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Matt Roberts



Junior Member

Registered: December 2002
Location: Australia
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This is not a good snapshot.
The girls seem to be dressed in their finest clothes.
The photographer has them in front of a hideous crumbling wall.
We should be looking at four smiling happy girls.
But one has her hands hiding her face and another two have their mouths open like fish out of water.
The photographer then botches the photo.
He chops off the girls feet and cuts the girl on the left in half.

I don’t like doing heavy-duty manipulation in the restoration section.
But I felt this photo was so badly composed I had to take drastic action.

I tried to give the photo some balance by tightly cropping.
I did my best to restore the little girl who was cut in half.
I clone repaired a large square of bricks and used this to repair the wall.
There was a big section of blank wall above the smaller girls.
I moved the window to the left for a more balanced look.
The faces were really hard to restore.

When I started restoring this I had no intention of coloring.
But my finished black and white version looked dull and lifeless.
I tried a few variations of sepia to no avail.
I added just a touch of color and tried not to be too heavy handed.

Best Wishes to all who do this tough one,
Matt
· Date: 1/12/2006 · Views: 14280 · Filesize: 35.5kb, 190.4kb · Dimensions: 1000 x 678 ·
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Shalford
Member

Registered: October 2003
Location: Solihull - United Kingdom
Posts: 67
1/12/2006 2:03pm

Matt: Quite simply beautiful!

I knew that you would be along very soon.
Stunning - now I'm speechless
I'm scrapping mine.

Cheers

Steve

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Steve
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Matt Roberts

Junior Member

Registered: December 2002
Location: Australia
1/14/2006 6:53am

Thanks Steve,
I spent about four hours on this.
Most of the time was spent on that damn wall.
I made about 10 attempts on the smallest girls face.
But it just wouldn't come out the way I wanted.
I should have hired Maigo to do it for me.

Matt
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istvestlog

Junior Member

Registered: October 2005
1/18/2006 3:38am

Matt,
You made some very critical comments about the original photo. It is quite obvious that the photo was taken by a non-professional. At least the children are acting naturally.
Unfortunately your version didn't send me "speechless". After taking a closer look I noticed that the fish-like mouths are still there. They could have been made to look more human-like however, more is required then just "flip and flop and drag and drop". The shadow under the window sill would be more in balance if it were adjusted to the direction of the sun. I wouldn't say your attempt was bad though.

Best wishes to you also.

István
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Angie B

Junior Member

Registered: October 2004
Location: NC
Posts: 13
1/18/2006 1:28pm

Matt, I believe with the photo you had to work with, you did a superb job. The condition of the dresses look brand new. I like the fact that you didn't over-manipulate, but tried to keep it as original as possible. Excellent work!
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Matt Roberts

Junior Member

Registered: December 2002
Location: Australia
1/19/2006 8:31am

Thanks for the comment Angie,
I was happy with the way the dresses came out.
But I sure had a hard time with the brick wall and composition of this photo.

Istvan – It is obvious this photo was taken by an amateur photographer.
I didn’t re-shape the kids mouths because I didn’t see it as a serious flaw.

The girls looked wonderful dressed in their finest clothes.
I was frustrated by the battered old sloping brick background.
It was also tough having one girl holding her hands in front of her face.
I did a lot of intricate detail retouching after any flip, drag and drop stuff.
I didn’t want to bore the pants off anyone reading my description
by going into fine detail.
I gave it my best but I couldn’t get past the way this photo was composed.

I hope you can do a better job on this photo.

Matt
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Maigo2

Junior Member

Registered: January 2003
Location: Southwest FLorida
1/19/2006 4:28pm

Hi Matt,

I really like what you have done with this photograph.

I understand your frustration, you are right the wall was a problem, and a very unattractive background.

The two girls in the middle are very good, the oldest is a hard one, otherwise very nice.

I also understand the frustration about not being able to get it just the way you wanted. That’s what took me so long to post #51 because I just couldn’t get the woman’s face right.

Over all I think you did a great job! You really brought these little girls to life!!

Maigo
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Matt Roberts

Junior Member

Registered: December 2002
Location: Australia
1/20/2006 2:32pm

Thanks Maigo,
I was really banging my head on this brick wall.
I spent lots time cloning to reduce grain and using free transform to straighten.
Wish I had CS2, I hear it has advanced transform tools for straightening.

Matt
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Phillip Whitt
Junior Member

Registered: February 2003
Location: Columbus,GA
Posts: 2
1/22/2006 3:45pm

Hi Matt,

A super, super job as always! I haven't been on this site in a long while-I'll be sure to take a look at your other work for the past few months.
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Matt Roberts

Junior Member

Registered: December 2002
Location: Australia
1/23/2006 1:03am

Hi Phillip,
Glad to see you back after such a long time.
I remember some of those old retouch restorations
we battled with.

Matt
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Lorraine

Senior Member

Registered: September 2001
Location: Flemington, NJ
Posts: 219
1/23/2006 7:52am

Hi Matt,

I really do like your restoration. The color is wonderful and you did a good job in bringing out what little details there were in the girls faces. Nice work as always.

Lorraine
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Matt Roberts

Junior Member

Registered: December 2002
Location: Australia
1/23/2006 11:15am

Thanks Lorraine,
I didn't do half as well as you did on the faces.
I should have done more but I ran into a brick wall.

Matt
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garazon

Member

Registered: November 2005
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 61
1/23/2006 7:53pm

I like the recomposition Matt, I agree with your analysis of the photo, kind of makes you wonder whether this might actually have been the best background avaialble at the time for the photographer! Lord knows what is across the street!!
Good work Matt

G

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Garazon
Photo Art Challenges
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Peth

Member

Registered: August 2005
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 44
1/24/2006 2:55am

Nice job mate. Didn't think of rebuilding the smallest girl but you're absolutely right to do so. Now I'll have to kick myself and readdress this challenge. I'm surprised you didn't try and lower the third girl's arm. I'm sure there a face in there somewhere! By the way, there are plenty of talented Aussies that aren't sportspeople... Russell Crowe... oh sorry - he's a kiwi. Jon Stevens... hmmm kiwi too... hold on, I'll keep thinking.
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DanUK
Junior Member

Registered: January 2006
Posts: 6
1/24/2006 5:12am

Nice work Matt on a really hard challenge. I think the colouring's great.
My one suggestion would be to remove the left side pocket on the girl on the left's dress to make it less symetrical looking and to match the girl's next to her as they appear to be identical dresses.
But on the whole, a great job well done.
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Matt Roberts

Junior Member

Registered: December 2002
Location: Australia
1/24/2006 9:15am

Thanks for the comments Garazon,
As I was working on this photo I kept wishing I could go back in time and take another photo. I’m sure I could find a nicer background.
And not have girls squinting into the sun with hands in front of their face.
I really enjoy working on old photos of this era.
And I loved the four girls dressed up with bows in their hair.

Peth – I have to admit it. I did think of lowering the girls arms.
But then I thought how long major surgery like that would take.
You would have borrow from her sisters and that would be tough because their faces are damaged and they all look quite different.
Careful with those Aussie jokes Peth.
Don’t make me get out my 1200 page New Zealand joke book.

Dan – I kept hoping no one would spot it.
I always meant to add some variation to the little girls left side.
But I forgot all about it. Whenever I looked at the little girl all I could see was her face that I just couldn’t get right.

Matt
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