Image Cleaning and Prep

Published by: @akovia - March 15, 2015
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Difficulty: Intermediate Est Time: 10mins Software: General, GIMP, Photoshop Category: Graphics General


Image cleaning is a subject that covers many tools and techniques. This page will show some possibilities of what can be achieved, and the tools used to get there. All images here were pulled from the denied section of the site and even with the fixes applied, some may still not be considered suitable for the site. Hopefully this can help you evaluate if an image is worth the effort in the first place.

Just as the 3 golden rules in Real Estate are Location, Location, Location.
The 3 golden rules for fanart are Source, Source, Source.

You can save yourself a ton frustration by spending a little more time in hunting down the best possible source for your fanart. You should have a look at the tutorial on searching for images if you haven’t done so already, and we also have a forum thread where people share some great links to hunt down good images that can’t be found elsewhere. Or better even: Scan that image yourself. If you have a decent scanner, the best source images could be the ones you create yourself. You have control over all important parameters that can make things easier for you.

Though all the fixes here were done in gimp, equivalent tools are available to Photoshop users and you can expect the same results. Here is a rundown of the tools used for all these images, and what they are called in each program. Some tools are addons and are not in the stock installation. Links to tutorials and resources are provided when applicable.




Content-Aware Fill Heal Selection* optional plugin for gimp
Clone Stamp Clone Tool
Healing Brush Healing Tool
Levels Levels
Smooth Smooth Generalized: Many techniques available.
Sharpen Sharpen Generalized: Many techniques available.
Descreen* Descreen* Optional Plugin for both programs.

* Not included with program

You will notice that smoothing and sharpening in both programs are generalized for the fact that there are a wide variety of techniques that can be used in each program. In general you can use Unsharp Mask and Gaussian Blur as the default tools in each program with decent results, but exploring other techniques and Plugins/Filters will really improve your results. For these particular images in gimp I used the Smart Sharpen Speparate as my sharpening filter, and used various smoothing filters available in the G’MIC Plugin. Mainly the Smooth [anisotropic] filter.

Image Cleaning - Example1
Image Cleaning - Example2
Image Cleaning - Example3
Image Cleaning - Example4

Image Cleaning - Example6
Image Cleaning - Example7

Image Cleaning - Example9
Image Cleaning - Example10

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