Hi guys! 😀
So I’ve been dabbling in some merch customisation recently to build up my personal SG/TK/SK shrine at home (SG = Saint Germain, TK = Takeru Sasazuka, SK = Shiraishi Kageyuki) and to satisfy my obsessive and hoarding tendencies. There are limited merch for these precious boys and I’m not satisfied with just owning keychains or badges 😛 By the way, I’m already in the middle of sewing a SG plushie (next up will be TK followed by SK :D).
The biggest challenge with merch customisation is finding high resolution quality pictures, and this is especially difficult with Vita games. By the way, this isn’t illegal because I’m keeping the merch for personal use and will not be selling them.
I found a really good and straightforward way using photoshop to increase picture size, quality and resolution… to a degree of course. The original picture still needs to be of acceptable quality. Here are some examples before and after (click to enlarge to see the differences better):
By the way, I’m not an expert at all. I just did some basic research and played around on my photoshop a little. I’m going to keep this really simple and sweet.
The easiest way to find pictures is to search for images with “Google Images”, then choose “tools”, then change size to “large”. My picture optimising method works perfectly for “large” pictures, and can work for some “medium” sized pictures too. In game screenshots from your Vita also works, as shown below.
I find it helpful when I find pictures I like to drag the image into the google images search bar to check for even larger or better versions.
Next, upload your picture for enlargement on this really nifty website:
Choose 2x for scale. I usually choose “High” for noise reduction, but this depends on how “noisy” your original pic is. Once Waifu2X has finished processing and enlarging your picture, save it.
Next open up your picture in photoshop. I’m demonstrating with an in game screenshot I took of SK in my Vita. The original image size is 960×544 pixels, resolution 72 pixels/inch. After Waifu2x it becomes 1920×1088 pixels, resolution 72 pixels/inch.
Choose “image size” and “increase” the resolution by choosing one of the 300dpi options. Since I only want to increase the resolution and not the actual “size” of the picture, I usually choose the option that enlarges the picture least.
Next, sharpen the image by Filter > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen
You can play around with the options here too. 140% or less usually works best. The higher the number, the sharper the image. For radius, you should put a smaller number for smaller pictures. I find 1.0 px works well for most of the pics I’m working with.
Next press ctrl + J to add a new layer, then choose Filter > Other > High Pass
This basically finds the edges of your picture so allows for more control when sharpening your image (than the default innate method). You can play around with the number here too. For radius, 4 pixels and lower usually works the best for me, the picture should have a grey embossed appearance.
Next, you can play around with the different blending options – overlay, soft light or hard light can all work. I like “soft light” the best since the other two are a little too harsh for my liking.
Once this is done, you can change the opacity as you see fit, the higher the opacity, the “sharper” your image. I chose 80% for my picture.
And that’s it! Your picture is ready for use! 😀 The final picture size is 2400×1360 pixels, resolution 300 pixels/inch.
Here are some comparison pics of the original in game screenshot (on the right) vs the optimised picture (on the left).
Pretty cool right? This method has worked really well for me so far. Hope you’ve found it somewhat useful? Lemme know if it worked for you too! 😀 I’ll be sure to showcase some of my customised merch when they get here! ^^