With the start of a new web comic chapter today, I thought I'd do a breakdown of the process for creating the cover- specifically for giving it the look of an aged comic book. I've mixed techniques from a few different tutorials I found online, and here is what works best for me.
For this exercise, you will need-
-Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator software
-A sheet of newsprint
-A beat up paperback book with a mostly black cover
-An old comic book printed on newsprint
First, you will want to scan all of your materials. For the comic page, bring in the newsprint to cover the art, leaving the edges and staples from the original comic intact. You may need top do some color correction with the variations settings (Image > Adjustments > Variations) to make the two pieces match up. use a soft edged clone stamp tool to blend the pieves together. Your result should look like this:
With the book, use your Clone Stamp to remove all traces of text and art. You want only the black color, some texture, and the folds and scratches to remain.
Finally, color your art to your liking. Now, we're ready to move on to setting up the effect.
In Photoshop, open the file containing your colored art. Duplicate the art onto a new layer (CTRL + J) and set that layer to "Darken"
While the Darken layer is selected, go to Filter > Pixelate > Color Halftone
Play around with the Max Radius. This controls the size of the halftone dots. The correct setting for this value will vary depending on the size of your art. 12 works for my purposes, but see what works for you.
Finally, adjust the opacity of your half-toned layer. I find that somewhere between 20-30% works best for me.
Flatten your image and save the file. It's time for phase 2.
Next, take your art into Illustrator and add all of the appropriate titles and text. You can do this stage before creating the halftone effect, and that will yield a stronger effect, but as I am creating this for a web comic, I'm erring on the side of legibility.
It's important when working with text and titles to resize them in a vector based program like Illustrator rather than a raster based program such as Photoshop. Vector graphics are stored as mathematical formulas, while raster graphics are stored as grids filled with colored pixels. This means that vector graphics will scale more smoothly, without the blurring or aliasing common to raster images. With that in mind, we are going to export our titled image out of Illustrator in our final resolution. To do that, select File > Save for web and devices.
Here, set your art to the desired size and click "Apply." Then, save the art and head back into Photoshop.
Open the file containing the image made from the comic book and newsprint, as well as the art.
Make sure the paper image is the same size as the art, then copy the art and paste it on a new layer above the paper. Set the art layer to "Multiply."
Multiply alters image's visibility, causing areas that are darker to be more visible and lighter areas to be less visible. This will give the image the impression that the art is printed onto the paper.
Now, open the image created from the cover of the black paperback book. Place this on a new layer over the art, and adjust it to fit the borders of the cover.
Set this layer to Screen. Screen is the opposite of multiply, causing darker areas to fade away and lighter areas to remain visible.
In practice, this means that the dark cover will drop away leaving only the light colored folds and scratches.
Use either your eraser or a white paint brush tool to clean up areas of the art that show through some of the larger areas of damage. Once you've done this, flatten your image and save it ...
... and now your art looks like a relic from the Silver Age! You can see the web comic this art was created for here. Try it out, and see what you can create. If you have something you're proud of, post it in the comments.