Cleaning Chart Images in Photoshop

Update, Feb. 2020: This was originally posted on my first (and now defunct) blog, Ninmah Meets World. Unfortunately, I only posted part of it here before removing the original post. At some point I’ll rewrite it with current instructions. If you are looking for it, drop me a line (rachel at digitalfacilitation dot net) to let me know and I’ll push it up the priority list.

I get asked a lot how to clean up chart pictures in Photoshop, so this post is probably way overdue. I learned this process from David Sibbet and I’m just passing it along. There are lots of other ways to do this; this is just one method, and it happens to use Photoshop. Some of the other ways are faster, and some maybe give better results, but they mostly involve esoteric software that nobody owns. Click any image for a larger view.

The Goal
The idea here is to take those dark, uneven photos of charts taken right after they’ve been drawn…

(the original photo was here)

… and turn them into clean, bright images that look good on the computer and reproduce cleanly in print. (Okay, this one isn’t the best example, but it’ll do to illustrate the process.)

(the final photo was here)

(The rest of the post was on Ninmah Meets World)

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