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As I See It

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  • #16
    Dust & Scratches...better techniques

    While I realize this is not all about Dust and Scratches, I think it is a good focus.

    When I first used the Dust & Scratches function, I was working on professional images for a book publisher. The images were always full of dust because the scanning people were sloppy. At the urging of my employer, I tried to use the D&S and found it a useless tool. Not only did it blur the image, but there was ugly loss of detail. I swore off it.

    A retoucher's goal always seemed to me to be to retain detail while fixing what was broken...If you damage part of an image while fixing another, you aren't fixing -- you are making more work. While I agree that the new user must learn tools and make errors while using them, I don't think the goal is ever different, and the key is to find a solution that works -- be it a quick or slow one. I'd say quick comes after quality...and if there is a choice, the time is probably better spent putting in extra effort to compensate for any lacking of experience in the tools.

    Not long after swearing off the Dust&Scratches, being one who likes to experiment with the tools, I found that combining Dust&Scratches with other tools could produce acceptable results in some cases. For example, much like the Sans Clone Tool tutorial, one could duplicate the layer, apply D&S, then limit the application to light and/or dark areas of the image (using Blend If) and then erase areas where the blend was undesired. This was a quick solution to a lot of problems in some images, so long as it was used selectively and with some restraint. For example, white specs on a black velvet skirt can be removed quickly, without blurring the same subject's pearl brooch.

    There are always creative uses for tools, even ones that "don't work". I am very careful not to put down tools, as often I don't see the intent immediately, and haven't thought of how it might be better applied. Very often (and really with few exceptions) I find tools are almost always better applied in combination. This requires first experimenting with the tool and knowing what it can do in conjunction with other tools...It is the sort of catch 22 that you can only overcome by first making the mistakes of using it by itself to see what happens.

    There are a million ways to do anything in Photoshop, and the best way isn't the easiest or quickest...It is the one that works.

    Hope that helps!


    • #17
      Richard, very good point.
      A balanced combination of tools and techniques, with a knowledge of when and where to apply them is the best bet.

      I don't mean to trash certain tools entirely, but rather suggest that, until one has developed the above mentioned skill, some tools are better suited for certain jobs. I think this is important to someone just starting out. Especially when they choose to use only one technique or tool.


      • #18

        Just my 3 cents worth, from past experiance. While taking a digital photo class, one of the assignments was a photo restoration. In order to fix a really bad spot, I moved a shoe from on area of the image to cover the spot. The instructor was less than pleased. He was quite emphatic that it was a restoration project and not a manipulation project. He made me put the shoe back, and just clone from the surrounding floor area. The class was split about 50/50, but I understood his point. I guess what I'm saying is that there is a deffinate line between restoration and manipulation. A restoration should be just that, restoring to original (or better?) condition. Much like restoring an old automobile or home. Manipulation is changing the original, but it moving a shoe, or coloization, or background change, etc. But even I am guilty of manipulative restorations :-) Client wants the cluttery background cleaned up :-) Take the laundry off the clothes line, heck remove the clothes line :-) Any way enough rambling for tonight. Cheers everyone, and keep up the wonderful work and constructive conversations!