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Underexposed on a Cheap Camera :-(

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  #1  
Old 08-03-2005, 02:18 PM
Noah Noah is offline
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Smile Underexposed on a Cheap Camera :-(

Hi folks,

I'm new around here, and relatively new to photo retouching and restoration. But I'm finding it very fun, and the site has really helped me in fixing up the wedding pictures that I often work on. Thanks much

Recently my cousin sent me one of his favorite shots of his children playing with their grandmother. Unfortunately, the shot is quite dark, and full of fuzzy artifacts. I'd love to be able to get as much detail out of it as possible, especially of the grandmother's face. But, as yet, it's a bit beyond my skill.

I've used noise reduction filtering, redeye tool, and some selective sharpening with the byRo Graphics Eq action posted elsewhere on this site, among other things, and gotten semi-decent results, but I'm hoping there are some better techniques for getting rid of the artifacts mangling the details of this picture.

If anyone is willing to help, I'd much appreciate it. And I'd even more appreciate any explanation of how you got the results you got, so I can do similar jobs in the future. (At least till I can afford to get my cousin a real camera lol.)

I'm attaching the version of the picture before any of my editing, with the thought that some of what I did may have been destructive. I'd attach them both, but figured it'd be best I spent all of my 100kb on as much detail as I could manage to upload.

<edit>If anyone wants the full resolution version, please let me know and I'll be happy to email it to you. It's 664kb.</edit>

Thanks in advance. I know my cousin's family would love to get a version of this picture that doesn't look so bad.

Noah
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File Type: jpg Grandma-Playin.jpg (98.3 KB, 60 views)

Last edited by Noah; 08-03-2005 at 02:36 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-03-2005, 02:32 PM
Noah Noah is offline
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My attempt

Ah, I see from the welcome message that it's ok to use multiple posts to post more than 100kb worth of pictures on the subject. Cool, then here's my first attempt at this pic. I wasn't satisfied w/ the results, but it was about all I knew how to do with such a damaged photo at this time.

Any help or critique would be much appreciated.

Thanks again,

Noah
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Grandma-Playing-Retouched.jpg (97.0 KB, 41 views)
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  #3  
Old 08-03-2005, 02:32 PM
Craig Walters's Avatar
Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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hi noah,

and welcome to RP

the 100k limit is per image, not overall. so, you could put 5, 100k images in the same post. load one, hit browse again and load another and so on up to the 5 image limit.

as for the work, start with brightening the image up. this can be done with curves, levels, or constrast/lightness quite easily. get the balance you want and then look at the color balance. i dont have photoshop, so there are some good tools for this that my paint shop pro (psp) doesnt have. in psp i might use channel mixing or hue/saturation/lightness.... just depends.

once you've got the basic image lightened, contrasted and balanced, THEN start your red-eye removal, noise reduction, clean up and so on.

if for any reason detail is lacking, while you're working with curves and contrast/lightness, use those to bring out more detail, or use channels to find where the detail is and work from there.

Craig
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Old 08-03-2005, 02:34 PM
Craig Walters's Avatar
Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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ah, we posted at the same time

ok, for noise reduction, get the free version of Neat Image. this is a great noise reducer. the free version will only work in the stand-alone version, but if you upgrade to the pro version you can use it as a plugin, which can be even more helpful.

Craig
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  #5  
Old 08-03-2005, 02:44 PM
Noah Noah is offline
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Thanks much,

Just downloaded Neat Image and will start playing around with that. Thanks for the quick reply(s).
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  #6  
Old 08-03-2005, 02:57 PM
Craig Walters's Avatar
Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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you're welcome. and keep us updated. would love to see how it comes out.

Craig
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  #7  
Old 08-03-2005, 04:52 PM
Noah Noah is offline
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Retouch 2

Ok, I used the redeye tool, some auto levels, and Shadow/Highlights to get the image to a decent starting point. (I found that if I tried using redeye after the Neat Image it didn't work right for me.)

Then I moved on to Neat Image and got rid of a large chunk of the artifacts. Thanks a ton for lettin me know about that wonderful tool. I'll likely buy it.

To clean up what I could of the rest, I made a layer that was Gausian blurred, medianed, dusted and scratched, and lightly grain textured then layer masked it on here and there for facial smoothness, etc.

I noticed there was still a light chroma artifact on most of the greyish things in the image, so I selected them all and desaturated.

Then I selectively sharpened with the graphic equalizer tools I mentioned in my original post.

That's where I've gotten so far. I'd like to be able to make it even better, but I'm not sure where to go from here without loosing features. Any help/critique much appreciated.

Thanks,

Noah
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Grandma-at-Play-Retouch-2RP.jpg (93.6 KB, 34 views)
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  #8  
Old 08-03-2005, 05:37 PM
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Caitlin Caitlin is offline
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That's looking great Noah! The only place where some loss of detail is obvious is the grandmother's face. You have lost some detail throughout the picture by using NeatImage, but it largely in the face it is a concern that it looks 'soft'. If you have made each major change on a new copy layer, you could try masking out some of the detail on the grandmothers face on the noise reduced layer, to reveal the greater detail in the layer below.

I'm not sure if the attached really demonstrates well what I mean - I put your first restore, and latest restore on top of each other, and masked out some detail on the face, and sofa to reveal the detail in the first version below. Working with your layers should be more effective.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Grandma-Playing-Combined.jpg (98.7 KB, 40 views)
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  #9  
Old 08-03-2005, 09:04 PM
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Hephaestos Hephaestos is offline
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Had a go with this one.

First step was screen copies. I used five (!) here, that got the background looking right exposure-wise. Foreground was by then overexposed so I put on a black/white gradient fill layer to cover that.

Next stamped the visible layers and ran despeckle, then sharpened with a 1-px high-pass overlay, then stamped again and ran neatimage.

Didn't mess with the redeye obviously.
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File Type: jpg gma2.jpg (99.9 KB, 35 views)
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  #10  
Old 08-03-2005, 10:28 PM
Craig Walters's Avatar
Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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excellent, noah! that's really come a long ways.

now, just follow what caitlin said and you shld have it. (nicely done, caitlin!)

Craig
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