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  • Seeking Advice

    Hi guys, I'm fairly new to this website, having stumbled across it a few months ago. This is a great place to visit and I'm learning new things every day.

    I'm fairly pleased with my restoration. I did not attempt to take out the scratches. I merely tried to restore the lost sections of the photo. In your opinion, should I clean up the photo even more?

    I started colorizing the photo by first removing the sepia color. Was that the right thing to do? I wasn't exactly pleased with the results. The skin looks like it was pasted on and I'm having problems getting a dark brown hair. (Let's not even talk about the bricks.) I have the skin and hair templates, and I set the layer to color, but I'm just not getting it. Could someone explain a simple (?) way to adjust the skin? I've read the tutorials, maybe I need to read them again??

    Any constructive criticism would be appreciated. Thanks.

    Attached Files

  • #2
    Kevin, your restoration is very good! My preference is for the sepia look only because we know it's how an old photo is supposed to look. I get uncomfortable seeing an obviously old photo (clothes, hair styles etc.) that has been colorized, because with color it is no longer "real" to me.

    But your retouch work on the middle shot is excellent.


    • #3
      Couple of comments.

      You cloned out the crack that runs through their faces. You did a good job on the cloning, but in cases like this, I think it's better if you first re-align the two pieces of the picture prior to cloning. For example, I can still see a discontinuity in the window frame.

      Just select the above-the-crack part of the picture using the polygonal lasso (then I always save my selections to an alpha channel in case I want a do-over), then slightly rotate and move it into alignment with the below-the-crack part of the picture.

      As for color, I really stumble on skin color myself. I think your hair looks pretty good for the color you're after. Here's what I did. You can see if it helps at all.

      1. Pick some color close to what you want (brown) and paint the hair
      2. Use the select color range tool to select the hair highlights.
      3. Create a color balance layer (which will then be masked by the selection).
      4. Adjust the colors so the hair highlights look more natural--In this case, it seemed to look better with more yellow and cyan (highlights and midtones). The idea here is hair is fairly shiny, so it's color is different in highlight areas than in dark areas. For example, highlights will be reflecting sky colors which might tend to be more white/yellow/cyan. I use a color balance layer because that's what I like--you might be more comfortable with a channel mixer or levels adjuster. This step is intended to get rid of the painted-on look.
      5. Now that the hair has some depth, I create a masked curve layer to make the lightness look correct and then a masked HSL layer to tweak the hue just right. Quite often, I do step 5 before 4 since it might be more intuitive to do the highlights after the color is corrected.

      I did a similar process for the skin, but I really haven't gotten the hang of skin color yet. I think caucasion skin is more variable in color so you might need to, for example, put blush on the cheeks and nose.

      I attached the result around the heads--I did this pretty quick, so the color boundaries are a bit sloppy.

      Attached Files


      • #4
        Hi there

        I only am addressing the hair. Here is another easy way to color hair without using fancy color adjustments. Not that I have anything against them but only I do not have access to them.

        I see you are using color as the blendmode. Try soft light instead it works much better when you need to change color.

        I just picked two colors one a little darker then the other. I set the layer to softlight and colored in the direction of the hair. Then switched to the light color and added where highlights were on the original. Then a little gaussian blur and all done the easy way,

        Attached Files
        Last edited by Daviskw; 04-22-2006, 11:22 PM.


        • #5

          Concerning sepia tone and colorizing - Don't you get tired of all the sepia toned old prints?!? I only seem to use sepia on new stuff that I want to look old timie. Do most people/clients feel that way? I go out of my way to tone old prints in ways that weren't really possible before digital. I mean in the darkroom we were really limited. Today anything goes - at least technically.

          I agree with you on one point, I do get tired of colorized B&W photos. (Like every time I have to go into a Hallmark store) I do it once in a while and the majority of people tend to like it. I mostly use it to salvage old photos that would be otherwise kind of boring.


          • #6
            Had to have a go with this one, kept the sepia tone, as I like to keep the feel of the original.
            Attached Files


            • #7
              Thanks for that coloring tip Butch. I tried it on an image I have been disatisfied with for a while and it works like a dream. Lovely rich tones.
              Thanks again.
              Sincerely Syd


              • #8
                Gary, that is a very nice job!! Mind posting how it was achieved please. I am playing with the image now. Neb


                • #9
                  Here's another with my own redone sepia tone.

                  Attached Files


                  • #10
                    Hi Neb,

                    Sure, no problem.

                    Started by copying picture to a new layer. Now I've got Background and Background copy. Make BG copy active.

                    Use Extract tool to select upper torn section (use "Smart Highlighting" in the Tool Options to make things easier). Then using the Move tool, I moved the selected section to align properly with the bottom BG layer.

                    New layer, and cloned over remains of crack.

                    Flattened image.

                    Using Quick mask I selected the RHS of the window, then copied and pasted to a new layer. I flipped it over, using Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal. I then moved and rotated the copied section using Move tool to align it with the LHS of the window.

                    New layer, and lots of cloning to blend things together. (also did a patch job on the chair, using similar techniques to those with the window, had to erase bits of the patch here and there).

                    Lastly, flattened image, applied Neat Image (at low settings to minimise loss of detail) then added a white border.

                    If you need any more detail on any particular operation, please ask, I'll be happy to clarify if I can.

                    Bart, nice job. You've missed an area just under the baby's right arm though.


                    • #11
                      Hi Kevin.

                      It’s difficult isn’t it?
                      You can clearly see what the photographer wanted to do. By placing baby on a chair he was trying to put the heads closer together. However he has stood too far back (Or maybe the camera would not focus close enough.)
                      If this photographer had his own darkroom then he may have printed it with a better crop.
                      Also if colour film had been available I’m sure he would have used it.
                      Everyone is now scanning in their slides and putting them on DVD. Is someone going to say in 100 years time that we should not have done it?
                      I like Gary and Bart’s prints. But I see nothing wrong with colouring these if you want.

                      Attached Files


                      • #12
                        Thank You Gary: I am on my way to visit my grandchildren today , but upon returning I am going to give it a try. Thanks so much for posting the instructions. I might even be brave enough to post my results.

                        I know it may not be the quality of work done here but I must begin to post even if that is so , so I can learn from all of the helpful people here. Thanks again...Neb


                        • #13
                          Hi Neb,

                          Please do post your work.

                          We all have been through the learning process (most of us have still got lots to learn, I know I have), so don't be worried if your effort does not appear to you to be as polished as some of the more experienced members.

                          We are all more critical of our own work, than that of others, so perhaps you are seeing faults with your work that may not be apparent to others.

                          It's always helpful to have a second (possibly more objective) opinion of your work, so take the plunge.

                          Look forward to your post.



                          • #14
                            Wow, thanks everybody. I really appreciate the comments and advice.

                            I see what you mean about aligning the pictures first, but in this instance someone had already glued them onto an old buble gum card. I will repair the alignment. Thanks for pointing it out. Good advice on the skin coloring too.
                            I like your second attempt, but it seems a little "blown out" to me. It might be my LCD monitor causing the blow out, otherwise nice work.

                            I tried using all the layer options including soft light. I liked the soft light, but could not obtain the coloring I was looking for. I will go back and try highlighting some of the hair. I only used one color originally. I think that is my problem. I'm learning that it will require multiple hues to obtain realistic hair, skin, clothing, etc.

                            Nice work! After seeing your work, I think I will go back and removed the scratches/dust. Did Neat Image remove them, or did you use another method?

                            I like your thoughts concerning the photographers portrait (putting the baby on the chair). I never would have thought about it. Then again, I'm not much of a photographer. I don't know if I'll crop it as much as you have. I like the period clothes and the baby's face is damaged by the crack. I tried restoring his eye, but was never satisfied with the results, so I left it alone.

                            Thanks for eveyone's input. When I have a couple of hours, I'll go back and try and incorporate your suggestions and post my results here.


                            • #15
                              I'm not new to Photoshop. I've been using it almost 15 years now. (as a hobby). It's only in the last couple of years that I've become much better. Photoshop is like everything else; it takes practice. The nice thing about Photoshop you can make tons of mistakes and still have the original to go back to.

                              I've learned a lot coming here to Retouch Pro. These folks really humbled me, but I didn't let that stop me. In fact that only inspired me to do better! I have learned a number of steps that have saved me hours and my pictures look better!

                              Although I've only posted a couple of pictures here, I encourage you to post yours.


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