Turning a paper page into a virtual one

After I place the comics page onto the scanner platen and take a picture of it, I call up the picture with GIMP (Graphic Image Manipulation Program).

raw image
Here's the image of a page from Marvel Premiere 27. It needs to be rotated and cropped. GIMP allows rotation of as little as 0.1o and I could usually scan the page so that it was within three degrees of being straight up and down.

A 1.3o rotation was enough to get this straight up and down. Notice there's a fair amount of white space on the page. This was because comics used cheap printing in those days. This particular issue, printed in 1975, cost only $0.25, so the printed narative/picture section might wander a bit.

As comics cost $2.00 to $3.00 these days, they use much better printing so it isn't necessary to leave so much white space on the page. These two screenshots are from AvsX 12 in 2012 (AvsX = Avengers vs X-Men).

These days, the pictures don't always, but often go all the way out to the edge.

Also, the initial scan frequently picks up a section of the next page over, so that gets cropped out as well. Everything that's darkened in this screenshot got left out.

I took the initial picture in the TIFF format as that format picks up lots of detail. After the picture is straightened and cropped, I saved it as a JPG. One of the advantages of doing that is that I can immediately tell exactly where I've left off and can pick up the project again without skipping a beat.

I then select all of the JPGs for that particular issue and name the compression file after the series title, the volume number and the issue number. The program then collects all of those pages into the CBZ format. You can still remove and add pages, but you can't do anything to a removed page. Once a page is removed from a CBZ file, it's simply gone. Note that the very last JPG in this list is of a distinct size and name from the rest. This is my signature file that containes a lot of information on the issue, writer, artist, year, plus any miscellaneous notes and my name.

signature file
Often, I'd come up with a note I'd want to add after I'd already created the signature file, so I left plenty of room to put the note in.

And here's how the finished page looks via the Comix program! And yes, as you're reading the virtual page, you can change the size and magnify any portion of the page you want to get a closer look at any section.