Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Dissecting the Trauma Pages

Mara Sedlins:

The cleanup work is almost complete for Church & State I - soon we’ll be moving on to the book layout stage (followed by the print-and-double-check-everything stage)!

This week I’m also preparing the before and after plates for the C & S I Trauma pages, including a summary of the restoration work done on each page. Many thanks to our page donors! As I take a step back to consider the process, I’m curious to see what cleanup issues ended up being the most prevalent in these special attention pages.

Given the amount of time I’ve spent working on them, it seems like it would be a straightforward task to come up with a taxonomy of issues that were addressed. But it’s not immediately clear how to categorize all the things we do to “fix” a page. After thinking about it for a bit, I realized this is because there are (at least) two different ways of viewing the problems on a page: 1) in terms of what caused the problem (e.g., shrunk tone, smudged ink, tape damage) or 2) what concrete actions need to be taken in order to fix the problem.

Of course, the latter is informed by the former - but it’s not a one-to-one relationship. That is, the same solution (blacking in white noise with the brush tool) can address several different causes of noise (light ink, dust on the page, edges of tone). And vice versa: the same issue (damaged tone) can require different restoration techniques depending on various factors (the extent and placement of damage, the type of tone). So when I start to list the issues on a page, I have some choices to make about how to describe what was done and why.

Here are some before-and-after examples from the pages I’ve been looking at:







Playing “spot the differences,” what I see is the actions I took to get from “before” to “after”. But I think it’ll be valuable to document both the how and the why of what was restored. Next week I'll follow up with the final list of issues that I come up with. 

Meanwhile, I was glad to see some new leads on original art pages in our inbox recently. Thanks again for keeping the hunt going!


iestyn said...

So I was thinking about this earlier - why not use some of the money raised through the sale of the OWH copies and the Cerebus Archive to buy back the in the wild pages that you find on sale?

That would make it easy to scan them again...

Think of it as a share buy back

Max West said...

It's looking good so far; good luck with your restoration.

Oh, and wish Dave Sim a Happy Canada Day for me!

M Kitchen said...

You folks have really found that "sweet spot" in the digital restoration process... cleaning up all the blemishes while keeping the authentic imperfections in the art.

Well done!