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New user here - Hello, everybody!

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  #1  
Old 02-03-2011, 01:08 PM
PreyMomma PreyMomma is offline
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New user here - Hello, everybody!

Hi, I am trying to learn how to restore old photographs with photoshop (I have CS 5 student edition). Although I have had a class in Photoshop, I consider myself pretty much a newbie.

Anyway, I have been trying to restore two old photos - one was a professional portrait done by Olan Mills, and one is a scan of a 25 mm slide. The two are very different.

So perhaps someone could tell me if I'm off in my thinking, but should the first step in fixing an old photo be in diagnosing the problems? Then the workflow would depend on what those problems are?

I really need help in correctly diagnosing what's going on with color in old photos as well as ways to correct the problems. As I understand it, colors can fade away, but they also can shift to other colors? Or do both? And how does one go about getting them back? Is the process different for a faded photo versus a shifted photo (altho some old photos may have both problems). I really need some help in understanding what I'm looking at.

I'm attaching the original two images. If someone could look at them and diagnose them and then give me a workflow for them, I would be soooo grateful. But I know it's a lot to ask. In the portrait of my husband's parents, we think the jacket was originally navy blue and the tie a deep red. We aren't sure. The photo on the rooftop was a scan from a 35 mm slide - and it seems to have a lot of "noise" in it.

Jeanne
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File Type: jpg scan0037_sm.jpg (74.1 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg AuntJoanUncleTom sm.jpg (73.4 KB, 18 views)
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  #2  
Old 02-03-2011, 01:57 PM
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plugsnpixels plugsnpixels is offline
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Re: New user here - Hello, everybody!

Hi Jeanne, and welcome!

I first got a chuckle when you used "Olan Mills" and "professional" in the same sentence... ;-) I sat for them in the mid-90s and was lucky they caught us in the frame, given their bad composition.

The rooftop photo wasn't too hard to correct. I am not a professional color-corrector but use a combination of Photoshop itself and plug-ins to fix bad color.

In this case, I cropped the extraneous edges off the photo and did a quick Auto Color/Auto Tone, followed by Shadows/Highlights adjustment. Then I ran iCorrect EditLab in Smart Color mode, did a manual reduction of remaining extra yellow using Hue/Saturation and finished up with noise cleanup with Topaz DeNoise.

There is a way to correct color "by the numbers" ie, even color-blind people can do color correction, but I'm too right-brained for that!

The photo of your in-laws resisted the methods I used above, since there is so little color to begin with. However, I bet some of the more experienced retouchers here will do wonders with it.

PS: We would need larger originals to work with to do this properly, since reducing the size of the photos to post here severely degrades them and introduces JPEG compression, etc.
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File Type: jpg AuntJoanUncleTom-fix.jpg (88.7 KB, 17 views)

Last edited by plugsnpixels; 02-03-2011 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 02-03-2011, 03:51 PM
PreyMomma PreyMomma is offline
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Re: New user here - Hello, everybody!

Thanks so much, plugsnpixels for taking this on and for your advise! The image looks much much better! I don't have all the tools that you used, but I'm going to follow your work flow and see whether I can understand and approximate your results with Photoshop and use Camera Raw to reduce the noise.

Gratefully,

Jeanne
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Old 02-03-2011, 04:15 PM
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plugsnpixels plugsnpixels is offline
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Re: New user here - Hello, everybody!

You're welcome! Photoshop can surely do the color correction on its own; the plug-ins just make it faster/easier.
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:02 PM
jesterjeni jesterjeni is offline
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Re: New user here - Hello, everybody!

I gave this a shot to see what kind of color would come out...here it is
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File Type: jpg scan0037_smn.jpg (92.7 KB, 16 views)
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:17 PM
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plugsnpixels plugsnpixels is offline
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Re: New user here - Hello, everybody!

Definitely more colorful-! But IMO you might be better off going grayscale then hand coloring (which is a whole different set of skills...). That will avoid the weird colors that are coming out of this particular image.
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:50 PM
PreyMomma PreyMomma is offline
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Re: New user here - Hello, everybody!

Definitely improves upon the fading, but I think the background used to be sort of a powder blue. It's been so long now, I can't remember. I have been flopping around and struggling with this one for a day or two but I just feel like the color still isn't true, I don't like the skin tones, I don't like the pools of washed out highlight on their faces (hard to see in these smaller photos but they contain no detail at all), there's a red tinge around the edges of my Mother-in-law's pullover - and I don't know what to do about any of it. Have been over the river and through the woods and around the barn and all over the net trying various things.

Jeanne
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File Type: jpg Cletus and Ruth 6 copy.jpg (82.9 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg Cletus and Ruth7 copy.jpg (87.1 KB, 8 views)
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:57 PM
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plugsnpixels plugsnpixels is offline
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Re: New user here - Hello, everybody!

Actually, that first one is not too bad at all, considering! As for the fringe color, try desaturating it, or doing a white feathered vignette.
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