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Photo Restoration Repairing damaged photos

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Old 10-02-2005, 07:29 AM
RamonaMarie RamonaMarie is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
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New with questions

Hi all,
I'm ecstatic to have found this site. I'm trying to get into Photo Restoration and don't have a clue at what I'm doing. I just finished a quicktime tutorial from, but was a bit disappointed in it. I did get the hang of the patch and heal tools from it though. I've got Katrin Eismann's 2nd edition of Photoshop Restoration and Retouching from the library, but haven't really gotten into it yet. I know she's got a 3rd edition coming out in November, so wanted to hold off till then to buy it. I'm using Photoshop 7. I'll let you know how I stumbled into this restoration thing.

I started out being interested in making collages from our digital photos. I made a couple of family events and people seemed impressed. I'll be "liberated" from corporate life in a few months and have been toying with starting some sort of business. Was going off on all different directions and getting pretty frustrated and stuck creatively when I woke up one morning and the choice had been staring me in the face for months, I just didn't see it. You see, my mother passed away in June and my brother mentioned that we should get all the old pictures restored and put on disk for safe keeping. So I called a studio and asked how much it would cost to scan, restore and put on disk about 100 or so pictures. I don't know what I was thinking, but I figured he'd come back with a quote of a hundred or so dollars. WRONG! $62 PER pic! WOW! Politely ended that conversation. Don't anyone be offended. Someone must have slipped something into my coffee that morning. Well, since I've got Photoshop 7, and had been playing with making collages, I told my brother "I'll just do it myself." To make things worse, I've always got to make a hard task harder, so I get the idea that I want ALL the pics from ALL the surviving relatives (actually not so many now) and I want to make a coffee table quality bound book. Of course, first I've got to learn photo restoration. And Lord knows if binding a book of photos is even a feasible idea. I can get around in Photoshop, but usually use it for web images. I did find a resource at Digital Scrapbook Place that does book binding. So the end goal is possible to my surprise. Well, I'm looking at all these photos that are
literally destroyed and thinking by the time I get these done I might have acquired a new skill. Now I know it will take time, but I am determined, and, like I mentioned, I'm going to have a lot of time on my hands shortly.

I have some questions though. How long does it take (generally speaking) to become skilled at photo restoration if you're really motivated? Are there any other books other than Eismann's that are dedicated to photo restoration? Does anyone know of any schools (community colleges, etc.) in the Chicago area that offer courses? I've only actually found one school that offers a 3 day seminar, and that's Rochester Institute of Technology (NY). I know that's got to be a good one because I know that RIT is the preeminent school of photography. Kodak is headqauartered in Rochester, correct? It's not that it wouldn't be impossible, but I don't have that kind of cash right now. It seems as big as Chicago is that there would be something. I'd even be interested in an apprenticeship type relationship. I'd love to find a "Master" restorer. Would a general Photoshop course be beneficial in respect to restoration? I've considered investing in Photoshop Elements since it seems a little less complicated. Does it have any features for repairing old photos, or should I just stay with Photoshop and suffer the vertical learning curve? Sorry for such a long post. Will be more consise in the future.

I think this is the right place to be. I'm glad I found it. I was getting a little frustrated hanging out in the scrapbooking forums. Thanks in advance.

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Old 10-02-2005, 08:44 AM
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Marthig Marthig is offline
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Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
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First of all RamonaMarie a warmest welcome to the forum.

You will certainly find advice here and more even, if you browse around the various forums you will find many that have very usefull tips and tutorials to get you started. A good place to start I would say, is THIS

And when you find a thread you find interesting you can "subscribe" to it and you will get notifications of replies posted to that. On top of every thread there is a button that says "Thread tools" in it there is an option to subscribe.

Again welcome and hope to see some of your results soon.

Regards - Martha
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Old 10-02-2005, 09:04 AM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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hi ramonamarie,

and welcome to RP!

i'll let the photoshop folks address those specific questions about elements vs ps 7. i use neither. i think you'll find a lot of folks here are self-taught. i mean, what can you get from an 'institute' that you cant find in a tutorial or doc or a book like Katrin's. true, it's great having someone handy in a classroom that can answer any question that comes up, but hey, you've found retouchpro

retouching and restoration is like any job/skill; know your tools and most of the work is done. yes, there's a learning curve, but it may not be as bad as you might think. i doubt anyone here is using the full arsenal of photoshop tools available to do most of the work here.

you also need a 'critical eye', being able to see what's right and what's wrong with a pic. a photographic background helps here, but isnt entirely required. an artistic background can also help, but again, isnt totally required.

that you're starting out on family pics is are so forgiving i did a similar thing not long ago when i seriously started getting into this. i did up a photo album of a family reunion where a professional photographer was hired to shoot. and, several family members also took pics. my brother gathered up all the family taken pics and put them on a cd and i got a copy and went, 'you know, i could make these better'. so, i began editing. while i was working on this i found an album i liked in a 4x6 format. it had a front cover slot for making one smaller pic as the cover shot. the album held about 80 pics. i touched up about 60 family pics, added a few artistic pieces for color and left 10 slots open for future additions. my folks were thrilled and that album now sits in their living room on a coffee table.

this was a great learning experience. and while still working on this i found retouchpro also. between all the help and tutorials here and my wanting to get better and upgrading my software from psp 7 to psp 9 and now psp 10, i've gotten a lot more proficient at all this. if i were to go back and re-do that family album now, i could do it in half the time and twice the quality. and six months from now i would hope that that improves also.

the trick is in learning the tools and being able to see the problem and knowing which tools to apply to get a desired result. and that also is part of the trick, knowing what the finished product shld look like. that is a study also and sometimes gets neglected. having and developing a critical eye and knowing what the fniished product shld look like are also skills that can be developed and honed. so, the whole 'how do you take an average picture and make it a great picture' question is not all about knowing photoshop and its tools. this is one of the things that makes retouchpro such a good site. we've got all sorts of folks here with talent. we're pretty much a peer to peer learning site. every person brings something to the table, a different perspective, point of view, talent, skill and so on. having 6 different folks critique your work and give you pointers is far better to me than having one stuffy old professor with a fixed viewpoint ripping your piece to shreds. hehe, ok, all 'old professors' dont necessarily do that, but you hopefully get my point

so, dive in, take a shot. post a piece you're working on and again, welcome to RP!

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Old 10-02-2005, 10:40 AM
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winwintoo winwintoo is offline
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I'll second what has already been said and add a bit about the difference between Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. If you have the full version, I wouldn't bother with the Elements version.

The Elements version is very powerful for the price and those of us who use it (I use it 'cuz I can't afford the full version) can do almost everything that the full version can do with a bit of extra creativity.

You will find that a lot of tutorials and books refer to the full version and talk about channels and layer masks and so on - things that are not readily available in Elements - and your learning would be frustrated by not having them.

I also thought I might take up retouching when I retired, but gave it up when I realized that it was more like work than work was when I had to do it for other people. I still love doing it when I can do it for myself and family.

As far as where to go for information, I bought a truckload of books, looked through them, got confused, then came here and asked for clarification. You can probably shorten your learning curve by doing a search in these forums for all posts by winwintoo and reading those threads (just kidding)

What I'm saying is that the folks here are so willing to help, just post any picture you're having trouble with and you will get tons of suggestions about how to proceed.

Take care, Margaret
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Old 10-02-2005, 01:25 PM
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RooB RooB is offline
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Hey, welcome aboard.

A quick piece of advice, to add onto what others have said and not to repeat-- one thing you may find helpful to do is to just take a Photoshop tool or function here or there, sit down with it, and just play with that one tool for 30-45 minutes without tutorials or books. At first, it doesn't matter if you actually understand what it going on with it, just use it, see what kind of results you get from it, and then read a tutorial or two about it to understand what it does and why it does it.

I consider Photoshop to be akin to going to school from kindergarten to university-- starting out, you just play with things to see what you can do with it, then you move onto understanding a little bit about it and what its for, and then you learn how to use it properly, and finally-- you can learn about the underlying mechanics and photo-physics of it.

I'm still in highschool as far as Photoshop is concerned.
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Old 10-02-2005, 02:09 PM
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nebgranny nebgranny is offline
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I think your advice is really great. I can only speak for myself and will!!This site has been both a blessing and a curse for me!The blessing... So many wonderful people here ready to help out and give a helping hand. Curse...seeing what other people are achieving and being so frustrated because even though they post their steps, half of what they are saying and suggesting is me. So can not even try what they are suggesting. Though I am learning in various forms, and coming along I feel about in very upper grade school. BUT..even though there have been times I just want to quit..and not come back...I always click on retouch and visit daily!! I am not a quitter!! Thanks for the good advice ALL. Neb
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Old 10-04-2005, 06:36 AM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Hi Ramona Marie,

Welcome to RP. You asked how long to learn Photoshop, and that's like asking how long a piece of string is.

It will depend on your how quickly you pick things up, how much you apply yourself, how much of an "eye" you have, what your final objectives are, and a whole lot of other things that are impossible to quantify.

The real aim should be to enjoy yourself, and the learning will come with it.

Read through the tutorials here, play with the tools, and ask questions, lots of questions. You may not always get the answer you desire, but you will almost always learn something to your advantage, from the many talented and helpful people here at RP.

Good luck with your project, and don't forget, have fun.

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Old 10-04-2005, 08:58 AM
RamonaMarie RamonaMarie is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
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Thanks again

Great advice still coming in. I've started a folder where I'm putting a lot of the challenges and requests for help I'd like to try out. I, like nebgranny, am making it a habit to log in first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I've gotten so motivated from this site. I'm curious though, why there aren't more on the internet or more books like Katrin's. There's hundreds of scrapbooking sites and when I posed the restoration question at a digital scrapbooking site I was advised, point blank, "Good luck, not what we would want to do." But it is what I want to do. I've been looking for a way that I could make a living helping people and this seems like it does. I mean, helping people restore memories is so intimate, so important.

BTW, I just got the magazine Photoshop User and there's an article by Katrin Eismann. I think that was serendipity for me (true believer that the entire universe will conspire to get you the things you need). And it's happening by finding this site. There was also an advertisement for Adobe Photoshop Training Camp Live where Katrin is teaching, I think via cinema or some such thing. They listed Chicago, but when I went to the site,, Chicago wasn't listed. I guess I may have missed it.

Well, off to study another tutorial.
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Old 10-04-2005, 09:37 AM
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vidanse vidanse is offline
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Posts: 48

Welcome to this wonderful site, I discovered after reading Katrin's books. She also has DVD's of the book which I find more practical than the book since I'm such a visual person. She has a great new masking DVD out that is superb! It is more advanced so I would start with the book on restoration or get the DVD's. This site has a ton of great tutorials and talented people with super skills and advice. If you have Photoshop I would stick with it rather than Elements. There is always something to learn even when you are advanced.

Ciao Vicki
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