Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Church & State I Restoration Roundup

Sean Michael Robinson:

Greetings everyone!

There's been some exciting stuff happening this week, as the Church & State I restoration hit a few milestones.

A. "Adjustment" almost complete

Original art from the collection of James Guarnotta.

First off, the majority of the "adjustment" portion of the work is complete. We're doing the work in three phases-- adjustment, cleanup, and book layout. Though cleanup is self-explanatory (blacking in blacks, removing schmutz and noise, fixing damaged tone and borders, cleaning or cloning broken lettering, etc etc), the adjustment phase isn't quite as easy to explain.

Essentially, it's taking the raw scans, comparing the conditions of the available materials, and re-sizing, changing the exposure, sharpening, adjusting them-- in short, everything but cleaning the page.

That work is done now for the entire 592 pages, with the exception of 25 pages, and "Mind Game III/IV", which are awaiting additional scans.

Which means that I can now join Mara in the cleanup phase! I will be aided in this by---

B. A brand-new giant 4k monitor

I made a recent trip back to my hometown of Orlando, and visited my parents. My mother, who's a bad-ass quilter and early tech adopter, had a new iMac in her workspace. I sat down to the station and was blown away by the resolution of her display. A few hours of research and a few days of waiting later, I'm now the owner of a Dell P2715Q, a 4k IPS monitor that has already changed my restoration workflow significantly.

So what's a 4k monitor, and what's the big deal?

Ever noticed how the screen on your iPhone or Android device seems so much sharper than your computer monitor? Small devices are much more likely to have pixel-dense screens, so that you can actually accomplish something on such small real estate. But it's only been very recently that such pixel-dense screens have been available at desktop sizes.

More pixels per inch of screen space means more resolution, more detail, which means less zooming in and out during cleanup. The monitor arrived yesterday, and after a brief test-drive, it was clear that this will radically change my cleanup workflow. 

(Are you a graphics professional? Want/need a 4k monitor for yourself? Make sure you get an IPS one to avoid narrow viewing angles, a huge irritant on a large panel. And unless you have more than $1200 to burn, I'd go with the Dell above) 

Completely unrelated to the above-

C. Did you know that you can still buy Cerebus t-shirts?

It's true! Cerebus For Dictator and He Doesn't Love You... He Just Wants All Your Money shirts are still available from Graphitti Designs! I'm not sure if they're available at conventions, but they're definitely still in stock, so if you're in need, you know where to go. (I found this out while researching something I can't quite talk about yet... hopefully that will change soon :)   )

And now to make this post even more scattershot-- a last C + S I-related factoid of the week--

D. Did you ever notice that the artwork shrunk?

While working on the negatives for the book, I had a strange realization. For some unknown reason, the active area of the artwork shrinks starting in Cerebus #64! And then, ten issues later, it shrinks again! From issue 75, and for the remainder of C + S II at least, the height of each page of Cerebus artwork remained at approximately 8.5 inches tall instead of the 9 inches that was standard up until issue #64. This was easily solved on my end, but Dave has no recollection of it happening in the first place. The original art remained the same size-- it was just photographed at a greater reduction. A very strange little tidbit.

And that's about it for this week! Please keep the C + S I notes and wish-list coming. 


Anonymous said...

What does "IPS" mean?

Best of luck with the work. I had noticed the page layouts changing during C&S, but figured everything was part of Dave's master plan, along with the narrow panels during the Astoria interrogation scene in Part Five. It was a dynamic, powerful part of the narrative.

--Claude Flowers

Sean R said...

Hey Claude,

IPS stands for In-Plane Switching. I can't pretend to understand the specifics-- the gist of it is, it's an improved form of LCD (liquid crystal display) that eliminates the main problems with cheaper LCD displays-- bad backlighting, poor color reproduction, and narrow viewing angle. Viewing angle would be the main issue for me-- making sure that the display looks relatively consistent as you move your head in relationship to the screen. With a big monitor like the one I just purchased (27") it really wouldn't make sense, as I have to shift my head to just see the other side of the screen, especially working in portrait mode (i.e. with the screen oriented like the page was originally drawn).

As for the "sliced" panels/pages during Astoria's interrogation, those are indeed amazing layouts. The shrinking pages? Apparently, not a plan, just an accident (or a forgotten solution to a forgotten problem).

Sean R said...

Just to be clear-- I'm not talking about the layouts that use less of the page, like the Astoria pages, or the two Jaka issues. I'm talking about the active area of the art being smaller in general.

Max West said...

Those Cerebus t-shirts look cool. I need to get one.

Travis Pelkie said...

Was the artwork smaller with 65, or with 75? Cuz issue 65 was when Gerhard started, in case that has anything to do with it...

Jeff Seiler seilerjeff said...

Actually, having gone back in research, I think, Gerhard (Hi, Ger!) may have started with issue #64. Take a look at the backgrounds therein. If it wasn't Ger, then why do they look so much like Ger's work? And why didn't Dave just keep going on his own?

Sean R said...

Hey Travis- 64, and then smaller again at 75. The actual original art isn't smaller, just the photography is smaller. Jeff- issue 64 is definitely Dave solo, just a Dave that is spending more time on environments. Good stuff, eh? Though I believe they'd done their first Epic story together by that point.

Jeff Seiler seilerjeff said...

Yeah, the EPIC stories were Gerhard's "audition". Dave wanted him to start with something that wasn't on such a tight deadline and see what he could do. I suspect it was a case of "here's the deadline, let's see what ya got", all the while knowing that the supposed deadline was not a drop-deadline. Ger came through, as he nearly always did, and so Dave put him to work.