Lister 5/1 Diesel

Before & After

Picture Editing for Web Sites

We get a lot of enquiries about pictures on the web pages, and how we get them cleaned up before we put them up for display. We have a copy of Paint Shop Pro V7 which we bought a while ago, having used the earlier versions for some years. The techniqes are getting more complex as time goes by, while the results are more spectacular. Time is well spent in learning what a programme can do, and the resulting images can be most rewarding.

The following is an example of an image scanned from an early (1938) R A Lister handbook cover. The Lister book covers are all printed on brown card, so you are not going to get good contrast with the original image compared with a sharper image on a white background.

The image is also spattered with oil and coffee stains, what appears to be Tomato Ketchup, plus the usual grubby marks from workshop use.

The techniques used were as follows:-

1) The image was brightened and the contrast increased. This was done three times, each time the image is assessed to see how the appearance comes out before going on to a further stage. The programme allows undoing of each stage, so nothing is irrevocable unless the image is saved to disk, after which the changes are permanent.

2) The Air Brush tool was used to brush out the grubby marks which are around the outside of the image. Sharp points of discolouration are treated with the tool at fine aperture to save overspraying on adjacent areas.

3) Copy and Paste techniques were used on the base of the engine where three colour levels are all marked by the same stain. An area adjacent and with the same colour rendering is copied and overlaid onto the stained area. The flywheel rim is also treated by the same techniques, and as the dark marking is quite localised it was a simpler operation.

This is the finished image after cleaning up. The colour tinting is not unattractive, but in some cases it does make the image file size too large, so the number of colours is reduced to make the image into a grey-scale rather than colour type.

The final picture, grey-scale and lightened again after converting from the colour image we started with. The file is a JPEG image, which could be changed to GIF image, but the compression techniques available for the JPEG type probably tilts the balance in favour of that format. Web pages can only display JPEG or GIF images at the present time.

In all this work, note that unles the detail is available in the original picture, you can't expect to get it out at the other end of the process. This image can be sharpened again and again, but it is a waste of time if you didn't have a clear and sharp image in the first place.

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