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  • hawkaye
    replied
    retouching...

    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!

    hawkaye

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  • Vikki
    replied
    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.

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  • Richard Lynch
    replied
    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!

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  • Vikki
    replied
    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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  • Matt Elder
    replied
    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.

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

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  • Roger Roberts
    replied
    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).

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

    Ed

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  • Chris W.
    replied
    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...

    Leave a comment:


  • Vikki
    replied
    Sounds legit to me. Good words DJ

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  • DJ Dubovsky
    replied
    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.
    DJ

    Hey I almost sound legit.

    Leave a comment:


  • Vikki
    replied
    Ed,
    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".

    Leave a comment:


  • Vikki
    replied
    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.

    Kathleen,
    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.

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  • Ed_L
    replied
    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.

    Ed

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  • kathleen
    replied
    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.

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