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Old photo with color spots and yellow trash

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  • Old photo with color spots and yellow trash

    Hi group,

    I am new to RetouchPro and must say I am very excited to be here.

    The attached picture is one I have been messing with for about a month. I can not seem to find a way to clean this picture and would love some advice.

    The original photo looks bad but when I scanned the image, all the trash came screaming out. Yikes!!! There is not a good place to begin trying to clone out all the damage. I am new to photoshop and havent figured out how to work with channels to delete and replace the damaged ones.

    I am craving knowledge and want to learn how to fix this picture.

    Any and all advice is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance

    Attached Files

  • #2
    Hi Nathan,

    First off, welcome to RetouchPro!

    As for your picture, I've got to run out the door in two minutes, but I took a quick look at your photo and it appears that a lot of the damage is JPEG artifacts. That said, for the size image that you posted (both in height & width and file size), I'm surprised at the amount of JPEG artifacts, which makes me wonder what format you saved the image in when you scanned it? Did you scan it directly into Photoshop, or did you scan it to a file? And if you saved it do a file, did you save it as JPEG or TIFF (or PSD)? If you saved it as JPEG, try rescanning and saving as TIFF or PSD. That will help reduce the artifacts.

    If my guess that you saved as JPEG is false, I'll be back later with some other suggestions. There are other things that need fixing besides the JPEG artifacts.



    • #3

      I scanned the picture directly to Photoshop. I only changed it to JPG in order to post to this forum. Actually, the PSD file is just as bad as the JPG.

      Its just really messed up.



      • #4
        Hmmm - I still think that the majority of the damage looks "digitally introduced" rather than part of the original photo. What kind of scanner do you have? I've seen this type of damage show up in one of my client's images which was scanned and then e-mailed to me as a high-quality JPEG. The damage looked so bad that I was not able to give an estimate until I had the picture in hand. Once I scanned the photo on my scanner, the "digital" damage disappeared. So, I'm wondering if your scanner might be making things more difficult for you?

        OK, that said, there is obviously more wrong with the photo than just the digital damage. It appears that this was a color photo - am I right? However, it also appears that almost all of the color information has faded (and a bit of yellowing has been introduced.) When I have a photo like this, I first look at each of the color channels. Are you familiar with that? Go to the channels palette and click on each individual channel: red, green and blue. If you see the same thing that I do, you'll notice that the blue channel appears to contain the majority of the damage. In almost all cases, the recommended course of action is to replace the damaged channel with a good one. (I usually choose green.) To do this, highlight the green channel, Ctl-A to select all, Ctl-C to copy, then highlight the blue channel and Ctl-V to paste.

        Unfortunately, there just isn't enough color information in this photo to salvage it. I should qualify that with saying my preference in cases like this is to turn the photo to black and white, repair the damage, then colorize to get the color back. In this case, I would use a Channel Mixer adjustment layer and probably use 50% red and 50% green, perhaps slightly different, but in all cases, 0% blue. Then clean up the damage in the photo. ((I find it much easier to fix damage to B&W images than color.)

        Finally, I would colorize it to get the color back. The colorization process typically involves lots of layers - one color per layer and the layer mode is changed to color and the opacity adjusted to get the color just right. It can take some practice to get the skin tones correct, but it is doable. (If you have any other color photos that are not damaged, you might be able to extract a face, then put it in a layer above the face in this picture, blur it, change the new layer to color mode and adjust the opacity.)

        I apologize that I don't have time right now to actually show you a result from all of these steps. However, if I've said anything that doesn't make sense to you, please ask more questions. I'm not sure what your proficiency in Photoshop is, so I wasn't sure how to gear my answer.

        The great thing about Photoshop (and this forum) is that someone else might have a completely different approach - and I'll learn something too!!

        HTH (at least a little),


        • #5
          HI and thanks for all the info!

          Believe it or not, the actual photo is as damaged as you see it. It appears to have had some cleaner or something used to clean the photo. If I hold the photo at a slight angle, all the mess that shows up in the scan is viewable. The photo is just a wreck!

          As far a PS skill level, I purchased PS 7 about 2 months ago. I have read several books by Scott Kelby and Russell Brown. I've taken online classes at my local college. Now, PS has become my after work obsession. I am completely drawn in to what this program and people can accomplish.

          Overall, I am a newbie but trying to learn as much as I can.

          I did see that the blue channel was messed up the worse. I deleted it but couldnt figure out how to add another back. The picture became un-editable.

          I will take your information and try it tonight. Thanks again for all the information and help.

          Have a Great Day!!



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