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Antique Photo Restoration Guidance

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  #1  
Old 08-04-2008, 08:49 AM
rpm4242 rpm4242 is offline
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Antique Photo Restoration Guidance

Hi,

I have performed quite a bit of work on restoring older photos thru Photoshop, but this 120 yr. old photo is presenting quite a challenge. I'm kind of having trouble knowing where to start. One of the main problems is that it is a picture of photo taken through an old dome glass frame. I have no way of getting a better shot. I don't know how realistic of an expectation to have on what can be done.

My main problem is working on the details of their faces and ending up with realistic looking skin. I have attached the original. I don't expect anyone to work on it for me, but any suggestions or guidance in the process would be very much appreciated.
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File Type: jpg 1800's Restoration Photo.jpg (83.0 KB, 173 views)
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  #2  
Old 08-04-2008, 09:39 AM
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TommyO TommyO is offline
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Re: Antique Photo Restoration Guidance

Welcome the RetouchPro,

I suppose it depends on your goal. You mentioned obtaining realistic looking skin... I don't know of too many photo's from this era that have realistic looking skin. But, normally our goal is to restore the photo to its original condition, or very close. I could be wrong, but I don't think this photo was ever real crisp and sharp. There are some tell-tale signs that it was somewhat soft.

I think you will do good to get some of the contrast back and use that as a template for basically painting in much of the tonality and finer detail. It will be hard to restore the lighter areas, such as his hair and beard. Much of those areas become "art", not really restoration.

Keep the image from becoming too soft. You will need to add back in some noise/grain to keep it realistic for that era. If I had to think through a rough workflow, I would say it may boil down to 1/4 restoration, 1/2 painting in new detail, and 1/4 fine tuning noise/grain.

Good luck with it ! and keep us posted with your results.
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Old 08-04-2008, 10:50 AM
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byRo byRo is offline
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Re: Antique Photo Restoration Guidance

Welcome the RetouchPro,

.... like TommyO said, and....

....it's going to depend a lot on your client.

To get this looking anything like a decent image with "realistic looking skin" you are going to have to add (let's say) 50% of information that just isn't there in the original - that's the "art" bit.
Some clients will value a final image which looks brand new over an image that is completely faithful to the original.
If you are doing this just as experience, then by all means go all the way. If not, check first - you can spend hours doing "art" on this and then have to face a very unsatisfied customer.

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Old 08-11-2008, 12:51 PM
rpm4242 rpm4242 is offline
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Re: Antique Photo Restoration Guidance

Thanks so much for your quick and helpful responses. I spoke with my client and he had no interest in making the photo look like new, but rather to keep it true to the original. I haven't yet shown him my progress but have done quite a bit of cleanup on it. Any of you guys have any suggestions on further improvement? I would have liked to make it more crisp but there wasn't a whole lot to work with in that regard.

Any and all comments are welcome.

Thanks so much!
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File Type: jpg 1800's Restoration Photo After Cleanup.jpg (95.6 KB, 109 views)
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  #5  
Old 08-11-2008, 01:05 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: Antique Photo Restoration Guidance

these are always difficult. the original is very old and quite faded. it's hard to even say how much detail might or might not have existed in the original. as such, just clean it up as best you can and unless your client is paying for an oil painting, dont worry about it too much.

you've got an awful lot of splotchy noise there yet. i normally clean that sort up with cloning, airbrush and smudge. but there are other techniques you can try, like adding noise to reduce noise, running a noise removal on it, physically burning it, running it through the garbage disposal and so on. ok, maybe those last two wouldnt work too well. the real trick is to find what works for you and doesnt end you up in the poor house.

one thing i find myself doing in these sometimes is, cleaning one duplicate up as best i can and then putting that cleaned up layer over JUST the original and using a blend mode on it, trying to get the best of both layers that way.
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Old 08-11-2008, 04:07 PM
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0lBaldy 0lBaldy is offline
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Re: Antique Photo Restoration Guidance

Maybe a Sepia would help
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Old 08-11-2008, 04:11 PM
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Re: Antique Photo Restoration Guidance

It looks like you did a good job, like the above posters were saying it just turns into artwork trying to add too much info that’s not there.

To be honest most photos I’ve seen that get to much stuff added to the look like crap.

Last edited by resto; 08-11-2008 at 04:13 PM. Reason: grammer
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  #8  
Old 08-11-2008, 09:13 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: Antique Photo Restoration Guidance

that looks pretty good, OB.
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Old 08-11-2008, 09:20 PM
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0lBaldy 0lBaldy is offline
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Re: Antique Photo Restoration Guidance

TY sir.. Now back to the Magnificent Phelps Show
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  #10  
Old 08-11-2008, 09:25 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: Antique Photo Restoration Guidance

hehe, indeed! he just won another.
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