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Very dark shadow in facial portrait

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  • Very dark shadow in facial portrait

    I'm using PS CS - and have scanned in a portrait taken by an amateur using available light. The negative is not available. Most of the face is in such deep shadow that I don't think there is any detail there. The owner of the portrait desperately wants a 24x32 "painting" for which I have no intention of charging a cent (he's my best friend and the portrait is of his daughter at her prom).

    The rest of the portrait is pretty good. If I could get the color correct on the face and the shadows eliminated (or reduced to an acceptable level), I could easily "knock out" the portrait and place it on a suitable background - then use Genuine Fractals to allow me to make a 24x32 portrait suitable for framing.

    BTW, I'm fairly new to using Photoshop - with only rudimentary skills.
    Attached Files

  • #2

    Nisko, I'm fairly new at this also. In pscs under IMAGE>ADJUSTMENTS>SHADOW/HIGHLIGHTS, you can get her right eye back. Her left eye is just too dense (black). No pixels to manipulate. Tried curves,levels, different channels. I could not find anything to 'pick up'. Maybe someone with more experience can figure it out. Sorry kiska
    Attached Files


    • #3
      The left eye is definitely pretty much solid black.

      You can get a lot of the detail back through using levels and an overlay layer but you would have to do some cloning it looks like to me to restore any more detail on that area of the face.

      - Noel


      • #4
        The JPG quality of this version is far too low to be able to tell if anything can be retreived - if possible can you post a copy with a higher JPG quality. This reduction in quality will have added to the loss of detail.



        • #5
          I agree with Christine. You can post a file up to 100K here and the one you posted is only 24K, so there is plenty of scope for posting a higher quality scan. With some more information to work with something may be doable.


          • #6
            We should perhaps also add that you might try to scan the photo twice. On the second scan you can correct exposure in the scanning software so that you are over-exposing. If there is any detail at all in the dark areas, you may be able to salvage it that way. Then you can combine both scans in Photoshop. DON'T -- touch the scanner between the two scans!


            • #7
              With a few other snapshots of this girl (to see what her dark side looks like), a traditional airbrush-retouching artist would be able easily to do a great photorealistic rendition to the dark side on a large print .

              You would then copy that retouched print with a relatively low-contrast mid/large negative ( shoot 4X5 and request 1/2 stop "pull" processing), scan the negative and print.

              Easy as pie, done traditionally. Of course that assumes actual phototechnical skills and the willingness to charge a fair price...


              • #8
                Hello, this is my first forum post.
                Wouldn't that make for an interesting challenge? You could find a picture with a similar problem, and provide another pic of the same person for reference.
                Just a tought.




                • #9
                  Photographic Guestoration


                  I'm brand spankin new here too. Manipulating the pic instead of restoring it seems to have worked out alright, but i'm sure its not what the original model looked like. I gave her a face but its far from perfect. The size restraints of attachments don't help much either. ah well.
                  Attached Files


                  • #10
                    Prom Pic

                    The detail you want is in the picture; but your file in this forum is too small to do much with it. Everything comes out pixelated and overdone. It will take some time but with a series of gentle curves and gentle masking techniques to bring out that detail you can accomplish a great deal. I tried to do a bit of dodge with some success but didn't like the way it grayed out the image. She is a beautiful girl. Have you thought about shooting just her face in much the same pose and transporting it to the old pic? At any rate, here is my feeble (and I do mean feeble) attempt at her restoration just to see if it could be done.
                    I used the series of gentle curves and masking mentioned above.
                    Attached Files


                    • #11
                      Kiska's version seems the only one that approaches reasonable.

                      It'd be easy for a traditional retouch artist, or for a serious digital retoucher, who would certainly employ a graphics pad, to develop this young lady's shadow-side eye and perhaps expand on a few other small hinted features...but the image is, as it stands, attractive as improved by Kiska.

                      We might remember that one of the first big commercial uses of photography in the US was portraiture of corpses, such as the Civil War dead. The photographer would then "open" the eyes of the departed on negatives by spotting cochineal (and later, "new coccine" from Eastman Kodak), a photo red dye, on closed eyelids making what woud become the whites of eyes, making them appear to be open. Then pencil work would be done on the prints to provide fine detail. This would give the family what might be the only image of their lost soldier.

                      Is the young woman in this photo similarly "lost?" If she remains beautiful and still available, a better original portrait would seem in order. Of course, since the parent didn't pay for the photo in the first place, and is now prepared to accept free retouching from another friend...

                      This seems yet another lesson about ethics, amateur portraiture (like "amateur plumbing" or "amateur surgery"), and amateur photolab / retouching. The "customer" winds up getting something third rate and deeply disappointing, while taking food from the tables of local professionals.

                      Last edited by westsidemaurice; 08-05-2004, 07:59 AM.


                      • #12
                        I agree with Janet. I think their is a bit more info to pull out with a higher resolution pic. Here's what I got doing some curves, Highlite/shadows and smoothing.

                        Attached Files


                        • #13
                          Well here is my spin after 10 min of work. No cloning or healing tools which would have made it better but I was in a hurry . More data there than you would think but it would be much better with a higher res scan.
                          Attached Files


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by coilte
                            Well here is my spin after 10 min of work. No cloning or healing tools which would have made it better but I was in a hurry . More data there than you would think but it would be much better with a higher res scan.
                            Nice job !

                            The eyes and teeth/lips, keys to good portraits, are now alive. With very little more work eyes might be brightened (only a little, so as not to be shocking or cartoonish) ... there's enough data to define the pupils of the eyes, which will be important to the final product.

                            Pros know that dark-complected people are typically especially sensitive to skin tone: Coilte skillfully maintained smooth, neutral skin tone and proper contrast.


                            • #15
                              Hi Coilte,
                              Very well done, would love to see your steps.
                              W. Rose (Wayne)


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