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Photo Restoration Repairing damaged photos

Poor quality source complicates restoration

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  #1  
Old 07-01-2008, 10:31 PM
Greg K.'s Avatar
Greg K. Greg K. is offline
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Poor quality source complicates restoration

I was asked to do what I can to make "image1" suitable for a 5 x 7 display photo. "Image1" was taken with a very old digital camera with very low resolution and natural low illumination without flash. There is heavy noise, under exposure, and fuzzy details. "Image2" was about as good as I could get it, and I'm not particularly satisfied with it. Any suggestions for further improvement would be appreciated.

Greg

image1.jpg
image2.jpg
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  #2  
Old 07-02-2008, 12:22 AM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: Poor quality source complicates restoration

hi greg and welcome to RP.

you might try a little de-noise type filter/action. something like psp's digital camera noise removal filter or Neat Image is one a number of folks use.

the original also is a bit blurry. that makes things a bit rougher. you can try sharpness type actions/filters/tools, but having tried one in psp and not getting very satisfactory results, you may have to try something like Focus Magic (a pay for) or Unshake (a freebie) to get it much better.

another possible route is to use a histogram adjustment on the image. (brighten it up first, though (more than what you already have)). this can add contrast and make the image look a bit sharper. the trouble is that it will also tend to show up all that low light noise and you'll have to do some more clean up.

where this might look like a fairly easy image to clean up, it's actually got some nasty problems, as a lot of low light images do. so, your rendition is a good start.
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Old 07-02-2008, 01:20 AM
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Re: Poor quality source complicates restoration

You might find this a bit wacky, but I went with the noise and put a Rough Pastels filter on it.
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Old 07-02-2008, 02:42 AM
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Re: Poor quality source complicates restoration

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Originally Posted by HILDA WOOD View Post
You might find this a bit wacky, but I went with the noise and put a Rough Pastels filter on it.
I don't find it wacky at all. I too have an older low res digital camera. I often use a paint technique on shots, especially landscapes or anything covering a wide area. For good, clear shots I still depend on my old film Pentax.
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Old 07-02-2008, 05:45 AM
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Re: Poor quality source complicates restoration

Thanks for your suggestions. I should have mentioned that the work I did was with Photoshop CS3. I did use the noise reduction filter and the surface blur tool to attack the noise. I used the clone tool, patch tool and paint brush to restore some lost content. I used the sharpening tools as much as I could without adding more noise. I used the "shadow/highlight" tool to brighten the midrange and added a little contrast. The exposure looks OK now when I print it. I just wish I knew how to improve the sharpness some more.

The photo owner wanted me to leave the tilt and the partial person on the far left. One of the two men has passed and she wanted the be able to display a decent quality 5 x 7 photo. So I was very motivated to improve it as much as I could to a normal photo (no "artistic" effects).

More ideas?

Greg
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Old 07-02-2008, 02:09 PM
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Re: Poor quality source complicates restoration

I'm not one of the experts here but I played with it. I used Digital camera noise removal (Paint Shop Pro) several times, doing a sharpen after each. Made some levels adjustments a little smudging and some dodge and burn. There are still a lot of artifacts but it does print fairly well.
I know my monitor calibration is out of whack again so not sure how it will look here.
Nan
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  #7  
Old 07-02-2008, 03:11 PM
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Re: Poor quality source complicates restoration

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nan View Post
I'm not one of the experts here but I played with it. I used Digital camera noise removal (Paint Shop Pro) several times, doing a sharpen after each. Made some levels adjustments a little smudging and some dodge and burn. There are still a lot of artifacts but it does print fairly well.
I know my monitor calibration is out of whack again so not sure how it will look here.
Nan
Nan,

Thank you for taking a shot at this photo. You pushed it a bit further than I would. I was specifically trying to avoid making the skin look "plastic", and you must have created the eyes.... there wasn't enough real content in the photo to produce what you've got there. There's a delicate balance between looking real and looking artificial. Because this is essentially a "memorial" photo, I'm trying for the best possible result without crossing the line into artificial.

The feedback and trial efforts you all have made are very valuable to me. It's great to see how others approach these problems. I hope to see more comments, suggestions and trial efforts before I finalize this restoration.

Thanks again,

Greg
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Old 07-02-2008, 04:55 PM
secretagents secretagents is offline
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Re: Poor quality source complicates restoration

I went nowhere with Photoshop 6 and denoising plugins so I loaded it in Paint Shop Pro 7 and I quickly came up with that.

Commands have been :

Jpeg Artifact Removal
Auto-Enhance Contrast
Salt and Pepper Filter
Brightness/Contrast
Median
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  #9  
Old 07-02-2008, 05:48 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 secretagents View Post
I went nowhere with Photoshop 6 and denoising plugins so I loaded it in Paint Shop Pro 7 and I quickly came up with that.

Commands have been :

Jpeg Artifact Removal
Auto-Enhance Contrast
Salt and Pepper Filter
Brightness/Contrast
Median
secretagents,

You're at about the same place I am. The noise reduction adds to the general fuzziness of the photo. There's the rub!

Hopefully someone can tell us how to have it all... noise reduction and as sharp as possible. Thanks.

Greg
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  #10  
Old 07-02-2008, 06:07 PM
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Re: Poor quality source complicates restoration

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.
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