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  • Remove Highlights

    The customer wants the highlights removed. The high grain of the photo makes it very difficult to clone. Plus there isn't much information in the blown out areas. When you start messing with light sources you end up fixing all the lighting aspects. He is happy with the clean up but not the highlights. Someone told him that it would be easy to copy and paste more wall behind the family and clone over the highlights. I just could not do it and acheive a sense of realism.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    more

    here is the overall photo
    Attached Files

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    • #3
      One way:

      Duplicate layer. Use threshold to separate highlight from the rest of the image. Make a selection based on threshold image. Go back to original. Make appropriate adjustments (they'll only affect the highlight areas).
      Learn by teaching
      Take responsibility for learning

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      • #4
        Nik
        This is another thread started with a similar problem. You might want to check that out too.
        DJ

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        • #5
          Threshold and then what?

          "Make a selection based on threshold image. Go back to original. Make appropriate adjustments"

          Using threshold is an easy way to select an area on an image, true, but once you have the selection, what "appropriate adjustments" can be made if there are no pixels to adjust. This image has lost pixel information as a result of a bad photograph. There are no "adjustments" which can be made using Photoshop filters or Image adjustment controls on a pixel-less area.

          The restoration of these blown out areas need to be rendered by an artist, preferably working with a tablet, and then the image would have to have the film grain re-introduced using one or two different filters, but probably both. (Film Grain and Add Noise).

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          • #6
            I agree with you Pocoroba. This image and others like it are almost hopelessly lost. Making the selection via threshold or some other method is quite easy, but if there's nothing there, there's nothing there. The highlight in this picture is outrageous, but the typical viewer wouldn't really notice it because their mind is trained to expect it under the circumstances. So it's really not such a big deal. It's just a bad picture.
            I get these types of pictures sent to me all the time asking for me to fix them. Really blown out pictures are the toughest and I don't think they can be done to most people's satisfaction. It reminds of a time someone sent me a picture of Wonder Woman and I was asked to take her top off... as if I could actually remove her top digitally and viola, there would be naked skin underneath.
            No, I didn't remove her top.

            Mig

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            • #7
              NIK -

              I agree this is a toughie and the quality of the photo doesn't help you at all, but there is more information in that blank area than you might think.

              I've played around with this - very quickly and not very carefully I might quickly point out! - but given a bit more time, I'm sure you could get a respectable result.

              All I did was duplicate the original, and adjust the levels dramatically - when I did this, you could even see something through the window! Then played around with saturation, opacity, erasing, blurring and blending layers over and over again until there was some depth to that blank area.

              Then I just cut out the family (not very well, I now see!) and cloned the background wall behind them, blurred and added film grain.

              I didn't think the lighting aspect was too much of a problem here, as the light source could be from a high window that's out of the shot.

              Good luck!

              Sam
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              • #8
                Sam,
                I tried the same thing you did, by cloning the wall in the back right and putting it over the window, but the lighting didn't make sense to me so I junked it. It's not completely unreasonable though, but not quite natural, at least to my eye.
                The approach to paint in, or copy something from another file and put it in, then reconstruct their faces is a good way to go, something that Pocoroba was getting at. The optimal digital information in the blown out area, however, is this...

                Mig
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                • #9
                  Hmmm - not pretty!!

                  I agree there is not a heap you can do with this sort of photo, but I just thought there was something Nik could do that his client might be happy with, rather than trashing the job altogether.

                  Also, you and I are working on a small 72dpi image, whereas perhaps Nik's version is a much higher res, which would make life a lot easier!

                  Sam

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                  • #10
                    Sam, I think you're on to something. I know there is information loss in the picture, but whatever you did definitely improved the picture. I think we all have to educate clients as to what is and is not possible. Mig mentioned the lighting not seeming natural with just cloning the wall, so I experimented with adding a spotlight coming in from the top left corner. Starting with Sam's version, I selected just the background, copied to its own layer and then added a floodlight. Reduced the opacity of the layer to about 40% & flattened. (Oh, and I fixed that ear a bit. ) It obviously doesn't provide any more information for the blown-out highlights, but it does make the lighting a little more "natural".

                    Just a thought. Yes, it's a bad photo, but I think if we can set client's expectations, we do have the ability to improve photos, and depending on how important a photo is to someone, even a small improvement may be helpful.

                    Jeanie
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                    • #11
                      That's a definite improvement, Jeanie - makes it look as if there is a light source just out of shot.

                      Maybe I've got low standards or something, but I don't think this looks too bad at all.

                      I see that Nik posted this photo some time ago and hasn't returned lately. So I guess we're too late to help him.

                      It was an interesting exercise, though.

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                      • #12
                        Sam, I think your approach is the right way to go with this, removing the background, etc. It occurred to me that by taking it a step further by removing the highlights almost completely it could be made to look fairly decent, so I used your pic and removed the highlights and it looks ok.
                        My personaly beef is when people send me blown out pictures, usually taken outdoors, and the people in the picture are squinting, or there's some other evidence that, if the picture were to be somehow corrected, it wouldn't make sense. There would be something about it that was "off" even if a lay person couldn't quite identify it, they'd still know it was weird-looking.
                        I now realize the pic that Nik put up is fixable, and the strategy you used is the way to go.
                        It is an interesting problem for sure. I see this "what to do about highlights" issue come up a lot in ps newsgroups.

                        Mig
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                        • #13
                          Wow, I think you guys all did a great job with this one and the results speak for themselves. Maybe you could let us all know your step by step processes since I know this one will come up often in our restoration careers.
                          DJ

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                          • #14
                            Incredible results! Looks like the three of you need to go into business together!

                            Ed

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DJ Dubovsky
                              Wow, I think you guys all did a great job with this one and the results speak for themselves. Maybe you could let us all know your step by step processes since I know this one will come up often in our restoration careers.
                              DJ
                              Ageed! I'll put in a second for some details on the processes. Jeaniesa is right on ...and as far as the highlights that remain, it just looks like a studio shot taken with a misdirected 1000W open-faced fresnel intended for a back light that was left with the barn doors open. Not a bit uncommon when spotlights were the "in thing" for "hollywood" effects.

                              Digital retouching is new to us so I would have reverted to the "artist" suggestion and sold the customer on an oil that would end up with very much the same look. An overpainting could be done in less than 30 minutes and I am very interested in the time you allocate to jobs like this using the computer.

                              Jim Conway

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