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Photo Retouch Advice

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  #1  
Old 10-18-2006, 07:13 PM
mtbowen mtbowen is offline
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Photo Retouch Advice

Hi,
I volunteered to try and retouch an old photo of my mother-in-law and her late husband. I have taken a few scans of the photo and keep getting these odd "blotches" throughout the image. I took a really close look at the photo itself and I believe I can see that there is something on the print itself, though barely visible until scanned. If you look at the photos below, the ones that I allowed the scanner to "auto everything" make the blemishes much more noticeable.

If you split the color channels, you'll see that the blemishes are almost entirely from the blue channel (where most noise seems to come from in my very limited experience). I also notice that there is a yellowish tinge around the whole photo from the frame it was kept in. I'm not sure how hard it would be to correct that or if I should just crop it out.

The images below are TIFs, let me know if I should use another file type when posting.

Large - Auto Scanner ~13MB

Small clip - Auto Scanner ~47K

Large - Default Scanner ~11MB

Small clip - Default Scanner ~41K

I have Jasc Paint Shop Pro 9 and Corel PSP X as well as Adobe photoshop Elements 3.0. My scanner is an Epson 1200U Photo.

My questions are basically:

1) How would you tackle getting rid of those odd blemishes?

2) Are there any specific techniques or tools available to me considering the software and hardware mentioned above that you would recommend I look into?

3) How would you deal with the yellowish border caused by the frame?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I am reading through as many tutorials and posts as I can. In the meantime, I hoped that I might get some tips from the experts here on how to best approach this project.

Thanks,
Mike

Last edited by mtbowen; 10-18-2006 at 07:15 PM. Reason: Spell check
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Old 10-18-2006, 08:20 PM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: Photo Retouch Advice

Mike, Welcome to Retouch Pro. I only use Photoshop but I can describe the process and perhaps you can find equivalent tools in Corel or JASC or perhaps other forum members who use these tools can help.
You are correct - the damage is essentially in the blue channel resulting in the yellow spots. The spots were accentuated by the Auto settings of the scanner because it essentially increased the contrast. So here is what I did:

Level adjusted each channel boosting the contrast and therefore rebuilding some density in the image and restoring some of the original colors which were washed out. I then converted the image to LAB color, where there were no spots in the Luminosity channel (very good news!). All that was required was to blur the A and B channels and all of the spots were gone. That left two slightly yellow bars one on each side of the image. A tweaked lockdown curve on the B channel got rid of those immediately. This whole process took less than 5 minutes.

Next I brought the image back to RGB and applied a very mild noise reduction to smooth out the luminance noise. I also did a Hue/Saturation adjustment to the couple's faces as they were too magenta.

I stopped here, but if I were to continue I would touch up areas like the grass which is not green enough for me and I would put somegreen back in the tree leaves.

I am sure you can achieve as good and better results with the tools you have.
Regards, Murray
Attached Images
File Type: jpg MTBOWEN Rev MM LoRes.jpg (91.3 KB, 125 views)
File Type: jpg MTBOWEN Default.jpg (94.6 KB, 94 views)

Last edited by mistermonday; 10-18-2006 at 08:38 PM.
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  #3  
Old 10-18-2006, 08:56 PM
mtbowen mtbowen is offline
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Re: Photo Retouch Advice

Murray,
Thank you very much for time and your advice. I will try to duplicate what you described below and see if I can duplicate your excellent results. I've not done this before and don't normally work with these particular tools in PSP, so there will be some trial and error on my part.

I really appreciate your help,
Mike
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Old 12-16-2006, 02:39 PM
mtbowen mtbowen is offline
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Re: Photo Retouch Advice

UPDATE: Since posting the below, I've continued playing with the blur and it appears that I may have just not been aggressive enough. I have some more to play with, but I think I may be getting close to something usable. I will post an image later tonight (I hope).

Murray,
I stepped away from this project for a bit and am just now getting back to it. I have read and re-read your tips and tried to apply them in the tools I have. I actually downloaded the GIMP in hopes that I could get to the LAB color conversion you talked about to get rid of the spots, but I am having trouble with it. Could I bother you for a little more detail on this particular step?

Thanks,
Mike

Last edited by mtbowen; 12-16-2006 at 03:23 PM. Reason: To get more specific with my question
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Old 12-16-2006, 03:54 PM
mtbowen mtbowen is offline
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Re: Photo Retouch Advice

Ok,
I think I may have the spots taken care of. Now I am just struggling with the contrast, colors, and the yellowish borders.

In your post, it seemed that you adjusted the curves to remove the yellowish borders while you were in LAB mode. In GIMP, as far as I can tell, there is no way to see a preview of what the curve change will look like once the image is recombined to RGB. Curves are new to me, and this added handicap isn't helping. I'll keep playing with it though.

Here is what I have so far. I cropped the yellow borders off, but you should be able to see that the spots are mostly gone. I'm not happy with the image yet, but I think I am making progress.

As always, any comments are appreciated.

Mike
Attached Images
File Type: jpg lab-compose.jpg (57.8 KB, 55 views)
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  #6  
Old 12-16-2006, 04:30 PM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: Photo Retouch Advice

Hi Mike. I will provide additional info on the retouching I did.
1. In RGB I added a Levels adjustment layer, selected each channel and compressed the curve see examples attached below (2 of the 3 channels).
2. I took the image into LAB and applied a Gaussian Blur of 2 pixels to the A channel and 4 pixels to the B channel. This got rid of all the yellow dots. BTW, in PS, you can preview the results but it isn't necessary. The goal is to look at the grayscale channels A and B and blur them just enough so that the spots in the grayscale channel are no longer clearly defined.
3. There still was a yellow border around the image likely resulting from the frame the photo was stored in. In LAB, the yellow color is represented bythe top half of the B curve. I grounded that part of the curve as you can see in the 3rd attachment. LAB curves work very differently from RGB curves and can be very confusing if you are not familiar with curves and the LAB color space. You might want to try a Selective Color Adj layer in RGB and reduce the Yellow in the Red,Yellow, and Green channels.
4. With the yellow border gone, I converted the image back to RGB, then applied a selective color adj layer. I selected the red channel and dragged the Yellow slider all the way to the right. This moved the skin color from magenta toward normal. You can also use a Hue / Saturation command to get the same result (attachment 4).
Regards, Murray
Attached Images
File Type: jpg MTBowen Snap1 Red.jpg (68.8 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg MTBowen Snap2 Green.jpg (69.0 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg MTBowen Snap4.jpg (74.4 KB, 26 views)
File Type: jpg MTBOWEN MM Rev2.jpg (80.1 KB, 31 views)
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  #7  
Old 12-17-2006, 05:43 AM
Cassidy Cassidy is offline
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Re: Photo Retouch Advice

I started off similarly to Murray, but using your 'corrected copy' adjusted the levels on all three channels individually and did not change the levels on the master.
2. Took a sample of the discolour from the whiteish frame area and filled a new layer with the colour sampled. Inverted the colour and then using a mask and a soft low opacity brush, reduced/removed the yellow border both inside the print area and the frame.
3. Using a selective colour, I reduced the magenta in the magenta and red ranges.
4. Did a final levels on the master RGB
Attached Images
File Type: jpg large_corrected-copy.jpg (69.2 KB, 43 views)
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  #8  
Old 12-17-2006, 09:43 AM
mtbowen mtbowen is offline
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Re: Photo Retouch Advice

Cassidy,
Thanks for your tips. If this process has taught me anything about retouching is that there are several ways to aproach a particular problem and that different methods work better on different images.

I feel I am getting close, but I think I have too much contrast in the image at the momement and the colors are not quite right. Maybe too magenta as Murray suggested, but the sky isn't right either so I am not sure. I will continue playing with it today and probably get some prints made to see how they turn out.

I've still got a couple of days so I'm in good shape (I hope), but I sure would like to put this one to bed today if possible,

Thanks again for your advice.

Mike
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  #9  
Old 12-17-2006, 09:46 AM
Cassidy Cassidy is offline
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Re: Photo Retouch Advice

Thankfully I can always relay upon "there is always more than one way to skin a cat"....my image is 'cool' but the photofilter of orange does add more depth

Last edited by Cassidy; 12-17-2006 at 09:56 AM.
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  #10  
Old 12-17-2006, 11:49 AM
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chillin chillin is offline
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Re: Photo Retouch Advice

I find very useful a PictoColor’s plug in “iCorrect”
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File Type: jpg large_corrected3A.jpg (93.8 KB, 31 views)
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