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Original photo texture problem

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  • Original photo texture problem

    Ok I'm very new to photo retoucing, but I'm learning. However I do have what I think is a major problem with an old photograph. At first glance it looked fine, untill it was scanned. The problem is that the texture on the original photo (Mm, what's the best way to describe it, bubbly I guess for want of a better word) is showing through quite badly. I've attached just a small portion to show what I mean. I can fix other things on the photo but this bubble effect is giving me a problem. I would be grateful if anyone could tell me what the best method of eleminating the problem would be as I have one or two more photos with the same thing.

    Thanks Len Smith

  • #2
    Hi Len,

    Unfortunatey, your example didn't attach. Can you please try again? Make sure the file size is under 100KB. If you're having trouble understanding what that means, please see this tip.

    I can think of two types of textures that you might be referring to - one is much easier than the other to deal with. In general, I've found that as long as I don't enlarge an image, the texture doesn't seem to be much of a problem once printed. However, if you are trying to enlarge the photos in any way, it's a lot more difficult to work with.



    • #3
      Try scanning at various angles. Sometimes you'll even want to paste different sections of different scans together to make one whole picture. For the very worst textures, try photographing with a digital camera instead of scanning. Use diffuse, even light (outdoors on a cloudy day is good), and make certain your camera is parallel to the image.
      Learn by teaching
      Take responsibility for learning


      • #4
        Sorry about that part picture attached. As I said it is a very old picture and iit is giving me problems getting rid of the dimple effect. Using Gausian blur seems to lose to much detail and the original photo is very small so I would like to enlarge. Part picture attached. Thanks for your help so far

        Attached Files


        • #5
          Len, try Doug's recommendations for re-scanning and/or photographing with a digital camera -- working on a better image is always better than spending time trying to fix a problem image.

          You are new to retouching, so I'll ask whether you have used Photoshop's History Brush, or something similar in whichever program you are currently using? If you use PShop (version 5.5 or later, I think -- I forget when new tools became available) and have the history brush, this would be ONE way of working on softening the texture on the child's skin without losing as much detail as you would if blurring the whole image. You can use the brush at varying degrees of Opacity to control how strong an effect you want to make in a particular area.

          You may already have tried this method, but if you have not, here is a link to a RetouchPRO tutorial on its use:
          Spotting with the History Brush

          Here is an idea of what the History Brush can do (quick & dirty version) with added selection of the eyes and duplication (Cntrl-J) with blending set on Overlay to add contrast.

          Jeanie will no doubt have suggestions as to other methods to try.
          Have fun while experimenting .
          Attached Files


          • #6
            Thanks for that C.J. I'm just about to give that a go. Sorry for being such a newbie in this. I guess for those who are familiar with photo retouching this topic must seem very easy to do. That's what I like about this forum everyone is so helpful.
            As a matter of interest I'm using photoshop 7 (which my Wife as just bought me). I'm learning. little by little
            A little background about the photo. She was one of two daughters that my mother had (before I came along) and who both died shortly after the photos was taken. The baby in this photo would have been 60 now and I would like to re touch the photos for my mother who is well into her eighties.

            Again many thanks for your help


            • #7
              who both died shortly after the photos was taken...I would like to re touch the photos for my mother
              That makes it especially important to make the improvements as well as can be done! I'm sure that the photos are very precious to your mother.

              As far as you "being a newbie" -- we're all newbies at one time or another, and there's always more to learn--which makes us all newbies in one area or another! This is truly a place that believes in sharing and helping -- everyone does it, and you will too. I've learned as much or more here than I have learned on my own from practice and books. When you have some time, look around through the Tutorials and tips, and as many of the forum threads as you can (show from "the beginning" to see them all) -- there is a ton of info available! Look at the Challenges and find some that compare to the kind of photos that give you trouble -- read how others did them, and see how different techniques can often give similar results. You can add some tools and techniques to your "tool bag" as slowly or as quickly as you have the time and endurance and interest to do so. Oh, yeah, and Have Fun!!


              • #8
                Hi Len,

                Please don't apologize for being a newbie. As CJ said, we have all been in your position. In addition, you have chosen a very difficult photo to start with! (FWIW, you're not alone in picking difficult photos to start with - I did the same thing! ) This problem is definitely not an easy one to work with - no matter how much experience you have.

                I would definitely try Doug's suggestion of scanning at different angles (i.e., rotate the photo before scanning). Sometimes you can find an angle where the light of the scanner doesn't reflect off of the texture quite as much as other angles. A digital camera is another good possibility.

                If you're stuck with what you've got, then you have to make the best of it. I once worked on a textured photo from the 70's that the client wanted enlarged more than 2x (3.5x3.5" cropped in to 5x7"). The original photo was taken in very low light and was a bit out of focus. Of course, enlarging it not only enlarged the texture, it also increased the fuzziness (before I even tried to deal with the texture.) The end result was definitely a bit "fuzzy", but the client was thrilled with the result because the memory of the moment the picture was taken was very important to her - so even though the final photo was a bit fuzzy, it was more than enough to bring back the magic of the moment the picture was taken.

                Why am I relating that story? Because sometimes it's next to impossible to make a "perfect" picture - esp. when you are trying to enlarge a very small texture picture. But, that doesn't mean the end result will be any less meaningful to the person receiving it.

                Now, back to your specific problem. If scanning at different angles doesn't help and the digital camera doesn't yield better results, then you have to work with what you have. I would try an application called
                Neat Image. I've attached an example before/after running your image through Neat Image. I haven't tried cleaning up anything else. As you can see, there is still plenty of work to do, but it has helped reduce the worst of the texture and depending on how much you want to enlarge the photo, this may be good enough. (Try printing to see for sure.) Neat Image allows you to create a specific "noise profile" for an image, but the section you posted wasn't big enough to create one, so I used another that I'd saved a while back. I assume you would get better results if you created a profile specifically for your image. Also, it looks like the photo you posted has some JPEG artifacting, so my guess is that Neat Image will work a little better on a full-resolution TIFF file (without any compression) than what I've posted here. In any case, it may also help to then add some noise or the "film grain" filter to further "hide" the texture.

                Again, the images I've attached still need some work, but I'm attaching them so that you can visually see what I'm talking about.

                Good luck!
                Attached Files


                • #9
                  Thank you very much for your kind words and helpful hints, jeaniesa. Both you and CJ have given me a lot of confidence. Now if I lived in the States instead of over here in England I would treat you both to a slap up meal for all the help you have given me.
                  I have downloaded (as you suggested) a copy of neat image which I am just about to try and get to grips with. Hopefully with all the suggestions I've reaceived I should be able to do something with this photo. At sometime or another when I have finished it I will let you see the end result.

                  I thought you might like to see a photo which I have finished of my late father which I have tried to colourise and add a new background etc from and old group B&W photo. Your comments would be appreciated.
                  Once again thank you all very much for your help
                  Attached Files


                  • #10
                    the original B&W attached.
                    Attached Files


                    • #11
                      a photo which I have finished of my late father
                      Quite a handsome chap! I like your choice of background, and the colorizing (colourizing ) really does add to his image. There's too bright a highlight on his forehead and left cheek for my tastes, but otherwise I like what you've done. Has your mother seen it yet, or is it part of the photo package you're creating for her? Bet you'll get a few tears from her for this one.


                      • #12
                        Thanks for that CJ. Funny you should mention the bright spots. I have only just finished that photo and it wasn't untill I was uploading it to the forum that they seemed to stick out like a sore thumb. I'm just about to fix them. A leason I think I've just learnt is that once you THINK you've finished work on a photo it is probably best to leave them alone for a while and then go back and finish them some more.
                        Yes it is part of a package I'm doing for my mother and no she hasn't sen them as yet. Yeah he was handsome, with a handsome temprement to boot. Some people say he featured Clark Gable a little.

                        Thanks again


                        • #13
                          I've just learnt is that once you THINK you've finished work on a photo it is probably best to leave them alone for a while and then go back and finish them some more
                          That's an important lesson to learn, and easier said than done. We get all wrapped up in what we're fixing sometimes and fail to look at the overall image. Sometimes our fix has changed more than we'd planned on, and sometimes we just don't notice a small problem while working on the bigger ones. Good for you that you noticed.

                          Your father's ears were not as noticeable as Mr. Gable's, but with that mustache, I'm sure he did get a lot of Gable comments.


                          • #14
                            Ok I'm back to my original post i.e. problem with texture of original photo. As jeaniesa said sometimes you have to make the most of what you have and enlarging the photo only makes things worse. I've taken everyone's ideas on board, as well as some of my own, and played around untill I have come up with a reasonable copy. It still needs some work doing, such as the hair and sharpening some of the features etc. but so far it doesn't look too bad on say a 6" X 8".
                            What I did try was using various layers and working them in using the JPEG repair in Image Doctor and adding various amounts of grain. It doesn't seem to have done a bad job, I don't think.
                            Like I said I still have some work to do, but see what you think.

                            Attached Files


                            • #15
                              This was the actual original
                              Attached Files


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