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Request critique of restoration

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  • Request critique of restoration

    I am so impressed by the members here. You are so helpful and knowledgable... I have picked up a lot by lurking ... so I thought I'd put it to the test.

    This picture is on a porcelain substrate about 3mm thick. The surface is peeling badly in some areas, and some places the image material has flaked off completely. The picture was made about 1910.

    I scanned the picture, and using PS5.5 restored it as best I could. This is not my first restoration, nor the one starting in the worst shape, but, this is the first one I've shown outside of family. I'd like to get your opinions on the restoration.

    Is the paint>blur>add noise area below the actual picture area too obvious? Did I miss anything (I've stared at it so long I don't know what is real and what I've pictured in my mind should be there...). Was colorizing the eyes too much?

    Attached Files

  • #2
    And the final version....
    Attached Files


    • #3
      What a lovely picture!

      Its obvious you've put a great deal of effort into the restoration and its also obvious that its paid off! I find no fault with it at all. You've kept it nice and subtle, which is in my opinion, just what this image required. I love the light powder blue you chose for the eyes. I think the eyes really make the image. Definitely I would not change them.

      Maybe some others can spot something I'm not seeing, but, again, I personally find no fault.


      • #4
        You did a wonderful job. The only thing I didn't like was the black, oval frame.



        • #5
          I think you've done a great job on this one. IMHO, Tim hit it right on the head when he said the eyes make it. Personally, I like the black frame, but I think the hair seems a little saturated in comparison with the rest of the photo. Just my opinion on it. She was really a pretty little girl.



          • #6
            I like the colors, but I think that the dress and her skin is too flat. It is hard to tell with a low rez scan, and I would like to see the orginal in person, but to me the dress contrast does not match up to the contrast of the color that was added.
            Isn't it nice to know that we all see things the same way ?


            • #7
              I think it looks nice, but I also see what Mike is saying. I think the cause may be that the color you added is too bright. Insead of using "color" mode to paint the color on, why not try a low opacity (26)setting of "multiply"? I know it sounds wrong, but try it.


              • #8
                Thank you so much Tim, Sharon, Ed and Mike for your comments.

                Tim, I like the eyes myself, but they weren't in the original and I just wasn't sure it was the right thing to do...

                Sharon, the black frame may have been too easy a way out. I may try a frame copied from one of my Ambrotypes...

                Ed, I want to look at the final image again on a calibrated monitor (not the ones here at work), but I think you may be right about the hair. I did boost the saturation a bit after color correcting, but I was basing the overall correction on the lips. I probably should have split the colors to different layers and done each separately.

                Mike, I agree that the dress and skin are rather flat, but that is the way they are in the original. The original has tonalities much like an albumin on glass plate; very flat and gray with no white at all. I am afraid that if I gave her too much snap she would begin to look too modern.

                Thank you all again for your comments, it is very helpful to see what other people think. I'd like to put in a thanks to Tim Edwards for the De-Crack action that saved me hours of cloning. The surface had hundreds of tiny dark threads (mold possibly) that would have taken forever to remove individually...



                • #9
                  My first thought was the same as Hankster65's "What a beautiful picture" She is just gorgeous. I actually like the way you brought out her eyes. I have no problem with your restoration at all. As a matter of fact I am glad you were able to keep the antique look to it.

                  As for the original, you should see what the best option is to at least minimize any further deterioration. It's definately a keepsake worth saving. Can you tell us anything about her?


                  • #10
                    Beautiful image, beautiful girl!

                    My thoughts are that there is more cyan in the skin tones than I prefer, and that the hair is "too orange" - BUT, as you have stated, you are trying to keep the tone of the original, which you have succeeded in doing. Do you know the accurate hair color for this little charmer -- is the unretouched photo accurate, or have the colors shifted over time? Your enhancement of the eyes is a wonderful choice, I believe, and well worth keeping.

                    Other than the colors, which is subjective, I believe that you have restored the destroyed areas of the image extremely well -- the lace would have been the most frustrating for me, and you did an excellent job.


                    • #11
                      You may be right about the hair, CJ. I am a redhead who is old enough to have some of my childhood pictures in black and white. Red hair has a different look in black and white than blond or light brown and I would have guessed this girls hair to be blond. I like the skin color - it gives this picture a porcelain look.



                      • #12
                        I think you did a fabulous job.

                        One thing: If you look at the hairline on the forehead, it looks like the "blonde" didn't quite make it down all the way - I've circled it in the attached clip (which I forgot to attach, and the forum editing software doesn't seem to want to let me attach now - see next message).

                        Pretty minor issue, though.

                        I have to say, what a strikingly beautiful image you have there.


                        • #13
                          Here's the area I was talking about:
                          Attached Files


                          • #14
                            I think you did a superb job at restoring and still maintaining the feel and look of the original, which is what a good restoration is supposed to do. All too often you see restorations that are overdone, in that they begin to lose the inherent nature of the original. I know I have been guilty of that!

                            I agree with Sharon in regards to not being crazy about the black frame. It just seems too harsh for the delicate, soft look of the original.


                            • #15
                              First I agree that the hair was not quite right (Ed, CJ Sharon). I desaturated it about -10. Same for the color of the lips (if I'd known that ahead of time I could have saved the time to put them on seperate layers). I don't think toning down the colors did much to bring up the contrast in her skin and dress. Maybe I didn't go far enough?

                              I also tried Vikki's suggestion of painting in the eyes using multiply blending. I couldn't get the color quite right, but it is more subtle, and maybe a bit more lifelike. BTW, Vikki the other colors were part of the original, and all I did was adjust them using curves and hue/saturation.

                              CJ, I can't tell how much the colors may have aged, but I don't think they have shifted much. I know that the girl did have blonde hair... as far as the cyan cast, I used curves to get the porcelain background to neutral white, and left the skin tones where they fell. I didn't try to adjust them. I did try now, and simply rebalancing to get a neutral gray in the cheek does not give a pleasant tone overall. I prefer the look with the extra cyan.

                              PHI, I was a bit torn about what to do about the un-colorized hair. That area was missed by the original artist, and I wasn't sure if I should stay strictly true to the original and leave it, or if I should try to "fix" what had been missed. In the end I went both ways, leaving the hair as in the original, and adding blue to the eyes.

                              I changed the frame to one I lifted from one of my Ambrotypes. I think it is better than the black, but not quite right either. I am not sure what would be right. I wish I knew how it had originally been mounted.

                              Which brings me to DJ's comments. The original piece looks like either albumin or collodion on porcelain (instead of the usual paper) the date makes it impossible to know exactly what materials were used (~1902). The porcelain is quite crudely chipped into an oval, so I don't know if that was even its original shape. I have never seen information on anything like this. I've learned recently that nearly all these materials benefit from storage at cool (<65degrees) temperatures with relative humidity between 30 and 40% and in the dark. I do my best to maintain these little treasures I have.

                              The girl is Catherine Kilpatrick of Chicago IL. She was born about 1900, and had one brother and one sister who were equally cute children. They were first cousins to my father. She worked as a school teacher in Chicgo most of her life. When she died my father was her closest living relative, so the estate went to him. Among the effects were several boxes of pictures. This piece was loose in an envelope in one of the boxes.

                              Thank you everyone for the comments. It helps a great deal to see what other people think.