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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Crop the image you copied of the zoomed in preview.
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.
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
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.
Crop this image the same way you did to the first part.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As you cropped horizontally before. Now you want to crop off your excess material from the bottom.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.