Digital Fitness History

Restoring an Image from a Microfilm Copy

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I’ve been working on making some of the small changes to my typography project that we discussed in class last week.  Most of the spacing fixes and the changes to the lines were super easy to fix but restoring the comic has taken a bit of time.  I played with doing different things to it, but the challenge with this particular image was that because it was printed from a microfilm reader (and then scanned) the image’s quality is pretty poor even though the resolution is high.

First, I tried just adjusting the contrast and tone on the image which helped but what I really wanted to do was to remove the background.I tried using the quick selection tool to highlight just the section of the image I wanted and make a new layer from that but the image came out looking somewhat jagged and I wasn’t happy with it.

[caption id=«attachment_617» align=«aligncenter» width=«150»]Image after using the quick selection tool to remove background. Image after using the quick selection tool to remove background.[/caption]

Another idea I had for restoring the image involved using the live trace functionality of Illustrator. This seemed like a great idea in theory but I think the resulting image was lacking a lot of the playful character of the comic.

[caption id=«attachment_620» align=«aligncenter» width=«150»]Image after Live tracing in Illustrator Image after Live tracing in Illustrator[/caption]

Next I decided to try to select all the grey parts of the image using the «Select Color Range» option.  Using this I was able to go through and select all the grey areas of the image.

[caption id=«attachment_619» align=«alignright» width=«150»]Screenshot of the Select Color Range Menu Screenshot of the Select Color Range Menu[/caption]

After going through and selecting the grey I was able to delete it. I did this a few times and would come up with an image that was a bit more clear and not quite as dark.  I just had to clean up some of the remaining messy areas using the eraser tool.  The final product wasn’t bad and since I have to reduce it so much to fit onto the site along with all of the other squares some of the small imperfections weren’t noticeable. Here’s the strip before and after my attempts at restoration.

[caption id=«attachment_618» align=«aligncenter» width=«150»]Image after selecting and deleting all of the grey. Image after selecting and deleting all of the grey.[/caption]

[caption id=«attachment_629» align=«aligncenter» width=«940»]Before Before Restoration[/caption]

[caption id=«attachment_630» align=«aligncenter» width=«940»]After After Restoration[/caption]

The image is live on my typography page now.  You can view the revised project here.

This week I commented on Becca and Sarah’s posts.

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