No announcement yet.

is this one beyond hope?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • is this one beyond hope?

    One of my co-workers asked me if I could take a look at an image she had and see if I could do anything to clear it up.
    I've attached a JPEG version of the original scan.

    It's a scan of a photo of a tintype image (not the best source material).

    I worked on it a bit, and my sad results are available here (watch for wrap on URL):

    I can't figure out a good way to get rid of all the noise in the photo. I don't know if this image is beyond hope, or if I just haven't used the right kind of mojo on it yet.

    any tips are appreciated.


    p.s. I just found this site today, and am very excited to have an outlet for restoration issues!! I hope to have a home-based restoration business within the next couple of years, so I need the practice
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Welcome, Blues X! We're glad you've finally found us , and yes, we are an outlet for restoration issues. You'll find plenty of people to talk to about topics close to your heart, and some folks willing to jump in that deep hole with you that you're in right now. That image has been damaged/soiled a good deal, and will need some work -- yet you will probably want to keep the overall look of an old authentic tintype instead of converting it into a crisp black/white modern-looking image.

    Do I understand you correctly that this is a scan from a photo that someone took of the original tintype? Three times removed from the original? Do you (or your co-worker) have access to the actual image -- could you improve upon the source material? A high resolution digital camera copy of the original might offer a better start. Do you have access to the photo of the tintype -- could you re-scan it as an RGB image to perhaps gather more detail?

    As unattractive as the background is, I personally would try to retain it (for authenticity), but eliminate or reduce the grunge. (Okay - make one version a cleaned up version of the original, and then make a version that uses a nice vignette effect to hide the background.) Take the backdrop, for instance -- you could clone or blur or heal away the large dark blobs, and still retain the creases that existed on that day. What does your co-worker want -- an image that looks like the original might have looked when shot, or a copy of the faces of his/her family without all that crud surrounding them?

    I have something a lot easier that I have a deadline to meet, but I'm sure you'll get some submissions from brave souls here.


    • #3
      Thank you for the warm welcome...

      The original tintype is several hundred miles away, so I can't get to the original. And since I haven't seen the original, I have no idea how much of that noise might be able to be cleaned off the original tintype (if any).

      My scan of the photo was in RGB mode at 800dpi.

      I didn't know where to begin on this image. I started off with a channel mixer adjustment layer, to bring out the "cleanest" channel and change to b&w. Then some level adjustments, copying parts onto new layers and using multiply to build up density, cloning to clean up, blurring and dust & scratches to clear the background.... I threw everything I could think of at the time. The mix of the best results are in the "working" version I posted.

      My coworker is primarily interested in the man with the baby on his lap. One night I focused in on him and just worked on that area (image of those results are attached).

      Since I'm at the relative beginning of my learning curve with all this, I don't know when the problem is the image or my lack of skills

      Regarding keeping the background... I do prefer to keep as much of the original image as possible. I like photos with character, and I don't like it when a photo has obviously been touched up on a computer. I feel that if an image is obviously not the original, and has had the background replaced or other important elements altered too much, it somehow loses part of the value that it had by being an old image in the first place. A historical photo, original or not, should seem like you have a part of history. I'd rather err on the side of a bit too little repair than a bit too much, if that makes sense.
      Attached Files


      • #4

        Tin types are much better copied on a copy camera than scanned, they start out pretty dark - the scanner sees all the surface noise and surface reflections when scanned and then accentuated when lightened - the copy camera sees past it. My experience is with film with dark tin types - so I would suggest that the people who have the tin type get it professionaly copied and send you an 8x10 glossy that you can scan - I think you will be amazed at the difference (expect them to pay around $40 to $70)

        I just looked through my collection of old family photos and I have 2 tin types. Although not as dark as some I have seen, I will post a test of them done both ways to this thread so that you can see the difference - should be about 1 or 2 weeks before I get to it.



        • #5
          Hi and Welcome Blues_X,

          I'm fairly new here too, and can recommend this place as a tremendous resource for learning. Folks here couldn't be nicer, and are incredibly helpful.

          I took a quick crack at your photo and got some fair results, considering the inherent difficulties in the scan. If I had more time, I'd have done some work on the faces, but I just did a "quick and dirty".

          The first thing I did was run it through Neat Image ( which someone here recommended to me. It's an excellent noise filter.

          I selected and adjusted levels on the faint figures and did some softening of the clothes on the children. Cloned out the flaws in clothing and faces, lightened the faces and then selected the background, chose a median color from it and applied it at about 50% with a slight gravel texture, and finally did an unsharp mask.

          Welcome to RetouchPro!

          Attached Files


          • #6
            Personally, I like to leave as much of the backdrop as I can to give more of a feeling of "place" and "time". In this case I adjusted levels and used Neta Image, too -- lightly to retain as much of the facial detail as possible. Also did a few patches and clones. The sepia was real easy -- I added a layer in soft light blend mode, filled with "pale warm brown" from the color picker. More could be done, but I wanted to practice on the noise and tonality more than anything...

            Attached Files


            • #7
              Well, I have a different idea on this. In this case, any removal of the noise removes image information - the more noise removed the more it goes to mush. .

              I first converted to LAB and used the Luminance channel to convert to B&W. Then used Unsharp mask with amount at 25, radius at 250, threshhold at 0 to bring out the shape of the faces some. Levels / curves for brightness / contrast. Then retouch work (cloning, dodge, burn) and added some new texture to the background to kinda match the people. Croped and used Hue/Saturation to add color.

              There is probably more I could do - but I am pooped - at least you can see if you agree with the dirrection I am headed in ... also I am afraid to overdue and change the shape of the faces - with the heavy pixalation it is almost like retouching an impressionistic painting.

              Attached Files


              • #8
                Those all look good. I'll probably give Roger's method a try first, since I don't have the neatimage plugin (but I will check it out, since I like all kinds of gadgets ).

                The problem of losing features when you remove noise was my main stumbling block. On that closeup version, I basically drew in the facial features that had been lost (which I prefer not to do, since I'm adding data to the image that wasn't there originally).

                I'll talk to my coworker about getting a professional photo of the tintype. I think she used a 110 automatic camera for the shot she took. And I'll show her the posts here. I think she'll be glad that there might be hope.

                I'm still excited about finding this group (I was really disappointed with the Photoshop users news group. Lots of morons posting flames and rants). I'm working on an online portfolio of the work I've done so far. I work at a university, and the professor I work with gave me a lot of his old family photos, going back to about 1870 or so. I got to work on some really interesting shots.

                Also have some good images that my great aunt gave me before she passed away. She served in the Women's Army Core in WWII, and had several photos from then.

                Well, time to go have Mother's Day festivities (i.e. shopping and eating). Everyone have a good Sunday.

                - Lance


                Related Topics


                • mgaleone
                  Suggestions on how to fix this
                  by mgaleone
                  This is an old color photo of my father's family. It is in terrible shape as the colors and brightness is off. I have PhotoShop 7.0. Any ideas of what I can do to fix?...
                  11-23-2006, 09:52 AM
                • sjcampbel
                  The "Horror" restoration
                  by sjcampbel
                  Dear all,

                  I have been lurking once again after a stint of being incredibly busy at work. I have been doing some playing on photoshop 7 and the Mother-in-Law (aka "The Dragon") gave me the attached photo which is her sister's children.

                  Well after threats from my...
                  10-22-2003, 07:22 PM
                • marliz
                  Rare photo of my mother - Mid 1920s; Impossible?
                  by marliz
                  I scanned this in grayscale at 600 pixels/inch Resolution, 8 bits, almost 6 X 9 size. It was scanned about fifteen years ago and I've lost the original. I don't know if scanning at 16 bit in RBG at a higher resolution would have helped, but it is too late now.

                  I've tried "equalize,"...
                  03-25-2012, 07:52 PM
                • Lena48
                  Suggestions would be most appreciated
                  by Lena48
                  I have this photo of my husband's great great grandmother and cam stymied! I have repaired/restored some simple projects but this one..... Here is the original and what I have done so far. I don't know which looks worse. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated as we would love to share this with...
                  07-09-2015, 06:52 PM
                • judyb
                  Mildew/mold on photo
                  by judyb
                  Hi All,

                  I ran across this photo in our family mess of photos and am trying to figure out how to restore it in Photoshop CS5. I have others that part of the photo has been somewhat destroyed by what looks like the pox, but I assume is some sort of mold, breaking down of emulsion, or something....
                  07-26-2011, 04:19 PM