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(Topic ID: 259353)

Space Mission/Odyssey Playfield Scan

By perry1670

9 months ago

Topic Stats

  • 34 posts
  • 10 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 8 months ago by perry1670
  • Topic is favorited by 5 Pinsiders


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    There have been 10 images uploaded to this topic. (View topic image gallery).

    Touch Up (resized).jpg
    Original (resized).jpg
    Test export (resized).jpg
    001_sample (resized).png
    Attempt 1 (resized).jpg
    Insert Scan (resized).jpg
    HP 4670 (resized).jpg
    Epson V39 (resized).jpg
    pano (resized).jpg
    pano (resized).jpg

    #1 9 months ago

    Does anyone have a playfield scan of a Williams Space Mission/Odyssey?

    I'm currently restoring a machine and while the playfield isn't in bad shape, I'd like to make an overlay and get some brighter colors/change the inserts,etc.

    #2 9 months ago

    I've decided that I'll bite the bullet and try to scan the playfield myself and try my hand at some graphic design. I'll just kind of chronicle my failures.
    The steps to take, as I understand them:

    1. Scan Playfield
    2. Stitch the individual scans together
    3. Use some vector tracing software to make all the different designs
    4. Call for professional help

    So, I have purchased an Epson V39 and it is pretty straight forward to install/use. While their is a small gap between the scanner glass and the playfield, I don't think it will be sufficient enough to cause major issues with focus. Although it won't be perfect, I'm hoping it will work.

    #3 9 months ago

    Good luck! Post your results

    #4 9 months ago

    I played around with a number of settings, 800, 1200 and 2400 DPI. I settled on 1200 DPI, which created an approx. 10.5 MB scan. TIFF is an option, but I'm not sure the format matters a whole lot at this point.

    The software has various settings, of which I could tell no difference between any of them. The files are too big to upload here.

    I did the whole playfield in approx. 17 scans. I thought the more overlapping parts the better.

    Now the stitching process... that is not going as smoothly. I tried Hugin - and got some rather unholy looking mash ups. I haven't found the "easy" button on this yet, so I tried Autostitch. This has worked easier, but I'm not sure the fidelity is there. I went from approx. 170 MB worth of scans down to a 1.5 MB file.

    Attached is the first attempt.

    pano (resized).jpg
    #5 9 months ago

    Second round with Autostitch turned out much better.

    It seems to be "sucked in" in the middle of the board some, so I played around with ICE ( Image Composite Editor) and it seems to have do a better job of not "sucking in" the field, but it hasn't lined everything up as well as Autostitch.

    I did find a working version of Space Mission in Virtual Pin. I'm not sure what to do with it, but I'm pretty sure that's a good thing to have.

    FYI - ICE is made by Microsoft and the final file was a little over 1 gig. Attached is the Autostitch version.

    pano (resized).jpg
    #6 9 months ago

    After a few more tries with the stitching software I moved onto the Vectorizing step of the process.

    Apparently my Youtube, Internet, Pinside computer can't handle much in terms of graphic editing - 6 GB system ram just isn't going to cut it. Kind of to be expected for a 10 year old machine. Am now building another PC to handle it. Who wants to just add ram when you can build a whole new one

    Anyway - I tried a few Vector rendering programs (Inkspace, Vector Magic, something else) and found Vector Magic was pretty intuitive to use.

    The bad:
    I believe I know why everyone recommends the HP 4600 series of scanner. That weeee bit of lip on the Epson V39 ( and most other scanners) causes things to be slightly out of focus, no biggie in the beginning. The cleanup on the Vector image though is a complete pain. That slight blurriness that you see all has to be corrected and my goodness what a tedious process that is.

    So I'm 9/10 sure the V39 is out and I'm on the hunt for the now ancient HP 4600.

    In the meantime I'll keep practicing with some other Vector software because frankly, I don't want to pay for Vector Magic.

    #7 9 months ago

    Off to a good start. Before you go to far I would strongly recommend a test fit for inserts. If they are off a couple MM it will look real bad with the wood showing through. Much easier to correct now then after the art redraw process.

    #8 9 months ago

    Just so I understand. You mean print out the existing scan and make sure everything lines up?

    #9 9 months ago

    100% yes.

    You'll see that was my biggest challenge when I went through this with Batman. Batman artwork was harder to move around but I always suggest that to people trying to do the same.

    Maybe convert it to black and white, print it out on thin paper (or even clear vinyl) and put it over the top like an overlay. That should help you validate the registration of the scans.

    #10 9 months ago

    Cool thread. I'd love to have a Space Mission overlay, but I admit to knowing nothing about the process. It will be interesting to learn about this as you go.

    #11 9 months ago

    85vett - Good suggestion. I know I've had some alignment issues when putting on some overlays on various machines so I'll print out and align sooner rather then later. Thanks!

    LeChuck - I am confident that I know nothing as well

    So based on the amount of cleanup I had to do because of the scanner lip I purchased the venerable HP 4600 to rescan everything. I'm hoping this cuts back on the amount of touchup work when it comes to the artwork redraw. Additionally I'll be setting in the new inserts for the next round of scanning based on 85vetts suggestion with the aim of, again, cutting down on potential cleanup work on the back end.

    Until the new scanner arrives next week I'll keep playing around with the Vector software and see what works.

    #13 9 months ago

    After what seemed like an eternity for a wait, my brand new to me HP 4670 arrived today.

    The images are taken from the same location on the playfield, Upper Mid left. The first one should be from the Epson V39 while the second is the HP 4670. Both scans (Epson and HP) came in at around 11.5Mb at 1200 DPI. I've cropped them down to save space.

    I had to load the Window Vista drivers to get it to work as it was not recognized natively on Windows 10.

    I can't believe that the tiny lip on the V39 would have such a large impact! My gosh, this new scanner is going to save me a ton of time. Looks like I'll be scanning a playfield this week.
    Epson V39 (resized).jpgHP 4670 (resized).jpg

    #14 9 months ago

    I’ve found that 600dpi is plenty fine for playfield scans. The jump to 1200dpi will slow your file processing quite a bit (especially stitched together) without enough additional benefit to warrant it.

    #15 9 months ago

    That's much better. Now for the fun part (yeah, I know I'm sick), the inch by inch clean-up of the artwork (after a test fit potentially)

    #16 8 months ago

    Scans completed! Or at least this round of them. Attached is one of them with inserts installed from the middle of the playfield.

    I scanned everything with inserts installed (although they won't be the final ones, still playing with color scheme).

    Playfield was done in 14 scans, at 1200 dpi. I need to play with the 600 dpi setting ( Per Pinheadpierre) to see if there is any difference, but more is better right? Files size ranged from 11.5 MB to 8.5mb on the lower playfield where there is not much going on.

    Stitched together with Image Composite Editor although a number of people have reached out to assist with using Adobe Illustrator in the stitching so we'll see how that works. Final stitch was 895mb. ICE does have an option to export an Adobe .psb file so I tried that and it spit out an 11.3 gig file so that's something.

    RAM utilization during the stitching process (All files at once) was hovering around 16 Gb, and took 2-3 minutes with a newly built computer. Passmark System Score: 5950. I mention this only as a reference point for others.

    Next is to play around with the free version of Adobe Illustrator and play with the vectoring tools. There is a $30 a month rental option for the software so depending, I may work on it. Otherwise, ,full speed ahead.

    Insert Scan (resized).jpg
    #17 8 months ago

    Good progress! I guess at a high level you scan the playfield and then import it into a vector drawing program? And after that start manually correcting all the art until it's ready to print?

    Those inserts look pretty loud compared to the art and colors surrounding them Those are probably pretty easy to change once you get the vector drawing ready huh? A stock insert version would be nice to have too (I am one of the boring folks who never changes anything)

    #18 8 months ago

    Following. One of the few EMs I’d like to own someday.

    #19 8 months ago

    LeChuck - At a high level I believe that is the plan. Or at least that is what I'm attempting to do. My original stitched file ( 895mb) is to big to load into Illustrator at once. Maybe the correct procedure is:
    1. Use a lower quality Stitch
    2. Use a lower quality Scan
    3. Load the individual scans, vectorize, then stitch them.
    4. Some other means that I haven't thought of yet.

    If the charming wife said every insert is now purple, I'd do it as she signed off on the project if she gets to choose the colors. Beside that, I agree they are a bit bold compared to the original and the overall colors of the playfield. We are trying to make it more.. spacey? I don't know, brighter colors, but not LED bright as it'll clash I feel.

    What I've done is to Trace the original scans with Illustrator then "Expand" them and then merge the individual traces into larger sections. My concern is that the traces themselves, are slightly off from the original. It's like everything is shifted justtttt a bit up. I've tried playing with the "Paths", "Corners", and "Noise" levels but to no avail. Theoretically if everything shifted a bit, then it wouldn't be a big deal but I'll keep playing.

    This thread is not meant to be a tutorial on Illustrator so I'll skip the tedious bits.... oh wait, that's the whole project

    This is what I got on my first 4 hour attempt, most of which was trial and error on the tools and about 30 minutes of actual progress.
    Attempt 1 (resized).jpg

    Edit: I didn't actually look at the picture before I uploaded it but it doesn't look bad if I do say so myself. I spent most of my time on the , now white, area the blue to the right and started on part of the rocket. This image quality isn't the best but I think it gets the point across.

    #20 8 months ago


    At some point, I am going to have to either get my Space Odyssey PF restored or just buy a better example of this game. It will NEVER leave my lineup (it was my first pin) and I will someday have to go one way or another to get things the way I want them.

    Best of luck to you with this project!

    #21 8 months ago
    Quoted from SilverBallKid:

    At some point, I am going to have to either get my Space Odyssey PF restored or just buy a better example of this game. It will NEVER leave my lineup (it was my first pin) and I will someday have to go one way or another to get things the way I want them.
    Best of luck to you with this project!

    Your stand your first game not leaving. Grand Prix was my first game. I sold it and missed it. Had to buy another a couple years ago.

    #22 8 months ago

    Doing vectors may be more work than you need to do depending on how flexible you need your PF elements when aligning a hardtop. If you're just doing stitching and image cleanup you might consider doing color masks in Photoshop and stacking them in the order they would have been screen printed. This would preserve the fine detail of the linework better than beziers. I often see plastic repros that have been auto vectored and they are all missing substantial detail.

    Attached is a quick sample (45 minutes) of building screen printed layers in PS. Needs a little touchup yet but you get the idea.

    001_sample (resized).png
    #23 8 months ago

    Agreed on using PS. That is how I did my Batman Redraw. I wound up doing a different layer for the main colors. At the end of the day, in order for it to be direct printed to the PF all the printer needed was a white file and a color file.

    Diffidently understand the pain of the amount of time it takes. I think I wound up with a little over 500 hours in the artwork process alone. And then when I printed it several inserts were a couple MM off and wood wound up showing through so I had to redo a bunch of it. I'll say it again, I strongly suggest you do a test print before doing the artwork redraws. Get the inserts lined up and then you can be confident that your artwork will line up correctly in the end.

    Best of luck for multiple reasons. One being I hope to own one of these too at some point

    #24 8 months ago

    A_Bord - Clearly you have gotten further in your 45 minutes then I did in my hours and I think you may be onto the right path. If nothing else I can clean up the original scans in PS or GIMP, then if need be import them into Illustator and manipulate from there. If that is necessary that should cut down a lot of unnecessary vectorizing/merging and make things a little easier. GIMP here I come!

    85vett - You're point is not lost on me and I hope to get to the printer this week and have them spit out a print and see how it looks on the playfield. By moving forward with image cleanup first I should be able to re-stitch and print without wasting potential time on vector manipulation. If that makes any sense.

    If nothing else I have learned more regarding artwork manipulation then I have my entire life thus far.

    #25 8 months ago

    So it took me about 1:15 to get this, but some sort of image editing software is by far faster then vectorizing at this point. Still needs work, but it's a good proof of concept. Nevermind that it was redoing A_Board work which is better looking.

    The GIMP file for this is 5.2 Gb so how these files keep ballooning in size is beyond me. I suspect I'll need to save it without the various extensions, color palettes and maybe a lesser quality because there is no way i'll be able to stitch 200Gb worth of files.

    At this point, it will just be image cleanup for awhile.

    I can almost hear 85vett saying "Print the artwork you fool!"
    Test export (resized).jpg

    #26 8 months ago

    Original and Touched Up - 1 of 14 done. It's not perfect, but it'll work until I can load it into Inkscape or something else.

    Original (resized).jpgTouch Up (resized).jpg
    #27 8 months ago
    Quoted from perry1670:

    Original and Touched Up - 1 of 14 done. It's not perfect, but it'll work until I can load it into Inkscape or something else.[quoted image][quoted image]

    Looks great! I wonder how white those sections originally were? I always assumed they were off-white, going by the unfaded colors under my posts. The stars and SPECIAL WHEN LIT points still look normal white on mine too (even right next to the other sections that turned tan). Maybe it's just an illusion though .. hmm?

    #28 8 months ago

    This could be a dumb question but why don’t you just find another playfield? 15,952 games were made with this playfield between the 2 and 4 player versions which I’m guessing is probably one of the highest production numbers among EM’s.

    #29 8 months ago

    I've often wondered about the actual color schemes, specifically the "white". True White, Off-white, brilliant white, mother of pearl? I have no idea what the original "white" was but the colors all definitely fade and change over time and even then each playfield can age differently based on a host of factors. So until then I guess #FFFFFF is it I can always tweak colors after the fact.

    Valid point on the playfield swap, it would definitely be easier and less time intensive. For me fixing pinball machines is as much fun as playing so I just looked at it as an opportunity to learn a new skill set and fix up a machine. The color scheme is more complex then the older Gottlieb machines but isn't as complex as newer machines so it offered a nice mix. OR I'm seeking fame and fortune in a terrible fashion, your choice

    Update: 2 sections completed - Current section is significantly more time intensive as it has the fire and more cloud work.

    #30 8 months ago

    99.99% of the time, white was white. The “off white” we all see on old machines is simply topcoat degradation.

    #31 8 months ago
    Quoted from perry1670:

    For me fixing pinball machines is as much fun as playing so I just looked at it as an opportunity to learn a new skill set

    I’m new to the hobby and I enjoy learning the mechanics and restoring just as much as playing so I completely understand. I’m looking forward to seeing the end results. I’m sure there will be some people interested in getting one if they are available.

    #32 8 months ago

    The more I look at mine and the photos above, I think it’s an illusion that the stars are whiter. So they probably did all start out the same shade of white.

    Even in this playfield restoration thread, his stars look whiter until you zoom in. Curiously, he painted most of the sections in question bright white, but left the ones with words off-white. Maybe he didn’t feel like making all those decals though.

    PS - Watch out for stars when coloring in that sky. Looks like you might have already wiped out a few in the spinner lane.

    #33 8 months ago
    Quoted from pinheadpierre:

    99.99% of the time, white was white. The “off white” we all see on old machines is simply topcoat degradation.

    +1 for this. I actually just stripped a playfield today and under the posts was perfectly white. Probably the brightest/cleanest I’ve ever seen under a set of posts.

    #34 8 months ago

    Mildly panicked regarding the missing stars in the spinner lane, but thankfully you are mistaken Those are nicks in my artwork. I did wipe out all the clouds like that once and it took me forever to get them back and redo.

    I picked up 3 more pins this weekend, Dodge City, Monte Carlo and Stardust so Space Mission may go a bit slower until I can get them back up to snuff.

    Update: 3 of 14 is almost done.

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