Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A peek into how DC remastered the Watchmen

When you work with a program like Adobe Photoshop for hours and days and weeks and years, sometimes you have nightmares about it. But the sorts of horrible imaginings that make me break out into a cold sweat? They are other people's typical day at work.

To wit, (via Blog@Newsarama) the DC artists who had to remaster WATCHMEN for the recent super-spiffy Absolute Watchmen edition.

See all that shading? Well, it all has to go. Because DC's archives are all kept on old film (they no longer have the original art), scanning and reprinting that film can create hideous moiré patterns in all of the shaded areas.

So the artists had to go into EVERY SINGLE PANEL and erase--by hand--every trace of shading.

Here's what it looks like partway through, when the artist was just beginning to contemplate cleaning up the places where the shading ran into the actual ink lines (which, by the way, had to be preserved):

DC pre-press artist Corey Breen recalls:

It was so tedious at one point, one of the three artists working on it, had a nervous breakdown. She just stood up and started yelling, “I’m seeing dots in my dreams, I can’t take this anymore."

Think about that next time you pick up a graphic novel and say, "Oh, it's just a comic book..."

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