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Silvering: Suggestions for photo of my grandfather?

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Old 10-22-2005, 01:20 PM
cdaniel cdaniel is offline
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Silvering: Suggestions for photo of my grandfather?

As you can see in the photo, when I scan I get what I interpret as emulsion degradation - if it's something else let me know. The whitish haze is not visible when viewing the photo. I've scanned it very large and when printed, it shows only minimally, but I'd still like it to be better.

I'm using Paint Shop Pro 7, a Microtek 8700 scanner with SilverFast Ai software, choosing 48 bit color and "skin tones" option. Does anyone have any suggestions for how I can scan to minimize this? Or suggestions for what to do with it afterwards?

Do you think if I took it to a professional lab that they could get a scan without the haze or less of a haze?

By the way, I think I may have read somewhere that the newer Paint Shop Pro has better photo correction options? Would it be worth upgrading.
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File Type: jpg Szekunda Pal.jpg (83.4 KB, 126 views)

Last edited by cdaniel; 10-22-2005 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 10-22-2005, 02:19 PM
maureeno maureeno is offline
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Well, I think what that haze is comes from the magnification of the fingerprints, oils, dust, smudges, etc. that the scanner performs on the image. If you take a photo and hold a magnififying glass to it you can see the bits that pop up on the scanned image that you can't see without magnification.

At least, that's what I've discovered through trial and error.

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Old 10-22-2005, 03:09 PM
cdaniel cdaniel is offline
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There is dust. I used a very soft brush and some came off, but not all. Does the dust get actually embedded in the emulsion? Last week, I ordered from an archival products place something that is supposed to clean photos and negatives. Maybe that will help.
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Old 10-22-2005, 03:20 PM
cdaniel cdaniel is offline
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I just rescanned it after dusting if off, but it doesn't look any better. This is much more than the dust I see on the photo. I've attached a close up.
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Old 10-22-2005, 04:55 PM
cspringer cspringer is offline
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Used my Paint With Light Actions ( and Color Correction tool in CS. Some noise removal and sharpening with Grain Surgery.
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Old 10-22-2005, 05:48 PM
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kschulz kschulz is offline
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It looks to me like the haze is "silvering" or "mirroring", which is a very common problem when scanning older photos like this. There is a lot of information in RP on this topic - I suggest doing a search for both of these terms for tips on how to handle it. Here is a link to a restoration challenge regarding exactly this problem - it might be helpful to see how others have attacked it:

Hope this helps,

- Kurt

Last edited by kschulz; 10-22-2005 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 10-22-2005, 06:03 PM
Billfields Billfields is offline
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I think Kurt is right as to what it is.

I don't fully understand the combination of chemistry and optics here but I think that what you are seeing comes from the developing of the photograph itself. I have had the same thing from photos of the same era. The current (October/November)issue of Photoshop User Magazine explains it:

"If you've ever scanned an old print, you may have opened the scan in great anticipation only to be disappointed by a shimmering blue glare, The blue glare is the metallic silver oxidizing into a colorless silver ion, which migrates to the surface and reduces back to metallic elemental silver which is reflective."

They suggest that you can avoid this by taking a digital photograph at an angle then using the perspective feature in Photoshop to straighten the file. But I'm not sure Paint Shop Pro 7 has that....I used to use it and I don't think so but maybe someone else here who uses it can offer an idea.

I have dealt with the glare as if it were a stain and used the healing patch/brush a lot.

I was really happy when I read this even tho I was well beyond halfway through with the photo I was working on. At least I knew where it came from. It's weird, something not on the picture shows up on the scan.....

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Old 10-22-2005, 09:25 PM
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roger_ele roger_ele is offline
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With silvering, if you tilt the photo to catch the reflection of the lght you will see it on the prints surface. Taking a picture of the photo with a camera with a diffused low light source like a window is the easiest way to work around this.

The pro way to do this is with a copy stand and polarized lights and a polarizing filter on the camera. The easiest way to do this at home is to set a few books on a table and prop the photo in front of it. Set the camera down on the table (on a book if you need it higher), focus and slowly click the camera - the table will act as your tipod and keep the camera steady. Try different lighting, best bet is room lights off with window light coming from the side - window far enough away for the light to be even - no light source behind the camera at all so that you don't get reflections off the silvering.
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Old 10-22-2005, 09:32 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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ok, the problem here is one i've looked at over and over on a number of images. i finally reached the conclusion that this is a subtractive problem, not an additive one. and by that i mean, something has been taken away, not added. dust would be an additive problem, but this seems to be that the pigment has simply been eaten up, for whatever reasons.

so, ok, what the heck does that mean then. what it means is that you've effectively got holes in your picture. mind you, i said effectively. so, the only way to really handle this is with an additive solution. you have to put back what's been taken away. if you look at the the various channels, rgb, cmyk, and hsl, they are ALL damaged. that's the first clue that this is a subtractive problem. and, when i look at the image under a hue map, NO HUE ADJUSTMENT WILL AFFECT THE DAMAGED AREAS! and that's the second big clue. if there was color there, something in the hue map would alter those affected areas. but, there's not; there's no color. so, you have to put it back.

neat image, polaroid dust and scratch, psp's digi camera noise remove and other noise reducers dont really handle these things very well. they'll do a passable job and smooth things out fairly well, but they also tend to look smudged in order to get enough of the missing parts filled in.

there are several tools for adding stuff back to an image. clone is perhaps the restorers best friend, but in this case, you're talking about a LOT of cloning to clean this thing up. a simple paint brush would do it also, but that's also a good deal of work. smudge is only a semi-additive tool and it just wouldnt work right on this image, not for the bulk work. dodge would work also, but again, it would tend to give a smudged look and take a long time. oh, and 'color replacer' works to an extent, but because of the various transitions in shading and so on, it's pretty limited.

so, here's my solution. dupe the layer, of course. then, make a new blank raster layer on top of that. take your 'air brush/paint spray' tool and set the opacity VERY low, like 4 or 5. set the density down also; i used 18. now, use your color picker to pick up one of the browns that still exist in the curtains. then, with the blank layer highlighted in your layer palette, use long, even strokes of the air brush down the length of the curtains. since your blank raste layer is on top and you're painting on that, it will show over the top of your duped background layer.

change your color in color picker often, but always close to the original colors where you're working. mix it up a bit. almost NOTHING is ever just one pure color. dont get crazy with this; just add enough to make the white start to disappear. do the bulk areas this way. dont do the fine detail work yet. you just want to get it a bit better, not do the whole thing.

work with that and see how it goes. if you do the clothing this way you may have to adjust your opacity or density or both down a bit.

when you've got it better, try a gausian blur on the painted raster layer and see how it looks. i'd say somewhere from 2 to 4 depending on how much paint you've applied to the blank raster layer.

just do that much for now and get back to us. dont worry that it's not done yet. there's more to be done yet

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Old 10-22-2005, 09:56 PM
cdaniel cdaniel is offline
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Wow, some great info here. Thanks!

cspringer - Thanks. That definitely is an improvement? tho a bit splotchy in some areas.

kschulz - Yes, that's exactly what it sounds like because when I look at the photo at an angle, I see the shininess. Now that I know what it's called, I can do a search. Thanks.

roger_ele - I do think I'll try photographing it with my digital camera tomorrow. The trick will be getting the right lighting, Unfortunately, being in a townhome, I have limited options.

Kraellin - Phew, lots of info here. I'm not sure there is a digicamera noise reducer in PSP 7. Some of the things you're suggesting, I've never worked with before, so it will take me some time to go through step by step and try your approach. Tho I do think if photographing it works, that would be the least time consuming approach.

Thank you all for your help!

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