it's not possible to batch convert this project.

The original art or film is better than what Preney printed...
Because, the original art detail gets lost when the stat camera lights burn away the detail of the artwork... and the detail of the negative film gets lost when the ink swells in the printing press on the printed page...

So, scanning the content in hirez greyscale/rgb ( depending on the source negative film or original art )  is a must.

After which, you take the raw file and duplicate the layer.

One layer adjustment is done to bring out the detail in the dark areas.
The second layer adjustment is done to hold onto the detail in the line areas.
Then you combine the best of both layers into one.

Done.

No need to go bitmap and then do basically the same work in trying to maintain the detail by converting to another format that is not future proof.

Future proofing:

If we do want to future proof the Cerebus content, then (in my opinion) the best way forward, in order of best to worse, is:

1) Vector format
2) hirez RGB bitmap
3) hirez Greyscale bitmap

And... the length of time depends on Dave... Dave can get the scans done in the RAW RGB FORMAT on his end by John Funk and whatever scanning team they make up at Kitchener... Which is where the BULK of the $$$ would go to.

My cost would definitely be cheaper, since I already have an income that I can maintain my life on.

George

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