Restoration of the cover art for Ports of the Heart was completed during two weeks in February of 1999. The project involved many of the same issues we worked through while restoring cover art for Isle of View. Sony/Columbia was unable to provide any photos or art, film negatives or printing plates from the original 1976 LP release. Extensive research failed to locate usable source material. I therefore scanned the only art available two badly faded and scuffed LP covers and began the digital restoration.
Sony's timeline for production of new CD cover art was demanding. The swimming pool water (which comprised the bulk of the original image) was damaged beyond reasonable and timely repair. I therefore acquired a new swimming pool background photo and adjusted its color and contrast to match the original LP shot as closely as possible.
The best sections of Jimmie's image from my two LP covers were then digitally removed from high-resolution scans of the LPs. This required careful click-by-click, pixel-by-pixel choices to create a workable mask path. Missing sections of the resulting composite image were painted in by hand, using photo editing software and virtual brushes. Finally, the restored image of Jimmie was layered over the swimming pool.
Matching the typography from the original LP proved to be a surprising challenge. I scoured fonts and type companies across the net, but was unable to find anything exactly like the san serif stencil type used on the original LP release. However, the font is quite similar to a font I owned a version of a typeface called Futura. The solution was to set the type to match the LP in a vector art program called FreeHand and then digitally snip the type apart to recreate the stencil effect. The new type was imported into the cover art file. The result is as close to the original typography as possible.
The finished cover art restoration is shown below at roughly actual size.
Additional Ports of the Heart promotional art
The image below shows an additional piece of original art that was created for the CD insert but not used. There wasn't room for it in the final package and we felt it departed from the original package design too much. Still, it's fun and I thought you might like to see it. It was briefly used in a promotional limited edition tank top back before Sony pulled the license in 2000.