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Photo Restoration Repairing damaged photos

Rare photo of my mother - Mid 1920s; Impossible?

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  #1  
Old 03-25-2012, 07:52 PM
marliz marliz is offline
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Rare photo of my mother - Mid 1920s; Impossible?

I scanned this in grayscale at 600 pixels/inch Resolution, 8 bits, almost 6 X 9 size. It was scanned about fifteen years ago and I've lost the original. I don't know if scanning at 16 bit in RBG at a higher resolution would have helped, but it is too late now.

I've tried "equalize," "Levels", "Curves"; set a duplicate layer to blend mode "overlay,"and can't seem to get a contrast I like. Haven't even started to work on the layer of dust. I have a copy of an attempt I made several years ago and no longer remember what I did. The features came out better but there was an impossible amount of halos around the figures. It is a throw away.

I know the original scan can be improved but am not sure what to do after increasing the contrast with the steps I mentioned above. I can't seem to get enough contrast. I'm rusty when it comes to using curves so maybe that is the problem. The histogram in Photoshop doesn't look too terrible other than some loss of detail in the black areas.

Dust and Scratches makes it too blurry before it does much good. It will be difficult to find unspotted areas to use as a start with the spot healing brush, but I must have used the healing brush on it in an earlier version of Photoshop. It would help if I could remove the smaller dust and use the spot healing and healing brush on the rest. I vaguely remember a tutorial about using dust and scratches on a layer and the history brush set to light or dark, but can't find it now. Also I wonder if the old Polaroid Dust & Scratches filter would work with Windows 7 Pro and Photoshop 5? Many of my old plugins don't work.

I downsized it with Perfect Resize 7 to fit the forum requirements and uploaded a large size on my webspace. I also uploaded the old retouch so you can see what I mean by it being a loss. If I could remember what I did you may have been able to redirect me, but it does show that the features can be improved some. If only I could remember how I got that far.

I will need to do some major restoration work on the mouth/ nose of my mother's little sister. I'm hoping for advice on improving the contrast. I didn't upload what I did recently because it is only slightly improved, not what I want. Also I need somehow to get rid of as much dust as possible without losing the features. What workflow would you suggest: start with improving the contrast and then move to the dust? I am willing to take the time necessary to do the best restoration possible.

I would love to see any work you might like to try on the large file but also want to try the steps you took, not just enjoy your work. I've done some restoration, even a badly chewed up (puppy got it) for a friend. But this is an example of one of the worst in my collection. And it's been a few years since I've done much in Photoshop, though I do have version 5. If anyone wants to download the large file, please tell me how to make that possible.

Hope I haven't made this post too long. I guess in a word: "Help!" All advice appreciated.

Server link for larger file: http://webpages.charter.net/33bells/...TORE-large.jpg

Server link for old retouch: http://webpages.charter.net/33bells/...OldRetouch.jpg
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Old 03-25-2012, 11:11 PM
Lou R Lou R is offline
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Re: Rare photo of my mother - Mid 1920s; Impossibl

This would take some time. You should treat each section (each face, the coat, etc) on a separate layer and try to enhance each feature, ie; left eye, then right, etc. until a section looks ok. The OldRetouch really is poor in many respects, but the faces themselves look good. There is something you could try so that you get what was done just to their faces back onto the original scan. Simply use the lasso tool feathered at about a 10px, select each face within the hair lines and copy then paste them on the scan. Those edges, though, are terrible, dude!!! Feathering the lasso will keep that from happening. It's worth a shot....
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Old 03-26-2012, 02:45 AM
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dataflow dataflow is offline
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Re: Rare photo of my mother - Mid 1920s; Impossibl

here my result.
http://3ddataflow.com.au/stuff/7wcx89zx-better.jpg

could improve on it by remove the black dots
what i did was first bring some detail back with highpass filter on a duplicate layer and merges to the original image with blend of "Softlight" (leave a layer with the original image)
then G-blurred the merged highpass layer and merged it to the original use blend of "darken" at about 60% opacity.
scanned in color would make it easier like you said
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:59 PM
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philbach philbach is offline
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Re: Rare photo of my mother - Mid 1920s; Impossibl

Well like others have mentioned I set up several adjustment layers and using curves corrected the luminosity on various parts of the photo using layer masks. Also copying a layer and using overlay blending mode to increase the contrast.

Then blurring using neat image.

There is a whole lot more that could be done.
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Old 03-26-2012, 03:17 PM
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Cupcake Cupcake is offline
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Re: Rare photo of my mother - Mid 1920s; Impossibl

Here is another try.
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Last edited by Cupcake; 03-27-2012 at 07:17 AM.
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Old 03-26-2012, 03:56 PM
marliz marliz is offline
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Smile Re: Rare photo of my mother - Mid 1920s; Impossibl

First chance to get online. Thank you for the responses!

Lou R, I like the idea of separate layers, I often do that, but in this case may need more than usual. I think I remember what I did to get the old retouch faces at least close to what is there. I selected them and used curves on each face. Hopefully I've learned more about selections since then! It's also an idea to maybe use the face off the bad retouch. Especially on my mom's sister since I must have spent a lot of time on the blotchy nose/mouth.

dataflow, Thank you for taking a stab at it. It did remove a lot of the dust and would make it easier to work on the rest. Thanks for the idea of the highpass filter and detailed tips.

philbach, It sounds as though you have done what I was trying to do, only better, I'm sure. I really need to practice using curves again.

Cupcake, thank you so much for taking the trouble to work on this. I think I'm finding from what you and other's have done that it would take a miracle to get the contrast where I like. I don't want to start working on the messy surface until I find some way to do that.

I spent most of today working on some other, easier, old photos to boost my enthusiasm. When I tackle this photo again, trying some of your ideas, if I get the contrast better (the onOne plugins may help, though I tried a few without success), I'll come back and post it.

Thank you for all your work!
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Old 03-27-2012, 02:40 AM
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dataflow dataflow is offline
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Re: Rare photo of my mother - Mid 1920s; Impossibl

some talented people would just paint the image in photoshop.
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:55 AM
marliz marliz is offline
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Re: Rare photo of my mother - Mid 1920s; Impossibl

Don't I wish I were talented! I have Corel Painter and haven't figured out how to use auto clone yet. Mostly a matter of so many things to do and so little time.
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Old 04-20-2012, 11:49 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: Rare photo of my mother - Mid 1920s; Impossibl

i played with this one a bit. i really only worked on the old guy's face. this was a lot of clone, push, airbrush, erase, blend modes and one or two contrast/brightness layers.

basically, this is mostly hand work. i know of no auto-correct procedure or program that will take the place of good old hand work on pics like this.

i'm not really bothering to put the order i did things in or how much of this or that. these are always one of kind workflows. each image is different. each image demands its own path. the bottom line is learn your tools and you wont need a procedural path. you just pick the tool that's right for where you are and what you are doing.

and by the way, i'm not claiming this is perfect. it's not. i got it this far to show an improvement.
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Old 04-21-2012, 04:06 PM
marliz marliz is offline
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Re: Rare photo of my mother - Mid 1920s; Impossibl

Kraellin, what a neat surprise. I didn't think there would be any more tries on this photo. Even though I've worked with Photoshop for quite awhile, I still haven't begun to dig into all it can do. What did you mean by "push?" Is that the smudge tool?

You have certainly improved the "dust" without losing as much skin texture as I lost when trying to work in this photo recently. I think the eyes will be the most difficult. He seems to have a twinkle in them that I always hoped to capture. But maybe that is my imagination and seeing what I would like to be there.

I never met my great grandfather. I have another photo of him and when I have time (actually I just thought of it - can't believe I didn't before) I could use that one to study when I worked on his face more. Maybe I could use some of the texture of his face from the better photo.

I have no other photo of my mother at this age, unfortunately. But there is one of her when she is a few years older and maybe I could use some of the texture from that one. I need to check it out since I haven't looked at it for awhile.

I agree that when you are doing so many steps and moving back and forth it would be a major job to keep track of it all.

Thank you so much for working on this! I can use it as a start, or can load it to study while I work on the photo.
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