|Photo Restoration Repairing damaged photos|
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How do you go about doing a restoration start to finish?
Do you start on the image as a whole and work on it that way?
Maybe if we could come up with a way to explain to a customer what steps are involved, they wouldn't complain about the costs.
I don't do much restoration, but every image and situation is different. You may think you will use 'stock correction method A' to fix the problem when you first see the file, but after 10 min you give in then move on to 'method B', then 'C' etc `til you nail it.
As for the client - just tell them it's like doing a jigsaw puzzle with half the pieces missing...that's why it takes so long/costs what it does. <g>
Stephen is right. Each one is unique, and it's a good idea to study the restoration, so a plan can be made as to the best way to handle the job at hand. Initially, look at the job as a whole, then work on certain trouble areas until the job is complete.
These are the retouching steps when talking to the customer, if they ask - which they usually don't, they usually just want to know the cost, how good it will be when done and if we are the ones they should trust to do it.
2) Optimize image (Color balance, contrast, tone, lighten / darken), overall and seperate sections as needed.
3) Art work (yes, we call it art work - that alone establishes value)
4) Test print
5) Simmer time and tweaking to perfection
6) Final printing
That is what we explain to a customer, in real life it is similar with these changes; First we look at the biggest over-all problems, if it is a stain we work on the stain, or if the image is really blurry we will play with sharpening, if it is off color, or light / dark ... etc. Always we do first what will make other stuff easier to see and do, from the overall to the detail, I would do overall color / density / contrast correction before detail. As another example I would fix the skin around the eye and make sure I havn't changed the shape of the face before I would work on the eye lid, etc. And of course it is sometimes determined by what we just feel we want to work on next.
On difficult restorations, as a part of optimization, we first look at the different Channels and Channels in the different modes, we play around a little to see where we might have the most image info and least damage
Then the rest of the detail, clean-up, final color / tone / contrast adjustments, pretty much keep at it until there are no more problems. Last is sizing / cropping, sharpening and printing.
At the beginning we do sometimes spend some time just brain-storming / playing (whatever we can think of to do that might possibly help, a kind of continious learning of Photoshop and a learning of the image) - all in areas that have an overall effect, like using a channel from one mode with apply image into a layer or channel with different blending modes with another channel or selection as a mask ... we have been known to go a little crazy with only a clue as to what we are doing ... like flipping the a/b channel in lab and using it as a mask (it's OK - it's play time) ... etc.
In terms of customer's complaining about the cost, , I spend enough time talking about the different areas of damage, with a loupe in my hands and then in thier hands (like the long winded dialogue of this post) that it is normally not a problem - it is just whether or not it is worth the money - and I always pro-activly offer the less expensive ways of doing things also (with the trade-ooffs) so that they know that I am assisting them in whatever they want instead of trying to sell them ...
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