Digital reconstruction of halftoned color comics

Johannes Kopf*, Dani Lischinski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


We introduce a method for automated conversion of scanned color comic books and graphical novels into a new high-fidelity rescalable digital representation. Since crisp black line artwork and lettering are the most important structural and stylistic elements in this important genre of color illustrations, our digitization process is geared towards faithful reconstruction of these elements. This is a challenging task, because commercial presses perform halftoning (screening) to approximate continuous tones and colors with overlapping grids of dots. Although a large number of inverse haftoning (descreening) methods exist, they typically blur the intricate black artwork. Our approach is specifically designed to descreen color comics, which typically reproduce color using screened CMY inks, but print the black artwork using non-screened solid black ink. After separating the scanned image into three screening grids, one for each of the CMY process inks, we use non-linear optimization to fit a parametric model describing each grid, and simultaneously recover the non-screened black ink layer, which is then vectorized. The result of this process is a high quality, compact, and rescalable digital representation of the original artwork.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number140
JournalACM Transactions on Graphics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Comics
  • Descreening
  • Inverse halftoning
  • Non-photorealistic rendering
  • Vectorization


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