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Photo Restoration Repairing damaged photos

Worth the Effort?

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  #1  
Old 07-09-2005, 12:12 PM
Billfields Billfields is offline
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Worth the Effort?

I think I may have posted this picture before, maybe a year or so ago. It is of my great grandfather and his children taken about 100 years ago and as you can see, it has been well handled and shared over the last century. I would like to, if not restore, at least improve it. I am defiantly a novice hobbyist when it comes to this stuff and while I have worked on some other pictures and have gotten okay results none were as damaged as this. I have actually tried a few times and I get overwhelmed. I suppose my first question is whether or not the picture is too damaged. That is to say, is the likely result going to be worth the effort it will take. And if it is salvageable, where to start. Besides the fading and the tears and missing half a great grandma (I actually have another photo of her that could be used to replace that part of this one) it has the blotches that obscure any detail. I would really appreciate any advice or direction.

Bill
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File Type: jpg Morgan-family.jpg (95.6 KB, 157 views)
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  #2  
Old 07-09-2005, 01:56 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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yes, this can be restored somewhat. how much is up to you.

first thing i think i'd do is a curves to reduce the bright areas and maybe get a bit more contrast going also. you could also try levels and contrast/lightness.

once that looks ok, i think i'd start cloning the major tears and folds to get rid of those with nearby similar areas.

and somewhere in there you might want to run some noise reduction or use the polaroid dust and scratch remover. just be aware that all those may reduce image detail, so use your own discretion on that.

the cloning is where you're likely to have the most difficulty and take the most time. dont set the clone opacity at full. start around 40-60% and just dab from a good area to a bad and look at it. just keep going like that until you've got things how you want and dont be afraid of the undo command

but yes, this is worth saving.

Craig
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  #3  
Old 07-11-2005, 05:38 AM
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Flora Flora is offline
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Hi Bill,

as Craig said your picture can be, if not completely restored, at least improved .... How much? Depends on your time and patience ....

I would start with balancing shadows/highlights and bringing out as much details as possible .... This Tutorial can help with it ....

I had a go and beside 'balancing shadows/highlights' I only worked a bit on the woman in the picture ... I tinted it a bit because I think that it can improve a picture like this and created a darker vignette to make the 'main' subjects stand out more ....

In my second attachment a detail of the 'restored' woman.

Hope this helps.
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File Type: jpg F_Morgan-family.jpg (98.6 KB, 61 views)
File Type: jpg F_Morgan-family-copy.jpg (98.0 KB, 105 views)
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  #4  
Old 07-11-2005, 08:42 PM
Billfields Billfields is offline
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Flora and Craig,

Thanks to both of you for your input! It is useful to hear from folks who are much more skilled than I that it is worthwhile to spend time on this. I was encouraged by what you were able to do Flora. In the end if I can get something decent I probably will tint it. I agree that one can often reveal detail that way. And I like the way they look. <g>

The tutorial was most helpful as well. I've been plugging away mostly with the healing brush and some cloning. Both of you mentioned curves and that seemed part of the solution to me as well. I was not sure which to do, select small areas and adjust the curves on them or try to do the whole image at once. In the end I have done both. Focusing on the whole image improved some detail. Selecting the "blobs" and first adjusting curves then using the healing brush seems to be the best way to deal with them. I have just been working on putting back great grandma who besides being half cut out of the picture by the original photographer then had her face cracked off. I was lucky to have another picture of her taken probably two years earlier to put in. I'm still fiddling there. Her poise is difficult. I think she was standing under and holding onto her rose bush. That along with the fact that they were all standing on a bit of a slope makes it hard to know where to place her head.

Flora, I am always very impressed with your coloring/tinting work. I started out with and have really only used the layer method, adding a layer, coloring some section and moving on to another layer with the next color. Just this weekend I tried the color masking method on a different picture and I liked the results but it seems to me that often the picture---especially the quality of the would dictate the best one to use. I wonder what you did to add the color here.

If (When!) I am finished I'll post the final result. Meanwhile here is my progress to date.

Bill
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File Type: jpg Hughes-and-kids.jpg (88.2 KB, 52 views)
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  #5  
Old 07-12-2005, 04:47 AM
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Flora Flora is offline
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Hi Bill,

thank you so much for your kindness!
So glad we could be of help .....
You are really doing a great job particularly in adding 'great grandma' to the picture!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billfields
....I started out with and have really only used the layer method, adding a layer, coloring some section and moving on to another layer with the next color. Just this weekend I tried the color masking method on a different picture and I liked the results but it seems to me that often the picture---especially the quality of the would dictate the best one to use. I wonder what you did to add the color here.
For colouring a picture I use a mix and match of methods ... I usually start with the method described in this Tutorial, but, if necessary, I add 'colour' Layers and Adjustment Layers (Levels, Curves, Hue/Saturation, Color Balance, Selective Colors...) to selectively correct/enhance the colours ....
For your picture, I just wanted to add a 'hint' of colour to help bringing out the details more .... I simply used Levels and Color balance A.Ls. on the selected parts ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billfields
If (When!) I am finished I'll post the final result. Meanwhile here is my progress to date.

Bill
Looking forward to seeing your end-result!!
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  #6  
Old 07-12-2005, 09:19 AM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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bill,

when i posted yesterday i hadnt looked at your picture in my paint program yet. i had only looked at it here. it's a more difficult image than i had supposed. i looked at it in paint shop pro later on and it's a bit more far gone than i had supposed at first. the whole brightness/balance issue is a bit of a stinker and i think you did right in handling both the overall and individual areas of difficulty.

one thing you might consider is a crop. there is a central oval of a darker area right in the middle of this picture. with a crop you could eliminate some of the more remote areas of difficulty and still keep the central and main picture and still put ggrandma in. this would reduce some of the balance problems. but, this is a judgement call on your part. lose part of the background and some of the problems or keep the whole intact for the sake of integrity of the image but keep all the problems as well. there's really not much there in the background, except maybe that item on the far left.

i also hadnt even noticed that there's a dog in the picture, not that this changes anything, but it was kind of interesting to 'find' it.

like flora said, you're doing a great job. some of those bright areas, like the woman's blouse, were pretty washed out. curves and levels dont help much there. one thing i tried which helped a bit with picking up the detail was working with the channel tools. by fiddling with the shadows and midtones and highlights and just adding in color for the sole sake of bringing in more detail, i did get a bit more. after doing all i could do with that i then simply converted to gray scale. but, it's a tricky image.

i also found that by selecting each person's head and then sharpening i could enhance things a bit also. i didnt want to sharpen the whole picture; just the heads.

you might also try the plugin 'Fast Fix'. there's nothing in the plugin that doesnt exist elsewhere, but it puts several common tools all in one interface, which i find handy. saturation, brightness, contrast and some color control. the purpose of all this is as the name states, a Fast Fix.

gotta run off to work but will continue to follow this thread. good luck

Craig
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  #7  
Old 07-15-2005, 02:09 PM
Billfields Billfields is offline
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Flora and Craig,

Thanks for your comments! Sorry I didn’t acknowledge you sooner. A tree came down in my yard Tuesday night and took out the power line, fuse box and phone and cable lines. I’ve been without power (or much of anything else) until today.

The dog wasn’t real clear. I’ve been trying to rebuild him with parts from pictures of my basset hound. I “borrowed” her ear and used her hair texture as a pattern for the healing brush. I may end up cropping some, especially from the bottom but I think I need to add some too to try and recreate the sections of great grandma the original photographer cut off.

Will take awhile as this power thing really messed up my time but I’ll post as I make progress.

Thanks again for your encouragement!

Bill
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  #8  
Old 07-15-2005, 02:33 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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bill,

ah, bummer. from the hurricane?

well, when i cropped the image, i only took off the top and bottom cause i knew you were adding the other image. but a crop will make your levels adjustments easier, i think.

Craig
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  #9  
Old 07-23-2005, 06:55 PM
Billfields Billfields is offline
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I finally got some time today to work on this photo again. This is certainly the farthest I have gotten in my many false starts on it. I’ve managed to reconstruct most of the missing parts including half my great grandma that was cut off from the original photo. I was lucky enough to have another picture from about the same time of several of the people so I was able to “borrow” missing eyes and mouths and noses. I used curves a lot to try and define heads and hair—selected what I thought was the outline and then adjusted so it was more clearly defined. I also worked a lot on the background. Again I borrowed from other pictures of roughly the same place and cloned a lot. The porch of the house is proving difficult as it is so washed out that I have no detail. I am thinking of trying to remove it completely. I think I would have to clone over it though as a crop to remove the porch completely would also remove half a person. I will probably end up doing some sort of oval matting which will cover part so I don’t know if it is worth worrying about now. I think my next step will be to try and tint it, very lightly but enough to add to the definition. I have also though of just a sepia tint overall, either before or after I add the color. Do anyone have suggestions for the best way to do that. I’ve used hue and saturation in the past but I don’t really get a good color. Are there certain values that work better?

And Craig, it was, in fact, the remains of a hurricane that got as far as Tennessee that did in my power lines. Gust of wind took down a dead tree that I thought was going to eventually fall the other way. It didn’t. <G>
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  #10  
Old 07-23-2005, 08:40 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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you've come a long way, baby

yeah, hurricane. we got some high winds too, but didnt lose power.

on your picture, it's lookin good. you've done a remarkable job of putting stuff back there, especially grandma.

one caution, however, and i know you're not done, so dont take this too hard... use the clone/rubber stamp with care. it's better to set the opacity lighter and work up, than heavy and work down. you want to overlap your clone marks so you're constantly blending in as you go. dont try to paste too much down at once; you'll leave 'clone marks', those sort of smudgy, blurry marks that you've got a bit of here and there. again, i know you're not done and you really are doing a remarkable job, so, you might not even be to that stage yet where you start cleaning up your cleaning. when you do get to that stage, set the clone/stamp tool to a very light opacity and dab between the various smudges to smooth them out.

lookin great

Craig
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