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Old 01-17-2006, 09:34 AM   #1
iamback's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Amsterdam, NL
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Default Recreating a logo...

... or "the most virtual beer in the world"

And since it's logo season...

In 1997, in Ethiopia, I was enjoying some of the local beers - very local since, with the limited infrastructure in the country, most brands were no more than regional. One I liked very much was called "Meta" (we all know what meta is, right?). On the last day in Addis Abeba, from the local bus, I suddenly noticed a sign in front of a little cafe - I got out at the next stop and hurried back to take a picture of "the most virtual beer in the world".

At that time, I had a flatbed scanner (film scanners never heard of - maybe in labs but I didn't know of their existence). If I wanted an image on my computer, I'd scan a print. I wanted to share this image, but didn't have a print- only a contact sheet, so I scanned from that tiny image. After all, the idea counted, not "photography". The result was not very good and I could see it needed some editing - something with which I had very limited experience then. Unfortunately, ThumbsPlus has now blown up my original scan, but the GIF image I eventually arrived at can be seen in the first attachment; it had some edges cleaned up (the framing was very tight and I was in a hurry), it was lightened a bit to get rid of the shadow over the top, and it was sharpened a bit. This image was originally posted (in 1998 I think) in thw INETPUB library, which is lost now, of course.

Since I need practicing with image editing, and I'm running into all sorts of old pictures while pondering my DAM methods, I picked on this to see what I could do with it now. The challenges:
  • tiny size: only 114x337, not many pixels to work with
  • scanned from contact print, inherently blurry - and some black edges included because it was framed (too) narrowly
  • there was (I think) some sort of cover over teh sign - there's a vague shadow at the top
  • I don't remember whether it was enamel or just painted but there's some erosion, partly on the background but mostly on the lettering
  • the (Latin) lettering looks like it's hand-drawn but clearly reproducing an existing type face; the same is probably true for the Ethiopian lettering; this was quite a challenge: having had to draw letter shapes at school I had a pretty good idea of the characteristics of the Latin font (a slight flare on the bottom right of the 'a', an obliquely cut off top of the 't', etc., however blurry they are on the scan; but the Ethiopian lettering was much harder: I had to sort of look at the whole phrase to "deduce" some characteristics

So... I started by sampling up the original to 3x the size, and then effectively painting over it, retracing all the edges to "reproduce" the kind of antialiasing needed for that image size; background color restored to what I remember: a sort of cream color. That's what it looked like on my monitor yesterday, but it seems it's slowly dying; when I rebooted two hours ago, it suddenly was a lot darker. The beer should be a deep yellow - not orange as it looks lile now here. (Grrr.) After all that retracing, I sampled back down to 2x and 1x, with a tiny bit of sharpening (second and third attachment).

All in all a fun excercise and good practice. Even though I can't show the actual original scan any more, I thought it would be fun to share it with you all.

Any hints, tips, or constructive criticism will be welcome - especially with respect to the lettering (but remember it was hand-drawn, though obviously from an existing typeface). Of course, now that I (finally!) have my film scanner, I can just start over and scan the negative. But the experience I got in this bit of restoration - and any tips you all may come up with - will surely come in handy when I do that.
Attached Thumbnails
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Name:	MetaDraft7.gif
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ID:	329   Click image for larger version

Name:	MetaDraft1d_2x.png
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ID:	330   Click image for larger version

Name:	MetaDraft1e_1x.png
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ID:	331  

Marjolein Katsma
Look through my eyes on Cultural Surfaces (soon!), My ArtFlakes shop and Flickr.
Occasionally I am also connecting online dots... and sometimes you can follow me on Marjolein's Travel Blog
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