Okay, the new left hand sidebar background graphic is done, uploaded and appears to be working. If you are viewing the blog in a resolution thinner than 1024 you are just out of luck, sorry. It sure took longer than I expected. But what else do I have to do while sitting here in this hotel room? Let me just say that using Photoshop on a laptop, without a mouse, is a royal pain in the ass... or more exactly, the hand.
One of the things that made it take so long was that I just couldn't take the cover of Dune II looking so bad. It wasn't the first Real Time Strategy game, but it was the one that created and defined the RTS genre as we know it. Such an esteemed title deserves a little respect, and all the box scans that I found online were horrible. The reason being that the title text and frame around the picture on the front of the box were done in raised gold foil which doesn't scan in very well.
After a little searching I found a copy online that was uploaded pretty large. Unfortunately, it was scanned and saved in 256 colors even though it was a jpeg. Somebody needs to do their file format compression homework. It was still pretty good for what I needed. I spent about an hour cleaning it up and bringing out the title text. Once shrunken down, you can't even tell. Here is the old box cover I had and the new cleaned up one. I also left the new one a little larger.
You can also see this problem with "Mines of Titan" box cover. Notice how the giant title text doesn't stand out very well against the background. It was also done with foil text, silver this time. Looks great on the store shelf, but doesn't scan in very well. I probably should have cleaned it up a bit too, even just a little brightness & contrast adjustment to bring out the red background. Though I know how I am, if I don't make a stand and stop now at 11:00, I'll be up all night touching up every single box cover. Even now I just had to go back into Photoshop and add the drop shadow. But those drop shadow settings where the ones I used for the boxes on the top layer of the side bar montage. It doesn't quite look right, by itself, on the white background... No no no! I'm not doing any more work on it! It's just my stupid blog that is only read by half a dozen people! I'll save my anal attention to detail for work that people will actually see.
As another famous Westwood saying goes, this one from Brett Sperry directly to me over something I was working on, "It's done, quit pixel fucking it!" It is a quote that has served me well over the years.