Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Document the Document

Hello everyone!

This'll be brief, as I am in for a long day of High Society as it is. I'm currently 62 pages away from finishing the main stage of work on the book. The end to the major work is in sight. Assuming I complete the work today, next week I'll join Mara in cleanup of the remaining pages, and then we'll move to revisions, layout, addressing changes as Dave indicates whether we're on the right track with our cleanup currently. 

Meanwhile, this weekend I supplied IDW with some replacement artwork for the packaging of High Society Digital. It was a good reminder of how far things have come. Here's a peek at two of the panels I replaced, with the restored panels to the right and below the originals.

None of this was achieved with access to original art-- both of these pages were sourced from negative scans. This is a pretty powerful reminder for me of how flexible those photographic elements are, especially when compared to newsprint scans, which give you much more limited maneuverability.

 That being said, nothing beats the original artwork for accuracy, so please help us keep up the hunt! We've gotten leads on a few more High Society pages this week, but nothing concrete so far. Time is running out to contribute to this book, so please help us get the word out!

Please send any pages/scans/leads to cerebusarthunt at gmail dot com.

Meanwhile, the finder's prize continues to develop...

LASTLY, before I fling myself back into the work-- our amazing human being/High Society restoration patron T.F. has requested that Mara and I make a sort of public service announcement/restoration documentary to document some of this process in a way that would be useful to other people facing similar reproduction issues. I'd like to hear from you. If there was a restoration documentary, what specifically would you like to see? What would you like to hear? What information would be most critical, useful, or interesting? Would it be an illustrated article? A video? A combination of all three?

Any thoughts appreciated!

Sean Michael Robinson can be found at


Dave Kopperman said...

I'd say absolutely YES to a document of the restoration (why am I suddenly thinking of a Gutenberg Bible?).

Probably makes the most sense to start it as a video, since you can reverse engineer an article from that.

Speaking for myself as a Photoshop professional who also draws and occasionally scans comics with mechanical tone, a real nitty-gritty list of the adjustments would be pretty boss. But I'm very likely in the minority on that - after all, this restoration project is about the final goal of 'best looking Cerebus possible', not an advertisement for Adobe...

Sean R said...

Hey Dave,

It definitely gets to the heart of it--who's the audience? I will definitely write about the nitty gritty--but what percentage of the audience do the actual "how-to" details reach, and how do you present those in a way that doesn't deter the remainder of an audience? In other words, who would this be for? Perhaps there are several potential documents here?

Thanks for the feedback!

Anonymous said...

I think it would be more useful to have a "how to scan and clean up artwork from original, negative, and printed sources" tutorial than a "here's how we cleaned up Cerebus pages" documentary. The former is more open and has a potentially larger audience.

-- Damian T. Lloyd, dpi

M Kitchen said...

These look GREAT!

As for what documentation... I say go with whatever format you're most comfortable (or interested) in doing.

My only suggestion is that it be high-resolution so we can see all the goodness.

Cerebus Restoration said...


Thanks for the thoughts. That's about where I'm at-- seems like something aimed at cartoonists that confront these kinds of challenges might be most useful to as many people as possible.

Thanks Mike! I'll be sure to include zoom-able images, however the formatting works out.

David Birdsong said...

Show the original raw scan and then the steps taken to achieve the final results in the form you feel most comfortable with. Step after step after step. Detail, detail, detail.

A PDF or some other type of document that can be saved or printed out is good.

This would be helpful for restoration as well as scanning in new artwork. I have had pretty good success scanning my own artwork in and messing with it, but it is never quite as sharp as I would like and I'm convinced by your examples that it could be better.

After weeks of this I have yet to be bored by any of the fine details so any little tidbit is welcome.

Travis Pelkie said...

Do something like those back cover (or were they part of Aardvark Comment?) visits to Preney's, where Dave was being shown the different machinery and how it worked. The guy disappointed that he didn't get to the one that goes "whomp-whomp-whomp" (or whatever the sound effect was) is still funny.

That's right, hilarious fumetti!

More seriously, a friend of mine put together a screencast video on Youtube that showed how he used some computer programs to digitally clean up some cassette tapes to a radio show we were involved in, and it's basically a narrated view of the computer screen itself while he went through the different processes and programs in order to handle this. If you're interested in seeing it, I can email a link. I think you could probably do a comparable run through on a page that would show the process you're using and actually show what's going on, if I understand either what he did or what you guys are doing :)