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As I See It

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  • As I See It

    I started this thread after thinking about the "critique" discussion. I thought maybe, instead of individual critiques, I would start a thread for "overall" critique discussion.

    I just want to add, that for some reason, I am compelled to voice my opinion. So, I hope no one takes offense, or belives it to be anything more than that - just my opinion (and a desire to help).

    Here goes....
    I think overall, the members are really good at getting out cracks, scratches, and such. The thing that I've noticed though, is that the aftermath from such repairs sometimes looks smeared, blurry, or painted.

    From my own experiments, I would guess this is due to the choice of tools used, and the amount of effects applied.

    I have read many techniques that recommend Median, Gaussian Blur, and Dust & Scratches. I personally never use these tools as a method for repair, because they seem to destroy the essence of the qualities that make it a "photograph", (and not a a painting).

    For me, the number one tool is the "clone" tool. It takes longer, and is indeed, more work, but I think it's worth it.

    Ok, enough rambling from me. (P.S, I started cold medication today. Maybe it's gone to my head)

  • #2
    I think the key in using any tool or filter is knowing when to stop and using the minimum setting to accomplish the desired goal. It is sure possible to use the blur filters until the photo begins to take on an impressionist look, but, as I have proved on many occasions, overusing the clone tool can also result in some interesting effects although not exactly in keeping with the idea of restoration. I find the main usefulness of the blur and other filters to be in using the history brush in conjunction with them and touching up small to medium-small defects. For larger stuff cloning either with the clone tool or by masking and dragging seems to be the best. Also, I dont feel that it is always necessary or advisable to get rid of every last imperfection as some actually add "atmosphere" to the photo and taking them out can sometimes actually degrade the finished photo, but, those are only my thoughts. Good topic!! Tom


    • #3
      For the most part you are correct. There is always a sacrifice with using blur and dust and scratches. I find them most useful for backgrounds where the details are not that important. I usually use the clone tool for very detailed areas such as faces. However sometimes you get an overall pattern such as scanning matte photos or news print etc and the clone would be useless in that situation. I think a good combination of all tools make for a better balance photo. In some cases you can see where there was an excess of cloning done also. Don't get me wrong, the clone tool is still my number one tool also and I do go through the tedious task of cloning to avoid bluring the photo even a little but some cases it's not the best tool to use. That's why I think trying other methods or experimenting can be useful alternatives. It basically becomes a judgement call on each photo and as you go you learn to make better and better calls. Bear in mind that forum threads such as this give food for thought in the learning process.
      Last edited by DJ Dubovsky; 10-16-2001, 01:05 PM.


      • #4
        i think a lot depends on motivation, taste, and skill level.

        for instance, if someone has an old photo that, through the use of blurring, they are able to make look "more like them" or remove a distracting element, they might feel satisfied with and proud of their effort. "it looks better".

        the aftermath from such repairs sometimes looks smeared, blurry, or painted.
        an experienced restorer might take the same picture and handle it entirely differently; guy #1 may or may not appreciate that difference.

        guy#1's feelings may or may not be hurt if you point out the flaws. did he accomplish what he set out to do?

        is guy #1 here? maybe. but he wouldn't stay if he wasn't interested in improving, i think. improvement implies that there's an agreed upon standard.


        • #5
          I've got to agree with Kathleen. Although Vikki's suggestion is probably right on, I think we can all look back on something we did when we started, and find a multitude of things we would do differently. We might have been satisfied (even proud) with our work, but we simply couldn't see the problem. My trouble is that I can often see the problem, but I just don't always know how to fix it.



          • #6
            Tom & DJ,
            I agree with you. The other tools and filters are useful and appropriate for certain things. I use them myself (I posted a technique for using Gaussian blur as an enhancement tool).
            Sometimes I'm not able to articulate what I'm trying to say, but what you've said helps. I think what I'm noticing is perhaps, a "heavy handed" use of those tools?
            I'm a firm believer in using whatever tool gets the job done.

            I should say, that I am speaking under the assumption that most people here want to share and learn - tips, techniques, and advice, all in an effort to improve. I don't mean to insult anyone.
            Hopefully, guy #1 will ignore me if what I say isn't relevant to him.

            I think there is a standard, but I think it's unwritten (if we're talking about restoration, and not art.) To me, getting the job done means restoring the photo to it's original, intended appearance, or as close to it as possible. My personal interpretation or guy #1's, should not enter into the picture (no pun intended) unless the customer has requested it.

            More ramblings........
            I consider restoration much like having a service perfomed. If I hired someone to paint my kitchen white, I would be mortified if they painted it yellow because they thought it looked good. I hired a painter, not a decorator.

            The way I see it, as wonderfully rewarding as restoration work is, I think it's still basically a repair service, and not open to personal interpretation.


            • #7
              That's just what I'm trying to say.
              I can often see the problem, but I just don't always know how to fix it
              I thought maybe I could help someone over that hurdle.

              I have a lot of old stuff that makes me cringe when I look at it. If everyone had told me it looked great, I probably would never have had reason to try and improve. Of course, it hurt a bit, at the time, I thought it was my best work.

              The idea of only praise seems unfair. Sort of reminds me of the story, "The Emporer's New Clothes".


              • #8
                Love your analogy Vikki.

                It is the teachers who praise, correct, stimulate and encourage that have the best students. Balance these elements and people will look to you for answers.

                Hey I almost sound legit.


                • #9
                  Sounds legit to me. Good words DJ


                  • #10
                    The majority of my customers thus far have indicated they want their picture restored to as close to the original as possible...which means quite a bit of tedious work on some but that's what the customer wants.

                    I have continued to study and practice and read, read, read...I have always said the largest room in the world is the room for improvement...


                    • #11
                      Excellent thread! Chris, I like your thoughts on the largest room in the world. That's the first time I heard that one.



                      • #12
                        Thanks Vikki, for starting this thread. I am hearing a lot of words of wisdom here and it has mind mind jumping through hoops to think about it all. I have been at this a short time and when I finnish most projects I have the feeling that it is incomplete,over worked or to fake looking (even though I am amazed at what Photoshop can do ). I will always be grateful for any critiques,suggestions,tips or different ways to achieve a better result (so don't worry about hurting my feelings,I'm here to learn and enjoy).


                        • #13
                          wonderfully rewarding as restoration work is, I think it's still basically a repair service, and not open to personal interpretation.
                          I have a lot of old stuff that makes me cringe when I look at it. If everyone had told me it looked great, I probably would never have had reason to try and improve. Of course, it hurt a bit, at the time, I thought it was my best work.

                          The idea of only praise seems unfair. Sort of reminds me of the story, "The Emporer's New Clothes".
                          well said, well thought. set the bar high, everyone will benefit.


                          • #14
                            An interesting topic. About 10 years ago I was surprised to see someone digitally fixing up a photo for a magazine cover on TV (I was young and didn't understand the whole fashion industry). Until recently, I haven't been able to pick photos that have been touched up. Now that I've read about some techniques and played around with them, generally I can pick what has been altered, to what degree and probably one way that it was done.

                            What is the point of all of this ramblings?! Basically as you go along, you develop a knowledge and what might be a 'difficult' concept to one person, might be common knowledge to another. After having a good look around your site you are obviously well versed in what you are doing and able to pick this overall 'blurredness' to images, probably in people's images that have only done a handful of retouching jobs. That's great cause then you can guide people and share your wisdom and experience and say "hey I know what you are doing, try this cause your image will turn may better". Or maybe that 'newbie' will stumble upon a technique they can then share with you. Thus everyone can benefit. Even being able to 'pick' in other people's work what you would consider 'mistakes', you become more conscious in your own work and try to avoid doing the same.

                            You don't teach someone how to be the fastest runner over 100m's before they can walk. Constructive critisim is part of the reason that we are all here and is healthy.

                            One day after doing something for long enough, we look back to the beginning and think, "ah that's terrible, I can't believe I did that and was proud of it". Someone like yourself can help people get to this point faster but just remember, this blurred effect may have taken someone hours to do cause they are only just starting out.

                            Hopefully this makes sense.


                            • #15
                              Matt, that makes sense.
                              And brings up another good point. Time.
                              In many cases, this work takes a lot of time. And it can be very frustrating to spend hours on something, and still not get it to look the way you wanted, or how it should. This can happen if you're not using the right tools or methods. (been there, done that). My objective is to offer some alternative methods, that work for me, after years of experimenting.

                              As an example, if one uses "Dust & Scratches" to blur out a defect, it's going to look blurry. Now one can leave it like that (but it won't look natural), or one can spend another hour ,or two or three, trying to make that mess look right. Or, one can start off using the clone tool, in small increments, which helps keep the original qualities.

                              I think some of the filters such as Dust & Scratches, were meant as quick fixes, for the average user/dabbler. I don't think we're average users. It's one thing to be happy with a quick fix of a personal photo, but it's not something a good restoration artitist would give to a customer. The customer themselves, could do a quick fix with Dust & Scratches! They're paying you, to go the extra mile, and do it the right way.

                              Ok, enough rambling for now. As you all may have guesse, I could go on forever....


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