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Help! Photo with a zillion little cracks

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  • Help! Photo with a zillion little cracks

    Hi everyone. I have been lurking in the forums for awhile, but this is my first actual post!

    I recently started restoring some old family photos. One of the photos I'm working on has a zillion little cracks all over it which is causing me much difficulty! My first attempts were to use the clone stamp tool, but the results weren't that great (didn't look natural and very slow).

    I've attached a .jpg which shows what the cracks look like (a zoomed-in section of a little girl's dress). Any suggestions for techniques to remove would be greatly appreciated!
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Hi Leigh Anne,

    What programme are you using? If you've got PhotoShop 6.0 then you might like to try Tim Edward's Quick De-crack tutorial which you'll find here.

    However, if you're like me and still using an older version (we are far from alone!), the decrack action doesn't work, so you'll have to do each step manually (or make your own action). Again, Tim Edwards showed us an excellent method when he did a recent restoration challenge. You'll find his method here.

    There are other ways of getting rid of those pesky cracks, but this is a method I found very simple and quick.



    • #3
      Welcome to the site Leigh Ann. Just to clarify things, there is a de-crack action available for download for Photoshop 5.0 through 6.0. Good luck.



      • #4
        I am using Photoshop 6.

        Thanks for the link to the de-crack tutorial and action. I'll give it a try!


        • #5
          Leigh Anne
          Here's a little tip you might need when using that De-crack action.
          The default action is set to clear up light cracks on a dark background, I believe. If you have the oposite case (dark cracks on a light back ground) You will need to open up your action so all the steps are showing in the actions pallete. Look at the last four or five steps to where you see minimum and maximum listed. You will see a check mark in the box on the left of the listed items. The first step (minimum) will be checked but not the other (maximum). To switch setting all you do is uncheck one box and check the other.

          OR you could load a second De-crack action and have the opposite box checked and call it De-crack dark scratches.
          Just a neat tip Tim Edwards gave me.


          • #6
            Another idea... I have often found that many cracks disappear if you re-scan the original at an oblique angle, or even simply rotate it 90 degrees. This helps eliminate cracks that appear as shadows from the scanner's light source. One photograph (a cheap school-time wallet size from the 60s) that I restored recently easily showed a 50% improvement simply by rotating the original and re-scanning.

            I would suggest rescanning from various angles and choosing the best original before de-cracking.

            best of luck!


            • #7
              Someone else (Sandra or Sam??) recommended trying that same technique on an earlier thread, and posted comparisons. It made quite a difference. Thanks for jogging my memory.



              • #8
                Just following up. I am very happy with the results of the decrack action. I did 2 runs using a setting of 0.3 each time. That was enough to fade out most of the small cracks. I then used some cloning to smooth out some areas.

                I didn't try the re-scan recommendation, but will keep it in mind for the future.

                I'm attaching a before/after comparison.
                Attached Files


                • #9
                  Excellent result, Leigh Anne! I'm so glad that worked out for you.


                  • #10
                    That is an amazing little tool isn't it? Looks great. Remember to change the minimum and maximum settings in the action before trying it on dark cracks.
                    I thank Tim Edwards everytime I have to deal with one of these type photos.