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Old 07-01-2013, 02:17 AM   #1
AlexBell
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Advice on images please

I'm sorry if this is in the wrong forum for this post, and to have to expose my abysmal ignorance about images.

The attached image is from a book published in 1894, taken from the Internet Archive. I'd very much like to use this and ten similar quality images as illustrations in an ebook I'm proof reading now.

My questions in decreasing order of importance are:
- Is the image fixable - can it be improved enough to make it usable?
- How would you describe what is wrong with the image? What needs to be fixed?
- What software would you recommend? - preferably free. I have PMView, Paint, Irfanview, and GIMP 2.8. But I am starting from scratch so far as doing more than sizing and cropping, which is part of my reason for asking what is wrong with the image.

I haven't found anything in the Wiki; is there anywhere else I can get help from?
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Old 07-01-2013, 02:44 AM   #2
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I don't see actually a lot wrong there. It seems like a grayscale image (although heavy on the black) of a painting. Perhaps a small 'cartoon' filter used additionally.

Perhaps you can find a better image of the original painting? It looks a bit familiar.
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Old 07-01-2013, 03:00 AM   #3
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It looks like a bit like it has had a blur/despeckle filter applied, but it might simply be old printing technology.

As for advice, I'd fetch the "original", which in the Internet Archive means clicking on "All files", and then choosing one of the largest files, probably one with "jp2" or "raw" in its name. If the image can be improved, it will be from there.
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Old 07-01-2013, 04:39 AM   #4
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Thanks to you both.

You might have read the book, Toxaris, it's from Under the Red Robe, by Stanley J. Weyman. I don't think it's a stand alone painting.

I got the images from the ePub version, Jelby, and never thought of looking in any other file. I'll go back and check.

I'd still like to know how to fix images myself, though, and don't know where to start.
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Old 07-01-2013, 05:48 AM   #5
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I don't think there's much to be fixed as it is...
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Old 07-01-2013, 06:56 AM   #6
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I don't know the book, but the painting style looks familiar. Then again, that may be because of my cultural heritage.
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Old 07-01-2013, 06:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexBell View Post
I'm sorry if this is in the wrong forum for this post, and to have to expose my abysmal ignorance about images.

The attached image is from a book published in 1894, taken from the Internet Archive. I'd very much like to use this and ten similar quality images as illustrations in an ebook I'm proof reading now.

My questions in decreasing order of importance are:
- Is the image fixable - can it be improved enough to make it usable?
- How would you describe what is wrong with the image? What needs to be fixed?
- What software would you recommend? - preferably free. I have PMView, Paint, Irfanview, and GIMP 2.8. But I am starting from scratch so far as doing more than sizing and cropping, which is part of my reason for asking what is wrong with the image.

I haven't found anything in the Wiki; is there anywhere else I can get help from?
Did you remake this image? It has too few shades of gray. The post internally has plenty of gray shades but the source must not have.

Dale
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Old 07-01-2013, 06:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaleDe View Post
Did you remake this image? It has too few shades of gray. The post internally has plenty of gray shades but the source must not have.

Dale
Yes, I did. I thought it might help to get the pdf and do a snip of the image with the Windows Snipping Tool.

Since Jelby's post yesterday I went back to the Internet Archive. Although I couldn't find a 'Raw' set of files anywhere I did find another version, downloaded the ePub file, and unzipped it to get at the images it contained. Most of the images seem better, but I've attached another image
which seems even worse. The scene is in an inn at night, and to my untutored eye looks awful. I know it doesn't look good, but don't know how to fix it.

I've seen and happily used other images I got from Internet Archive ePub files for other MR ebooks, but they looked a lot better than these.
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Old 07-01-2013, 11:02 PM   #9
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hi Alex. I took a quick look at archive.org, they have quite a few editions of Under the Red Robe. From just a fast glance, it looks like *maybe* the images in the archive http://archive.org/details/underredrobe00weymiala *might* be the best quality you will get (though they still are not excellent, reproduction methods were not the best back then for paintings and photos).

To get the scanned pages -- on the "download" page for each archive, under the list of formats offered, is a link for "https". This will take you to the FTP page, and you will find a list of files. Look for the ones that end in jp2_.zip, or jpg_zip. The image zip files are quite large, and sometimes very slow to download (often 20 - 45 minutes!)

Use the "read online" feature to view the book, and download the ones that look best to your eyes. Then the only thing you can do is open the zips and take a look at the actual scans and pick the best ones. Sometimes, it is better to use individual pages from several different archives (when available).

The actual physical cleanup and re-sizing depends on the image editor you decide to use. As you know, I use PaintShop Pro, and not too many folks do. Lots of people use the GIMP for free, or Photoshop (pricey!). There are lots of freeware image editors out there, many very highly rated, such as PaintDotNet.

In general, you usually need to either completely desaturate the image or convert it to grayscale. Then maybe adjust the contrast, then clean up scratches and spots, and downsize the image. Keep the image in a lossless format, such as bitmap or (photoshop) psd, until the very end, even though the file size will be very large. Jpeg is lossy, and you will lose quality every time you re-save the file.

(I haven't forgotten, I'm still plugging away at Innocents, but not much free time these weeks)

EDITED TO ADD -- PS --The image you posted is pretty bad, though I have worked with worse. The only fix for something like that is to literally restore it using clone brush and smudging, and dodge and burn (yep, like developing photos). Sometimes you can't tell if the flaws are due to dirt and damage, to scanning artifacts, or if the artist actually drew it that way, very frustrating. It takes a lot of patience and sometimes the end result just isn't worth the time and effort.

The attached samples from a book I worked on once show a fair amount of improvement, I think, but I don't know if it was worth it. But at least now the man in the corner actually has a face.
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Old 07-02-2013, 03:12 AM   #10
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Thanks, grannyGrumpy, that really is most helpful. I'm downloading the raw jpg file as I type.

I guess I have to grind away at GIMP until I understand it.
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Old 07-02-2013, 03:29 AM   #11
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The grayscale is more attractive
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Old 07-02-2013, 05:14 AM   #12
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What I do:
  • When using Internet Archive, select 'Read online'.
  • If I want to save a page with an image, I right-click on the page, and select 'open in new tab'.
    The image is loaded with an URL like http://ia700300.us.archive.org/BookReader/BookReaderImages.php?zip=/30/items/underredrobe00weymiala/underredrobe00weymiala_jp2.zip&file=underredrobe00 weymiala_jp2/underredrobe00weymiala_0006.jp2&scale=2&rotate=0
  • Change scale=2 to scale=1, and you get max resolution.
  • Right click on image, select 'copy image'
  • Open Gimp
  • Press Shift+Ctrl+V, aka. 'Edit->Paste as -> New image'
  • Set 'Image->Mode->Grayscale'
  • Set zoom to 100%.
  • Observe that in this case there are dots (rasterization?) in the image. They mess up image sharpening, we remove them by 'Filters->Blur->Gaussian Blur' ,blur radius 2x2 pixels.
  • Set zoom to 25% again.
  • Select 'Colors->Levels'
  • In the Popup window, slide the white triangle below the histogram to the left until the paper margin in the picture is white, i.e. to the left of the right-hand peak in the histogram.
  • Slide the black & mid-level triangles until you are satisfied with the result, and click OK.
  • Select 'Filters->Enhance->Unsharp Mask'. This filter accentuates borders between dark and light areas, so it actually sharpens the image.
  • Use default values (5.0, 0.5, 0)
  • Undo & fiddle with values if result is unsatisfactory, or just skip the unsharp filter.
  • If you have wavelets installed in GIMP, you can use it to mitigate the effects of unsharp again When the image is a bit 'blobby', as in this case, wavelets can smooth things a bit. Apply 'Filters->Enhance->Wavelet denoise', in this case Threshold=0.75, Smoothness=0 are sensible values.
  • Select 'Tools->Selection tools-> Rectangle select' and select the image part of the page.
  • Select 'Image->Crop to selection'
  • Now I save the full-size image.
  • Select 'Image->Scale image', and shrink it to whatever size you want for your book.
  • Select 'File->Export'.
  • For images like this, which are slightly fuzzy and blurry, I often set jpeg quality to ~70%.
  • Line drawings I normally save as png, but first I select
    'Colors->posterize' and set levels=16 (Even on colour screens, fifteen shades of gray normally suffice, and it makes for really small file sizes)

The raw/jp2 images are even larger and more detailed, but In my experience there wasn't anything to be gotten by using them instead. Also, they are often not yet aligned, so you'll have to rotate them a bit as well.
When there are many images in a book, I use the Internet Archive thumbnail viewer, note down the page numbers of images, and make a shell loop to retrieve the relevant pages. This is left as an exercise for the reader
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Old 07-02-2013, 05:46 AM   #13
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@Alex, there are many GIMP tutorials online, and maybe this link would be a good starting point: http://www.gimp.org/tutorials/ . (unfortunately, I never felt comfortable with the interface, so my knowledge is only incidental)

@SBT, I wanted to try your step-through, but the Internet Explorer v9, which I am locked into using, doesn't have the option to open an archive.org reader page in a new tab, the option is grayed out. It only allows Save Picture As, Email, Print, etc. What browser are you using?
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:13 AM   #14
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@SBT, I wanted to try your step-through, but the Internet Explorer v9, which I am locked into using, doesn't have the option to open an archive.org reader page in a new tab, the option is grayed out. It only allows Save Picture As, Email, Print, etc. What browser are you using?
What an odd behaviour for a browser... Both Firefox and Chrome permits it on Linux and Windows. I expect it works with Opera, and on OSX too.
If you are utterly stuck with IE, you can right-click, and select 'Properties', that'll list the image link and more.
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:28 AM   #15
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arghhh. Pasting the link into the address bar gives me a "bad image stack path" error.
I will have to try this from the library, where I can use my own portable Opera. This problem might be due to some policy settings, or it might just be a Vista thing (have I mentioned how badly I hate Vista?)
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