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Photo Restoration Repairing damaged photos

Restoration Workflow

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Old 08-10-2009, 12:07 PM
LASV LASV is offline
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Smile Restoration Workflow

Hi Everyone, I have read several books and watched many podcasts in regards to retouching/restoring photographs. The more I read & watch, the more confused I get. I was wondering what your opinions were in regards to what your workflow should be. For example: Do you remove noise first (Noise Ninja) & then clone & heal (PS4) or the other way around?) I would appreciate seeing a real-life workflow.
Thanks Again,
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Old 08-10-2009, 01:15 PM
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aartist aartist is offline
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Re: Restoration Workflow

Have you attempted any restores?
That is a good way to learn and to see a real-life workflow!

1. Reduce to Black & White if not color.
2. Fade correct.
3. Remove scratches.
4. Clone missing parts.
5. Lighten or Darken parts.
6. Lighten or Darken whole.
7. Remove Noise from parts.
8. Remove Noise from whole if required.
9. Add Sepia if required.
10 Add border if required.
11. Look and Look again.

12. Provide customer with restored photo.
13. Listen to their feedback & correct to their specifications.
13. Take their money in exchange for your service.

Last edited by aartist; 08-10-2009 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 08-10-2009, 02:49 PM
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0lBaldy 0lBaldy is offline
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Re: Restoration Workflow

More to read .... :

A professional workflow for restoring old photographs to their former glory.

Portrait retouch workflow

Restoring an old photograph.

Professional Photography
Photoshop Workflow, Part 1
Photoshop Workflow, Part 2

Photoshop Workflow and Recommended Plug-ins (includes some controversial/contradictory objectives for setting up a custom workflow) by Jeffrey Sward
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Old 08-10-2009, 03:50 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: Restoration Workflow

i dont worry too much about workflow. there is no set procedure because there is no standard damage done to photos. even in two similarly damaged photos i may do a complete reversal of workflow. workflow is always secondary to results. learn the tools and what they do and you wont worry about workflow.

but, all that being said, i will give you a very broad procedure one can follow in restoration work:

1. find the image. that means bring out the detail as best you can. if you can see the detail then how are you ever going to restore things to the way they were?

2. cleanup. that means fixing all the rips, folds, spindles and mutilations. removing all the dirt spots and specks and so on.

3. color fixing. ok, not all images are color, but even the black and whites will pick up color at times from aging. this can also include such things as white and black points, levels, contrast, fade correction and so on. now, some of that you may have already fixed in 'find the image', but sometimes you have to do it again, even if corrected once.

4. noise removal. this can be anything from .jpg artifacts to really bad noise or grain.

5. erasure. this one gets missed sometimes. and i'm not referring to erasure of the original image at all. erasure here is erasing your own work from various layers. it's very easy to overdo things. dont be afraid to remove or partially remove some of your 'fixes'.

6. quality control. #5 could actually be in here, too. when you've done everything, take a break. walk away. rest your eyes and your brain. then, come back and look at what you did again. you'll often find things that need to be done again or corrected. this is actually a natural process. when you work on something like photo restoration for long periods, your mind and eyes can start playing tricks. walk away. take a break and come back later to see what things look like now. you may be surprised. i know from experience in posting here that i often look at something i've posted the day before and gone, 'what in the world was i thinking?'.

basically, there is no set workflow. you may well develop a style or semi-workflow from habit, but that's going to be YOUR method, your way of doing things. so, dont rely too much on what others are doing and their workflows. sure, it's fine to learn from others, but develop your own style, your own way and the results will be yours, not someone else's

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Old 08-10-2009, 04:46 PM
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Southbay Southbay is offline
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Re: Restoration Workflow

Something a bit out of left field:

A critical aspect of workflow for me is to control my work environment. Specifically the amount, and temperature, of the light in the work area. As well as the brightness of the display.

I'm not talking about display calibration, of which volumes have been written. IMO, just simply getting your workspace into shape for accurate color and luminosity adjustment, is key to any editing/restoration workflow.

As to "should you reduce noise first"? Well, if you read the stuff from Neat Image, for example, they want you to do just that.

Piffle! (A word I thankfully don't use often). Sometimes I do, usually, I don't. I guess like someone suggested already, you build up an arsenal of tools and techniques, and you go at it in a way you feel is most appropriate for each individual image.

I try to have fun with it, and find that mixing things up keeps it entertaining.
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:02 PM
LASV LASV is offline
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Re: Restoration Workflow

Wow! A HUGE thank you to all of you. I have been retouching/restoring photos for a couple of years, but have been insecure with the process. It seems like the more I read/learn, the less I know. I'm going to take what all of you have written to heart; especially the part about developing my own style and technique. I've always thought there was a specific "right" way of retouching photos. You've taken the pressure off and now I can continue to learn (thanks, OlBaldy) and enjoy the process!
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Old 08-12-2009, 12:48 AM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: Restoration Workflow

the means to the end is almost always junior to the end result itself
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