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  • Image fading

    I posted this same thread in the restorations forum and thought I'd post it here as well. Lots of lookers and no responses.
    Anyway here goes...
    Here is a very old image of a family member that is approx 90+ years old.
    I usually have no problems with blemishes shuch as tears, stains, missing area's or the like but what poses a challenge for me is the faded areas of an image. How can I make the faded area's uniform throughout the image?
    Post examples too please!
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Hi Colin,

    This was a quick fix, and not meant to be anywhere close to perfect. I only worked on the washed out area on the right side very briefly. First, I made a duplicate layer, and set the blend mode to multiply. Then I added a layer mask, and filled with black. Using a *large*, *soft* brush, and opacity around 5%, I painted with white on the mask, just on the areas that needed to be darkened. It still wasn't right, so I duplicated that layer, and painted with white again. Still, it wasn't right, so I changed the blending mode to Saturation on that layer only. Here's the result. Hope this helps. If you don't know how to use layer masks, let us know. Someone will surely point you in the right direction.

    Attached Files


    • #3
      Thanks for giving this image some time Ed. That shows a significant change. I know there is no quick fix to this image. It is going to take a fair amount of work to get it looking good.
      My experience with layer masking is very limited. There are a couple things I can do that I've learned from tut's.
      Thanks again Ed.


      • #4
        This is my try - just doing the evening out of brightness, took about 10 minutes to do this way;

        Flora's trick: create new layer in overlay mode, paint with a white brush at about 10 to 15 percent opacity to lighten, same to darken but with black.

        I then created a new layer on top set to color mode, sampled and painted to even out the color, without loosing the differences that give it a 'I am old' feel.

        Hope this helps, Roger
        Attached Files


        • #5
          A good strategy for this type of thing is to build a channel mask, either from an existing channel and painting on it, or just go into quick mask and paint over the problem areas; when you leave quick mask you'll have a selection of the bad parts. (Save the selection in an alpha channel in the channels palette for later.)
          Activate this selection, then go into each channel one at a time, and with curves tug the curve around to get the problem area to match the good area - just do it by eye. Do this process with each channel - red, green, blue.
          Afterwards go back to the Layers palette and you'll see a huge improvement, but after fidgeting with each channel there'll be a colour cast in the bad areas. Ignore that for now.
          Instead, bring up the info palette, anc this is the real trick - run your cursor (or eye dropper) around the image and read the numbers given in the info palette, making sure brightness and contrast are reasonably matched up between the good areas & bad. They should be real close after having used curves in each channel with your selection active. This method allows you to come as close to mathematically perfect as there is.
          (Lastly, an easy way to fix the colour cast is to use an adjustment layer on the whole picture, with hue/saturation, ticking the colorize box and moving the sliders around until you find what you like. That's a little like cheating, but for this picture it doesn't matter, because there's arguably no real value to whatever colour is in it.)

          Sounds hard but it's actually not - try it,
          Attached Files


          • #6
            Hi Conk. Here is one more method:

            1. Duplicate Background layer and set it to Multiply Blending Mode.

            2. Go to menu. Pick Layer|Add Layer Mask|Hide All

            3. Create an empty layer above this. Set to Color Blending Mode. Pick a medium color from the image and fill this layer with the color. This will give you even color so you can judge the fading reduction better.

            4. Drop down to layer with the mask. Click the mask icon to activate the mask

            5. Go to tool palette and set foreground color to white

            6. Pick soft edge paint brush, opacity about 10 to 15

            7. Paint on image where you want to reduce fading. You will have to adjust the opacity from time to time. If you make a mistake, switch the brush to black paint and paint with that. Take your time.

            8. When you have it the best you can, add an empty layer above this one, but below the color layer. Fill with 50% gray. Set to Overlay blending mode (the image will become visable again). Pick burn tool set to about 12%. Carefully burn the gray layer where you want the image to become even more intense. If you make a mistake, paint with 50% gray to eliminate the burn. There might even be an area on the left where you want to dodge. But work only on this gray layer.
            Attached Files
            Last edited by Andrew B.; 09-01-2003, 10:01 PM.


            • #7
              Excellent! Thanks you guys for the pointers. I've spent a couple hours on this so far going all the way and doing the restore. Why stop part way right?
              Anyway, I started with one tutorial and am very interrested in giving each one a try to see what I can do for the best possible results. Well, what my talents will allow anyway.
              Thanks again.
              I'll post my results as soon as I am ready.


              • #8
                Ok then, here goes. Are there any suggestions as to what I could have done or done better? Also, I'm not sure the colour is right.
                Attached Files


                • #9
                  Hey Colin...Good job!! It looks like you might have pulled out a little more detail than the original had. If you think the color needs adjusting, you can make a hue/saturation adjustment layer (always better than changing the background layer), then adjust the individual colors until you get something that appeals to you more. What technique did you use? It *really* looks great.

                  Last edited by Ed_L; 09-03-2003, 07:54 AM.


                  • #10
                    Thanks much Ed.
                    I tried Andrew's process and did one heck of a lot of cloning at a 300+ view. Mostly using the clone tool to redraw area's back in as well as duplicating other area's such as lines in the barn panels in the back. If you look at the original you will see where there was some duplicating. The button on his trousers, right eye, hair on the right side and his ear. I tried to redraw his elbow
                    on our right but didn't really spend anytime on it.
                    To try and bring out a bit more detail I did a process I posted in another thread in the restoration forum.
                    applied a sharpening by duplicating the layer-
                    -hi pass at 1.5
                    -set to overlay on layers pallet.

                    Last edited by Conk; 09-02-2003, 11:57 PM.


                    • #11
                      Daves attempt

                      I'm afraid there is no substitute for getting your head down with the cloning tool though in my experience 200 percent is enough zoom to achieve good results.
                      I tend to cheat with old photos and converted them to greyscale, there i could really get to grips with the contrast issues ( I could go into numbers and values but as long as your lightest area is around 4pc and the darkest 94pc and the subject looks balanced it should be fine )
                      The benefit of greyscale as you can really get in with the burn tool to bring out those faded areas ie RHS elbow/ door in background / hair etc. I also burned the shadow values by about 10-15pc on the floor areas to bring them out.
                      I changed back to RGB to do some selective sharpening on the doc and then changed to LAB to sharpen the lightness channel globally.
                      I deleted all channels except the lightness
                      and changed back to greyscale where I then added the yellowy background using colourise in the hue/saturation dialog box
                      My explanations are vague, I know, but I hope this has been helpful


                      • #12
                        lets try to upload the file shall we ? I seem to have terrible trouble up\downloading must be a Brit thing.
                        Attached Files


                        • #13
                          Good stuff Dave. You came up with some great results. You managed to get detail where I didn't.


                          • #14

                            Looks like a Lewis Hine photo. Good work.



                            • #15
                              Hope you don't mind me dredging this one up but I tried a new technique tonight.

                              opened the image
                              used the blue channel to provide the basis for a new grayscale version
                              upsampled to 300 dpi to give more room to work
                              copied the layer
                              gaussian blur the new layer to provide a blob of tones - all detail should be obliterated but there should be a range of light and dark tones
                              invert the blurred layer ctrl-I
                              change the blurred layer to overlay blend mode - this should combine with the original background image to even out the fading significantly
                              merge the layers
                              burn and/or dodge where needed with a medium size soft brush to further even out the fading
                              levels or curves to help with tonality

                              I took this a step further and USM the boy, blurred the background, converted to RGB and added a sepia look.

                              thanks for providing an opportunity to practice!

                              Attached Files


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