How to Convert Comic Books to Digital Format
If you have a large collection of paper comic books you would like to enjoy reading without worrying about exposing them to the wear and tear of turning the pages or the oils from your fingers, and you have a scanner, you can create digital versions of those comics. You can then read these digitized comics with any of a number of reader programs while keeping your comics safely bagged and stored. Following are steps in how to convert your comics into a digital format.
Scan the pages of your comic book.Scanning the pages creates digital images of each page. The best kind of scanner to use for this task is a flatbed scanner, as it allows you to place the comic on the platen (glass screen) without taking it apart. You can also use a wand scanner to go over each page to create your digital images and then upload them to your computer; this type of scanner may produce more satisfactory images if you choose to digitize a graphic novel or anthology bound like a book.
- Although flatbed and wand scanners will let you create digital images from comic pages without taking the comic book apart, some comics fans choose to take their comics apart when scanning them. If you do this, carefully open the staples binding the comic together and separate the pages. Be sure to pay attention to the page order both when reassembling the comic and when managing the digital images you've created.
- Some comics fans choose to scan only the front cover and story pages, while others also scan the inside covers, the back cover, the letter column pages, and advertising pages as well.
- Whether you choose to separate your pages or not when scanning, handle the comic as gently as possible. If the comic is particularly valuable, you may wish to handle it with gloves when scanning it.
Name the digital images sequentially.Some scanners automatically include numbers in the names of the digital images they create; however, the default names usually are the date the image was scanned, along with a sequence number for the order in which the image was scanned. If you did not create your images by scanning the comic front to back, you'll have to rename the image files to reflect the correct sequence.
- You can rename the file by double-clicking the file name and typing a new name or by reviewing each page with a digital image processing program such as Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro and saving the scanned image under a new name. Digital imaging programs enable you to rotate the image, if you scanned the page upside down, make minor corrections before saving, and also enable you to save your image in a different graphic format than the scanner created it in.
- A good naming convention for page image names is to use the short form of the comic name ("Action" for "Action Comics," for example), the issue number and a sequence number representing the page order. (Comic books sequentially number their story pages; however, these numbers may not include the letter column or advertising pages.)
- Graphic images of comic pages may be saved in a number of formats, including Windows Bitmap (BMP), Tagged Image File Format (TIFF), and Graphic Image Format (GIF). The most common formats, however, are JPG and PNG, with PNG offering image compression without a loss of data.
Organize the images into folders.This step is entirely optional and may best be used to separate page images for the main comic story from those of backup features.
Create a compressed (zipped) file.Digital comics are most commonly in the form of comic book archive files, which are compressed files created using either a compression utility built into your computer's operating system or a third-party utility program.
- Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 all have the capability to create ZIP files by selecting the files or folders to be compressed, right-clicking, selecting "Send to" from the popup menu and then selecting "Compressed (zipped) folder." Mac OS has a similar built-in function for creating compressed files.
- If you prefer to create ZIP files with a third-party utility, you can use a utility such as WinZip, PKZIP, IZarc, or ALZip, or Power Archiver for Windows or Stuffit Expander or The Unarchiver. Utility programs such as Bandizip, and Zipeg work for both Windows and Mac, while 7-Zip works on a number of platforms.
- To create a RAR compressed file, you must use either the commercial utility WinRAR or the freeware application RAR for Pocket PC. (The RAR compression format was created in 1993 by Eugene Roshal and offers a better rate of compression than the ZIP format, but at a lower compression speed.) The ACE compression format has a proprietary utility program associated with it also, WinAce. Other compression formats, such as TAR and 7Z, have their own utility programs associated with them.
Rename the compressed file extension to indicate the file is a comic book archive.This is necessary for the comic book reader program to recognize the compressed file as a comic book archive. The format names given below all begin with "cb" for "comic book," with the third letter of the new extension taken from the first character of the original extension. (Some readers, however, will work with compressed files with their original extension names.)
- Rename the extension ".zip" to ".cbz".
- Rename the extension ".rar" to ".cbr".
- Rename the extension ".ace" to ".cba".
- Rename the extension ".tar" to ".cbt".
- Rename the extension ".7z" to ".cb7".
Read the digital archive file with a comic book reader program.Your digital comic file should read effectively with whatever comic book reader program you have installed on your computer. If not, you'll have to create the compressed file again. Comic book reader programs for Windows include CDisplay, Caliber, Comical, Evince, and GonVisor. Readers for Macintosh include FFView, Simple Comic, and a Mac version of Comical.
- Instead of creating a compressed comic book archive file as described above, you can instead embed the images into a PDF, using either a PDF creator utility such as Adobe Acrobat or a program with the capability of saving files with embedded graphics in PDF format, such as Microsoft Word or Microsoft Publisher. You will then need a PDF reader program to read your digital comic.
- Be aware that issues have been raised regarding the legality of creating digital comics that are currently under copyright. Creating digital versions of your comics for your own use can be considered fair use, but creating digital copies for online trade or sale may be illegal if the original issue's age places it under copyright.
Video: Convert, Store and Read Digital Comic Books in a PDF Format
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