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Is it possible to fix this...

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  • Is it possible to fix this...


    First of all i would like to say hello to the board, im completely new and it is my first time post as well.

    I have been looking for a place like this for quite a long time and it took me a lot of surfing through many sites that offered tutorials, of course all tutorials where useless for me cause they were all about creating this l33t texteffect and similar.

    So i must admit i jumped out of joy when i bumped into this one.

    Since a few days i am trying to find out how to fix certain areas of an image that are full of noise. I have this picture that i would like to restaurate so i can have it printed, but i failed.

    I must also admit that i am not really an expert if it comes down to Color Theory and the like, nor do i have the talent to paint (sadly enough).

    Well, enough said.

    What i would like to know is if it is possible to remove the noise and and make the pants of my Father look like they are pants (i tried to repaint it but it looks plain stupid, since i do not know where shadows need to be placed to make it look realistic, mine looked like some kid had drawn over it).

    Another thing im failing in all the time is to replace the black area to the right with gras again, i tried every known technique i know, which is only the Clone Stamp) but it doesnt seem to work for me somehow, it looks not real anymore).

    If i could get any tips or hints on how i could try to fix this i would appreciate a lot.

    I would actually prefer to do it myself so i an learn something out of it you see.

    Well, thank you very much in advance for your time reading this.

    Best regards from Vienna,
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Welcome to RetouchPRO Datune! I'm glad you found us.

    After playing around with your picture a bit, I found a couple of things that might help. (I use Photoshop, but these ideas should translate to another image editing program):

    1. I looked at the individual RGB channels and noticed that the red channel seemed to have the most damage/noise. Unfortunately, it's also the only one that has any detail in the black shadow area to the right. In any case, I used Levels to adjust the red channel which cleaned up the color cast pretty well. Unfortunately, this darkened the black shadow area even more. I then tried to lighten the shadow area using the "fill flash" technique. This helped some, but the sad fact is that there just isn't that much information there to begin with. Perhaps someone has a better solution than I, but I couldn't figure out how to get the information that was there to show up better. My only other suggestion is that since the main subject of the photo is the people, crop in closer to the people to eliminate most of the shadow.

    2. To darken the pant legs, I would try two things. One is to simply use the Burn tool to darken the shadows. Just make sure you've got it turned way down (like at 3%) and go over the faded pant legs a few times until you get the effect you want. Or, try selecting the pants with a slight feather and then copy just the selection to a new layer, then set the layer blend mode to multiply and reduce the opacity of the layer until it blends in with the rest of the photo.

    3. The best tool I've found to reduce grain/noise in a photo is Neat Image. I believe there is a free demo version which limits your output choices, but it doesn't cost that much and to me is SO worth it! (I've got a LOT of "noisy" photos.) It is not a plug-in, so you have to run a photo through it separately, then bring into PS (or whatever imaging application you're using) for further editing.

    I hope this helps some. This is the result that I came up with using the above techniques.

    Attached Files


    • #3
      Hi Datune,
      Welcome to Retouch Pro. I think we can help you out. Since there are several aspects of your image you want help on. I will deal with at least 2 of them and let you work through those first.

      First is the color correction.
      Create an adjustment layer of levels. Now with the dialog box open go to Channel RGB at the top and use the arrow to select each channel seperately. You will see in the red channel that the slider on the left needs to be moved over until it just reaches the beginning of the black mountain. Now check the green and blue and move the sliders on the right or left to meet each end of the black mountain. They may not need moving. That's ok. You should see the colors and contrast in your image change dramatically.

      Next I will help you fix the faded out area.
      Highlight the background or image layer and create a duplicate of that layer. Now go to the layer blend mode at the top of the layers palette and select multiply. This will darken the entire image including the faded area. Notice that the faded area is in the lower left corner. Go to Layers > Add Layer Mask > Reveal all. Now choose the gradient tool and the radial gradient. With foreground to background setting and your forground color black and background color white. Drag about an inch or 2 in from the top right corner down to the same point in the left lower corner. This should hide or (mask) the areas you want to remain untouched and allow the multiply layer to darken just the faded area. Here is the results of just those two corrections. I didn't adjust the opacity slider of the Multiply layer but you may want it a bit lighter also you can adjust the levels setting too in the RGB channel if you want to lighten it a bit. The control is totally in your hands. Experiment.
      Attached Files


      • #4
        Welcome Datune! I hope you find this site really helpful!

        I played around with your photo a bit. Here's what I did to it:

        1. Adjust levels on each channel individually and make a snapshot.

        2. Run Dust & Scratches @ R3/T5 and make another snapshot

        3. Activate first snapshot and point history brush at dust & scratches snapshot. With the history brush @ 20% opacity, paint over areas with noise until it blends in.

        4. Select just the pants with the lasso tool and adjust curves until the density and contrast look good.

        5. To replace the black area with grass, first select the black area with the lasso tool. Invert the selection (Ctrl+Alt+I) and switch to quick mask mode (press Q on the keyboard). Gaussian blur the mask @ 15. Exit quick mask, invert the selection again, and move the selection to the left over a good area of grass. Hit Ctrl+C to copy, then move the selection back over the black area. Hit Ctrl+Alt+V to paste what you copied into the black area.

        6. Flatten & smooth any rough or obvious edges with the clone tool.

        7. Use the burn and dodge tools lightly to enhance definition in pants. Using the blur tool at about 20% pressure can also help smooth any remaining noise a bit...
        Attached Files


        • #5
          opacity slider of the Multiply layer but you may want it a bit lighter also you can adjust the levels setting too in the RGB channel if you want to lighten it a bit. The control is totally in your hands. Experiment.
          DJ [/B][/QUOTE]

          I like it.


          • #6
            First of all thanks a lot for all the replies and the welcoming

            I followed most instructions given and also used NeatImage(which is unbelievable), i also fixed a few spots per hand (like the legs of my little sister), i also sharpened out the facial areas.
            (im using PS 6.0 btw)

            The picture still looks no good, what could i do to make everything look sharper?

            You see, my goal is that i can take this picture and have it printed as a photo again.

            Oh well, this is the result i could come up with.
            Attached Files


            • #7
              I'd say that you're probably pretty close to having it finished. If you want to take it to an actual photolab to be printed, it's really a good idea to leave some of the noise in. That's just because real photographs do have noise (grain) and look pretty fake without it. A basic home printer, because it lays down little dots of color, might exaggerate the noise that's there and cause you to think that there's more than there really is. But an actual photograph isn't a dot-based printing method so an image without noise printed that way can look pretty odd... You might also be careful of the smoothing that I see happening as a result of using Neat Image. I've never used it, but on my screen it looks similar to the effect I get when I overuse the smudge tool. I see a lot of detail has gone missing. I'm not sure how that would translate when printed on actual photo paper...


              • #8
                That really looks good. I'm not sure you will ever get it to be a perfect picture. Even though Photoshop and other similar softwares are unbelievable in what they can do, they still have their limitations. Blurred photos are one of those limits. You can sharpen to a degree but there is a price, the noise becomes sharper also. There may be a way to make it perfect but I don't know what it is. Maybe others can offer you more ideas on better ways to sharpen. I know there are some pretty impressive plug in software out there that deals with sharpening but off hand I can't think of any that would work that much better than what you can do with Photoshop.


                • #9
                  Datune, I'm with Jak & DJ - unless the reduced size of the image you posted is hiding something, I think you're pretty much close to finished.

                  That being said, I wonder if you applied the Neat Image filter a little too much? And/or if you tried any sharpening within Neat Image? Neat Image IS unbelievable, but it can still be over-applied (as Jak suggested.) There are two "remedies" to this that I've used. First, is to try some sharpening from within Neat Image - the right-most tab gives you the parameters for that. You need to play around with it to determine the best sharpening - it will allow you to apply sharpening for the high/med/low frequencies, and those settings can really make a difference.

                  The other thing (which I did on my example above actually is to layer the "after Neat Image" version on top of the "before Neat Image" version - and then apply a layer mask to the "after Neat Image" layer. The with a black pen at varying levels of opacity, "erase" some of the "after Neat Image" layer to let the detail of the "before Neat Image" layer to show through. If you want to apply this to the entire image, you could just change the opacity of the "after Neat Image" layer, but you'll get more control with details if you use a layer mask.

                  That being said, if you don't want to go back and rework this, you can try sharpening using the high-pass filter technique:
                  1. Duplicate the "final image" layer.
                  2. Run the Other->High Pass filter on the copy layer setting the radius so that you can see the major lines that you want sharpened, but not all the noisy detail in the photo. (For the version I've posted below - using your "almost final" image, I used "2" - which is actually pretty high, but because you got rid of the noise in the photo, I think it works.)
                  3. Set the blending mode of the High Pass layer to either Overlay or Soft Light. (Overlay will give you slightly more sharpening than Soft Light - I used overlay.)
                  4. Flatten.

                  I think the result DOES sharpen the photo and you might even be happy with it. As Jak suggested though, you might also think about adding just a touch of "noise" to the image if you're going to bring this to a photolab to be printed. You can do that either with the Noise filter or the Artistic->Film Grain filter. I usually prefer the Film Grain filter, but use a fairly low setting (and very low contrast) and even then you'll probably have to Edit->Fade Filter immediately after you run the filter to get a result you're happy with.

                  Great job!

                  Attached Files


                  • #10
                    Oh thanks alot for all the tips, especially the one with adding noise if i want to take it to a photolab. I did not know that...

                    Well i guess i will trust your oppinion that the photo should be considered done, although im not really happy, but it is a lot better then the original one.

                    I wonder though if i would take this to a proffesional Photolab and if money would not be an issue if they could totally fix it up again? As in make this a 100% perfect picture which is crystal clear in details and razor sharp.

                    This is just a general question, is it possible with todays technology?

                    Well, i must say, i am happy with the results i managed to get together with the help of you friendly people here

                    Im gonna try to post a before and after so you can judge yourself, i just hope it works to post two images, if not i will make two posts.

                    Again, thanks a lot for all your time and help.
                    Attached Files


                    • #11
                      And here is the final one
                      Attached Files


                      • #12
                        I'm glad we could all contribute to such a successful outcome. Beautiful job Datune.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by datune
                          I wonder though if i would take this to a proffesional Photolab and if money would not be an issue if they could totally fix it up again? As in make this a 100% perfect picture which is crystal clear in details and razor sharp.
                          My background IS working in Professional Photolabs. I have worked in them and managed them for nearly 20 years. If someone came into my shop asking what you are asking, this is what I'd tell them:

                          There is no "again" with this photograph because it was never really what I'd call a great picture to begin with. What it is, is a fairly average snapshot with some fairly average problems. A lot of amazing things are possible with Photoshop, but complete miracles are fairly rare. Most people have the impression that Photoshop, and other photo manipulation programs, were designed to make a poor image good, but that was not the designer's intent. They were created to make a good image even better and were adopted by people who desired to repair and restore photographs. To turn this image into a 100% crystal clear, razor sharp image it would have to end up looking like a painting because the photographic details you want it to have are just not there.

                          As an old photograph goes, it is really already in about as good a shape as it's going to get, and I really wouldn't see much point in charging you $150-$300 or so to do something I don't think you'd be happy with in the end anyway...


                          • #14
                            I agree with Jak. The problem here isn't your skill level or ability. The problem is that the original photo just isn't that good to begin with. There is no way to sharpen a photo which is not sharp and does not have the detail you need to begin with. Photoshop (and other image editors) can do a lot, but they can't recreate data where none exists.

                            Personally, I think I'd be pretty happy with the results you got considering what you had to start with. Glad we were able to help!



                            • #15
                              Here's my take on your image

                              Here's what I did

                              1.I made a curves adj screen, correcting the red channel.

                              2. Played around with the clone tool to add the tree look on the right side.

                              3curves adj to darken image. People are still light. Select>color range> hightlight to darken skin tones.

                              4.Burned pants leg at bottom to darken

                              Hopefully my 2 cents helps along with the other.

                              P.S. the note pad is great. I just did a copy and paste.
                              Attached Files


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