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Help with an old photo

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Old 04-15-2004, 09:16 AM
BonnieN BonnieN is offline
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Question Help with an old photo

Hi everyone. My name is Bonnie and I joined about 2 weeks ago. I have been working with Photoshop for about 6 months. I have Katrin Eismann's book on Photoshop Restoration and Retouching but it seems like I have learned so much more from everyone here since I've been a member than from her book. It is so nice to find a forum where everyone is willing to share their knowledge with everyone else.

I have been working on some old family photographs and I keep running into this "greenish" color on them. I've been cutting out sections and working on them on a separate layer to get rid of the green or using the dodge tool...depending on how much of it there was. As you can see from the photo his jacket is covered with it and even some of the background. On other photographs it is the edges of leaves or someone's face, legs or arms. I was wondering if anyone here has ran across this same problem and what you do to correct it.

Thanks for any help.
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Old 04-15-2004, 09:21 AM
Chip Hildreth's Avatar
Chip Hildreth Chip Hildreth is offline
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I'm don't know why, but I'm not seeing the green you're talking about, is it a color cast or spot, blotches?
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Old 04-15-2004, 09:49 AM
BonnieN BonnieN is offline
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I don't know why it isn't showing the green. It looks like an olive green coating on the jacket, tie, pants and a bit behind the chair in the background.

I did a save as jpg then uploaded here. I was looking in Photoshop and saw save for the web so I clicked on that and it shows up there exactly like it does here. All in black and white. Is there something different I need to do when I save it?
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Old 04-15-2004, 09:57 AM
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Rexx Rexx is offline
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I don't quite understand. The original is in B&W. Why don't you just work in Grayscale? Or at least desaturate the image.
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Old 04-15-2004, 10:01 AM
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Leah Leah is offline
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OK... checking pixel values at a few points, I can see a few places where there's slightly more green (like one or two more points on the G than on the R or B). It's not visible to the naked eye on my screen in this version, though.

Anyway - sorry if I'm missing something obvious here - given that the RGB channels seem to be so close together in this photo, with no real "extra information" in any of them, have you looked at switching to greyscale using just one (or two, depending on how the individual channels look) of them? You seem to be making extra work for yourself with the cutting and dodging.
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Old 04-15-2004, 11:29 AM
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Flora Flora is offline
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Hi Bonnie,

One thing just came to my mind .... Is your monitor calibrated?

If this greenish cast (and, like everybody else, I couldn't see any ....) depends on you monitor, .... no matter what you do with Photoshop you will still see it ....

Solution: Monitor Calibration.

If your Monitor is calibrated and everyhting else looks fine on it .... then it could depend on your Photoshop 'Color Settings'

Solution: Change Color Settings

If everything else but this picture, looks fine in Photoshop then it could depend on an embedded Color Profile

Solution: go to Image > Mode > Assign Profile .... and 'experiment' with the different profiles .... I did it at the beginning just to see what it would do ...

If there isn't an embedded profile, then you can try the following:
  • Duplicate your background
  • Ctrl + U Open the Hue & Saturation dialog box
  • Pull the Saturation Slider completely to the left.


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Old 04-15-2004, 12:46 PM
Vikki Vikki is offline
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I agree with Rexx and Leah. These are b&w images. After you're initial inspection of all channels, and before you start your cloning, etc. I would convert this to grayscale.
Is there some reason why you are not working in grayscale?
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Old 04-15-2004, 01:10 PM
BonnieN BonnieN is offline
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Thanks for all the replies.

I don't use the Image>Mode>Greyscale because according to Katrin's book it is the worst thing you can do. She says, " It just discards color information without giving you control over the process. As benign as the this process seems, the behind-the-scenes math is rather complicated." I did however picked up a tip here about how you can do an adjustment layer using hue and saturation and and turn your image into a greyscale but pulling the saturation to -100. The only problem I've found if I do this before I use the cloning or healing tool is the old color shows up when I go to clone. Most all the pictures I've been working on so far was taken sometime in the 30's and are in black and white...or were at the time they were taken but now seem to have little pits in them and alot of yellowing or a dark yellow or greenish color where most shadows are. I'm still pretty new to photo restoration so it is quite possible I'm doing something wrong when I go to clone for that to happen. I'm using Photoshop CS and I have discovered the Shadow/Highlight in adjustment helps a great deal.

I did as Flora suggested and played around with the profile. I see the greenish coloring on Don't color manage this document and the profile I'm created when I calibrated my monitor. When I change the profile to Adobe RGB (1998) or any of Photoshop's default profiles the green goes away and it looks like it did here on the picture I uploaded. Is there a certain profile I should be using for black and white pictures I normally wouldn't use for color?
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Old 04-15-2004, 01:31 PM
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Rexx Rexx is offline
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I think you may have misunderstood.

If the old picture you are scanning has some colour cast, brownish, yellowish, etc, then it is not a good idea to turn it into greyscale. This is because as long as there is colour it means that the image information in the different colour channels will vary. But in this case, where the original image seems to be a good B&W, all three colour channels will be identical.

If you look at only one channel, and click your way through all three of them, you will see that the image doesn't change. All three channels show the same B&W picture.

If on the other hand you had a yellowed photo, scanned in colour and repeated the same exercise, you would see three different B&W pictures when cycling through the channels. Since they are different, they contain different information which may be of use.

In your case, you are now working hard to maintain three identical copies of the same image, it seems.
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Old 04-15-2004, 01:35 PM
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Rexx Rexx is offline
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Originally Posted by BonnieN
As benign as the this process seems, the behind-the-scenes math is rather complicated.
Just noticed this one. For an image that is truly B&W (like yours), the math is perhaps not of the most advanced kind. It goes like this:

New Greyscale channel = (Red + Green + Blue) / 3

It's the true colour-to-greyscale that is complicated.
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