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Photo Restoration Repairing damaged photos

Ideas for Repairing This Old family Photo?

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  #1  
Old 06-29-2005, 03:28 PM
Billfields Billfields is offline
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Ideas for Repairing This Old family Photo?

Hello Everyone,

I have been looking at and fiddling with and making false starts on this picture for months. It is my Great Grandma Elizabeth and some of her children (my Grandma Mary is the smallest girl). I have pulled it out again and this time I am determined to improve it as much as possible!

The question I have is really where and how to start. As you can see there are a LOT of problems with it from the cracks, rips and missing sections to the big stain to the uneven brightness and on and on. I have spent a couple of sessions working with the healing brush and patch —you can see from the second photo how slowly that is going. There really isn’t a spot of more than a few pixels anywhere on the photo that doesn’t not need work. While I suspect the careful detailed fix is the way to go with the faces I wonder if there is at least a faster way to deal with the background and clothing. I’m also trying to figure out how to more clearly define the areas that are washed out — like between the lamb (which I think was called Nellie <G>) and the light dress and Aunt Betty (the girl on the end) and the background. In the case of the lamb I used the burn tool to try and define a boundary so when I was working at a higher zoom at least I knew what I was working on. I did the same for the top of Aunt Mallie’s (the girl beside the lamb) hair. Eventually I want to lightly tint the whole thing this but I’m pretty sure I need to have all the corrections done before I start that. I have a fairly large scan that I am working from to get at all the detail. I’ve reduced them to post here.

Any ideas would be appreciated!!!

Bill
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File Type: jpg Morgans1c.jpg (89.0 KB, 95 views)
File Type: jpg Morgans2c.jpg (99.0 KB, 83 views)
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  #2  
Old 06-29-2005, 04:02 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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often, i'll start a restore with patching some of the major degradations, dust, creases, rips and so on, but in your case, because the lighting is so skewed, i believe i'd start there. tools like 'curves', 'levels', and some of the blending modes like burn and multiply, will usually darken things up and give you something to work with. depending on whether you mask areas out and work on them individually is up to you.... and the image. i believe the first thing i might do is 'curves' to see if the luminance couldnt be balanced better. you could also try using the plugin 'Fast Fix', which i find useful for quick adjusting of contrast, luminance, saturation, and R, G, B, all in one tool on one pass.

another technique is to split out the color channels and find out which channel has the most detail and work with that. photoshop does this much better than paint shop pro (which is what i use), so i'll let one of the PS experts here run you through that. or, find a similar print somewhere on here and look at what they did, or maybe even a tutorial on it here.

it looks like a great old picture, well worth restoring.

oh, and btw, yes, there's going to be quite a bit of hand work on this. clone and heal are your best friends there. i dont have 'heal' in psp, but i use clone quite a bit in restoring. the trick is to turn down the opacity quite a bit and 'dab' rather than 'brush' when using it. it's slow, but can often save an old photograph. and when dabbing, come from different directions to the area you're trying to fix. this will blend the transitions much better.

Craig
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Old 06-29-2005, 08:19 PM
Billfields Billfields is offline
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Thanks Craig,

It was the healing brush that decided me when I was thinking of going from Paint Shop to Photoshop. And I've certainly used it on this one! I did try selecting the clothes and using curves. It worked well especially on Uncle Matt, the boy at the end. I still find that to get the faces to look better I have to use the healing brush but I have gotten by with creating and using a pattern on most.

The thing I miss most from Paint Shop is tubes, not because I ever found a serious use for them but just because they were fun to play with.

Thanks again!

Bill
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Old 06-29-2005, 09:06 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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bill,

yes, flora has been tempting me with the heal brush also. sounds like my kind of tool

post some more of your progress as you go along. maybe others will lend in pointers to help out. i'd have done some work on your pics but i'm currently somewhat swamped with restorations for family and these can eat up way too much time. gotta leave some time to play.

yes, tubes are fun. i've even made a few, but like you say, not very practical. i did use a one or two lately, however, on the contest entry....lots of bugs.

Craig
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Old 06-30-2005, 12:37 PM
MargaretM MargaretM is offline
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Hi Billfields - what a great old picture, but no quick restore here. I would start by examining each channel, then changing to monochrome and use the best channel(probably the green since most noise is usually in the blue). Then as Kraellin suggested a levels adjustment. I'd also try a multiply level with reduced opacity to build up density. THen clone, clone...clone. Also you can try running the noise-dust and scratches filter, mainly for the background, then mask and paint out the figures, using reduced opacity in some areas. I had a quick go, but am fighting my new LCD monitor for good calibration and I don't know what I really have, so won't upload.
Looks like your progress so far is good. Good luck - Margaret.
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Old 06-30-2005, 10:04 PM
Billfields Billfields is offline
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Margaret,

Thanks for the suggestions. I don’t think I really understand how to use the channels effectively but I did use the multiply level and it helped.

I keep slugging along with it. I think I’m nearing the point that I want to start tinting it. After fiddling with the left side background for an hour or so I decided to forget it and just stick in a match to the right side. I’m probably losing some of the historic authenticity of the original but....

I’m hoping that when I add color it will all even out more. To bring out various parts that were really faded I selected them and used curves but, as you can see, ended up with some people looking rather like they were added in. I started to reselect them and fade them back in a bit more but I was losing what I had gained in detail so I gave up hooping the color would help.

Thanks again for your help. Below is where I am now compared to where I started. You know, I have looked at this photo all my life and only in the last couple of days have I really seen it.

Bill
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File Type: jpg Morgans-orig.jpg (98.7 KB, 32 views)
File Type: jpg Morgans3c.jpg (91.4 KB, 58 views)
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  #7  
Old 07-04-2005, 01:46 PM
Billfields Billfields is offline
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If anyone is interested, this is what I ended up with although I’m not completely happy with it. Some sections still have a “cut out” look to them. It is most apparent with the girl on the end. I'm not sure what else to do to correct it as everything I tried seemed to end up in losing any of the detail I had recovered. Still it is an improvement.

Bill
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File Type: jpg Morgans-final.jpg (98.0 KB, 57 views)
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  #8  
Old 07-04-2005, 09:12 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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ok, now you sound like me, never satisfied

i would have never colorized it, but that's not because i dont think you shld have, but because i'm horrible at it. i'd say you've done a remarkable job, frankly.

Craig
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  #9  
Old 07-05-2005, 08:46 AM
MargaretM MargaretM is offline
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It looks really good. I would probably also have left it black and white with a sepia layer but your color looks good. To get rid of a "cut-out" look you can select the figure, then select-modify-decrease about 3-4 pixels, select-invert and apply a guassian blur.
Much patience on your part, I'm sure!
Margaret.
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  #10  
Old 07-05-2005, 08:10 PM
Billfields Billfields is offline
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Margaret & Craig–Thanks for your ideas. I actually added the color in part hoping it would help define some of the areas that were badly faded. It did help.

Not able to put it aside and call it done I tried your suggestion Margaret. The dress skirt still really lacked definition so I took a photo of one of my sisters, sized it to fit, selected the dress and added it as a layer over Great Aunt Betty’s. That along with the guassian blur helped a lot with the cut out problem. It also helped bring out some of the pattern in the dress although I think that is mostly gone forever. I then tried reducing the color some. Result is below.

Maybe now I’m done. <G> But then I have another picture from the same time frame---about 110 years ago----of the same children with their father that is in worse shape than this one was.

Bill
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File Type: jpg elizabeth-morgan-4.jpg (98.0 KB, 48 views)
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