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Photo Restoration Repairing damaged photos

Elements Workflow

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  #1  
Old 11-22-2008, 06:28 PM
gordonb gordonb is offline
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Elements Workflow

Hello,

I'm working on scanning a bunch of Carte Visitations (CVs) from the 1880s. Attached are small images of one I'm having some trouble with. It is, I believe, a albumen & gold print from 1885 and shows my Great Great Grandfather (In the middle and the oldest of his 6 brothers and sisters).

I have found this image challenging in part due to my ignorance of Photoshop and the luminance deterioration of the master combined with the rough texture. I have learned quite a lot from perusing the tutorials and the posts on this site and would value the opinions of those here whose Photoshop (or PSP) mojo is much stronger than mine. One of my issues is that I'm using Elements and though I recently downloaded the Polaroid D&S filter & Richard Lynch's free tools (great resources here) I'm still learning how to use the tools I have.

Here is a link to the 600dpi 24bpp colour scan of the original (22MB). I scanned this in both orientations then flipped and merged the results (great tip there) and this is the result.
Here is a link to the 8bpp grayscale of my work so far (4.5MB). I'm fairly happy with this so far (I know I still have some dust to clear up). Note that these may take some time to download as they are on my server at home and subject to my upload speed.

My workflow has been:
  • Scan at 48bpp 600dpi manually adjusting the shadow & highlights for each channel.
  • Run 2 passes of Dust and Scratch Filter Masking for Darken & Lighten avoiding fine detail such as hair & eyes
  • Clone stamp at 300% with a 20 pixel diameter soft brush to get rid of most of the light spots
  • Clone Stamp with a larger radii brush to overwrite the damage at the upper left.
  • Apply a small radii Gaussian Blur using a mask & low opacity brush to smooth out the skin tones.
  • use a Brightness & Contrast Adjustment layer masking the top of the drape
  • Apply a larger radii Gaussian Blur to smooth out the background
All criticisms and opinions welcome.

Regards,

Bruce
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Scan_188X_01_v2a.jpg (110.6 KB, 37 views)
File Type: jpg Scan_188X_01_v2_edited-2.jpg (81.7 KB, 43 views)
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  #2  
Old 11-22-2008, 07:03 PM
Craig Walters's Avatar
Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: Elements Workflow

well, my only question here is, how far do you want to go? it seems ok to me as it is. i could nitpick, i'm sure, and find something to criticize, so, how far do you want to go? is it something for a client and you've shown them and they want more done? or, are you doing it for a class and are looking for an A+ or are you just practicing and want to know how far is far enough?

it's actually a very valid question. knowing when something is done is important. i've taken things way too far before and the work usually suffers because of it. so, the real question becomes, what are you trying to communicate and have you done that? if so, then you're finished. if not, then back to the editor.

and the other point becomes, do you want someone us to tell you when you're done, or do you want to be the one to decide
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Old 11-22-2008, 09:26 PM
gordonb gordonb is offline
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Re: Elements Workflow

I'm the first to admit (well maybe the wife is ;-) that I'm a bit of an "A" type personality. These are strictly for personal use. I've been assembling a digital archive of our families photos for some years now and am now attempting some of the more challenging pictures.

I would like these to be a good representation of the subjects with as little "art" as necessary to make them more pleasing visually.

I would appreciate feedback with respect to where I can improve my technique with the tools at hand and what I could do differently to achieve better results (more detail, more realistic skin tones) or the same results with less effort.
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Old 11-22-2008, 11:58 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: Elements Workflow

ok, so you want to take it to the next level. take a close up look at the faces. look at the girl on the right. notice how blotchy and noisy her skin is in the face. smoothing all that out to a natural look would be a good start. you can use tools like noise removal, airbrush, smudge or even clone. if you use smudge, clone or airbrush, make a new blank layer and set your tools to 'use all layers'. do all your work on that layer. if you're using noise removal, the native photoshop or paint shop pro noise removals are pretty good. some prefer others, like Neat Image or Noise Ninja.

attached is a fairly quick version i did using smudge.
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File Type: jpg girls-face-1-k-1rp.jpg (170.8 KB, 27 views)
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Old 11-23-2008, 03:06 PM
gordonb gordonb is offline
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Re: Elements Workflow

Thanks Craig,

Sometimes you stare at something so long you stop seeing it. I did use a Gaussian blur on the face & hands masked on with a fairly low opacity brush. I guess the problem is I've been so concerned about keeping fine detail I ignored the grosser noise.

Here is what I've done using Element's Noise filter. I ended up using it on pretty much the whole picture at maximum strength and minimum preserve detail as this made things look a whole lot better when I zoomed back out to reality and looked at the whole image. The only areas I ended up not de-noising were the eyes, lips, hair, the lace around Mable & Arthur's necks (the two on either side) and the fur in the foreground.

Though the lips and eyes look a trite bizzare zoomed in at a normal magnification the noise averages out into detail.

Regards,

Bruce
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File Type: jpg MabelsFace.jpg (19.8 KB, 16 views)
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Old 11-23-2008, 04:37 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: Elements Workflow

that's better, but be careful of the blur, smudgy look. too much noise removal can do that and so can too much smudging/air brushing.

good point about the noise around the eyes. sometimes you do want to leave some grain/noise for detail/texture.

for a little more detail of what i did on that face, i used a smudge of a fairly small size and fairly light opacity, around 30, i think it was. this allows you to blend areas together in a fairly natural way. i also do use a noise removal on images like yours, but i dont try to get it all in one sweep, in most cases. thus, if you combine tools sometimes, taking smaller amounts of each, you can often accomplish a better effect from both when combined.
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