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Photo Restoration Repairing damaged photos

Poor quality source complicates restoration

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  #11  
Old 07-02-2008, 07:17 PM
Greg K.'s Avatar
Greg K. Greg K. is offline
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Re: Poor quality source complicates restoration

Quote:
Originally Posted by lurch View Post
Not sure this is any better than you did . . . and am having to reconstruct workflow from memory because I overwrote the main psd file - BAD lurch!

I did noise reduction on an Lab copy of the file using the Noise Ninja plugin, profiling and treating each channel separately. The good thing about doing that in Lab is you can get really aggressive with the a and the b, which have only color information. Have to be more careful with the L because that's where the detail is. I did two successive passes at moderate settings on the L, each time creating a new profile.

To lighten the shadows, applied Shadow/Highlight very gently - amount about 10%, tonal range the same, default radius. For color correction I used curves to tweak the skin colors. Used the sponge tool set to desaturate, 50% opacity, to neutralize the shirt collar and highlights on the leather jacket.

Tried several ways to sharpen up the image but all played havoc with the remaining noise. In the end the thing that worked best was Focus Magic, which isn't free. Noise Ninja isn't free either, but you can use the same approach with tools that are. Unfortunately, Focus Magic's algorithm is unique - there isn't any freebie out there (that I know of, anyway) that does the same thing.

All of this was in Photoshop CS3.
Lurch,

Thanks for giving it a go. I like the subtleness of your corrections. We still have a believable image that has been improved significantly from the original. As you know, there remains some significant fuzziness in parts of the image (eyes, cheek edges, etc). Skin tone could be a little smoother too. I would probably give it a little more midrange boost, but it looks like the add-in apps you used were helpful. I'll have to check them out.

What say you all? Is this the best we can get out of this image? Is it possible to further sharpen what is fuzzy without destroying the natural appearance of the image? Is it possible to further improve the skin tone without making the image look over processed?

I'm looking forward to some more feedback.

Thanks again,

Greg
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  #12  
Old 07-02-2008, 07:20 PM
secretagents secretagents is offline
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Re: Poor quality source complicates restoration

Starting from my previous image, that's the best sharpening I can get and it did involve using the wavelet filter in Iris.

http://www.astrosurf.com/buil/us/iris/iris.htm
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  #13  
Old 07-02-2008, 07:48 PM
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Greg K. Greg K. is offline
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Re: Poor quality source complicates restoration

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Originally Posted by secretagents View Post
Starting from my previous image, that's the best sharpening I can get and it did involve using the wavelet filter in Iris.

http://www.astrosurf.com/buil/us/iris/iris.htm
secretagents,

I see where you're going. I think the effect is overdone when applied to the whole image. Maybe if it could be selectively and more subtley applied to eyes, nostrals, facial edges, and clothing edges????

What do you think?

Greg
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  #14  
Old 07-02-2008, 08:16 PM
secretagents secretagents is offline
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Re: Poor quality source complicates restoration

That's certainly the way to go for further improvement.

There are several ways to do that I guess. Edge mask, History brush or standard layer/masking.

Don't ask me how to do an edge mask as I just read about it yesterday in the photoshop Bible and it has not printed yet. It involves using the high pass filter I think.
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  #15  
Old 07-02-2008, 09:33 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: Poor quality source complicates restoration

i had a go at this also. let me know if you want to know what i did.

and just for the heck of it, i added a frame to see how that would sit.
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  #16  
Old 07-02-2008, 09:41 PM
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Re: Poor quality source complicates restoration

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Originally Posted by Kraellin View Post
i had a go at this also. let me know if you want to know what i did.

and just for the heck of it, i added a frame to see how that would sit.
Kraellin,

It looks like you tried to paint in the absent details and paint over the problem areas. Michaelangelo, you're not (neither am I). Thank you for the effort, but it just doesn't look real enough. Nice frame!

Greg
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  #17  
Old 07-02-2008, 10:00 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: Poor quality source complicates restoration

greg, did you try the other possible solutions i mentioned in my first post?
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  #18  
Old 07-02-2008, 10:15 PM
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Re: Poor quality source complicates restoration

ok, here's the deal. this is about how far you can bring it without getting into 'painting' techniques (like clone, airbrush and smudge). and, just as obviously, this piece still needs more work. it's 'dirty' still. lots of noise from the low light and so on. so, there is no good quick filter for cleaning something like this up. and no, i'm not a michaelangelo, but unless you find one or become one yourself, you're not likely to be satisfied from what i've heard so far.

the low light level is somewhat causing the blur because during the taking of the image the dark areas got filled in with dark pixels, which in the final image are somewhat splotched together causing a sort of blurring. there is no magic filter for altering this back to the original. so, you can try Focus Magic or Unshake or some other things, maybe even polaroid's dust and scratch, but it's going to be a case of pretty much the same thing with filters; you'll have to alter something you dont want to alter when you alter something you do want to alter. you can try some masking or maybe some channel separation or, you can go the route i went and learn to do it better than me

but, i'm going to also suggest something i rarely suggest here... lower your standards just a touch to something more realistic, given what you started with.

edit: oh, i meant to post this example of where i got to before doing the hand work.
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  #19  
Old 07-02-2008, 10:55 PM
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Re: Poor quality source complicates restoration

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Originally Posted by Kraellin View Post
greg, did you try the other possible solutions i mentioned in my first post?
Kraellin,

I had done the equivalent of the actions you recommended. See entry #5.

I don't use Paint Shop, but I'm sure Adobe Photoshop CS3 has the same tools.
I'm OK with the luminescence I achieved and the skin texture and color. It's the ability to improve the "fuzzy" factor without messing these up that I had hoped someone could come up with. Perhaps it's not possible. There have to be some limitations when the original image is as poor as this one is. Plus... I'm a bit of a perfectionist. I have a really hard time saying "good enough".

A few responders mentioned specialty add-in's Some seemed to have a positive impact, but I've always believed that the add-in's are nothing more than an automated work flow that should be able to be accomplished step-by-step. I have a pretty extensive library of photo restoration books and I'm a member of NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals), as well as ReTouch Pro, so I'm working all the resources to come up with a solution to be proud of.

I truely appreciate the responses I've gotten to my call for help, from you as well as the others. The ReTouch Pro community is an especially valuable resource. Hopefully this thread is not at an end. I still hope someone will offer an idea that really turns on the lights.

Thanks again,

Greg
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  #20  
Old 07-02-2008, 11:14 PM
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Re: Poor quality source complicates restoration

greg,

ok, trust me, i know where you're coming from as far as perfectionism

here's something else you can try that sometimes works pretty well. take your image as far as you can with the normal filter fixes and when you get to the part where you can no longer help it with filters and need to do hand work, go ahead and do that, but, take that work's final image and go back to the part where you ended the filter work and add the painted one right over the top of that filter layer and try some blend modes. with the right mode you can often get the best of both techniques. try this blending with different opacities on the layers, too.

here's an example of that technique. it's still noisy, but not as bad as the original or even the filtered version and could be cleaned up further and retains a lot of the original image's 'photo quality' without the painted look.

and, just a thought that i havent tried yet with your image is, try separating the channels and see what that produces. you can always add back the color later.
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