Paper Texture

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Paper Texture

Post by Karp » Sun Sep 09, 2007 8:48 pm

Since I do not have a tablet, my comics are always drawn on paper and scanned into Photoshop. I imagine many of you use the same method. How do deal with the texture of the paper in the image?

I usually bump up the contrast, but sometimes this also takes out shading and other details of the image. Is there a certain type of paper that has less texture and is more scanner friendly?


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Matt Bernier
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Post by Matt Bernier » Mon Sep 10, 2007 8:14 am

Your problem is that you're using the wrong tool. You don't want to be using brightness/contrast, because it will, as you say, blow out details when light enough to eliminate paper texture.

Some people handle this by scanning their art in Black and White from the get go, which uses a threshhold filter not unlike a photocopier. Threshold means that anything that's blacker than a certain dardkess gets turned into pure black, and anything lighter than a certain darkness gets turned into pure white.

This works just fine if your linework is pure jet black and your lines are all very thick and clear, but for fine lienwork or drybrushing it doesn't work at all, so I hate using this method.

What I do is scan my art in greyscale. Then in photoshop I go to image>adjustments>levels (not to be confused with auto levels) Then I adjust the black and white (almost never the grey) sliders until my work looks just exactly right. Depending on how messy or not your originals are, and how dark your blacks are, you may have trouble with this, because the preview image you see when adjusting is slightly darker than what it will look like when you click ok. You may have to fine tune.

It really pays off, for any scanner art, to erase really well and make your blacks pitch black and your whites white. But with drybrushing and fast hatching, it's sometimes just not possible.

(if you only post black and white comics online, skip this next step. You can just make your image web size and post it as is. This next step is only for if you want to color the comic in photoshop or if you want to prepare it for print)

Once you've got it looking like you want, go to image>mode>bitmap and turn it into a 1200 DPI bitmap (for print, you can get away with less DPI for web presentation). The bitmap will ask you how you want it to deal with the remaining greys. DO NOT choose threshhold for art with drybrushing or any kind of tone- choose "diffusion dither."

One thing to remember about Bitmaps is that they look messy up close on screen, but look crisp in print, wheras the opposite is true of greyscale files, whih look fantastic on-screen but look like garbage printed.

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Post by Og » Mon Sep 10, 2007 8:24 am

As Matt says, Photoshop image>adjustments>levels is your friend. Lets you make the whites white without killing much else.

Roll on. Good luck.

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Post by goRaina » Mon Sep 10, 2007 11:56 am

'Plate' or 'smooth' surface Bristol board will yield a pretty smooth line when you're working with ink or pen or brush. Vellum surface Bristol tends to be rougher, and cold press watercolor papers will give you the roughest texture.

Every artist has their own preference!

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Post by neil » Mon Sep 10, 2007 12:28 pm

Yes, never touch the brightness/contrast sliders again!

I've been using levels for a few years, but recently discovered that "Threshold" is better--so, instead of trusting the black-and-white or line-art setting on your scanner, scan it in greyscale mode, then use Image > Adjust > Threshold. It will take some messing around but you can eventually make it work work really well, even with drybrush and hatching. And then you can actually automate this process, if your ink is always the same darkness (which you can control if you mix together your old and new ink, or if you use standard ink cartridges). You can just have a photoshop action to do all this without thinking--it's a huge, huge time-saver.

Also, threshold makes sure that your inks turn purely black, which is much better for printing. You may not realize on screen that your inks are splotchy.

Sooome artists, like our own Bengal, use the 'curves' control to set the white point of the image (you can simply set it slightly lighter than your paper texture). But I'd recommend either levels or threshold.

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Post by jshamblin » Tue Sep 11, 2007 6:07 am

neil wrote:Yes, never touch the brightness/contrast sliders again!
I agree with Matt and Neil. Brightness/Contrast isn't recommended for high-end output because it sacrifices image detail for speed and ease of use. For B&W line art, I recommend:

Image > Adjustments > Curves...

Keep in mind that you might have use the Eraser tool (or white paint) sometimes. Overall image quality is more important than making sure all the imperfections are adjusted out of the picture.

Also, I think goRaina made excellent recommendations for papers and their uses.

You can learn more about how to use the curve adjustment through the Adobe Help Center (Help > Photoshop Help...). Search for "curves dialog box" (or any other specific adjustment or filter).

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