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Photo Restoration Repairing damaged photos

Restoring a smudged face

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  #1  
Old 12-10-2007, 04:19 PM
lorelei9 lorelei9 is offline
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Restoring a smudged face

I have this old family photo that I've been working on, although here for this purpose, I'm showing the unmodified version. My particular problem here is the man located on the back row, fourth from the left. I'm not sure how to bring out some detail in his face. I tried using a soft white brush with low opacity and painted his face, but it just gives a "ghostly" look. The woman to his left also suffers a little from the same situtation. I'd appreciate any suggestions.

Thanks.
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File Type: jpg family.jpg (95.5 KB, 135 views)
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  #2  
Old 12-10-2007, 05:22 PM
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Peter S Peter S is offline
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Re: Restoring a smudged face

Try putting a layer filled with 50% Grey on top of it, set the blend mode to Overlay. Then paint on this layer with white at a low opacity to lighten and paint with black to darken the areas you wish.

Peter
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Old 12-11-2007, 11:17 PM
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Dave.Cox Dave.Cox is offline
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Re: Restoring a smudged face

It's mostly about adding the light an shadow information back in. The technique that Peter describes above is a way of performing dodge and burn that is non-destructive, since you do all of the work in a separate layer. If you don't like what you have done, you can fill the layer with 50% gray again, and start over. I use a soft brush, with the opacity set to about 15% to paint in black and white where the high lights need to be added back in. Once I get it close, I blur my brush strokes with the blur tool, and drop the opacity of the layer to about 50%.

Here is and example that I did very quickly for you.
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File Type: jpg FaceSampleBefore.jpg (1.6 KB, 29 views)
File Type: jpg FaceSampleAfter.jpg (1.6 KB, 59 views)
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Old 12-12-2007, 05:28 AM
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Flora Flora is offline
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Re: Restoring a smudged face

Hi lorelei9!

Welcome to RetouchPRO!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lorelei9
I tried using a soft white brush with low opacity and painted his face, but it just gives a "ghostly" look.
..Like Dave said, it's a matter of adding 'definition' by balancing shadows and highlights and carefully increasing contrast...

By painting white on the face of the gentleman, yes, you make the faded part lighter, but at the same time, you decrease the contrast even more leading to the ghostly look...

I worked mostly with Levels Adjustment Layers...

Not only I individually selected each face that needed restoration ... but, when necessary, I selected and worked individually on different parts of the same face that needed different corrections..
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File Type: jpg F_family1.jpg (198.7 KB, 118 views)
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Old 12-12-2007, 04:03 PM
lorelei9 lorelei9 is offline
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Re: Restoring a smudged face

Hi Flora,

That is a wonderful job you did on the picture. If it is not too much trouble, would you share some of the specific steps you took to fix the faces?

Thanks,

Tim
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Old 12-12-2007, 10:51 PM
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Damo77 Damo77 is offline
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Re: Restoring a smudged face

I absolutely agree with Flora. The detail is there, it's simply a matter of increasing the contrast in the right areas.

In my opinion, the whole painting-on-an-overlay-layer technique is bunkum. Why try to paint your own detail when the detail is already there?
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Old 12-16-2007, 07:26 AM
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Flora Flora is offline
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Red face Re: Restoring a smudged face

Hi Tim!

Thank you so much for your kind comment .... and so sorry about my delay in answering...

Glad you like my restoration ... and here is how I did it:

(Attachment 1) is a snapshot of my workflow ...

Completely white Layer Masks mean global correction..
Black and white Layer masks mean selective corrections...

I roughly separated the areas I worked on (starting from the Background Layer):
  • Man + surroundings
  • Woman + surroundings
  • Granny + surroundings
  • Surroundings only
  • General+Selective last-minute corrections.

As I already mentioned, I used mostly Levels Adjustment layers... my trick?? (if you can call it that...) if necessary, I tweak everything ... meaning Output Levels as well

My first Level Adjustment Layer (Attachment 2) is a global correction in which I toned down the highlights and deepened the midtones a bit .... I found that this gives me more 'room' and flexibility to increase the contrast later.

I tend to work with midtones contrast a lot to balance unevenly lighted parts of an image before tweaking Shadows and Highlights... In this picture the faces of Woman and Granny and part of the surrounding/background.

If necessary, I add a couple of 'my' blank layers set to ...(tutorial here ...Just scroll down the page to the BLANK/EMPTY LAYERS SET TO.... part) ... or, even better, neutral colour filled layers which give you even more control and flexibility as Chris Tarantino explains very clearly and kindly in his Blog

No matter what kind of adjustment layer I'm using, I always 'play' with its Blending and Opacity until I'm satisfied with the result.

In (Attachment 3) you can see the Before&After versions of Man, Woman and Granny's faces after balancing shadows and Highlights and correcting the contrast.

Hope this helps!!!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 2007_ Dec_ 000.jpg (84.6 KB, 37 views)
File Type: jpg 2007_Dec_001.jpg (179.9 KB, 42 views)
File Type: jpg 2007_Dec_002.jpg (194.7 KB, 36 views)
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