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ElsievR 05-14-2011 03:44 PM

Need some advice about small cracks on old photo
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Hello everyone

I am new here and hope I am doing things the right way re asking for help and trying to upload my photo.

I need some advice about restoring this photo. I scanned at 300dpi, (but can rescan at a higher resolution again). I work in Photoshop CS2 and have already started on the brown area of the photo using mainly the clone tool.

I would really like to know if there is another way to remove all the tiny cracks especially in the sky area other than using the clone and healing brush, which I normally use.

There is also an area on the trousers of the guy on the right where I think I would have to paint rather than try to clone.

Also, how do I improve the overall colour quality of the photo once all the cracks and dirt have been removed to give this photo that "wow" effect.

This is not the first time that I tried my hand at photo restoring, but I still need a lot of practice and would appreciate any advice as I really love doing this kind of work.

Thank you

Petra Zoe 05-14-2011 05:17 PM

Re: Need some advice about small cracks on old pho
Hi there,

One thing you could do to help with those wee cracks is to use the dust and scratches filter (Filter>Noise>Dust & Scratches) and play with the sliders till the cracks disappear. Then fill the layer mask with black and paint in white - on the mask itself - where the cracks are. You can use a bigger brush to get all the cracks in the sky with just a few quick brush strokes, and then be more careful with a small brush when removing the cracks from areas of the image that have more detail (so that you remove the cracks without losing too much of that detail).

Then simply play with a levels adjustment layer till everything looks great. (If you go too far with the levels adjustments, then just press the alt (PC) or option (Mac) keys to show the reset button at the bottom of the levels window - alt-click or option-click that button - and that will bring you back to the defaults so that you can start over again).

Hope this helps. :)

ElsievR 05-15-2011 12:32 PM

Re: Need some advice about small cracks on old pho
Thank you, Petra Zoe, I am busy now on the photo but as I did not use layer masks a lot, I am struggling a little to understand exactly how painting with white will affect the cracks. However, this is a new thing to learn again, so let me get on with it and I will let you know if I managed to correct the cracks.

Thanks again.

SierraBella 05-15-2011 01:35 PM

Re: Need some advice about small cracks on old pho
Hi I just wanted to say that you are doing great on the photo so far my only advise is really the same as Petra I know I didn't understand masks for a while either, but if you do a search on youtube or google probably even here there are tons of really helpful tutorials out there that cover them. I am telling you they will open up so many doors with retouching and restoring for you! You might also try using the healing brush or patch tool on many of them.

That one is fairly easy to understand. Just try to remember white reveals and black conceals

Another more detailed but helpful vid

ElsievR 05-15-2011 02:20 PM

Re: Need some advice about small cracks on old pho
Hi SierraBella,

Thank you for your input as well as the link to the video. I watched it and it seems so easy! I went through quite a lot of posts and even tutorials here and with some trial and error I am sure I will be able to understand masks soon.

ElsievR 05-16-2011 03:37 PM

Re: Need some advice about small cracks on old pho
2 Attachment(s)
Here is an update on the photo I posted 2 days ago. If somebody can please comment on what I have done since my last post, and give further advice, I would really appreciate it.

I tried my best to work with layer masks like Petra Zoe and SierraBella suggested, but am still not grasping it as I am supposed to do. With the photo covered in so many tiny, tiny cracks, I decided to just clean the sky with the healing brush and clone tool to remove the cracks and dark spots.

I then painted the clothes with different brush settings (opacity and flow), also touched up parts of some of the faces with the healing brush and painted over the hair in some places.

At the moment the whole photo looks a little blurry to me. I applied the dust and scratches filter with a radius of 2 and threshold of 0 before I started with the healing brush.

I am thinking of painting the sky background as well because I don't know if there is anything else I can do to really clean it up.

My apologies if I was supposed to start a new thread for this topic. I am still finding my way around the forum and all of a sudden it seems in Photoshop as well.:blush:

Tony W 05-16-2011 05:34 PM

Re: Need some advice about small cracks on old pho
1 Attachment(s)
Hi ElsieR and welcome to RetouchPro. Do not worry about getting the hang of layer masks it will come with practice. Cleaning the sky with the healing brush and clone tools perfectly ok and in many ways preferable to blurring if the area in general good condition.

I usually find it best to sharpen towards the end of the restoration process, however in this case I think I would have started by sharpening first as I did with this sample (using unsharp mask) knowing that there would be a lot of clean up to do. I did go a little too far with sharpen but just wanted to show you the effect. I also felt that the colour balance a little off and too warm but this is a matter of personal taste. Made no attempt to fix the sky :)

Painting of the clothes is ok. I did it a little differently in that I copied an area of the trousers and moved it down to the blank area and did a little cloning to blend it better - although it does require more work. The advantage is that this way you are keeping the look of grain within the image.

There are so many ways to achieve results that it is only with practice that you will find the best ways to suit you. But keep it up you are doing well

ElsievR 05-17-2011 12:29 AM

Re: Need some advice about small cracks on old pho
Thank you, Tony. The trousers looks so much better now.

I realise now what has been bothering me about this photo after all the painting, the clothes look "flat". They need a little bit of "texture", especially the trousers and the woman's coat.

I still have a few days to change things with this photo, so I will do the copy and paste technique on the trousers and see how it turns out.

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