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Another Wedding

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Old 06-15-2003, 09:01 PM
G. Couch's Avatar
G. Couch G. Couch is offline
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Another Wedding

This is an image I restored about a year and a half ago...It's a photo from my parent's wedding that was really starting to transform into something distasteful. Despite my comments that it was "becoming gold as you both enter your golden years!", my Mom wanted to know if it could be salvaged (as she glared at me for my comments), and if the background could be changed, as she always hated the curtains in the original. I told her that it would be no wrong I was!

Correcting the color in this was a nightmare and I'm still not sure I have the skintones where I want them. It was impossible to correct things without making a mask for every tones, flowers, hair, etc... There was actually a remarkable amount of detail still in the original image that began to reveal itself as I corrected for the fading.

The new background was scanned from an old Kodachrome slide of my great grandmother's garden (A restoration in and of itself!). I figured this would have a bit more meaning than a stock background or generic, it dates from about the same era. Placing my parent's in their new setting was pretty simple except for the veil. I had to cut that out and place it in it's own layer so that the new background would show through and help convince the viewer.

I think I did a pretty convincing job with the image (after many hours!) and my parents are more than pleased, but there are still some things that bother me. Does the color look natural? Do they appear to be cutout...especially around my Dad's head? Is the new background too distracting? I just really picky?

The original scan -
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File Type: jpg wedding2.jpg (76.9 KB, 108 views)

Last edited by G. Couch; 06-15-2003 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 06-15-2003, 09:08 PM
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G. Couch G. Couch is offline
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and the restored version -
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File Type: jpg wedding1.jpg (88.7 KB, 103 views)
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Old 06-15-2003, 09:13 PM
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G. Couch G. Couch is offline
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...and a detail
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Old 06-15-2003, 09:35 PM
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The first thing that hit me when I opened your restored version was the different in the lighting between your parents image (flash from the front) and the background (if I'm seeing thing correctly, the sun would be behind them and off to the right. I realize it's common to use a flash outdoors, but there's something about the lighting difference that is distracting to my eyes. I think that's why you think your Dad's head looks "cut out". Truth is, I think you did a really great job of extracting them from the old image and putting them in the new! The veil looks natural to me and nothing looks cut out. It's just the lighting that is causing problems - and probably the reason you're not happy with the skintones. Just realized as I looked again that I'm expecting the sunlight to be falling from above, yet your Dad's left side appears to be in slight shadow, which doesn't make sense for where I expect the sun to be.

Perhaps treating the background as a backdrop (i.e., add a slight drop shadow to your parents to match the original image that falls on the garden scene), might make more sense to my eyes. Placing them as if they are standing in the garden it tough because of the lighting.

All in all it's a good restoration. You got a lot of detail back, the extraction looks good and I love the veil. I wish I could give you advice on how to fix the lighting, but it's not one of my strong points.

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Old 06-15-2003, 10:04 PM
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Blacknight Blacknight is offline
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Re: Another Wedding

Originally posted by G. Couch
Does the color look natural? Do they appear to be cutout...especially around my Dad's head? Is the new background too distracting? I just really picky?
I thought it looked rather flat. On the closeup the edges are really sharp between the background and the people. Usually there is some gradiation present (what Adobe calls anti-aliasing) at an edge like that. Also I think you are right about your Dad's head. Try a little burn along the edges, maybe (see attached visual).

Not having the original, I had to play with what was there. I tried to punch it all up color-wise. I didn't take the time to select it all (perhaps you have a layers version saved and can try this) with a pen or lasso tool, and didn't try blurring the background, but wonder if that wouldn't help.

Great job on the veil - I'm sure THAT was a challenge all by itself!
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Old 06-15-2003, 10:35 PM
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spinnnz spinnnz is offline
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I thoughtthe colors looked a little flat as well. I hope you don't mind me fooling with the a little. I created two duplicate layers of the original. Set one to multiply at about 70% opacity and one to screen at about 40% opacity. Added a layer mask to both and painted the multiply layer mask where i didn't want to darken the image and the same goes on the screen layer. Then I added a hue/sat layer and bumped up the saturation to 12 on the yellow colors. Then I created a new layer, merged visible and blurred the background, lowering the opacity to 50% to bring some of the detail back.

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File Type: jpg wed.jpg (99.0 KB, 72 views)
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Old 06-16-2003, 12:54 AM
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Sanda Sanda is offline
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I have to agree with Jeanie, the lighting bothers me too. I think the background could use more light. To me it looks a little dull in comparison to the couple.

Great job with the veil, I couldn't pick any problems with it.

Somthing I do with the hair when I've replaced a background is use the smudge tool (1px brush size) to draw out tiny hairs so that the hair doesn't have a cut out look.

Other than those little things it'a a great restoration bet your parents will love it.
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Old 06-16-2003, 01:42 AM
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CJ Swartz CJ Swartz is offline
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First off, I think it's a very good job, and if it weren't up for critique, I'd just leave it at that.

Jeanie's comments about lighting got me to playing with the Color Range tool -- when I lightened some foliage in the rear, it seemed as though your dad was casting a shadow on some of the foliage. I screened some more with Color Range to show more demarcation between his head and the foliage -- rather than hiding it. [These are certainly just ideas -- this isn't an area that I feel strong in...] I played a bit with dodging or screening out some of the shadow on his left shoulder that Jeanie mentioned, and figured that the shadowing should be on his right side (actual). His body would also cast a bit of a shadow on your mother and she should show some shadowing -- nose, right side of face. Lighting is a skill that I watched demonstrated in photography class, but still haven't gotten a handle on actually creating effectively -- but that's part of your art training, hopefully.

Not sure how much of this shows on my example -- it showed on my monitor...

Overall, however -- Kudos!
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File Type: jpg gregparents.jpg (96.6 KB, 62 views)

Last edited by CJ Swartz; 06-16-2003 at 01:59 AM.
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Old 06-16-2003, 08:00 PM
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G. Couch G. Couch is offline
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There seems to be a general consensus that the lighting is a bit off! I have to admit, I think it's a case of staring at something for so long that I missed the lighting issue entirely. Originally I probably assumed it would read like a flash-fill...but it appears as though it is really throwing viewers off.

Jeanie - The backdrop idea is interesting but I don't think it would go over well with the clients! Perhaps I should dig up another picture to use that has different lighting?

Blacknight - The color is indeed a bit flat. Part of that is that you are looking at an sRGB file and the original is Adobe RGB. (higher gamut)...and part of it was deliberate. The flowers in the background were overpowering until I reduced the saturation a bit. I will try to bump up the overall color a little more...yours looks a bit sunburned on my screen though!

Lisa - The blurred background works very, very well...I am certainly going to make that change. The skin tones appear overly dark but I can see what you were trying to do...and I think both you and Blacknight are on the right track with bumping up the contrast and colors.

Sanda - I did smudge things a bit when I originally created the masks...but I did this before I had a tablet, so I think I will go back and hit things with the 1 pixel brush per your suggestion.

CJ - I think the area around his head was pretty bad in terms of damage and loss of information. I'm still a little unsure as to how and fix that area. The subtle shadows you created do indeed show on my monitor...and it really helps the image, especially on the right side of my Mom's face. The problem with my Dad is how to increase the shadows without making him look like he has an extreme need to shave!

Thanks to everyone for the I expected, some things were pointed out to me that I had not considered. Hopefully I can now take the advice and apply it to the image.

Kudos' to all!!
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Old 06-16-2003, 09:16 PM
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roger_ele roger_ele is offline
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Hi Greg

I am not sure saturation is the real issue, here are my thoughts;

-bottom of dress goes to grey, but in this lighting it would normally be as light as the rest of the dress

-dads pants are a brown/black, but the black of the tres is a green-blue/black - shift the color so they are compatible

-if this was really a combination of natural light and flash, there would be light hitting the couple from the top right, add highlights on his top/right edges as they would be lit.

-I know you went to a lot of effort to keep the detail through the veil, but in this situation the veil should be lighter

-Add a shadow from dad that lands on mom, with highlights on mom where the shadow isn't

-darken couple until they have the same feeling of density as the background

Then check for saturation, you may or may not need to adjust it, but you won't know until you get density, then contrast right.

Great job, Roger
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