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Novice at Restoration - Comments on an Early Effort?

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  • Novice at Restoration - Comments on an Early Effort?

    Hello all,

    The photo at (205KB, 870x600 px) shows my efforts of editing an old family photo in an attemtpt to clean up flaws in the image and give it a bit of more contrast snap; the original is on the left, the edited version on the right. While I feel I've done relatively well, I'm sure the image could be further improved upon if I knew the best techniques to apply (I'll be studying Katrin Eismann's "Photoshop Restoration & Retouching" some over the holidays).

    The original image I used was scanned at 720ppi from a 3.5x5-inch photo, which I'm guessing may have even been a duplicate itself of the true original photo, as the blemishes in the image were not all evident in the emulsion of the photo I worked from. My edits consisted of cleanup of dust specks and other larger blemishes, boosting contrast some via levels adjustment, trying to remove some of the texture of the photo paper via a light gaussian blur, sharpening the image a bit overall, and ultimately applying a subtle sepia tint (not shown in the image here). I wanted to brighten up the woman's dress without totatlly blowing out the few details in it and wasn't sure how best to achieve that; ultimately I simply used the dodge tool in conjunction with my pen tablet, the pressure dynamics allowing me to basically "feather-dust" the image, applying gradual brightness changes in a random pattern of brush strokes that weren't as obvious.

    As I say, I'm pretty pleased with the result, given the limited detail in the original image. However, boosting the contrast and applying some sharpening did seem to diminish any sense of smoothness in the skin tones and I'm curious as to the opinions of others on the result I obtained. Also, can you suggest any way to further improve the appearance of the skin? It seemed to me that most any approach seemed to risk increasing the noise present in the image such that there was a very limited degree of improvement that might be realized here. I'd liked to have brought out more detail in the faces, but there simply was little to work with...zooming into the image showed me that the texture in the paper was dominating over the actual image detail, so I avoided doing anything that would exaggerate the texture.

    Thanks in advance for any feedback.


  • #2
    Hi Daryl

    Nice work for your first restoration. You didn't overdo or force anything which I like. Whenever I see texture in paper, I usually run Neat Image software. More often than not I get good results and makes the rest of the restoration much easier. There can be a bit of loss in detail that can be brought back with a soft black brush at low opacity. If you want to try it Neat Image has a demo at their website.



    • #3
      You did a good job Daryl. I agree with Duv about using the
      Neat Image software.If you do a search on this site you'll find
      the free demo download.I passed your retouched image through it and found I had to tweak the settings a little bit.Those are the
      little bars on the right hand side of it.
      Your photo contains what they call noise and Neat Image
      takes the noise out of it. I have placed an example here.

      Also a real amateur,

      Attached Files


      • #4
        Duv and Joseph,

        Thanks for the recommendations on Neat Image. I'll definitely explore it further. $75 for the Pro+ version sounds reasonable enough. Another person e-mailed me directly with the Neat Image-processed variation of my original photo. Between that and the image that Joseph created from my edited photo, I do see some real possibilities for improving the image. Both images looked almost too smooth but not bad for having been applied upon a low-res JPEG. If I work on the original scan, I'd hope that better results would be obtained. I also see from these images where some of my own edits actually created even more noise than I was aware of...such as on the tip of the man's shoe where I wasn't careful enough in painting out a white reflection.

        Thanks again,



        • #5
          Based upon recommendations here and in the PS U2U forum, I guess I'll eventually be trying to learn how to use Neat Image, as I decided to order the Pro+ version. For now, I'm leaving the prior image alone since I'm certain my parents will be thrilled just to get what I've completed thus far.

          Meanwhile, here is another restoration I've completed at , where the 2x3-inch glossy photo had better detail but much more physical damage insofar as tears, cracks, and scratches in the emulsion. I didn't try to clean up the smallest scratches since they weren't too obvious in a 5x7-inch print that I made. Again, the overall photo is much improved, but not perfect. In removing the tail end of a dog from the photo at lower left, I had to paint in a hoof for the horse; I simply cloned the other visible hoof and blended it into the image. The orientation isn't quite what I think to be accurate but isn't likely to be given much notice.



          • #6
            You did a real nice job with this photo Daryl.What really
            interests me is how you were able to make the image
            much sharper than the original.Did you use a program to
            do that or did you tweak it in PS?
            As for the orientation of the hoof.It looks to be alright in my
            book but I guess if you wanted to you could play around with
            the transform tool to make it just so.I wouldn't do it with this
            project because I feel it looks fine.



            • #7
              Hi Joseph,

              Thanks for the compliments. In my example photos, I don't perceive as much a difference in sharpness as you seem to, but perhaps you've got a better eye for seeing that than I do. Either that, or I've just been looking at the image too long! HA!

              I didn't really do that much different from the approach most folks might take in kicking up the sharpness a notch...Just an application of the unsharp masking in Photoshop plus a tweaking of the levels for more contrast snap. Apart from that, perhaps some of the areas where I had to clone or heal in data resulting in replacing sharper data for more blurry data. The biggest chore in this photo as compared to the prior one was cleaning up the major scratches and tears. Meanwhile, the earlier photo was a challenge from the overall lack of detail and poor image quality.



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