[HNW] status re Flowers of the Needle

Lavolta Press fran at lavoltapress.com
Thu Sep 30 11:43:07 PDT 2010

On 9/30/2010 11:11 AM, Kathryn Newell wrote:
> I am curently stuck slogging through 14 pages of charts. The printing is
> so small I couldn't easily manage it well even with hand re-inking, so
> I'm painstsaking doing it during digital cleanup. A variety of people
> have suggested along the way that Adobe Photoshop could "do it all". I
> beg to disagree.

These drawings were originally printed as line art, not photos. 
Therefore, they should be scanned as line art (not halftones/grayscale, 
and definitely not color), and edited as line art. Even if they require 
extensive work, this is done by redrawing the lines, because there are 
no visible dots. I've done that extensively for nine books so far. I use 
Corel PhotoPaint, which offers about the same capabilities as Adobe 
Photoshop but has an interface I like more. (People can get very 
"religious" about software, and with some, if it's not Adobe's they 
won't use it; I have no intention of arguing with them.) I will grant 
you that redrawing is always a great deal of work, but it is 
significantly easier when line art is scanned as line art and with the 
proper threshold. If you do have actual Victorian or Edwardian halftones 
(that is, if this book is a repro where the Victorians switched to 
halftones, though that would not have been the best way for them to do 
it IMO), the various filters can do a lot for you. Although with damaged 
or originally poor-quality old photos, you may still have to mask parts 
off and apply filters locally, and/or use some of the brush tools these 
programs provide for photos.

Text should just be reset and the pages re-laid-out in Adobe InDesign, 
or a page-layout program with similar capabilities. It's a lot easier 
than trying to clean up all those characters one by one. Given the 
enormous number of fonts available for sale, you can very likely find 
ones almost identical to the originals, and you can certainly get ones 
that are "in period."

Some kind of fancy scanning software might
> have been helpful in the easier tasks of darkening in faded ink. But for
> ink loss-- there is *no* shortcut.

If you scan as line art, all dots are pushed to black or white, 
including things like "grayscale" stains that were not on the page when 
it was new. If you have photos, there are numerous filters for contrast, 
sharpening, gamma, and brightness/darkness. You need to experiment to 
see what works for a given image. Again, you may have to mask off parts 
and apply filters locally.

Hope this helps.

Lavolta Press
Two new books of 1880s patterns!

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