WIKI TIPS: Making Hi-Res Manga Cover Images

Topic started by FoxxFireArt on April 20, 2012. Last post by takashichea 2 years, 2 months ago.
Post by FoxxFireArt (2,638 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Moderator

How to make large hi-resolution manga cover images

I'm a person that you might call a prolific wiki editor on Anime Vice. I've been a member since August 2009 and earned 794,236 wiki points. One of the things I've seen in the manga section is the incredibly small cover images for either the US and Japanese version. I've thought about making tip guide for how I get the large images for manga that I don't even buy. It's not about piracy. It's about using my image editing skills and Photoshop. These tips could work with other imagine software.

Tips

The best source that I use for manga covers for both the US and Japanese editions is on Amazon.com. For most modern releases on Amazon for manga they have the option to zoom in on the preview image. The main version is a tiny picture.

Create a New Image

Part 1

These are the steps that I used to create the cover image for U.S. edition of NARUTO Vol. 45. Search on Amazon for the volume you are looking for and click on the cover to pull up the preview.

Amazon with preview
Amazon with preview
Keyboard guide
Keyboard guide

Zoom in to the maximum option. Now you will need to copy the image that is on your screen. This is very easy to do on your computer keyboard by pressing the "prt scrn/sys rq" key between your letters and number keys. See the image to the right for an example. This will copy an image of your monitor to your cache to be pasted into a New Image.

Part 2

Open your photo editing software and create a New Image. My Photoshop automatically creates the dimensions to the size of the image in my cache. If your software doesn't. You'll need to make sure the dimensions are set to the proper dimensions of your monitor.

Zoomed in preview
Zoomed in preview
Screencap with Zoomed preview
Screencap with Zoomed preview

--

Part 3

Crop the image you copied of the zoomed in preview.

Cropped Image
Cropped Image

--

Part 4

Image Dimensions
Image Dimensions

Next step is to increase the size of your canvas. You're basically going to want to make this far larger than you are going to need. It makes it less annoying if you don't have enough room. Open the "Images" and select "Canvas Size". I put my anchor point at the top left, since I'm starting my image using the top left portion of the cover. I wanted to increase the pixel size to 800x1200.

I already know how large the Amazon manga covers can be for VIZ based series, but you can find much larger images on the Japanese Amazon for some manga.

Increased Canvas
Increased Canvas

Your image should look like the picture above. This will serve as your base, and the rest of this process is going to be like piecing together a puzzle. You just have to make the pieces.

Making your Pieces

Part 1

Now, take the Amazon preview and scroll it to the right just as far as your original preview left off. and press the "prt scrn/sys rq" key again. In your editing software, create a second new image. This is where you will be pasting all your following images.

Second Image
Second Image

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Part 2

Crop this image the same way you did to the first part.

Cropped Second Image
Cropped Second Image

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Part 3

You've now created your next piece. Either drag over to your base, or copy and paste as a second layer. As the preview image below you shows, the image is not perfectly lined up yet.

Paste second image on top of main
Paste second image on top of main

Next I zoom in far to the image and find a place on the edge of my layer two. In this case, I zoomed on on the side burn of the Preta Path character. You want to align the pixels until they are properly aligned on top of the edge. That way you will see no change between the picture, like putting in a puzzle piece.

Before and after alignment
Before and after alignment
Toggle second layer on and off
Toggle second layer on and off

You'll want to test that the picture is properly aligned. The best tip I have for that is to toggle on and off your second layer. If you've done this properly, you should see no change in the image where they stack over the other. If it appears to move, that means you didn't align it properly.

Cropping Horizontal

Once you have reached as far as you can on one side, you will need to crop your image. This will make aligning pieces easier as you continue downward.

Crop image
Crop image

--

Continue Process

To save you from having to constantly making new pictures to make the next piece. Select your second picture, go to "Edit" in the tool bar and select "Undo". This will undo to cropping you did previously and send the picture back to full dimension.

Go back to the Amazon preview and start scrolling down. Hit "prt scrn/sys rq" key then paste into the second image file.

Undo and Paste new image
Undo and Paste new image

Crop this image as you did with the previous one then cut and paste to your base picture. Continue until you've reached the bottom of the cover.

Cropping Vertically

As you cropped horizontally before. Now you want to crop off your excess material from the bottom.

Crop again
Crop again

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Merging Layers

Now, you can continue this process until the picture has been completely filled in. By the time I was done with this particular image, I had six layers in total.

Finished picture and image layers
Finished picture and image layers

Scroll your mouse over on to the layers window on the bottom right, click your right mouse button, and select "Flatten Image". This will merge all the layers into a single picture.

Flatten Layers
Flatten Layers

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Saving File

The final step is to save the file into a proper format. You want to select PNG over JPEG. PNG will keep the picture much sharper in quality. I like to name the file by the series and volume number. It keeps things organized when adding multiple covers.

Save File
Save File

--

Final Product

Here is the resulting image that I created. The final size of the picture is 666x1000 pixels. Some images could end up being much larger.

Naruto Vol. 45 US (Jul 2009)
Naruto Vol. 45 US (Jul 2009)

I like to fill out the caption on the volumes of manga in a particular way. First is the name of the series, volume number, "US" for English covers ("JPN" for Japanese covers), then the month (abbreviated) and year that edition was released.

This is basically a similar process to what's used in making stitched screen caps from anime.

-Kristoffer Remmell ( FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ AnimeVicers/ @ FoxxFireArt

Post by takashichea (10,898 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Moderator

I need to get Photoshop. It does banners, transparent pngs, stitched caps, and now, volume covers. I was wondering where you got large manga volume pages for obscure titles that are exclusive to Japan. What version of Photoshop should I get and how much is it (and where to buy)? I use Windows Vista and 7.

Awesome guide, FoxxFireArt!

Post by FoxxFireArt (2,638 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Moderator

@takashichea:

You may want to check this post again since I had to fix some image issues with how they appeared.

I use Photoshop CS3. Photoshop can get pretty expensive. That's just what I use. All you really need it a photo editing software that gives you the ability to use layers and have multiple images open at once.

Post by ShadowKnight508 (5,319 posts) See mini bio Level 19
Moderator

I have Photoshop CS5.1 for the few things that I use it for nowadays. I am not the best, but I do manage to do decent images with it every now and then.

Post by sickVisionz (4,234 posts) See mini bio Level 24
Moderator

@takashichea: Photoshop is crazy expensive but you can use free programs like Gimp and Paint.net that will let you do the same thing. I'd personally go with Paint.net as it's a bit more user friendly than Gimp is. I use it for stitching screen caps, which is the same process as this.

Alternatively, I just did a quick Google search and it looks like there is a Firefox plugin called that will let you download the super big version of Amazon images. I've never tried it before but that might be of use.

Post by takashichea (10,898 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Moderator

@FoxxFireArt: @sickVisionz:

Thank you for the advice, guys. I look for the FireFox plugin since this is a time consuming process. I also use paint.net and Gimp version 2.0. I'm not an expert on it like my little sister who is the "artist" in my family.

Those are nice stitched caps, sickVisionz.

My first attempt had some errors (on the right) because the hair and faces mess me up. The second one I created was a success. Daniel approved it.

Post by Daniel_Newton (3,181 posts) See mini bio Level 20
Moderator

As great as this guide is, that's a really time consuming way to do this. Before I found the Firefox plugin (would prefer one for Chrome, but I have Firefox too so it's no biggie) I would zoom all the way in and drag the image around to load all the tiles, then right-click in Chrome and click "view source" and find the tiles are in the frames folder, if I remember correctly. Drag them into a folder and then into photoshop and you can just snap them all together like a jigsaw puzzle. Cut the cropping process out entirely.

But like I said, that was before I found the Firefox plugin, which makes the whole process just a couple of clicks.

Also, picking PNG over JPG is a bad idea. It makes the images anywhere from 5 to like... 15 times larger. It's a huge waste of space and bandwidth. Save images in JPG quality 10, baseline optimized in photoshop. The file size is much smaller and you literally have to zoom in to notice the difference. Generally we're supposed to keep images under 1MB each, a rule I usually only break when I upload official art from anime magazines, which is super-high resolution.

Post by FoxxFireArt (2,638 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Moderator

@Daniel_Newton:

I've never heard of this plugin before. I'm also not big on adding plugins to my browsers.

A PNG can be a large file if you aren't flattening the image layers. This image I made was 989 KB. Even at a high quality, JPEG has a tendency to ghost colors and become fuzzy. Especially when dealing with reds.

Post by Daniel_Newton (3,181 posts) See mini bio Level 20
Moderator

@FoxxFireArt said:

I've never heard of this plugin before. I'm also not big on adding plugins to my browsers.

I found it a few weeks back (I'm assuming this is the same one the others mentioned) and I wish I'd known about it a lot sooner. Most of my Chrome add-ons are notification icons that go next to the address bar with little numbers on them, so I know how many unread e-mails I have, facebook notifications, Google+, formspring, Google Reader and so on. It really helps you stay on top of everything without having to regularly visit a bunch of websites. Oh, and Adblock is an absolute must. Oh, and the Google "+1" button is nice too. Maybe I should blog about Chrome add-ons...

A PNG can be a large file if you aren't flattening the image layers. This image I made was 989 KB. Even at a high quality, JPEG has a tendency to ghost colors and become fuzzy. Especially when dealing with reds.

Have you tried the specific setting I suggested? It's nothing like saving in JPG in most programs (paint comes to mind, yuck) and the small file size really makes it worth it. I've been using it for a few years now, very rarely finding any need for the PNG format, unless I need transparency or something.

Plus, you should keep in mind that the JPG tiles from Amazon are pretty low quality anyway. The only thing that makes them worth having is the high resolution. If you were saving from a raw format into JPG there might be a more noticeable loss, but in my experience saving in JPG with photoshop adds a few miniscule artifacts you'd be hard-pressed to notice without zooming in and that's pretty much it.

Turning kilobytes into megabytes, and megabytes into gigabytes in the grand scheme of things, just isn't worth the trouble or the bandwidth. Especially when the people viewing these images won't notice anyway.

Post by Lurkero (399 posts) See mini bio Level 7

Thats a nice trick to get larger images. I feel like high-res images of manga covers should be available somewhere. Why is that not a thing?

Post by takashichea (10,898 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Moderator

@FoxxFireArt: @Daniel_Newton: @sickVisionz:

Banner I created
Banner I created

@ShadowKnight508:

A guide to making banners would be really useful. I checked the prices for those Photoshop programs, and some of them range from 100 to 900 dollars. You guys weren't kidding.

This is my current skill with paint. I could use Gimp, Paint.net, or any inexpensive alternative. I'm not that creative, I guess. Foxx, I ripped out the Anime Vice Logo since it was clear, big, and crisp and insert into paint. I haven't clean the edges enough.

Post by KuroNekoXIII (427 posts) See mini bio Level 14

This is an amazing tutorial! I'm still a bit of a noob when it comes to digital photo manipulation and stuff, but I'm spending lots of time working on my skills. This is really helpful, so thanks for sharing!

@takashichea said:

A guide to making banners would be really useful.

I'm currently working on creating some banners for Kuroko no Basuke, if you'd like, I can screencap the process and post up the images (although I'm not that great lol)

Post by takashichea (10,898 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Moderator

@KuroNekoXIII:

That would be great! Don't doubt your abilities. I could not put pictures and text together to make it look natural with Paint. That is why my banners are boring.

I think this was yours
I think this was yours
I used Windows XP paint, so the text isn't transparent
I used Windows XP paint, so the text isn't transparent

You had some rad Guilty Crown banners.

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