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Need advice on restored/colorized photo

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Old 10-13-2003, 11:13 PM
nvslater nvslater is offline
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 40
I have an old picture, that I am enclosing, it is from the 1840's. The wife's relative, so the pressure is on.This message will have the orginal, the next will have my restoration. I cut everthing, then color them separely. Herein is my problem, because it takes alot of time doing the pictures this way, even though the results are good.
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File Type: jpg william jackett org.jpg (44.5 KB, 76 views)
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Old 10-13-2003, 11:18 PM
nvslater nvslater is offline
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 40
This is my finished picture. I would like any comments and suggestions. Exapecally if they can speed up my process. This is my first post, I hope this works.
Thank you
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Old 10-13-2003, 11:27 PM
nvslater nvslater is offline
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 40
Ill try again to get the finished picture there.
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File Type: jpg picture - special - i.jpg (28.9 KB, 74 views)
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Old 10-15-2003, 12:04 AM
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jeaniesa jeaniesa is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Colorado foothills
Posts: 1,826
Hi nvslater,

Welcome to RetouchPro! This sure is a tough image to work with - and it looks like you have some artistic talent!

I am going to counter your question with another question: What is your goal for this image? Do you want a restored photo or an artistic rendition (which given the state of the photo may be your only realistic choice)? The reason I ask is that your final image looks more like a painting than a photo. That isn't necessarily bad, depending on the look you're trying to achieve.

One thing to try when colorizing a photo is to use either the Color or Soft Light blending modes for each layer of color. This allows the photo to "show through" and look less "painted". From the looks of yours, you kept the color layers in Normal blending mode.

As you've discovered, it's extremely difficult to colorize a photo with little to no detail in the facial features (as in this photo). You did an amazing job painting the features back in (which is why I think you have some artistic talent ). Even so, by doing that, it appears you've changed the facial features somewhat. (I put the restored/colored version in a layer above the original and clicked the layer on/off. The facial expression/features changed as I did this.) Again, this is not necessarily a bad thing if your goal is an artistic rendition of the photo. Personally, I don't usually paint in facial features any more detailed than shading: a) because I'm terrible at it and b) because it's extremely difficult to keep the shape of the face the same.

Also, it doesn't appear that the baby has any hair in the original photo, but you painted some in (quite nicely I might add.) Again, if your goal is artistic rendition, then I think you nailed it. If not, then you might want to rethink the hair. (Many babies are bald - sometimes up to six months to a year old!)

I also noticed that you added another hand supporting the baby. (I assume duplicated and flipped the hand that was already there because I couldn't find a second hand in the original image.) While it helps to cover up the "amorphous blob" that appears in that spot in the original photoI think I would try to recreate the fabric of the clothing rather than add the hand. To my eyes, the additional hand overpowers the baby's face.

As far as the amount of time it takes to restore/colorize... Well - it does take a long time! I can tell you added some shading to the fabric of the clothes to give them some depth - which is great! That takes time too of course. The whole process will get a little faster with more practice, but I don't think restoring a photo such as this one will ever be "fast"!

Just to try out an idea I had, I put your colorized version in a layer above the original (unretouched) photo and changed the blending mode to overlay. Then did an overall levels adjustment to get rid of the resulting yellow cast. I've attached my result. Obviously the flaws of the original (cracks, etc.) show through the color. But it does look a little more like a photo I think.

Overall I think you did a commendable job given the image you had to start with! The eyes are the toughest since there is almost no detail there except for two tiny dark circles. Unfortunately, it is the eyes that are the most important feature of the face. If the eyes aren't right, people who knew the person will notice right away. (Of course in this case it's possible that no one is still living who remembers this photo!)

Anyway, I commend your obvious talent! Sorry it took so long for me to reply.

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File Type: jpg nvslater-jsa.jpg (41.7 KB, 53 views)
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Old 10-15-2003, 03:07 PM
mead mead is offline
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: tennessee
Posts: 42
You did a really good job painting this baby picture. I have taken a different route. I just played with colorizing the original.
I didn't clone the damage, just tried to get the features back.
Sorry I couldn't do better. You have a challenging photo to work with. I had fun with it.
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File Type: jpg william-color.jpg (71.9 KB, 43 views)
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Old 10-15-2003, 10:43 PM
nvslater nvslater is offline
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 40

Thank you for ALL your comments. It will take me awhile to digest and answer. But make no mistake, I will take everthing you said to heart.
Vern ( of nvslater also know as Norma-Vernon Slater)
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