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Photo Restoration Repairing damaged photos

Flash Shadow Removal

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  #1  
Old 02-03-2006, 05:42 PM
Ken45140 Ken45140 is offline
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Flash Shadow Removal

I have searched other threads and see various suggestions on shadow removal. None that I looked at had these characteristics. Flash shadow puts a dark shadow area around the subjects head (as shown in the attachment) while at the same time overexposing the facial features.

In this case, I actually selected the shadow (freehand) and cloned the background wall into the shadow area. This eliminated the shadow but I feel there is a more elegant approach. Plus, I have some like this where the background is not a nice smooth wall and which can not be cloned easily or at all.

Can I ask for a summary of how I might approach this type of retouch problem?

Sorry for the blur but this makes my grandson's mom happy.

Thanks,

Ken
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File Type: jpg IMG_2595_Test.jpg (61.2 KB, 92 views)
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  #2  
Old 02-03-2006, 06:12 PM
dkcoats dkcoats is offline
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Trying to overcome the ravages of on-camera flash through retouching is a losing proposition, in my view. The best policy is to avoid its use at all costs.

But when presented with a fait accompli I guess you gotta do what you gotta do. In this particular case, if it were me, I'd extract the lad from the cluttery background and replace it with something else.

If there's a foolproof quickie method for getting rid of the shadow, I've never run across it. I think in this instance your approach was probably about right but others here who know a whole lot more than I do might have other ideas.

dc
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Old 02-03-2006, 07:16 PM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Ken, there are a multitude of ways to remove shadows depending on the image. For this one, there is a good contrast between the child's hair and teh shadow so there is no need to get too fancy, no need for a mask. I used the magnetic lasso in Photoshop to trace around the part of the head that had the shadow and made a selection with a 1 pixel feather. Then used the Clone Stamp to paint over the shadow from the immediately adjacent brown background,
Regards, Murray
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File Type: jpg Shadow Ken45140 Rev MM Thumb.jpg (97.7 KB, 36 views)
File Type: jpg Shadow Ken45140Selection Rev MM Thumb.jpg (81.8 KB, 58 views)
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  #4  
Old 02-03-2006, 07:31 PM
Ken45140 Ken45140 is offline
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dc: you sure are right, but my experience (over 100s of pix) is that you gotta be quick or the little guy is on to other things. Also, cute situations arise separate from ideal lighting, and I have tried no flash with little success. Thus, quick draw the camera and shoot, and deal with the shadows later.

Thanks also Murray. Both you and dc suggested the very method I used (which works) but I am hoping to hear some other approachs (sans clone stamp) for when the background contains unfriendly "stuff".

Ken
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Old 02-03-2006, 08:47 PM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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On the shadow avoidance side, I always use a strong plastic diffuser which I find significant cuts down on both the shadow and the hot spots. The other thing to remember is that the light intensity falls off exponentially as the subject moves away from the backdrop. So I would try hard to have the subject as far away from anything behind him/her as possible.

For the tough shadows where the color of the subject and the shadow are close, often isoloating the subject via a mask is the most effective way. If you want to see a really tough one check out the thread started by RP user Jayda717 http://www.retouchpro.com/forums/image-help/12678-definite-problem.html
Regards, Murray
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Old 02-03-2006, 09:52 PM
videosean videosean is offline
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1. duplicate layer, set blend mode to screen.
2. Adjust blending options of the duplicate layer so that only the darker parts are affected/lightened.
3. Add a layer mask to your dupe layer and paint out anything you don't like.
4. I created a new, blank layer and then selected the shadow area as best I could in order to use the healing brush without getting any color bleeding that comes when you try to heal parts that are too close to his face and shirt.

Just some ideas and I spent maybe 10 minutes on this. It's not meant to be perfect but I think it's workable if it's really important.

http://videosean.gotgeeks.com/IMG_2595.psd - 2.4MB + slow server, layers in tact so you can see what it looks like without using the healing brush. Digital cameras are also prone to increased noise in the shadows/dark areas of images and that's another thing that may require more than just trying to lighten the areas - healing brush works great IMO if you can avoid the bleeding of different colors and contrasty edges.

I'm not good enough with curves to get a good result on this one but that's another possible way to deal with matching it up with the unshadowed wall.
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File Type: jpg IMG_2595_BM.jpg (75.0 KB, 19 views)
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  #7  
Old 02-04-2006, 09:51 AM
Ken45140 Ken45140 is offline
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Murray: you said: "On the shadow avoidance side, I always use a strong plastic diffuser ..." I have a simple Canon A70 P&S, which I can not see using a "plastic diffuser". Can you explain more or point me....

I have been participating in threads on complex hair extractions, and working diligently on "bad hair" images. Seems like much of that can be applied to extracting the subject from his shadow.

Videosean: thanks. I played around with the steps you suggested....it still led me back to cloning or healing good wall into the shadow area.

Curious that the little box down at the bottom called "Similar Threads" led me to some threads that I never found when using Search, including another thread with the EXACT same title as mine....

Thanks for all the input. Lessons: Avoid in the first place; check out extraction techniques; clone away after careful masking or selecting.

Ken
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  #8  
Old 02-04-2006, 10:35 AM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Hi Ken, sorry I should have pointed out that I use a separate flash which is connected to the camera's hot shoe. The diffuser is a snal on attachment. Many digital camera which have no hot shoe for flash attachment do allow you to connect an external flash via a bracket that attaches to the tripod socket. Unfortunately there is little flexibility with the little flash units built into the cameras. A tripod and use of existing ambient light will often give you nice results over the flash indoors, especially if the flash can be set by the camera to operate in fill mode (helps eliminate shadows on the subject).
Regards, Murray
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  #9  
Old 02-04-2006, 11:47 AM
Ken45140 Ken45140 is offline
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Murray: thanks...I figured that was what you meant. Separate flash means new camera....several steps down the road.

Ken
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