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Photo Restoration Repairing damaged photos

Restoring Old Photo

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Old 04-15-2006, 06:06 PM
timmotheus timmotheus is offline
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Restoring Old Photo

I am new to Retouch PRO (first post) and to Photoshop and I have been working on restoring an old family photo from about 1920-1921. I have used the Healing Brush Tool for most work so far and the healing brush has enabled me to successfully remove most of the scratches, tears, folds, etc. in the original scan. However, I am now wanting to remove the graininess, soften the facial features, and possibly add color. In addition, someone along the years has colored in the eyes and has even drawn on eyebrows on the girl. I would like to blend all of these "additions" to the picture so they do not look so fake however the blending I have done so far seems to make it worse rather than better. I am wondering if I need to remove all of the drawing on the face and add in eyebrows myself using Photoshop.

I have been reading many of the excellent tutorials on Retouch PRO and have looked at some of the recent posts (ex. keroger2k, as well as others) on photo restoration but can't seem to right methods to provide the results I am looking for.

Does anyone have any techniques that they feel will provide good results on the attached JPG's?

Thanks for your help
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Before.jpg (83.5 KB, 105 views)
File Type: jpg After.jpg (98.3 KB, 105 views)
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Old 04-15-2006, 07:54 PM
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bart_hickman bart_hickman is offline
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Welcome to retouchpro. For removing grain, your best bet will be to get a noise reduction tool--Neat IMage, Noise Ninja, and Noiseware are three I see mentioned a lot. Neat Image has a free version that is very nearly fully functional, so you can download that and try it out.

For the eyes, you could try to find a photo that has a good-looking eye in it and then use that in the other photos.

For the baby, I copied his left eye onto his right eye and did a little light erasing and cloning around the edges to make it look right.

For the boy, I smudged his eyebrows with a small dry-brush brush set to 50% strength. Then I grabbed one of the baby's eyes and put it over the boy's eyes with soft-light blend mode. I enhanced the glint a bit with a light dab of white

I used the sponge to desaturate the blue color from everybody's eyes.

This artistic stuff isn't really my cup-o-tea--that's why stealing from another photograph would be my preference.

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File Type: jpg man_baby_boy_old_photo.jpg (56.7 KB, 69 views)
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Old 04-15-2006, 09:58 PM
timmotheus timmotheus is offline
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Hi Bart,

Thanks for the great tips!! I downloaded Neat Image and it is great! I also appreciate all of the tips on the eyes and on how to blend the eyebrows. I have applied these steps to my restored photograph and it's coming along very well. Thanks again and back to work !!
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Old 04-17-2006, 07:57 AM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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welcome to RP.

gotta go to work here soon, but just one note on the coloring and restoration; make a duplicate layer of the background and use a hue/saturation/brightness adjustment layer to desaturate the image, taking it back to a black and white first (not grayscale; just an 8 bit rgb with no color). do this as your first step and then work on the restoring. once you've got the restoration done, then work on the colorizing.

keep the background layer in color.

also, it might help others to know which version of photoshop you're using.

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Old 04-17-2006, 02:23 PM
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Cameraken Cameraken is offline
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Hi Timmotheus,

Welcome to RetouchPro.

I’m not sure whether this picture was colour or was a B&W that has been coloured.
I tried to keep the colour in but it’s not easy to colour correct. Craig’s idea of desaturating it and painting the colour back could have been easier.

Levels and selective curves layers
Layers to paint out the marks
Layers set to colour to repaint
Selective sharpen

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File Type: jpg Ken_Before.jpg (97.8 KB, 73 views)
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Old 04-20-2006, 03:53 PM
timmotheus timmotheus is offline
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Thank you very much for the replies. I have been very busy this week so unfortunately I have not been able to focus much attention on my picture restoration project until now. I am going to play with the much appreciated suggestions you have provided and I will let you know how it turns out!


Oh ya, I am using Photoshop 7.0.
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Old 04-22-2006, 09:13 AM
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blue dog blue dog is offline
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Welcome to Retouch PRO

It took a day to get around to this and now you have plenty of help!

I recommend that you start with the basics of restoration. You jumped into the middle of it. I have attached a version that represents my first steps in any restoration of this type/quality of photo.

(1) digitize in color.
(2) examine the color layers for damage. In this case your blue channel is very strong but all are severely damaged so we will stay in color rather than jumping into B&W from the beginning.
(3) Remove the major scratches and dust specs. I made 3 or 4 passes with the Polaroid D&S filter.
(4) Remove stains. You have a lot of yellow and some cyan stains. I used PS "Select>Color Range" See Katrin Eismann's book on restoration and retouching for details.

That's where this sample leaves off. It is a much better place to start your coloning, etc.

Good luck. I hope this helps.
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File Type: jpg bluedogbefore1.jpg (97.8 KB, 34 views)

Last edited by blue dog; 04-22-2006 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 04-22-2006, 10:16 AM
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Daviskw Daviskw is offline
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Hi there

Maybe it is just me but when you add a little color to the faces the porcelain doll eyes effect seems to be lessened. The baby’s features are washed out so that makes it hard to get a realistic look.

I used Elements noise filter then added a neutral overlay of 1.5 pixels noise.

I removed the cyan caste to the mans suit with a Hue/saturation layer. I did darken the mans suit too much but that is easily fixed.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg After2.jpg (99.6 KB, 34 views)

Last edited by Daviskw; 04-22-2006 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 04-23-2006, 06:50 PM
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LadynRed LadynRed is offline
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A photo of this age would not have been in color at all. It would have been a black and white or sepia tone, there were several. Adding color to photo of this era looks unnatural, although it's a nice job. They can most definitely be a challenge for restoration, I've got no less than 4 boxes of photos ranging from about the 1840's onward, many of which will need some hefty work to save them for our family heritage, lots of work, but a labor of love
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Old 04-24-2006, 04:20 AM
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blue dog blue dog is offline
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See Any Good Movies Lately??


I agree with you that colorization of antique photographs is generally NOT something I approve of. I make 3 exceptions:

1. Toning - not really colorization, I tone using every color of the rainbow. It is subtle and applied to the entire photo. Their were/are toners for B&W prints, I don't know when they became available. The common ones were: selenium, Kodak Gold, Brown, sephia, and blue. Initially these were used for archival purposes but later gained favor for artistic reasons.

2. Portraits - formal portraits have long been both colorized and painted on to imitate paintings.

3. Salvage - I have some nice family heirlooms that aren't too special or are badly overexposed. Sometimes I see them as being something much better if I colorize. Even then I tend to avoid colorizing the faces and hands.

Here's two examples of #3. As usual, comments, critique, and disagreement are always encouraged.
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File Type: jpg redsmall.jpg (50.7 KB, 32 views)
File Type: jpg web-colored-101.jpg (92.5 KB, 35 views)
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