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A Family Restoration

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  • A Family Restoration

    This photo was recently discovered by my mother, tucked inside an antique silver photo frame behind another photo. It was shot in 1915 and the infant is my grandmother. I am in the process of restoring it to fill a 4x6 print.

    In my opinion the original was in great shape, aside from the the fact that someone did a scissor job on it. I chose to recreate the background, as the original looked poor and the existing drapes were difficult to clone (I wish to give credit for the curtains to RetouchPRO's tutorial, "Doug's technique for creating curtains" submitted by Leah.).

    To extract the people, I hand-painted a mask, then gave the mask a gentle gaussian blur to remove it's sharpness. I had to copy-and-paste Father's left leg to repair his right leg. I then threw in some black at the bottom of the image, rather than attempt to create ankles and feet from scratch. For the backdrop I followed the "curtains" tutorial, but used my own texture. To finish, I removed all color and added sepia with a photo filter adjustment layer. I multiplied Baby's face for more detail, painting it in where needed.

    I didn't mean for this to come off sounding like some sort of cheap tutorial. I'd like your opinions of my procedure, and what you'd recommend. Is this bright enough? Does the backdrop fit? Is there enough sepia, or should I add extra color with doutone? Does Baby's face need more contrast? Thanks.

    Attached Files
    Last edited by Ken Rogers; 06-18-2005, 12:37 AM.

  • #2
    personally, i think you did an excellant job


    • #3
      i think you did an excellent job also.

      my personal tastes would have been to leave the original background. it keeps the character of the picture. i've an old one of my dad taken in a studio. the background is largely blacked out, but what's there is just part of the shot, the time and place of the thing. but that's just a choice thing.



      • #4
        I agree with all the comments Craig has made - I think your curtains look good - and quite realistic, though I personally would probably choose to retain the existing background, but this looks good too.

        One thing I did notice was that the line where you have faded to black at the bottom is noticable - you need to try to make the gradation a bit more subtle I think.

        Have you considered making an oval marque around the picture? There is some foot detail there that you could keep that way, without having to rebuild the rest. I also rather like keeping details like the original photographers stamp - but that's a personal preference as well.

        One slight point on the extraction - you have missed a lock of father's hair - but that may have been intentional - it looks fine without it.

        The baby does still seems a little blown out - in the attached I duplicated him, set to multiply, at about 60% opacity, and desaturated. I was a bit rough with my selection - so it could be done better...
        Attached Files
        Last edited by Caitlin; 06-18-2005, 01:50 AM. Reason: Fixed typos!


        • #5
          Hi Ken,

          Nice work. Personally, like Craig, I'd have kept the original background.

          However, thats a judgement call, and it would be boring if we all did things the same.

          But I think the new background looks a little too clean in comparison to the figures. Perhaps a little de-saturation, and a very small amount of blurring would marry the two together better.


          • #6
            Ken, a very nice job

            [nit-packing mode]


            - As the curtains are not burred we can oly assume that they are close behind the group. As such, you should have some sort of shadow on the curtains.
            The mother casts quite a shadow on the standing young boy, and also the sitting boy casts a shadow on the father - so it's it follows that the group should also cast a reasonable shadow;

            - There seems to be a lack of balance between burring and sharpening - although this is already present in the original. Some parts, like the sitting boy's collar, are crispy clear, while others, like the standing boy's face, are blurred. Looks odd.

            [/nit-packing mode]


            • #7
              Rô, Rô, Rô - just wanted to show off my Brazillian ô. Finally figured out how to do it.

              Aren't you proud???


              • #8
                Originally posted by kiska
                Rô, Rô, Rô - just wanted to show off my Brazillian ô. Finally figured out how to do it.

                Aren't you proud???
                Very Good!! Please tell, please!!

                Some people have asked me how to do it, and I haven't a clue - here it's all set up for this.
                Guess now I'll have to make it more about Ró, Rò or Rö - ain't portuguese fun!!


                • #9
                  On windows, US keyboard: Alt+0244

                  On mac : opt+i, then o

                  ó ö õ

                  Rô, go to the link below. 'How to use'>All Platforms. It'll give you a pdf chart for characters.

                  Purchase downloadable Adobe Type fonts for commercial use from best online collection. Try fonts from selection of high quality & professional desktop and web fonts.
                  Last edited by kiska; 06-18-2005, 04:52 PM.


                  • #10
                    I am in agreement with everyone. It's not really a "restoration" if I replace the entire background. I hadn't realised how cool the photographer's stamp looks.

                    I spent an hour removing the dust and scratches, sharpened the faces, multiplied Baby's face (60% worked well), desaturated the entire image and added a sepia affect with the "Photo Filter" adjustment layer. Three of the faces are beautifully sharp, but one is blurred and Baby's still looks blown out. I'm not really sure how much more I can do for them.

                    I would love to somehow restore the photographer's stamp, which reads, "Westgrove Studios, 212 High Road, Wood-- (something)" If I could figure out the town's name (somewhere in England) I could probably find a near-matching font and use some layer effects to get the "stamp" look. Lastly, I need to move the oval marque over to the left a bit (although there's no photo detail left of Dad's elbow.). I've done enough for tonight.

                    Thanks for your opinions, please feel free to critique a little more.

                    Attached Files


                    • #11
                      I Googled the street address and found a few links that mention 212 High Road, Woodford Green, Essex IG8 9HH. Could this be the place? I'm fairly certain my Grandmother was born in or near London.


                      • #12
                        i definitely like this better this way. the background is now more in character with the rest of the shot.

                        for fixing the baby brightness and 'blown out' bits, try a hide all mask across the photo, then unmask the parts you want to change. use 'curves' to alter the brightness ratios, a bit of sharpening on the baby's face, and just a tiny touch of edge preserving smooth the get rid of the resulting noise.

                        as for the studio mark, i'd have to see the original to see if anything could be brought back. currently, your marquee is hiding parts of it. and rather than move the marque, i'd try a smaller one. if you move the current one, it's going to look off-center. you could also just make your own to fit.



                        • #13
                          Thanks for the tips!



                          • #14

                            I'm pretty sure its not Woodford Green. Looking at the original you posted, the word Wood is complete. There is another letter after it, but it is distinctly part of another word.

                            Woodford is one word, so there would be no seperation between the end of Wood and the next letter.

                            However, Woodford may be a modern spelling, it is always possible it used to be spelled Wood Ford, you really need someone in the London area to tell you if this is the case.

                            Tried doing a Google on Westgrove Studios, using only UK sites gave no hits at all, so it seems to be a discontinued operation.

                            212 High Road won't help you much. High Road and High Street are probably the most used addresses in Britain, just about every town and village has one.

                            Just had a look in my Ordnance Survey maps for Britain, it has the best list of town names for Britain, and if as you say your gran comes from the SE, then the following towns are twin worded, starting with Wood.

                            Wood End, Hertfordshire.
                            Wood Green, Greater London.
                            Wood Street, Surrey.

                            There are a great many more where the words are not seperated.
                            Last edited by Gary Richardson; 06-19-2005, 02:31 AM.


                            • #15
                              Wow, you did your homework. I don't think I'll do anything with the stamp, but it would be great to find out where it was taken.

                              I believe I've finished the restoration. I created seperate masks for sharpening and blurring, using the Edge Finder filter to concentrate the sharpening and blurring to the correct areas. I'll send this off to the print lab tomorrow. (Unless anyone has any last minute suggestions ... speak now or forever hold your peace! ) Thanks again to everyone.

                              Attached Files
                              Last edited by Ken Rogers; 06-19-2005, 04:46 PM.


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