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  • Need some help with this Black & white

    Hi everyone!

    I've been having some trouble with this black and white photo; it is just not looking or printing well, primarily due to the background which has this matted texture to it and the coloring of the whole picture.

    In one of my restore versions, I quick-masked the face and then changed the background with the "edit-fill" command to a very dark brown which I got by playing with the hue-saturation levels and trying to get a bit of color in the image since it looked terrible as a grayscale or when I desaturated it to pure Black and white in RGB mode. But this "brown" is printing erratically; sometimes very dark and other times so much lighter that it doesn't blend well with the woman's face.

    This is the original and I'll post my best restore version next.

    Any suggestions how to best restore these kind of Black & white images would be most appreciated.

    Also what do you think is a fair price for this kind of job?

    All the best,
    Diane
    Attached Files

  • #2
    This is my last RGB restored version.

    Also as far as the grainyness of the face, is it recommended to leave it as is for "character" or try harder to blend in all the pixels? If so, what would be the best method to do this??

    All help will be greatly appreciated,

    Diane
    Attached Files

    Comment


    • #3
      Well here's my attempt at restoring your photo. After restoring via normal methods, nothing fancy, I lightened the image an extreme amount, this really showed that textured background. I chose a mid gray and just painted over the light spots with a brush set to darken. Next I changed the brightness back to original. One question I have for everyone is this. Would you try and remove that masking tape before scanning? There seems to be no damage under the tape?


      Ken
      Attached Files

      Comment


      • #4
        Wow, KenB you did a really amazing job! It looks beautiful!!

        But for us relative newcomers, could you please explain in a bit more detail what you did--i.e. how did you get her hair and face so smooth and silky? Did you use the blur tool to do that?? How and what did you lighten? The whole image or just the background? What mode is your version? How did you get rid of the fuzziness in her hair? Is it a mistake to lighten up her face as much as I did (I think I did it in curves) or is this just a matter of personal taste?

        Thank you so much for your help!!

        Diane

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi

          You need to use airbrush on the skin tones and many other layers as in attached, which include
          eyes whites
          lip smooth
          lip line
          eyeline
          face shadow
          face highlights
          blur
          high pass sharpen

          Thats if you like this style, other wise check out all the tips on this site and spend hours doing them.

          Col

          PS I did not bother doing the tape bits etc
          Attached Files

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by dipech
            Wow, KenB you did a really amazing job! It looks beautiful!!

            But for us relative newcomers, could you please explain in a bit more detail what you did--i.e. how did you get her hair and face so smooth and silky? Did you use the blur tool to do that?? How and what did you lighten? The whole image or just the background? What mode is your version? How did you get rid of the fuzziness in her hair? Is it a mistake to lighten up her face as much as I did (I think I did it in curves) or is this just a matter of personal taste?

            Thank you so much for your help!!

            Diane
            Thanks Diane for your comments.
            I used nik pen palette to soften her face, it's a plugin that I got with my tablet. As far as lightening the image, I only did that to emphasize the texture in the background, so I could see it better and where to remove it. I'm using photoshop 7.01. Your version was a little light to my taste. You can look at the images histogram to see how the pixels are distributed.


            Ken

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by KenB
              One question I have for everyone is this. Would you try and remove that masking tape before scanning? There seems to be no damage under the tape?
              Ken
              I believe I would try and remove the tape. There would likely be less to repair in photoshop even if it did damage the photo. With the tame being there the area to repair is much larger.

              I must say too Ken, exceptional job on the restoration.

              Comment


              • #8
                Unfortunately, I don't have time to work on this whole image. But, I wanted to see what was possible in terms of removing some of the grain/texture. It looks like this photo is on textured paper, is that true? Assuming you still have the photo, you might want to try scanning at a 90 degree angle from what you did to see if that lessens the texture at all. As far as removing the tape, if this is not your photo, I would ask the client before doing that.

                I ran the photo through Neat Image to reduce the texture/grain. (Not completely from the background - I was focusing more on the face and had to balance loss of detail with the reduction of grain.) Also, there is something to be said for leaving some grain, so I didn't try to eliminate all of it.

                I then fixed up the big scratch on the upper left and did a levels adjustment to lighten slightly.

                HTH,
                Jeanie
                Attached Files

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks Jeanie for your response and efforts! This also looks very good. I like the smooth, silky look. I am looking into both Neat image and the Nik penpalette. So far I've found out that the Tablet the Nik palette tools comes with is (only!) $3,499 (through Macmall)! I'm looking into whether you can use the Nik tools without a Tablet.

                  The photo paper of the original was not grainy at all; rather a thick medium gloss paper.

                  Are there any other plug ins/filters that might be helpful on this kind of picture?
                  Can others out there recommend which plug ins/filters are good in have in general for restorations?

                  Thanks again!
                  Diane

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Diane,

                    Nik penPalette is indeed available for purchase separately from the Wacom tablet. Also, it looks like if you purchase any Intuos 2 tablet from Wacom and register it, you can download penPalette for free. It is available for $100 otherwise. See here for details.

                    I don't have penPalette, so I can't tell you how it compares to Neat Image in terms of grain removal. All I know is I've been very happy with Neat Image for grain removal (and some JPEG artifact removal). It's the only program besides PS (not a plug-in unfortunately) that I use on a regular basis when doing restorations.

                    Interesting that the photo is on glossy paper. Is it a copy of an original? I'm only asking because the uneven colors of the background color and even some visible in the woman's neck area look very much like textured paper to me.

                    Jeanie

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hi Jeanie,

                      Thanks again for your note and the info regarding the penPalette and Tablet. I will check it out. The photo must have been taken in the early 1900's as the woman's birthdate is in 1874 (from the paperwork taped onto the photo) and I'm guessing she was in her 30's when the picture was taken. She was killed in the Nazi Concentration Camps and restoring her picture is a wonderful way to honor her memory. I'm happy that it's coming out so well, though I'm still trying to figure out exactly how KenB did his work, particularly on the background. I bet you're right that the original was made on textured paper and that this is a copy from it.

                      I'm curious what a Tablet is used for and when would you need one? Do many of you out there use one for restorations??

                      All the best,
                      Diane

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi Diane,

                        and here is yet another attempt to restore your picture ...
                        I didn't use any 'external' help .... just PS7 ....

                        After straightening and cropping the image, here is what I did:

                        1) Lifted the shadows with the Curves Tool.

                        2) Used Healing Brush, Clone Tool and the Layer via Copy technique to rapair the damages.

                        3) I slightly increased the Canvas size as to add some space above the top of her head.

                        4) I used the Radial Gradient to replace the background... (to avoid a flat one colour backdrop) and merged the image.

                        5) Choosing a soft Brush, I used the Blur Tool and Airbrush, adjusting their Opacity, to reduce some noise and smooth her skin as naturally as possible.

                        6) I created a New Layer (setting its blending to Overlay) and with a soft either black or white Brush (Opacity 5-10%) I highlighted or darkened different parts of her face to give it a more 3-dimensional feeling.

                        7) Used the High Pass filter to lightly sharpen the image.

                        8) Lightly colorized the image.
                        Attached Files

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by dipech
                          Hi Jeanie,

                          Thanks again for your note and the info regarding the penPalette and Tablet. I will check it out. The photo must have been taken in the early 1900's as the woman's birthdate is in 1874 (from the paperwork taped onto the photo) and I'm guessing she was in her 30's when the picture was taken. She was killed in the Nazi Concentration Camps and restoring her picture is a wonderful way to honor her memory. I'm happy that it's coming out so well, though I'm still trying to figure out exactly how KenB did his work, particularly on the background. I bet you're right that the original was made on textured paper and that this is a copy from it.

                          I'm curious what a Tablet is used for and when would you need one? Do many of you out there use one for restorations??

                          All the best,
                          Diane
                          Diane, I would be TOTALY lost without my tablet, an Intuos 2 4x5. I can't remember exactly what pen palette cost, but it was less than 100 dollars. You get a lot more control with a tablet than you can ever get with a mouse and also your brushes respond to pressure. Once you use one, you'll wonder how you ever did anything with just a mouse.

                          Ken

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Awesome job Flora.

                            Ken

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thank you Ken!

                              ...Your grey version is beautiful!!!

                              .....and ... boy! do I agree with you about the masking tape !!!!!!

                              Comment

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