Firstly some of the stuff that you guys have done here is amazing. I'm a tog but have recently been trying to get to grips with some restoration stuff. To be honest, i'm rubbish, as i'm ambling my way through books and tutorials to try and pick this stuff up and its seems that Photoshop is too powerful to be summed up in a book.
Anyway, my old man gave me a load of old pics for me to blow up to about 4 times as big. I know how to interpolate and stuff so managed to get the enlargement, but when the image was scanned in (600dpi) i notice scratches and creases which i cloned out.
But i can't go any further than this. I tried to drop in a nice blue sky which i did using a mask but then i get white halos around the buildings where the sky meets. And in general the colour is crap.
So just wondering what you guys would have done with this picture and maybe you could give me some guidelines.
welcome to RP.
a couple of questions here. is the image you posted the original image or the one you worked on? and could you post both?
the current image has a couple of oddities. the frame is lopsided with the left border being smaller than the right. along the top edge the frame cuts down into the picture or the picture cuts up into the frame. you've got 'jaggies' along the top edges of the building and there are a few little dust or smudge marks here and there. i left all of those alone for the moment, though.
the overal picture is dull. i dont mean composition wise; i mean faded dull. i brightened it up a bit, and added a little contrast. i brightened it with an adjustment layer of contrast/brightness and one of curves. in the curves layer i also reduced the midtone reds just a fraction along with the greens.
the picture is a little small, but workable. if this is the 600 dpi scan you might want to resize it after the scan. a good working image size is roughly around the 600 x 800 or 800 x 600 or 600 x 600 to 800 x 800. this is just roughly. your image here is about half of that. it's ok, but a bit larger might be better.
also, you mentioned photoshop. which version are you using? this might help others that use this help you along.
Here is a quick fix. (although the instructions below are long and seem complicated, it only took about five or so minutes) A rough workflow is this:
Duplicate background layer.
Make a duplicate of the image. The image has an allover uniform yellow cast we want to get rid of. I am going to find a neutral color in the original image, place a layer above the image, and fill it with the opposite color of the cast. The purpose of the duplicate image is to get the opposite color of the cast, which can only be done in Lab mode. Change duplicate image to Lab mode. Select a spot on the image which you perceive should be neutral with the Eydropper tool.
Click on the color swatch to bring up the Color Picker. We are going to make changes to the Lab colors, see the L, a , and b options on the Color Picker. Select a, if it is negative, change to positive, and vice versa. Same for b. Leave L alone. Close Color Picker. The color swatch is now the oppisite color of the cast so that if you combine them, the cast will be gone.
Switch to the original image, select the layer you created above the image layer, set blending to Overlay. Fill the layer with the color from the color swatch. The cast should be almost gone if you selected the correct neutral color. The image will be darker but we will take care of that. If you are pleased with the color cast removal, merge the color fill layer and image layers. If not, try again with a different color. Trial and error and experience will let you get this right almost all the time the first try.
Now create a Curves adj. layer. Increase the lightness and contrast of the image so that it looks correct. You could use Levels, but I like curves. When correct, merge the adj. layer and image layer.
Now the sky. I am going to use a Channel mask. Look at all of the channels to see which has the most contrast between the sky and buildings. Here is a trick: you may also check the channels of the duplicate Lab mode image and see if any of them are better than what is in your original image. The channels will be different: the Lab mode color channels will be based on color only, luminosity is not included. The RGB channels, red for example, will be based on
both on color and luminosity. This subtle difference can make a difference. In some cases, the Luminosity values in the image will be close but the colors different. In RGB this may mean that there is little contrast between the mask areas. In Lab, you may find that one of the color channels has the contrast you need.
I selected the Lab b channel. It looks flat, but there is a good edge between the sky and building. Selected the b channel, Select All and Copy. Back in the original image create a new channel and with it selected, Paste. The Lab b channel is now in your original document. Use Levels to increate the contrast.
Create the masks. There are many tutorials on creating channel masks if you do not understand this process. Practice them and then come back to this project.
Not that our channel mask will have to be Inverted. The sky is black and we want it to be selected or show through, so it must be white. With our channel mask for the sky, we can work on the sky. Ctrl-Click on the sky channel mask image. You will see the marching ants. This mask has been selected. Now to place the mask on the correct layer. Back to the layer pallet, select the image
layer and click on the Add mask button at the bottom of the dialog. You now have a mask applied to your image layer. Note that the mask icon shows the sky area as white and everything else as black. This means that only the sky area will be effected when the selection is active.
The sky looks too blue and saturated for the rest of the image. I used Hue/Saturation and reduced the saturation and adjusted the hue some what till it looked more natural to me.
Almost done. I merged the image layer with any layers above it, if there are any. Then looked at the result. It still had a slight cast. So I closed the duplicate image, and made another. Then repeated the color cast removal steps above. Note that you can change the Opacity setting to vary the effect of the cast removal.
(Thanks to sample chapters from Eismann's Layer Masking book and Margulis's Lab Advantage in Layer Masking book for turning me on to this process. It is sort of a combo of things I picked up from both.
Margulis: (Two chapters)
Color correction is subjective. I notice that my version may be a little too cool. This is easy to control to YOUR taste by varying the opacity of the color fill layer. Reduce the opacity to keep some of the warmth.
A little knowledge of color and light helps. In this case the truck is in the shade. Shade equals cool light (blue- shadows are usually blueish. Snow shadows are usually quite blue). The scene looks a little overcast, again blueish. If you try to make is too warm, it will look unnatural. The human brain associates this type of scene as cool and if you vary too much, the effect is not usually percieved as natural.
Here is a better color correction. Much more work and time.
First, the color cast has to be removed as in the original post. It is too difficult to try and correct with the cast present.
Second, working globally adjust the colors using tools in order of my preference:
Selective Color, primarily using white, neutral, and black to make adjustments.
Curves, overall adjustment of brightness, contrast, and color channels.
By globally, I mean the adjustments effects all areas of the image. This is usually enough. But in old pictures that have faded, the colors fade at different rates in the shadows and highlights and per color, so if you get the shadows nice, the highlights and certain colors might still look bad.
Third, local color adjustments using usually Color Range to select colors that need adjustment (low fuzz, many additional pick points. Sometimes with a garbage mask to eliminate areas from selection and sometimes by brushing black these areas from the mask). I got the shadows (concrete) looking properly using above but the side of the truck still looked too cool. Selecting these areas with Color range, I used the tools I use in global and warmed the side of the truck up.
Finally, I took a short break. Came back and reassesed the color and judged that the overall picture still lacked some warmth and that it was in the red. I had mostly concentrated with yellow-blue up till now. I notice from looking at many pictures on the net that there is a general tendency to not use enough red - I see many hideous, cyanish, cadaver skin tones. Many people equate warmth with yellow - add yellow to get warmth. Partially correct, warmth is yellow and RED. I used Curves, red channel and add a little red - top point to the left.
I hope that you think it looks better, but as I said everyone has there own idea of correct color.
Welcome to RP
I did not do too much.
Image > adjust > levels
Set Black Point on Rear Tyre
Set White Point on White powder
Set Grey Point on Factory Roof
The sky looked too blue so
Image > adjust > Hue/Sat
Reduced the blue saturation to -60 and increased lightness +20
USM to sharpen a little
I agree with Craig about the border of the sky. Something’s a bit wrong there.
Yeah your amazing! What you have done would have taken me a day working flat out! No the image i have posted is a slightly modified one where basically i have tried to crop out the image and i tried to drop in a blue sky but as you can see there is gaps between the sky and the buildings. So i was really wondering how to get around this and how to remove the basic dullness of the picture overall (that is how it is in the original).
Guys, thanks SO much for your efforts and for posting your steps. I'm gonna go and try and replicate this and (hopefully) learn from your skills.
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