Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

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AMark
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Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by AMark »

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Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Recently, Canada stamper asked how to extract an image of a postmark from an image showing a cancelled stamp. How to extract/print a clear cancel from a stamp image? A couple of threads explain how to do this but there is no visual tutorial.

There are many photo editing programs that can be used to do this. The one that I find the easiest and the quickest for this is Photoshop, but not everyone has access to Photoshop.

I did a bit of online searching and found a free photo editing program that can extract a postmark from a stamp. The program is called PIXLR.

A couple of things that should be noted:

I have played around with this program for about an hour or so, which means that I have not looked at all the available tools.

Second, this will only work for the image that I am using in this demonstration. It will not work for all images. Other tools will be required if you want to extract a postmark from other images.

I am only showing you how it is done on this image. The tools are there for you to experiment with. However, if you get stuck please post your question/s and I will try to help you.

Third, I will not go into creating layers or describing other features. If you know what layers are, you can use them. I am trying to make this as simple as it can be.
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Re: Extracting a Postmark from Stamp Image

Post by AMark »

As I have mentioned above this is a free online program. You don’t have to create an account but you can if you want to. I have not. I think there are other features that are available to account holders. Such as, saving your work online so you can come back to it later.

Before doing anything, create a duplicate of the image that you will be working with.

Open your browser and in the address bar type: pixlr.com/editor

Image

You have a couple of choices: open image from computer or url, or image library.
Your selection will depend on where you have your image stored.
I am selecting from computer.

Image

On the right, in the Layers panel, double click on the lock to unlock the layer.

Image

If you look at the top, in the toolbar, there is a drop-down menu titled: Adjustments. Click to open the drop-down menu. As you can see, there are many adjustments that you can use to apply to your image.

For this image I am selecting Threshold (left of red arrow). Threshold takes a colour image and converts it to a high-contrast image, a black and white image.
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Re: Extracting a Postmark from Stamp Image

Post by AMark »

Image

Slide the handle to right or left by clicking and holding it. You will see your image go from white to black.

Image

The postmark is now isolated. However, perfs are still visible. To remove them, click on the colour swatch (left of red arrow) and select white. Or, use the colour eyedropper (inside red circle) to mach the colour of your background. I am using the colour eyedropper to match my background colour.

Image

Select the brush tool (left of red arrow.) At top left, in the toolbar, you can adjust its size. Do not select a very large brush size because you will cover the postmark with your brush strokes.

Move the brush to where the perfs are and begin to paint by holding down the mouse button.
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Re: Extracting a Postmark from Stamp Image

Post by AMark »

Image

The perfs have been covered with paint.

Image

I am not showing this, but I have rotated the image and applied the cropping tool to the image.

Finally, Save your work.


Important features to remember:

Step backwards (Undo) – if you made a mistake you can go back to the step before you have made your mistake by pressing Ctrl + z or Undo is found in the toolbar under Edit.

Image

History Panel – similar to stepping back – click on a step in your history panel and you will be at that step.


I hope that this is clear and that some of you will find this helpful.
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Re: Extracting a Postmark from Stamp Image

Post by mcgooley »

VERY helpful for me. I've often wondered how it's done, and now I know :P

Thank you!
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Re: Extracting a Postmark from Stamp Image

Post by GlenStephens »

Very cool ... had not seen this thread before. :)
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by Graeme »

Excellent tut.
pixlr is favourite of many of the open source type programs.
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by blackrom »

TWO THUMBS UP!
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by JohnHart »

Thanks AMark ! I'm going to try this for my perfins. If it works there, I can duplicate the holes and display them on paper for exhibits.

WONDERFUL.

John
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by nbalachandran »

Very Helpful Information! Thank You!
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by zemanel »

Clear and helpful tutorial! Thanks for sharing!!!
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by blackrom »

Don't forget if you have a stamp with an overprint such as a NWPI you can also use the brush tool to remove/cover it whilst still keeping the post mark intact - It will just take a little practise zooming in and out whilst resizing your brush to get it fine.
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by Allanswood »

JohnHart wrote:Thanks AMark ! I'm going to try this for my perfins. If it works there, I can duplicate the holes and display them on paper for exhibits.

WONDERFUL.

John

I don't find perfins as difficult as cancels:


Don't scan the front but the back of the stamp
ImageImageImage

Image

Scan the back, flip the image horizontally, give it a clean (white fill) and crop what you want to show.
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by JohnHart »

Nice Greg. THANKS ! It helps to have some comfort with the computer programs, which you guys obviously do.

John
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by mdhewitt »

Thanks, Mark! I just found this thread thanks to a new post on it. Very helpful information.
Many thanks!
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by AMark »

Nice to see so many of you guys finding this tutorial useful. :D
JohnHart wrote:Nice Greg. THANKS ! It helps to have some comfort with the computer programs, which you guys obviously do.

John
John,

With a little practice I am sure that you will be able to isolate the perfins that you want. Furthermore, it should not be difficult to extract a perfin, since it's already on a light background.

If you have questions just ask.

Good Luck!
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by Allanswood »

Just found the same feature on my editing software - also called 'threshold'

Image
Image
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by blackrom »

If your photo/graphics software does not have "threshold" (unlikely) you can also look for "levels" and this will also allow you to carry out the same task as you would with using the "threshold" tool.
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by Graeme »

Excellent work guys!

I find using this technique most helpful in looking at commemorative cancellations.

I have had to scan images that have penned signatures, great to be able to remove them and view the signature.

Keep up the practice.
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by alltorque »

Great information, thanks for sharing and showing it step by step for us learners.
cheers
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by Ghost07 »

Wonderful, thanks for sharing and look forward to trying it out,

Best wishes

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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by Heinz55 »

Hi all,
all the above is about a clear cancel. Being a cancel addict, I often have the problem that a cancel is on a stamp printed in very dark colours. So I cannot read the parts of the cancel where the stamp is dark. If the stamps are not on paper, I scan their back and many times the ink of the cancel is stronger than the colours of the stamp, so I can read and document the cancel. Of course it helps to mirror the scan as described above for the perfins.
Has anybody additional ideas?
Thank you and have a nice Sunday!
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by AMark »

Hi Heinrich,

I agree, if you scan the back of a dark coloured stamp you should be able to see the cancel. Unless, it's a very light cancel.

Have you used retroreveal.org?

Do you have any images that you can post?
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by aviwire »

Thanks AMark for such simple and to the point tutorial. I am going to use it to separate stamp marks from my cancelled lot.
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by RevRed+ »

Giving a bump to this thread as I think it is very useful. :!:
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by La Rosa »

Thanks AMark this software is still out there ... OG like it - Many Thanks.
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by danyeung »

I tried to use the software to determine the year but with no success.

Can experience member help on this ? Thanks
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by Global Admin »

Sometimes these things are IQ tests.

As this stamp was issued November 1918, my wild guess is the year date will be 'MANLY 2 JA : 1919 - NSW'.

But that is just a WILD guess.
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by Kainnikanada »

danyeung,

I concur with Glen. "1015A -2JA19" with the decade wheel either damaged or appears missing due to an incomplete strike or something beneath that area of the date-stamp.
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by danyeung »

Hi Glen & Kainnikanada, thanks very much for your help.

I've just checked the 1919 postage rate based on your suggestion and it matches with your guess.

The cover was taxed 4d so should be 2d short.

The postage rate was 2½d per ½ oz plus ½d wax tax before 1 Oct 1920.

It was ½d overpaid for a 1oz letter but 2d short for a 1½ oz letter.
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by Kainnikanada »

danyeung,

Neither Glen nor I were guessing!
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by danyeung »

Hi Kainnikanada,

I am sorry if you feel offended.

Once again, thanks very much for helping.
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Re: Extracting just the Postmark image, from a stamp scan

Post by Kainnikanada »

Choose your words carefully. Not 'offended' nor 'guessing'.

No offense was implied in my post. Just correcting the narrative by stating neither of us used a crystal ball.

Notwithstanding the missing decade wheel, the date ended in a '9'. Couldn't be '0' ergo '09'. These stamps were not available at that time. They had to be used after date of issue. Logically use in 1929 is quite late. Only conclusion is 1919'.
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