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Mr. RetroLust

Arcade Cabinets Project Group

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Posted (edited)

Arcade Cabinets Project Group

Intro
I'm really sorry for the length of this text, sadly I couldn't keep it shorter as a lot of details come with the magnitude of a project like this. Thank you for taking the time reading this and your interest in this project.

Goal
To provide the community and ourselves with great looking cabinet images with a transparent background. We'll release it in packs to the Launchbox downloads section, to upload it to the LB Database will be a bit difficult as the files have the Mame rom names. We can give it to Emumovies so they can upload it to their database and people with Launchbox can download it through the free Emumovies image scraper to bypass the difficulties of renaming the files and increase compatibility this way.

Why
Because it looks great in BigBox and provides more creative possiblities for the community as a whole.

Deadline
Seeing the amount of images it can take a while, hopefully we can do this within a month or a few months, the more people joining in the faster this will be accomplished. So if you know anyone that would be able to help as well this would be most welcome.

________________________________________
a. Workflow Instructions

1. Let me know in personal message(!) if you want to join the project group and which folder(s) you will work on, I'll give you access to the project's google drive. 
This is the list with the number of images and the name of the person working on the folder(s) it will be kept up to date in this topic and the Google Drive as well. I'll work on the first few folders (maybe more in the future). I've uploaded the cabs I finished before like the updated CPS1 cabs and some others, put into "_Done" in it's right folder.

# - (DONE) (Mr.RetroLust)
A - (197) (Mr.RetroLust)
B - (225) (Mr.RetroLust)
C - (252) (...)
D - (186) (...)
E - (80) (...)
F - (130) (...)
G - (201) (...)
H - (96) (...)
I - (57) (...)
J - (117) (...)
K - (54) (...)
L - (87) (...)
M - (329) (...)
N - (70) (...)
O - (41) (...)
P - (208) (...)
Q - (26) (...)
R - (136) (...)
S - (485) (...)
T - (216) (...)
U - (20) (...)
V - (86) (...)
W - (87) (...)
X - (27) (...)
Y - (3) (...)
Z - (23) (...)

2. Download your folder from the project google drive. Within each folder is a sub folder called "_Done", this is where you put your finished images. After you are finished on a folder upload them to it's destination on the drive and replace it. Please make sure you keep your files well organized.

3. After you've finished a folder let us know and @Kondorito and I will do a quality check to ensure a unified quality standard for release. If you like you can zip up your entire finished folder after the check and upload it to the Launchbox downloads section, let's use a unified name like "Arcade Cabinets Project Group - Letter - (...)" if you don't feel like uploading it let us know so we can do it for you. See this download topic as the format for the project, please use the same thumbnail as well.

4. Communicate: when you finished a folder, when you have issues, sharing & showing your progress, questions, letting of steam, if you don't feel like working further on your folder or don't have the time anymore, etc. let us know. 

________________________________________
b. The Images

1. About the Progetto package:
There are many lower resolution images in this package, they are mostly old images and kept small in file size, they mentioned they kept it to a limit of 1000 pixels on purpose somewhere. I guess they consider the size and loading times are more important and differ from our use/wishes, functionality over image quality. 

2. Image structure:
There where a few I came across which where not original photos but fan made, one such example was mega twins/chiki chiki boys which was photoshopped from a Capcom Q25 cabinet flyer, so the authenticity isn't 100% but it does give a good impression of the history.
There are a lot of images you can double (copy, paste, rename) when one game has different versions and the cabs look identical but just taken from a different angle. Another weird thing (maybe I'm missing something) some games are missing but do have a version like "1941" wasn't in there but "1941j" and "1941r1" where, I took the liberty to include 1941.png as well, do so as you wish when you find missing versions or games but do use valid rom names. I use the Emuparadise website to search rom names and which game(s) belongs to it, maybe there is another way which I am not aware of.

Many arcade flyers include a good looking photo of the cabinet, hopefully available in higher resolution scans on google images. If you like you can use a template to make a mockup of a cab that hasn't got any photo or the resolution is around 200px high or something, please do use this only when you have to, realism is a higher priority, you can find the templates provided by Harryoke in "_Cabinet Templates".

3. Google Images search tips:
Below the search bar to the right there is a button called "Tools" this will collapse another bar below it, go to "more tools" here you can set it to show sizes to see and compare the resolution dimensions of the search results. Click on "Size" in this toolbar and you can set it to "Large", if you get too many results you can also specify it to show only images from a certain resolution and up.

________________________________________
c. Working Guidelines & Tips

Resolution:
Recommended is to find higher resolution and especially sharper detailed images online, but feel free to do as you please, it's a lot of work to do so on top of the basic work. You could also limit this to only find high res for popular classic games, it's up to you. However (this probably goes without saying) please do not upscale any images, this does not enhance quality. 
Downscale any image above 2160 pixels to 2160 pixels (UltraHD) max, the .png images would really become too big above this resolution I'm afraid and the quality would not suffer much for future displays, example: 700, 800, 1080 vertical pixels cabinet images look good enough on 4K even.

Tips:
Below are guidelines, tips and examples including a video I made, this was done in Photoimpact as I've been working with it for around 18 years, for me it works so much faster than Photoshop as I'm so used to it, I'm sure there are tools in Photoshop that are the same but with a different name. I don't know your skills or knowledge but please read below nonetheless. 

1. Feathering (!):
Important: I've seen some images downloaded through the scrapers which have feathered edges of around 10 pixels around, this looks horrible. Try not to use feathering but at all times do use anti-aliasing(!). Feathering can give very cheap looking results, if you do have to use feathering for whatever reason try not to overdo it.

2. Batch conversions (!):
Important: If you find a way to do batch conversions (I can hardly imagine it would work flawlessly), it is your own responsibility to check and adjust any errors that flow out of this, if you are not willing to do so please don't join this project, we need normal to good looking images. Small errors can happen but I am not willing to clean up any mass converted mess of errors I rather work on the original images.

3. Polygonal Selection:
Manually selecting with polygonal selection tool mostly gives smoothest lines/results, using magic erasers or selections can give jagged edges and non-smooth diagonals but not at all times, it depends on the images individually, they might need a different approach each. 
Using polygonal does not take as much time as you might think seeing the simple shapes and straight lines of most cabinets, sometimes I was done more quickly with better results than with 'magic' tools, it all depends on the image.

4. Magnetic Selection:
Complicated shaped cabs or cabs with a border around them from previous cut-outs with a different background color (you see these a lot: white borders on a black background) can also be done with Magnetic selection/magic eraser tool, works best with magical selection, select all , subtract background color and then shrink the selection 1 to 2 pixels to get rid of any edge contrasting colors. How you do this shrinking in photoshop itself I do not know, it might be wise to find a quick tutorial on this as it can save you a lot of time.

5. Check layers edges (!): 
Once cut out, you can easily create a solid behind the new image which you can switch to black and/or white temporarily so you can see what the resulting edges look like on different colored backgrounds.

6. Clean Edges (Smudge tool):
You can use smudge tools if you have contrasting colored edges, simply smudge the surrounding color towards the edge, do use a small brush size though not to smudge too much of the image.

7. Leveling, freshing up images (optional)
Most photo's have greyish blacks, using the level histogram where you can easily drag the black arrow/level to the right, using a non-destructive way of adjusting black levels, same procedure goes for mid/grey level and white level, drag till it looks good without loosing to much details. Mostly brightness/contrast tools are destructive and give lesser results. 

8. Color correction (optional):
If your monitor or tv has overly color/contrast settings or is known not to display colors accurately you might want to skip this step as I am not sure it would give good results, you can try though and compare your results on another display. 
Color balance/correction, when the black/mid/wite colors are too red for example you can slide it to it's counter-color which is Cyan (light blue), Magenta is the counter for Green and Yellow for Blue (darker blue). You can see/feel when an image displays it's right colors by adjusting the slider(s).

9. Saturation (optional):
Mostly the colors are good at this point but some really freshen up with a bit more color saturation, make em feel like new.

10. Trimming (!):
Important: Trim the surrounding transparent pixels so no empty space is left around the image.

11. Saving (!):
Important: Save as .png transparent & in 24 bit color, which they are already converted to but when you may find new images like gifs or pngs they might be 256/indexed colors, you might have noticed this different color format sooner in the proces though, but just something to be aware of when exporting.


Thank you, good luck 
and May the force be with you, 
always :)

Edited by Mr. RetroLust
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Once you've read above guidelines (scrolls) entirely and you've picked which folders (beasts) you'd like to work on (slay) send me the message and I will give you access to the drive (open the gates to the overworld), dudes (sir knights).

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Awesome topic start @Mr. RetroLust :) 

One note only, I do not think the bullet a.3. is recommended; last thing you would want is different versions of a project and with quality standards you haven't checked all over the place. You are taking the lead in this project, so you need to centralize the creations. Creators should not upload their letters/packs on their own before a correct revision of the items to verify they have a minimum standard and quality assurance. I can help you with that as well, before the whole set is uploaded in Emumovies.

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7 minutes ago, Kondorito said:

Awesome topic start @Mr. RetroLust :) 

One note only, I do not think the bullet a.3. is recommended; last thing you would want is different versions of a project and with quality standards you haven't checked all over the place. You are taking the lead in this project, so you need to centralize the creations. Creators should not upload their letters/packs on their own before a correct revision of the items to verify they have a minimum standard and quality assurance. I can help you with that as well, before the whole set is uploaded in Emumovies.

Right you are! I will adjust it, I do like it if the person himself can upload it after the quality check to the launchbox downloads, that way we can release work early on. 

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@Kondorito I change a.3 to "3. After you've finished a folder let us know and @Kondorito and I will do a quality check to ensure a unified quality standard for release. If you like you can zip up your entire finished folder after the check and upload it to the Launchbox downloads section, let's use a unified name like "MAME Transparent Cabinets letter - (insert letter)" if you don't feel like uploading it let us know so we can do it for you."

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First pack is uploaded, hope you guys like the format I used in title, thumb and description. If we try to keep this format it would look nice for people to navigate.

Heres the thumbnail and the link

 

Thumb - Arcade Cabinets Project Group.png

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Posted (edited)

Update 1: While slaying on the A folder I really think this is the fastest way (mostly):

1.Select all
2. Magnetic selection subtract bg colors
3. Shrink selection by 1 to 2 pixels
4. Some times you have to add or subtract some (straight or diagonal lines) selections and such.

As I mentioned before this shrinking of selections works a bit different in Photoshop, here is a good example that goes deeper into this subject with (hopefully) some useful links and tips: https://forums.adobe.com/thread/979889

Update 2: We got offered help. I've send him a PM, really looking forward to his work! 

 

Edited by Mr. RetroLust

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Thanks RL.  I hope I can help make a difference.  This project is quite an undertaking, but worth it.

As I told Antopisa on the progetto-snaps forum, I would shoot for quality over quantity.  It slowly adds up.    :)

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7 hours ago, Antny said:

Thanks RL.  I hope I can help make a difference.  This project is quite an undertaking, but worth it.

As I told Antopisa on the progetto-snaps forum, I would shoot for quality over quantity.  It slowly adds up.    :)

Oh you already have made a big difference to the quality big time, many of the cabs I liked from the progetto package seem to be al your work (someone send me some of the images you uploaded over there) Did you also made the photo's of these cabs? Really glad to have you on board man!

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I'm sorry for the many messages I post here but I have an important question to ask you all, as I'll have to reorganize the database on the drive soon with @Antny work I could downsize the ammount of images by removing all devices, computers, pc's as there are a ton of them (they are more complicated to cut out as well, think mouse cables lol) and since we are about arcade cabinets it would be logical but what do you think? Should we remove these? And if we do should we remove fruit machines and/or pinball cabs? Personally I would like to keep those two categories and only remove the devices. Please share your opinion.

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Posted (edited)

I would keep the mechanical devices and remove the consoles and computers as well. 

Edited by Kondorito
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There is another category as well I'm not sure if we should keep these included or not (Not sure if it's 'Game & Watch'), should we keep these in the database? alnchase.thumb.png.e80a9a7c840dbd65526f426c8ceb519d.pngalnattck.thumb.png.927ef63e064ed6f64cb492613e4586f9.png

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Those are not G&W per se, but fall into the same category as them under mechanical (even though these are tabletops). 

Dont know how many are there though and if they should be done or not in this first sweep. 

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4 minutes ago, Kondorito said:

Those are not G&W per se, but fall into the same category as them under mechanical (even though these are tabletops). 

Dont know how many are there though and if they should be done or not in this first sweep. 

Thanks! Let's keep it simple, I just realized the collection has a color code, everything Arcade (incl. pinball and other arcade mechanical and digital machines) have a black background and everything else a white background, I'll be sorting them all out, it will cut the total amount in half more or less which is great news lol It would be too much work otherwise for such a small amount of volunteers. Lots of reorganizing to do, I'll adjust the guidelines as well to exclude the non-arcade.

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Done, here's the data including a rough calculation what we could do and how long it takes if 6 people would join to give you an idea, not bad.

A 383 -> 197
B 310 -> 225
C 456 -> 252
D 260 -> 186
E 149 -> 80
F 218 -> 130
G 282 -> 201
H 232 -> 96
I 125 -> 57
J 137 -> 117
K 104 -> 54
L 142 -> 87
M 576 -> 329
N 133 -> 70
O 65 -> 41
P 483 -> 208
Q 42 -> 26
R 181 -> 136
S 687 -> 485
T 424 -> 216
U 33 -> 20
V 175 -> 86
W 108 -> 87
X 46 -> 27
Y 15 -> 3
Z 55 -> 23
Total 5.821 -> 3.439

3.439 / 6 people = 573 x around 3 minutes per cabinet = 1.719 / 60= around 28 hours per person.

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Just wondering what the end game is here.  Is there a final standard size for such things as free standing cabinets, cockpits, table tops etc.?  Do we just want the as large as the original image?  We are looking for transparent background, no?  How will these be used in Launchbox?  Here are samples of different image packs I've uploaded to the Mame progetta-snaps board.  I've tried to save arcade art on my own lol.  Also doing clear logos to fill in the holes in Launchbox as in.....

I'm looking forward to this once we have it all worked out.

 

Image1.png

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