October 30, 2014
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At this point, I’m solidly in phase 2 of my music enhancements. Phase 1 was ripping my CDs to a lossless format (with a .1 of acquiring a specific label’s full catalog). Phase 2 is scanning the album covers in high quality.
Phase 2 is a MUCH more labor-intensive process. The scanning part is easy, the cleaning up of the scans is tedious as hell. I’ve been doing this for four days and in those days I managed to complete 21 covers: 5 the first day, 2 the second day, then 6, then 9. It takes about 15-30 minutes per cover. I’m getting better and learning more time-saving tricks as I go, but still, 750 covers is going to be ~250 hours of work. Being able to put in only a couple of hours each night, 5 days a week, I’m looking at almost 6 months of this work. That’s pretty insane.
Sometimes, I think I should only focus on the covers that are unavailable online or are rare or out-of-print. Other times, I think I need to represent my entire collection. Sometimes I think I need to focus on the MCA Master Series, so I can move on to phase 3 – framing.
So, what is my process? I scan the cover at 1200 dpi, which gives me a 10mb, 5700×5700 jpg. I take that into Photoshop and run a descreen filter on it. This blends the “dots” into a more-or-less solid color. Then I do cleanup of the stains, dust, and scratches. Sometimes this is easy, sometimes it is extremely difficult. Then I add an adjustment layer for Levels, in case I want to tweak the black point or contrast. I save this to a PSD file, which ends up being 80-180mb in size. This will be my “master” from which I will do further refinements and resizing. When all is said and done, I’ll probably have near 100GB of cover images.
Looking at my post history, this conquest has been going two months so far. All I can hope is that another unexpected obsession doesn’t appear in the next six months.