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Photo Restoration Repairing damaged photos

50 year old photo

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Old 10-01-2008, 02:19 AM
Gary Richardson's Avatar
Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Yorkshire, England
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Re: 50 year old photo

Hi 20x20,

Sorry for the long wait, life's been a little busy for me lately, and I haven't been over here for a while.

OK, details of what I did with your picture. First I'd like to go a little through my thought processes.

The picture obviously has a slight tint, which I think gives it character, and which I'd like to keep, however having colour makes matching the tones harder, so we have to seperate things to make it easier. Secondly, there's a number of areas that have been "painted" over, so we'll need to minimise or remove them.

So, to seperate the colour from the tone, I did the following (there's lots of ways to do this, but as we're only looking to reatain a tint, this is as easy a way as any).

Duplicate (copy) the image to a new layer, then de-saturate the new layer, so it's now a "pure" B&W image.

There's two pieces of tape on the picture, and the tone change under each is different, so easiest to deal with them seperately.

Using the Polygonal Lasso tool (taped shape is a nice regular shape, so ideal for this tool), I selected the piece of tape to the left, then copied and pasted it to a new layer. Then using Levels, I adjusted the "lighting" to match the main image below. I could have used a Levels adjustment layer, but I like the extra control I can get by adjusting layer opacity by doing it this way.

Once I got it to look right I merged it with the layer below.

I now selected the piece of tape to the right, and did pretty much the same thing.

You'll now be left with a picture where the tape marks have almost disappeared. However the edges of the taped patches will still be visible. So next I created a new layer, and carefully cloned out the edges, taking detail from the surrounding areas.

Merged layers again, when satisfied it looked right (not necessary to do this, it's just the way I work).

I now turned my attention to the "painted" areas on the boys face, and the background to the right of him. Both were dealt with in similar fashion.

First I created patches, in the case of the boy from his cheek area, in the case of the background from the path/road below the painted area. Then I moved and resized/reshaped them using the Move Tool. After that I just cloned out any obvious joins, and any other areas that needed covering.

Can't really give you much more detail I'm afraid. Cloning is pretty much done by eye, just remember to always work on a seperate layer, and that you can adjust the size, opacity, and hardness/softness of your Clone tool to get the best results.

When I was satisfied with how things looked, I merged the clone layer and the Background, then I did a quick selection of the face of the boy on the right, and adjusted levels to lighten it a bit.

Lastly I sampled the colour from the original, created a new layer set to Color blend, and "dumped" the colour into it using Paint Bucket. I adjusted the layer opacity to get what I considered to be the best look.

Sounds complicated I know, but it's really much easier to do than to write down.

Hope this helps you.

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Old 10-01-2008, 07:12 PM
20x20 20x20 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 7
Re: 50 year old photo

thanks Gary, sorry for the late response, likewise, schedule had been hectic lately, I'll practice getting this photo to a tee and thank you very much for the extra effort. Cheers!
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Old 10-09-2008, 10:46 AM
hollyoake hollyoake is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2008
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Re: 50 year old photo

This is my first post. I liked the challenge of the tape since you see it a lot on older photos.
I found that removing the tape was not too difficult but reconstructing the smaller boy's face was a challenge. I mostly used cloning which I generally set to Lighten or Darken mode with varying opacities.
Added a slight tint to final version
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File Type: jpg Elmer and Rico.jpg (79.9 KB, 42 views)
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Old 10-09-2008, 02:30 PM
Verywierd's Avatar
Verywierd Verywierd is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 252
Re: 50 year old photo

Thought I'd have a go too :-)

I got rid of the tape by converting a duplicate layer to b&w, adjusting to eliminate the yellow tones of the tape.

As the entire picture was ripped and displaced when it was taped, I made a duplicate layer and shifted that to re-align everything.

Another duplicate layer, flipped horizontally and rotated was used to replace the missing hair.

The rest was cloning, d&b etc. to clean up the tape edges, bodies, clothes and of course the boy's face.
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File Type: jpg Elmer-and-Rico-Enhanced-1024.jpg (91.8 KB, 42 views)
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