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  • Just joined up

    Hello to everyone; I have been a hobbyist with intermediate-level skills in retouching for about 2 years now. I discovered this website when I came across a description of it in my copy of PSE 11 "missing manual". Wish I'd noticed that short blurb back when I first bought the book. I hope to discover and learn a lot here, since retouching old pictures is what I like most of all in working with Photoshop. I get my photos from the Library of Congress, downloading a 12-to-20 megabyte TIFF to work on. Many of them are at least 80 years old, though I have some from the Civil War and a larger number dating from the turn of the 19th century. I love the grand old architecture from that period, and steam locomotives, etc. I'm sure all here know what kind of shape these photos are in to start with. I'm especially interested in how folks here deal with the scratches, stains, fingerprints, cracked emulsion, etc., that have all but obliterated a hundred-year-old photo.

  • #2
    Re: Just joined up

    Welcome! Your historical project sounds interesting, please post some of your work.

    Back in the late '90s I was actually allowed in to the Tennessee State Archives with my camera and lights to copy any of their historical photos I wished. These and many others are also online now (but smaller, of course).

    A quick and simple answer to your question (IMO) is to make good use of the Healing Brush in Photoshop. It gets rid of spots, cracks, stains, etc. I tend to use it in Content Aware mode, adjusting the brush size with the [bracket] keys.

    For fixing long straight lines, make your first click, then hold Shift and make the last click on the opposite end of the line. Everything in between will be treated.
    Last edited by plugsnpixels; 07-20-2014, 12:15 AM.


    • #3
      Re: Just joined up

      Thanks! I'll put something into the gallery. I hope that there is no objection to my placing a modern edge on these old photos, i.e., once I've removed the myriad blemishes and defects, I sometimes work in a PS filter that I think might fit. To an archivist or purist this might be a kind of sacrilege, something I didn't think of before joining this group and perhaps should have. I don't try to turn them into a comic or pop art or anything like that. I guess I'll just post some of them and see what people think.
      As for your suggestions, I do in fact use all the healing brushes and the clone stamp, also the patch tool for large areas (I have CS2 in addition to PSE 11). I'm intrigued by your reference to fixing long straight lines and will use it the next time I have occasion to.


      • #4
        Re: Just joined up

        Looking forward to seeing your work! And don't be shy about reinterpreting the past, it's art!


        • #5
          Re: Just joined up

          There are 2 photos in the gallery..


          • #6
            Re: Just joined up

            Those are cool! Would be interesting to see the unretouched originals so we could better appreciate your efforts.


            • #7
              Re: Just joined up

              In the case of the 2 already in the gallery (and several more I finished over the past year or so) that will be a problem, as I'll explain: The originals I get from the LOC are pretty big files, never less than 12meg and sometimes as much as double that. I have an adequately sized drive but I was mostly thinking about scratch disk space rather than storage. My usual course of action is to do the restoration in PS with the very first step being to duplicate the original and then click the eye icon on the background, all in case I ever have to start over. But once the job is done and I'm satisfied with the result, I just delete the original since it's just a huge file containing a badly flawed picture that I have no wish to work over a second time (once was plenty). That being said, I'll look thru all my stuff, including cd's dvd's, flash drives, anything I might have copied my stuff to, and see if I have anything I can display in a before/after format. I do in fact have one such item I'm rather proud of, that I did for my brother-in-law whose good friend recently passed; it was one of those studio portraits where they have tons of props so you look just about any part you want to play. It was in pretty awful shape but I ended up with a nice restoration that Snapfish printed out as a 12 x 18 poster. When I get permission, I'll post that since I do have the before & after materials.


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