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Help with this photo please

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Old 12-22-2004, 09:16 PM
Kymme Kymme is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 4
Help with this photo please

Hi, firstly apologies for jumping in with a request before ever contributing anything - but this one is kinda urgent. My elderly grandmother is very ill in hospital and I don't think she's going to last for too much longer. The "light of her life" was her youngest son who was murdered when he was 13 - a few months after this photo was taken. Only 2 photos of him survived a fire that burnt down her house a few years later. This one was actually only a few inches in size and badly damaged. I had professional restorers re-photograph it and enlarge it years ago but I can't find the original at the moment - so its all I have to work with.

I desperately want to restore this for her so she can have it with her in her last days. I'm new to photo restoring (read never done it before!) and have an average knowledge of photoshop cs. I scanned this in at 4800dpi and the file I have is 2910x4205 - so I have a reasonable size to play with.

The grainyness is not from the scan - its in the photo itself, presumably because they enlarged it so much. Its also missing much of the detail in the face - it comes out using mulitply, luminosity layer but that also makes the graininess really horrid. I tried getting rid of the blotches using Neat Image but either lost heaps of detail using any settings strong enough to get rid of the blotches.

Any suggestions people can give me would be greatly appreciated. As I said, I'm relatively new to this so kinda need things spelled out a little. You guys seem to be great at doing that though :-)

I dumped a copy of the larger tif file here if that's easier for people to give suggestions from (but keep in mind it is 46MB!!!).

Thanks heaps.

PS Should have mentioned, I'm trying to restore and colourize the photo and then print it about 9" x 7".
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File Type: jpg Paul_forweb.jpg (96.9 KB, 66 views)

Last edited by Kymme; 12-22-2004 at 09:22 PM.
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Old 12-23-2004, 12:10 AM
Xaran Xaran is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: East Sussex, England
Posts: 534
Very quickly done from the attached file.

Neat Image
Duplicate layer set to soft light mode
merge visible
smudge and patch tool to remove remaining blemishes.

I dont really think colouring it will work.

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File Type: jpg Paul_forweb fix.jpg (81.6 KB, 54 views)
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Old 12-23-2004, 02:11 AM
Gary Richardson's Avatar
Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Yorkshire, England
Posts: 2,717
Hi Kymme, had a go with your picture as follows.

Duplicated background, applied Median Filter 5pix radius. Adjusted layer opacity.
Flattened image, and applied Neat Image.
Duplicated result to new layer. Applied Unsharp Mask, Radius 1.5 pix, Amount 500% to top layer, adjusted opacity of layer.
Created new layer, and cloned out minor blemishes.
Adjusted levels.

Oops, forgot, added catchlight to eyes.
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File Type: jpg Paul_forweb B&A.jpg (87.8 KB, 53 views)

Last edited by Gary Richardson; 12-23-2004 at 02:17 AM.
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Old 12-23-2004, 02:55 AM
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chrishoggy chrishoggy is offline
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Deleted and leaving this forum due to the actions of member rondon

Last edited by chrishoggy; 03-22-2006 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 12-23-2004, 11:33 AM
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Flora Flora is offline
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Location: Milan, Italy
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Hi everybody,

Great results!!


Welcome to RP!

... I might remember wrong, but somewhere I read that scanning a picture over 300 dpi it doesn't actually improve the quality of the scan, it only increases the file's size ... If the original size of the picture is very small, you might increase or even double the scanning resolution, but a 4800 dpi scan leads to the monstruos size you got and makes working on the picture a frustrating experience as it takes ages for even the smallest correction...

That said, I had a go at your picture ... I haven't the time for a detailed explanation right now but, if you are interested, I'll post one later tonight, tomorrow the latest...
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File Type: jpg F_paul.jpg (97.4 KB, 70 views)

Last edited by Flora; 12-23-2004 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 12-23-2004, 09:57 PM
Kymme Kymme is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 4
Wow, that is so freakily accurate its unbelievable - even down to the actual color of the suit and tie he was wearing and absolutely spot on eye and hair color! Good guess, or where there clues in the photo????

I went through all your tutorials and followed those plus added some other steps that other people have suggested here on the forum for other projects - a real mish-mash of trying everything and anything. I found the large size made plugins like Neat Image extremely hard to get good results with. Its dead easy with something smaller and perhaps what you are saying about larger sizes not achieving much in these situations might be right and I will try rescanning at a lower resolution.

Here is my attempt in B&W. I tried the coloring too but totally botched it badly.
Looking at this compared to yours, I think I lost it in darkening too much. I basically cleaned it first in Noiseworks - tried Neat Image etc but Noiseworks did the best job on the larger file. Did a cleanup with patch, clone etc.

Then I selected the luminosity and copied that to its own layer and put a multiply blend on it - that perhaps is where it went wrong. Merged visible to a new layer

Then I copied that layer and did a gaussian blur mask and painted that mask to show through on the main skin areas - not as well done as yours though and I think I mucked up the eye area in the process.

Next I burnt the bottom lip a little in a layer. Then applied a curves layer with settings similar to your tutorial. I think the combination of the luminosity multiplication and the curves perhaps resulted in too much contrast - not sure.

That got me to the Mono stage below. Which I think is average but not great - I'd love to know where I went wrong in this process and how it varied with what you used because you got far better results.

After that I started working on the eyes, hair and colouring and totally lost the plot big time. Any help here in the process or tips would be greatly appreciated
1. applied a gradient map layer but I suspect I chose the wrong colours and when I tried painting on the reveal in the mask it went all blotchy - again probably just an issue of experience unless there are any neat tricks here? But would love to know how you did yours!
2. Outlined eyes as per the tutorial and traced contours very lightly
3. Then totally lost it on the eyes - I just couldn't work out how or where to put the catchlights or how to colour them with the depth you got?
4. A mask for the lips and put a very small amount of colour there
5. Hair I did with an overlay mask but not well done.
6. Hue/Saturation layer to add a little pink to cheeks
7. Overlay mask to paint suit grey
8. Hue mask to paint tie maroon
9. lightening mask to tone out some of the background a little but badly done - I dust can't get the hang of the dang airbrush!

Unless my process or workflow is wrong here, I think my main weakness is simply technique in doing the painting. But any tips on how you get it so beautiful would be helpful - but perhaps just the result of experience :-)
To embarrassed to even post the results of that process!!!!
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File Type: jpg Paul_try3.jpg (97.4 KB, 43 views)
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