Author Topic: How to clean HQ Raws  (Read 1331 times)

Offline Takuo

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How to clean HQ Raws
« on: December 05, 2012, 12:08:32 pm »
This is the method I use and I'd like to thank Weaper (of Japanzai) from whom most of my method is based from, and the scanlating tutorial website,

This tutorial will be wordy and lengthy in order to explain everything as best as I can. This is based on what I know and think.

We hear the words 'HQ' so often... it's kinda become a joke. Releases ranging from **** work to perfection are all being called 'HQ' or really good.
'**** work' is usually solo efforts by random people who want to see something released as no one is doing it or taking too long OR by the occasional scanlation group. I mean no offense to anyone who considers themselves as part of the '**** work', but I'm just honestly letting out my opinion.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of people prefer speed over quality as they want to read the manga rather than look at how much effort people put into making the WHOLE page look decent.

HQ raws are scans provided (usually only from a private raw provider) which are usually 240+dpi and 3000px+ height.
LQ raws are usually public raws that range from under 2000px height and 72dpi.
The difference is immense!
[example to be placed here]

Let's cut to the chase now...

1) Photoshop CS3 or higher (best programs available for cleaning, so don't go saying that you want to use another one)
2) Topaz Denoise 5
3) Topaz Clean 3
4) A critical eye and brain (recommended)
5) Time (needed)
6) Endeavour (wished for)
7) Dedication (lusted for)

Quite a lot to ask for, but most of it shouldn't be too hard <.<

Before you start:
1) For efficiency you would probably like to set up your workspace with the windows and other stuff you'll be using. I have 2 workspaces, one for cleaning and one for typesetting.
2) Make sure that your Topaz plugins are showing in photoshop. If they are not, go to Edit -> Preferences -> Plug-ins -> Additional Plug-ins and link to the Topaz folder.
3) Have some music on as you can be sure that the whole process will become repetitive and boring.

Here's what it looks like:

I'll be using the above image's page as a graphical presentation for you to understand.

0) Duplicate background layer.
This will be the layer you will work on and clean. The background layer will be the raw reference.

1) Straighten your page.
Use one of the horizontal or vertical borders (if none are available, carefully use the pattern). The easiest method would be to use the ruler tool.

Draw a line with it and once you are satisfied, click straighten.

2) Crop the page.
There will be a black border or some other colour around the edge of the page, this you can crop off. DO NOT crop off to the border, but leave space between the border of the panel and the space around it. The crop tool is above the ruler tool.
Once you have the area you want to crop, commit it by pressing 'Enter'.
Watch out for rotating the crop.

3) Resize the page to 3000px height.

4) Filter -> Sharpen -> Unsharp Mask (amount: 50% ; radius: 0.9 ; threshold 0)
Those are my usual settings, however it depends on the page. Just sharpen it until the patterns come out clearly, without being overpowering.

5) Resize the page to 4000px height

6) Filter -> Noise > Reduce noise (strength: 2 ; preserve details: 30% ; sharpen details: 25%)
This one also depends on the raws, but I usually leave it as is.

7) Filter > Blur > Surface blur (radius: 6 ; threshold: 15)
This step you need to watch out!
The surface blur smoothens the black/ white areas without harming whilst 'avoiding' the opposite colour. Just watch out for the areas with the dark patterns. Adjust it so that those patterns are not destroyed (a little blur in them is fine).

8) Convert to RGB
If it isn't already, convert it. It needs to be RGB for Topaz.

9) Topaz Denoise
In Denoise, click on the JPEG - light to get Denoise to automate appropriate settings. Then move the slider on the right hand side down till you get to 'Recover Detail'.
Recover detail will always be set on 0.30. Change this to 0.5. Change 'reduce blur' to 0.15.
This will sharpen the page up a bit while blending the various patches.

10) Topaz Denoise
Use again. Click on JPEG - light again. Check what value the overall strength is. If it is at a higher value than what it was, bring it down to 0.02 less than what it was.
Go down to 'recover detail' and change it to 0.4 and 'recover detail' to 0.1.

11) Resize the page to 8000px height.
You're probably wondering why the page has to be so huge! At this size, the pattern and everything has been sized up quite a lot and it's hard for the page to be over-leveled and over-burned. So little room for errors and easier to work on.

12) Replace color
Set Fuzziness to 80, Lightness to 100 and click the dot-button for Image. Your cursor will now appear as a dropper tool so just click anywhere on the page where it should be white, but isn't.
ONLY use this step if there isn't a very very light pattern on the page. Otherwise the pattern will be destroyed (you'll just have to take more time in dodging later on).

13) Adjustment layer - levels
Adjust the white ONLY. I will not discuss how to use levels here as it is a very widely discussed area and you can find plenty of material.

14) Duplicate level adjustment layer -> set to multiply -> 50% opacity
This layer will make the contrast between the black and white areas bigger.

15) Go back to original adjustment layer and level the black

.... .... to be continued in next post (as this has maxed). LOL
« Last Edit: December 05, 2012, 12:58:15 pm by Takuo »

Offline Takuo

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Re: How to clean HQ Raws
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2012, 12:57:05 pm »

16) Go to the duplicate adjustment layer and move the black to the centre of the black  peak and move the white to the right of the black peak.

17) Merge the 3 layers.
So you will have two layers again.

18) Duplicate the merged layer.

19) Filter -> Other -> High Pass (15px)
Set layer mode to soft light.
Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian blur (2.5px)
This is the high pass filter. It brings out the black lines.

20) Merge the two layers

21) Resize to 3000px height (Bicubic Smoother)

22) Dodge the page. There are a number of ways to do this, so I won't discuss it here.

23) Level (bring the gray slider to 1.1)
This step is just a personal preference I take. No need to do it. I use it for the darker patterns where I'm afraid that when I burn the page, the patterns might be destroyed. This slight lightening of the grays, makes the chances of destroyed patterns less and has proved rather effective to me.

24) Burn the page. Likewise with the dodge.

24b) [Extra] If you feel you need to 'return' the levelling done in step 23 back to what it was. Level the gray slider to 0.9. This won't level it to exactly what it was... but it's a close imitation.

25) Resize to 1400px height or 1600px height (resolution 72 pixels/inch)
This depends on the group you are in. In THS you will make it 1600px.
Some groups bring it down to 1200px but this ruins the patterns so I'm not fond of it.

26) Topaz Denoise
JPEG - light automate. THIS TIME! You will halve the the overall strength that has been

27) Image -> canvas size
relative[check] ; color: white ; pixel: W=100 H=100

This step is to provide extra space around the page for the Clean plugin which doesn't clean the edges, and thus makes sure that every part of the page is cleaned.

28) Topaz Clean
strengh : 1
threshold : 1,06
radius : 25
accent : 1
radius : 0,70
sharpness : 1,00
texture : 1,00
boost : 1,00
size : 1,00
These are my usual settings but sometimes do need adjusting. You choose.

Crop the white that was added. (I go back into Canvas size and make it -100 in both)

29) Topaz Denoise
JPEG- light automate. Bring overall strength down to between 0.4 - 0.5

30) Filter -> Other -> High Pass (2px)
Set layer mode to soft light.
Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian blur (1px)
Another high pass filter.

31) Merge layers

32) Duplicate layer

33) Filter -> Stylize -> Diffuse -> Anisotropic
Set to 20-35% opacity (30% should usually be fine)
This is a based on the diffuse filter with a small variation.
It's to smooth out the pattern a little as the page is likely sharp.

34) Merge layers

35) Set the page mode to grayscale

36) Name the cleaned layer to Primary
Duplicate this layer and name remove text.
Create adjustment layer.

Primary is your clean in case you make a mistake in remove text.
Remove text is where you make all the final touches with the page. Such as making sure everything is properly burned/ dodged, text is removed.

Here is the raw:

Result using the method:

Thanx for viewing this tutorial. I hope it was insightful and helpful to you.


-more tutorials to follow-
« Last Edit: December 17, 2012, 11:26:29 pm by Takuo »