Monday, April 21, 2014

Inks to Bitmap

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #639, PAGE 13 detail. 2010.
Ink on bristol board, 11 × 17″.

Hopefully you've tried the blue-line template I released last week. Like any good businessman, my second offering will be slightly more than free. The Bitmap Conversion Template can be purchased at my digital download store for $2. If all goes as planned, the "remove blue lines" action should be ready by next week.

This purchase includes 2 separate files.

 1: A 4125 x 6262 pixel Photoshop template (.psd file) that automatically converts your finished inks to black and white bitmap files. Simply copy and paste your cropped page into the "INKS" layer. Modifications can be made with the Threshold and Levels adjustment layers.

 2: A Photoshop Action that will automatically save your converted inks to the desktop (or wherever your specify) as a flattened bitmap (a TIFF file with LZW compression). You can import this into your Actions palette using the "Load Actions..." command. It can also be saved as a Droplet for batch processing.

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for the link, Paolo! I just ordered mine and I'm playing around with the file. One question - What dpi would you suggest scanning the inked artwork at? As of now my inks are at 300 dpi, but they look really pixelated when dropped into the file as-is. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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    1. Thanks for the support, Ian! The 4125 x 6262 px dimensions are for an 11 x 17 page at 400 ppi. You can get away with less resolution, but not in bitmap mode. Also, bitmaps will always look a bit "pixelated" because they're only black and white... but that's what makes them easier to work with for coloring and uploading.

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    2. Alright, thanks for the help. I'll try scanning at 400 dpi and see if that works out better. Speaking of which, do you have any hi-res images you could link to that show that pixelation in your own work? I'm not used to working in bitmap so I don't know if my art looks is "right" or "wrong" in the grand scheme of things.

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  2. Download the image above into Photoshop and zoom in to 200%. I've done the same thing on the Dr. Strange pic here: http://paolorivera.blogspot.com/2014/04/inks-to-bitmap.html
    Also, to get a true representation of the image, always view at 100% zoom. Any smaller, and Photoshop actually makes bitmaps look worse than they are.

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  3. Hi Paolo. I've been trying the template for a while now and was wondering if converting the inks to bitmap is still standard practice nowadays with new scanning and printing technologies. It seems to work good for pure black and white art but some of the fine feathering seems to get lost with this method (like in M.J's hair). Do you always use this method with art that's going to be colored? And how about inks with very fine feathering/crosshatching and washes? Thanks.

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    1. Excellent question. I've actually changed things up since I did a few digital pages in THE VALIANT. Because I was inking in Photoshop, I wanted to maintain the exact look that I was putting down, and so did not use the bitmap for the final. This allowed me to keep my pages at a lower res as well. However, I still used the bitmap action to convert my inks for my flatter, who returns an aliased file back to me. While the bitmapped inks no longer see print, they're still an integral part of the process.

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    2. Yes, I imagine inking in Photoshop must help you keep pristine inks without the need for bitmapping. I've also tried dithering without threshold to keep subtle gradations and details but without maximum contrast it creates a lot of error dots in the whites. Anyway, thank you very much Paolo for discussing your process. Cheers.

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