BAND, Digital Humanities, Uncategorized

The Mystery and Magic of Photo Processing

I’m lucky enough to have some hidden skills in Adobe Photoshop, and they’ve become quite useful every now and again on the Blake Archive. Photos of manuscripts, though high resolution, still present visual challenges when it comes to identifying near-invisible features like erasures, corrections, and other odd quirks. And while we’re trained to be extremely observant and thorough when analyzing a manuscript, the magic of image-processing software can give us an advantage.

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BAND, Digital Humanities

Blake In Photoshop, Part 3: Recovering Overwritten Text

This fall I’ve been blogging about forensic experimentation with Blake Archive images in Adobe Photoshop. The idea is that Photoshop can be a [relatively] cheap, easy, and fast way to either answer transcription questions or allow editors to model alternate views of manuscript images for Archive users. In the last two posts, I’ve used examples of faded, hard-to-read text to illustrate the potential usefulness of digital image manipulation.

Interesting stuff, but also pretty conservative in terms of total image manipulation and Photoshop’s technical abilities. This week, we’re going to push the envelope . . . just a bit.

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BAND, Digital Humanities

Blake In Photoshop, Part 2.5: Can You Read This?

A few weeks ago, I blogged about a simple Photoshop technique for recovering faded text in old manuscripts. I used a couple of objects from Four Zoas as a demo because we’ve been working a lot with Four Zoas and, well, it’s pretty hard to read.

It wasn’t a true experiment, though. Because FZ has been so heavily scrutinized by scholars past and present, nearly every conceivable reading is documented and available for verification. In other words, I was working towards a recovery that I already had in mind. Not-so-boldly-going where many have gone before.

OK, so maybe that’s fine for proof-of-concept. But what about a real test? Could we try this out on something we really had trouble reading? Wouldn’t you know it—a recent letter acquisition provided exactly that opportunity.

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Digital Humanities

Blake In Photoshop, Part 2: Recovering Faded Text

A few months ago, I wrote a post that introduced the idea of experimenting with the Archive’s cache of high-resolution digital photography in Photoshop. Experimentation has continued and has provided some interesting results. It’s difficult to label the experiments as successes or failures—the stakes aren’t that high yet. But in the DH/Zen-like spirit of play and working-without-aiming, let’s continue with the fun.

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