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Photo Restoration Repairing damaged photos

Very faded old photo - any ideas?

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  #1  
Old 04-15-2007, 01:37 PM
dianajenna dianajenna is offline
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Very faded old photo - any ideas?

I wonder if anyone might be able to steer me in the right direction on a photo I've been trying unsuccessfully to restore. I've been struggling with this photo for several days now. The whole process has been started over about four times, and I just can't seem to achieve good results. The original picture is extremely faded and the overall color tone is yellow/orange. The color tone I can fix, but bringing out the detail seems to be impossible. There's tiny physical cracks all over the surface. The second photo is a black/white version that someone evidently had made without any or much restoration. I even tried merging the two together initially by placing the black/white under the original and lowering the opacity of the original, but it didn't work out well. No matter what I do it looks fairly good on my monitor, but when I have a print made it looks "furry". It especially looks that way on the walls and food on the table. With sharpening, the food looks like Saran wrap bunched up in piles. The walls and the white shirt of the man in the middle look dirty. So then I tried really smoothing the walls and table cloth, but that only made everything else look worse because of the drastic contrast.

I scanned both of them at 600 thinking that might be better than 300. I've been mostly using the healing brush and spot healing brush with the patch and clone tools thrown in. I've messed with Dust and Scrathes and Despeckle and Curves and Levels, etc. etc. I'm apparently not doing something right, though, because I've seen worse photos than this posted here with better results than mine. If anyone has an idea, I would definitely appreciate hearing it. Thank you!

Diana
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File Type: jpg sample2.jpg (96.9 KB, 129 views)
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Old 04-15-2007, 01:43 PM
dianajenna dianajenna is offline
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Re: Very faded old photo - any ideas?

I forgot to attach my finished version (one of them). It doesn't look all that bad on the screen, but when it's printed it's awful. I was so disappointed when I saw the print.

Diana
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Old 04-15-2007, 01:46 PM
dianajenna dianajenna is offline
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Re: Very faded old photo - any ideas?

I promise - it really is attached this time.
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Old 04-15-2007, 02:12 PM
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roger_ele roger_ele is offline
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Re: Very faded old photo - any ideas?

Hi, sometimes adding a little bit of noise can do wonders for making the image excessable to future improvement. Duplicate the image in a new layer or paste the image into a blank layer (control-alt-shift E). Do Filters>Noise, choose gausian and just add to where it is obvious, around 1.5 to 3 - then reduce opacity to taste. Merge or retouch on blank layer or merge into blank layer or whatever you like. You will now see more detail and it should be easier to even some of it out.

You have really done a great job on this so far.

Hope this is a help,
Roger
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Old 04-15-2007, 02:38 PM
dianajenna dianajenna is offline
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Re: Very faded old photo - any ideas?

Thanks Roger. Adding noise was something I hadn't considered. I was focused on getting it as clear as possible, so actually ADDING noise never occurred to me. Is the idea behind adding noise that all the tiny noise dots help to fill in the surface and make the cracks less noticeable? I'm trying it right now and hopefully I'll get a better print from this. I had already started over again last night this time primarily using the patch tool. Thanks so much.

Diana
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Old 04-15-2007, 03:29 PM
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byRo byRo is offline
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Re: Very faded old photo - any ideas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dianajenna View Post
Is the idea behind adding noise that all the tiny noise dots help to fill in the surface and make the cracks less noticeable?

Our eyes (and brains) are the best noise filters around. If the noise is uniform we end up hardly even noticing it - so yes, the added noise can help hide the cracks.

But as with everything - use with moderation.

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Old 04-15-2007, 05:16 PM
dianajenna dianajenna is offline
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Re: Very faded old photo - any ideas?

"But as with everything - use with moderation."


Gotcha. So far, I'm liking what I see. I just hope it looks good when I have a print made. Thanks!

Diana
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Old 04-16-2007, 12:08 AM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: Very faded old photo - any ideas?

dianajenna,

welcome to RP.

this is a case of 'find the image'. before you restore the image you must find the image. ok, so finding is really part of restoring, but i hope you take my meaning here.

i'll walk you through just this part of it. i used the yellowed image, since it was the largest posted.

duplicate background layer.

hue/sat adjustment layer to desaturate the yellowing and darken just a bit.

copy merge and paste to new layer.

'clarify' filter at full strength (20)

duplicate layer and set blend mode to multiply.

brightness/contrast adjustment layer-- 42 bright/ 11 contrast.

copy merge and paste to new layer.

fade correction filter set to 15.

now, i'm in a little bit of a hurry, so this could be better.

after this i'd start cloning and airbrushing.
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Old 04-16-2007, 01:31 AM
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roger_ele roger_ele is offline
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Re: Very faded old photo - any ideas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dianajenna View Post
Is the idea behind adding noise that all the tiny noise dots help to fill in the surface and make the cracks less noticeable?
Hi Diana, I am continually surprised myself, when I add noise and it shows more detail, I have often done the 'wow, so that is what that is' - objects that were subtle and indistinct are just easier to see (like, I think the guy in the middle is wearing glasses). The best parralel I can think of is a rough half tone photos in a newspaper, those big dots create a very easy to see picture - now imagine if those dots were blurry and ran together how it could hide the image ... maybe noise removes the gradations between pieces of real image, and like Ro said, since it is a uniform pattern we don't notice it - we notice what is different.

Respectfully, I kind of dissagree with craig. In concept I agree, but I need to be able to see the image behind the damage while I work, his correction shows the damage so much it would make it harder for me to work on the image. So, I would do the same thing, but not as much. When the major damage was gone then I would adjust the image to normal and finish.

I would remove all of the damage I could before adding the noise, I think noise is for the fine tuning stages. Adding noise with easy to see damage makes it more a permanent part of the image that is harder to remove.

Rr
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Old 04-16-2007, 11:00 AM
dianajenna dianajenna is offline
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Re: Very faded old photo - any ideas?

I just read the new posts. Wow. Thank you guys so much. I've tried most of your ideas, just in a different order and with different strengths, etc. So I'm going to go back to some of the layers and try some of your suggestions to see how they come out. Maybe I'll finally get the right recipe. If not, I may just have to tell the owner of the photo that I can't do much better than the black and white (the second example) he already has. We'll see.

Diana
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