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Dark Pin Images

shiva

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
The biggest problem I have is finding decent images to use when I build my tables, I'm pretty sure we all have that problem. It's not that there aren't a lot of pictures, it's just seems that 95% of all the people out there don't know how to use a camera. :)

One of the biggest problems is the lighting conditions, a lot of pictures are glared, or way too dark to be useable. It's been something that annoyed the crap out of me for years, and I finally decided to do something about it. Using a couple of filters and some other stuff, I believe I have a decent way to restore the images, and make dark images more life like, brighter, and restore the lost detail from a dark area.

I attached a sample, and it came out very good. A before and after of the same image. If people have a full playfield/backglass/plastics etc that are too dark or have very dark areas, maybe Jon can set something up, upload them, and I will see if I can correct them to have the same lightness across the entire image.

Sample image included
 

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tiltjlp

PN co-founder
Nice of you to offer such a service Big Blue. What exactly did you have in mind? I could create a new forum called Big Blue's Image Fixes, or something like that, and folks could attach the images they need improved. If you'd want something more involved, Jon would have to handle that.

Anynother way would be to make this thread Sticky and have folks PM you and attch their images to the PMs. That might be better to avoid possible image "borrowing". let me know which would work best for you.
 

Shockman

appropriate at this time
That's not a bad idea John, but as much as I like shiva I think a generic forum just like you said for pics that need work would maximise the usefullness of it as there are many people that can do it.
In fact I think it is a very good idea and the kind of stuff forum staffers should worry about instead of who can call who what, and such.
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
A more generalized forum might be the way to go Shockman, since as you said there are at leat several graphic artists here. my question is still if images should simply be posted or if they should be submitted by PM attachments. Maybe the first post of the new forum would have a list of Graphic Volunteers and what they specialize in, such as minor redrawing, perspective correction, image brightening and so on. Since I'm not very skilled in any of those areas, I don't really know if most Graphic Artists can do everything, or if they tend to specialize.

I won't drag my feet on this, but I'd like to get some feedback before i set up the forum so I get it right the first time. I would think more folks would use the service if they didn't have to publically post their images. Opinions, comment, and suggestions welcome.
 

shiva

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
I don't mind doing the occasional image for people, as you can see, the results came out very nicely, and some of the impovements are very dramatic. I have a whole battalion of plug-ins, filters and scripts, and I guess the skills to use them (my games are done completely in photoshop, literally hand drawn etc) but I do have time constants, I have dial up, and I still haven't changed my mind about the community in general. My friends come here, so if they need some help, they can ask.

A lot of people don't know how to use these programs, it takes a lot of time to learn, and quite a bit of money as well. I'm a graphics artist, so it's my business to learn this stuff, and just doing image work for darkness to lightness is a very simple process for me. Just don't expect me to do a mass amount of images at one go, and of course, it may be some time, as I have other stuff and projects as well, some that will even put money in my pocket.

It takes about 10 minutes to fix a dark image, it's done by eye though, so if you have a small image that's lit properly, I can use that for reference. It's a very simple technique using multiple filters, it looks for the color source, and compares it to the blackness in the image, and changes that image to match. I have done a few of these, and it's amazing the detail that's restored, but it will also have some problems with minor things (like metals) but overall, really works and does the job.

beyond this, there are things that are very time consuming, so if a couple other people want to do it, that's great, like fixing warped or skewed images, or color correcting etc. It takes several hours sometimes to fix even a decent image just so you can work with it, so the more the merrier. Of course, once you have a image to use, then it's up to you. It took me 3-4 weeks to do playboy, something I pretty sure no one expects me to do, unless there's a cheque involved. :)
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
I would hope that folks would understand that it can be time consuming, and not expect instant turnarounds, and not take advantage of you or any other person who volunteers. I'll add a note to the sticky post that you have limited time available. I applaud both you and Shockman, and any other volunteers for offering to help us mere mortals without talent.
 

shiva

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
Thank you John. A lot of images I work with can take a hour or more to fix (if successful) and that can eat up a lot of my time, especially since I can do the same thing and charge, as some of this stuff is real expensive. (Things like fix ripped or folded images etc, restore old photos, re add color and fix blurred images) There are some limitations of course, a totally black picture you can't fix at all, but the amount of detail that does come out is pretty amazing. It still will be a image that is as good as the source used though.

Don't mind the odd image of a playfield though, a lot of the pf or plastic images in tables are very bad, and could use some serious help, especially for FP, because a bad image really looks B-A-D in FP.
 

Shockman

appropriate at this time
I am colorblind to a large degree, so color, and hue are best done by someone else. However I have plenty of time and some skill at extrapulation (very subjective, but important) a bit of skill with geometry correction, and much skill with shading and lighting, and can work well with people, and can do some other things, as well as bring it all into the VP editor. Sounds like applying for a job. I would do it based on what was submitted, instead of who submitted it, would be willing to work with people, as well as forum staffers etc. etc. etc. Just never said I wanted to do that, just that others could do that as well.

Just kidding above, of course. I would help where I could. It's tough. I would think a wide open find and fix shop. otherwise why here at the forum?, IM, email etc. would be best for covert ops. Sure someone can grab and use the image before he, or she that submitted it, but that would not take away the need the submitter has. If someone else has need or finds uses for the images then that would be even better. It someone was really worried about being the first to use the graphic they could submit it when they are ready to use it in a release. If they want to be the only one to use it they can do it themselves or one of those covert ways. Know what I mean? The same thing is going on at VPO but not very active.
 

davidsss

Pinball Wizard
I am pretty experienced in photoshop but don't have tome to do images for others. I agree that it does take a long time to correct some images but there are a few hundred tricks which people can use.

I would appreciate people posting their little tricks which have worked. I know there is a tutorial on straightening pics from Scapino which is very good. But, I'd also like to know what filters Shiva is using to bring the colours out in a dark image - my stock tool has always been levels although I know there is more I could do with photoshop. I think it would be useful to post this sort of stuff and we can assume that the audience knows how to use photoshop and include tips which are quite technical.

DS
 

Shockman

appropriate at this time
A forum for helping people learn PhotoShop or an equal (yeah, right) might not be a bad thing, but is not what this is about. It's about people that don't even have PS, let alone know how to use it, but need some help with graphics anyway.
 

shiva

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
I use a combination of specialized filters and plug-ins, some are free, some are not, as well as custom actions I write to make things easier. Those who actually pay attention to my release threads will know I do share my freeware stuff, others, you have to buy from the makers of that program. I have about several hundred plug-ins and filters on disk, so it really depends on what plug-in will work on what image. I'm trying to get organized on this, just for my own work, but you can do a LOT with a image with photoshop, and if you have the right plug-ins, you can fix a lot of things.

Only thing is I have PS 7, not CS, so it's a bit older techniques, but they work fine. It just takes the time to learn things is all. As far as I am concerned, if people expect me to clean up their images for free, then that image should be available for free to everyone. Maybe I will post up a section for myself about what I can do to various things, but it would be nice if others do step up as well.
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
Good idea David about the tips and tricks threads. I'll make one for Photoshop and one for Paint Shop Pro. The more information that can be shared the better we all might become, which might result in better tables.
 
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