Improvements to set images underway

Posted by ,
Beacon Tracer

In response to criticism in the user survey that some of the images of older sets are of a low quality, I've embarked on a project to replace many of them.

I'm going to work through my personal collection of some 2200 sets (about 1/4 of all non-'Gear' items) and re-scan the instruction covers. Today I started with the sets I own that were released in 1990 (not many, to be honest) and I'll work my way forwards in time. 1990 includes the excellent space subtheme M-Tron.

I'm going to scan at 150dpi, resize to fit the available width for the main picture, and make the full size scans available under the additional images tab. Obviously it's going to take some time!

Also today I added a complete set of high quality scans of Adventurers sets that Nori kindly provided.

Maybe this is something YOU can help with. Do have a large collection of instructions, a good flat bed scanner and, most importantly, time? If you do, please get in touch. In particular I'll need help with Castle, Town and Pirates, given that I own hardly any of them.

36 comments on this article

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By in United States,

PM'ed you Huw

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By in United States,

Are you at all interested in box front scans? I've still got the box for 6074, for example, where the box front is different than the instruction cover.

Also, as someone who works in print production, a tip to anyone scanning instructions: If your scanner software has a descreen option, I recommend using it. Anything that has been printed as a halftone (i.e. made up of little dots) will exhibit a moiré pattern when scanned. The descreen function will attempt to lessen this effect.

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By in United States,

Just to slow you down a bit, how about building each set and photographing it too? :-)

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By in Slovakia,

Well, there are usually alternate builds on the back of the old boxes, so they might be interesting as well. I could try to search through my collection, which comprises mostly of Castle & Pirates sets and try to scan everything that should be of interest, although it will be a bit hard to find time for that...

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By in United States,

Huw- I think a better (and probably easier) idea would be, like ^^CCC said is to build the sets and photograph them that way. Sometimes the instrustions/box art is misleading, and I like how LEGO will photograph them on a white background. would you please consider? Thanks!

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By in United States,

A scan has much less potential variance in quality than a photo. If many people build sets and photograph them "against a white background", they will not be consistent at all. If many people scan instructions, they will be more or less consistent.

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By in United States,

Huw - after lurking here for the past two months, this might be my first official post. I was coincidentally just about to pick up my old sets from my parents house this very weekend, and I did in fact just get a decent scanner this past Christmas, so I'd love to help. I won't know until I rifle excitedly through my old stuff which instruction booklets I still have, but I can PM you my inventory in a few days to see what you'd like help with.

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By in United Kingdom,

@binaryeye, thanks for the tip. I suspect there's room for improvement in my scans although the moire seems to be largely acceptable at 150dpi. It's an Epson V750 Pro so there's probably some settigng I can play with.

Fronts and backs of boxes more than welcome. I have some that I was sent a while ago that I need to add, so the more the merrier.

@CCC, I'd be here until kingdom come if I were to build all the sets as well!

@Dare_Wreck, welcome, and thanks for your offer.

Generally speaking we have a first rate set of images for 1970s sets because we photographed them in the Billund vault a couple of years ago. We were there only for 2 days so didn't have time to do the 1980s and 1990s so it is those decades that need particular attention.

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By in United States,

My sets were largely from the first half of the '80s, so now I'm *really* excited to go dig up what I had back then and find out where I can help!

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By in United States,

Is there a reason you don't make the flyout/zoom of the large image from the main image - instead of having to go into the additional images tab? BTW, I can supply a high res scan of 6862.

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By in United Kingdom,

I would love to see some of the alternate builds options that were featured on the rear of boxes. Sadly a practice that is long gone.

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By in United States,

@Huw

I have a decent scanner, and happen to own a LOT of stuff 1987-1994 or so. Most of Castle, Pirates, Town and Space from that era. Shoot me a message if you want help.

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By in Denmark,

No-one could accuse you of slacking, Huw. Or resting on your laurels.

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By in United States,

is scanning more efficient or a well mounted camera system? Frankly if you research diy book scanning there are ways to create an efficient scanning mechanism that allows you to quickly turn pages... snap ..turn..snap..etc.
http://www.diybookscanner.org/

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By in United Kingdom,

^ We're only doing the covers :-)

@natro220, thanks. I'm going to add a field to the database to indicate whether images need improving and once done I'll create a query so you can compare your collection with it and thus see which ones are needed.

@sidersdd, no good reason I guess other than it's not done already and I'd need to come up with a means of doing so. yes please to the 6862 scan!

Huw

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By in United Kingdom,

8825 is terrific. Rebuilt it last month for the first time in 20 or so years (I inherited it from my brother and newer saw it assembled). Also the 9V motor is a great enhancement set.

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By in United States,

I tried keeping all my instructions from about 1995 onwards, but they are in my mom's basement so I have no clue what I have left, but next time I,m there I'll go through and see what I have.

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By in United States,

Will you ever be able to return to the Billund vault to do more? Or was it just a one-time thing?

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By in United States,

I'll work at scanning what I have. I have some Pirates, Castle, and Space from the 1080s, and a few from the lat 70s. I'll make sure to use 150dpi for the scans. I believe you said you wanted 90% quality jpg format, right?

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By in Germany,

it's nice to help you with some pictures ;)

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By in United States,

I have nearly all(99%) the pirates and a great deal of castles..sadly what I don't have is any time. :(

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By in Canada,

I have a have a box of 1651 for which the site doesnt even have an image of. I will look forward to the feature where we can query things.

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By in United States,

Please let me/us know when the field to the database is added.

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By in United States,

I have all but three of the castle sets from 1979 to 1999 up until the kingdoms 1 era. All are built as well if we want built pictures. I don't have a ton of time but can start scanning the covers of the instructions. I definetly don't have all the boxes anymore but have 90% of the instructions. If you could tell me where to send the scanned images that would be great also my collection is public if you want to see what I have.

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By in Canada,

The new pictures are great! They make the sets look even more amazing!

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By in United States,

Hmm, my brothers have a lot of 90's Town, Castle, and Pirates(If your including the various Imperial fractions, my one bro has every single set). If we get our new printer/scanner up and running, and I get some time I'll be glad to scan all the nice looking instructions as well as take pictures of the sets with boxes.

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By in United States,

I have a few Town and Castle sets, all with instructions plus a few boxes. Are you also looking for scans of the instructions? I notice that the of the few sets that I have, you don't have instructions tabs for in the database.

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By in United States,

Are you guys telling me a global company like LEGO with huge resources and profit margin does not have a complete digital archive of all their sets? It seems incredible to me! It would seem more logical to get LEGO to do this for the company's own good and that - no offense to Huw and all volunteers for this project - it would be faster, more consistent in scan quality, and surely they must have ALL the sets they have ever made in brand-new condition?

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By in United Kingdom,

They do indeed have most but why would they bother to help the community? They probably have good enough photos for their own use internally. Time spent doing it costs money and for no return on their bottom line.

^^ No just the covers. We don't host instructions here, loads of other places do already.

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By in United States,

@Huw, I would like to think the community is their (most loyal) customer base. If I were LEGO, I would have Customer Service monitors and collects feedbacks from brickset regularly - which is why I wrote my previous post. Huw and all the volunteers, you guys are super! Thanks all for your dedication. My sincere admiration.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Huw ~ Are you looking for instruction cover scans from City 2011-2013? I have many Police and Fire, as well as Great Vehicle. I also have a few from 2005 onward, mostly construction.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ Not at the moment, as we have good images from lego.com, but eventually yes.

Huw

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By in Sweden,

Please post the query to sort out where we can help out under "my sets" like you do with the query for set where piece count for set are missing and I think that there are meny like me that will help out with quality scans, please also make a how to for scanning (150dpi, 90% jpg and more)

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By in United States,

I have been going through the sets to see which ones need new pictures. What I have noticed is that the 1998ish sets and those before it have very very thin instruction books. Everything has about 20 steps and that's it. Us kids back then were better builders than those today.

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By in United Kingdom,

^^ I'll be doing that probably tomorrow, once I've finished uploading scans of all my sets prior to 2000, so that we can, collectively, concentrate on filling the gaps for the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s

^ Agreed, and another thing I noticed is that prior to 1996 or so, the manuals are much higher qualality than most of today's, being printed in Germany or Switzerland. I bet they are done in the far east these days...

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