View Full Version : Need a Tutorial on how to get started
07-23-04, 06:29 PM
Does anyone have a link to where i could learn how to make custom covers? also, what programs do i need to get started?
Here's Matt's summary from the old DCA site:
In order to make your scanned cover look best, you need a decent image editing program. I use and love Photoshop, but PaintShop Pro is also a very good (and cost effective) alternative. I'm sure there are plenty of other programs that will get the job done, these are just the two I am most familiar with. These instructions assume you have a comparable program and have basic familiarity with it.
To get a quality scan, you need to start with a quality cover (keepcase or snapper or otherwise). Any flaws in the cover will show up in the scan, so it's best to remove any dirt or fingerprints before scanning (a paper towel and Windex work well here). Any scanner that scan do at least 600x600dpi should be up to the task (a USB or SCSI scanner is recommended unless you have a lot of patience).
When scanning, I recommend scanning at 600dpi. Starting with a good, high resolution image is very important. You should turn off any artificial sharpening your scanner software may want to apply as well as the 'descreen' option if your scanning software has it, and try to adjust the brightness/contrast/saturation so that the scanned cover on your screen matches the actual cover (it doesn't have to be exact, just close). Since you are scanning something that was printed, you will invariably end up with what appear to be tons of little dots when you view the scanned cover at 100% (they are halftone dots - I'll save the detailed explanation for another time). In order to minimize their appearance, you can apply a Gaussian blur to the image (with the radius set to 0.5-1.0 pixels).
After applying the Gaussian Blur, you can optionally apply an 'Unsharp Mask' in order to restore some of the sharpness of the image without being able to see the dot structure. At this point, I now do any minor color correction that is needed (brightness/contrast/saturation). Next, select the area around the front section of the cover. Copy it and paste it to a new image of the appropriate size (Photoshop will do this automatically: CRTL-C, CRTL-N, Enter, CTRL-V). Clean up any scuffs, especially around the edges. Crop the image so only the front cover is visible. Resize the image so it is 5.117" x 7.25" (3070 x 4350 pixels at 600 dpi). Open up your template image, copy the front cover, paste it in, and move it to the correct position. Save the template as a new file. Repeat for the spine area and the back cover. The dimensions for the back cover are the same as the front. The spine should be 0.567" x 7.25" (340 x 4350 pixels at 600dpi). If you did it right, the front, back, and spine should fit together perfectly inside the template. Now, down convert the image to 300dpi*, and save. You are now ready to print your new cover.
*Note: when down converting, some programs (like Paint Shop Pro) will not change the actual pixel size of the image (which is what we want), but will instead change the print size (which is BAD!). So if you are using Paint Shop Pro, you have to resize the cover to 50% then change the dpi from 600 to 300. Otherwise you end up with a cover that is 21.6" x 14.5"
*My suggestion to resize the cover in 3 parts is based on scanning a snapper case. You have to do it in three parts since they are not the same dimensions as
a keepcase. If you just scanned the snapper and resized it as a single piece you would end up with a spine that's too narrow and not in the center. If you're just scanning an existing keepcase cover then doing it as one piece is fine. The easiest way to do the three piece method is to use a template. Scan your snapper, then copy each section and paste as a new image. Do any clean up and resizing that is necessary, then paste the 3 pieces onto the template file and save as a new jpeg.
07-25-04, 02:24 PM
ok, thanks. i'll try this in Paintshop pro.
07-25-04, 05:44 PM
Not wanting to start a new thread,may I ask a question here? How do you get a template into Paint Shop Pro 7?.
I have premade templates for each size case if you want me to email them to you. Then all you have to do is open the template in whatever image editing program you use and cut and paste from your scan. Otherwise you can make one by opening a new image, specifying the exact dimensions for the size case you want (10.80 x 7.25" for a standard single-size keepcase) and the resolution (300 dpi). Then just paint the 3 sections in. I would use one solid color for the front and the back and another separate color for the spine so that you can easily position your pasted elements. The front and back should be 7.25 x 5.117" and the spine should be 7.25 x 0.567" if its a single-size keepcase.
07-26-04, 06:33 PM
i'm really in need of some DVD covers, scanned or custom. I've posted in some other threads, but no reply. Can anyone help me? i'll give you the list if you need it.
07-26-04, 08:03 PM
I like photoshop myself, but the guy who designed my cover used paint shop pro, so I guess it depends on what you're used to.
07-27-04, 12:12 AM
What is a good trick on getting a good scan of something that has a lot of glossy/sliver/gold/reflective surfaces on it that when scanned seems to not want to Scan correctly with out a log of reflections??
In most cases you can't. Some scanners allow you to turn down the lamp brightness so that you don't get all the flaring, but that is pretty unusual in most commercial scanners. Pretty much you have to make a custom.
07-27-04, 07:53 PM
Thanks for the info Joliom.I'm on the case,so to speak.