Restoring Old Comics and Memories
Ken Osborn © 2012
If you know Photoshop, like old comics, and would like to see what they looked like new, read on.
I was and still am a big fan of Carl Barks duck stories: Donald Duck; his nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie; Uncle Scrooge and a host of relatives. Trying to refresh my memory on a Scrooge adventure I found an incredible resource, the Duck Comics Revue by Geoff Moses at http://duckcomicsrevue.blogspot.com/.
Geoff’s blog is filled with all sorts of goodies including panels from some well remembered stories. But after a few decades the print had faded. Those old dime comics were printed on a cheaper paper and were not intended to last forever.
But with Photoshop it’s possible to restore these faded memories to their former glory. Below are an original scan of a comic panel from the Duck Comics Revue followed by the restored version.
|Restored Contrast and Colors|
Starting with the scan, open it in Photoshop and take a look at the histogram.
|Histogram Using Photoshop Levels|
The histogram is not evenly spread across the full width with a space at the right (highlights) end consistent with the yellow faded appearance. Mouse click the ‘Auto’ button to improve the contrast.
|Auto Adjust Levels|
|Eye Dropper for Bright Whites|
|Maybe too white|
This is probably a bit harsh and the original was probably somewhere between bright white and faded yellow, so fade the levels about 50%.
|Levels Faded 50%|
Scanning the comic book will usually leave the print just a little soft, so a bit of sharpening may make the content a little more readable but it’s easy to overdo it so you may need to fade the sharpening.
Sharpening a Little Harsh with Halos
Before leaving the topic, here is one more example from a classic Donald Duck adventure, Trick or Treat (1952).
|Original from Trick or Treat|
And that’s it. If you want to see a restored version of a 1950’s 3D Donald Duck giveaway, check it out at http://duckcomicsrevue.blogspot.com/2013/01/witch-hazel-remastered.html on Geoff Moses’ blog.