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Can't figure this one out

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  • Can't figure this one out

    OK, I admit I'm exhausted and may not be thinking clearly. But I can't figure out how to restore this photo. The photo has been through a fire and has smoke damage on the bottom especially. That's not the problem though - I'm simply going to crop that off.

    The problem is the texture of the "photo". It was printed on canvas and the canvas is stretched over a wooden frame. There was texture applied, I guess to simulate brush strokes. So not only am I dealing with the texture, but the smoke seems to have settled in the indentations of the texture making it even more pronounced.

    I've already scanned it twice in 180 degree rotation and combined the two. I've attached (a portion of) the result of that. I'm not so worried about the background b/c I can replace it. But how do I get the skin (and clothing) looking clean and smooth? I'm absolutely hopeless with an airbrush, so I hope there's another way.

    Attached Files

  • #2
    Just a thought

    I'm sure someone will supply a better way but i was curious how the stamp tool would work set on lighten..

    that's all i've done with this .... it was set on 100% and and the sample area is only a couple of pixels over.
    Attached Files


    • #3
      Thanks Ron. That looks like it might work.

      I've continued to work on this and tried a layer where I ran Dust & Scratches at a high level, then used a layer mask to apply only to the skin areas. I think that might work as well. But now I'm stuck on the striped blouse. I'm not even clear on where the stripes are supposed to be - seems too messed up. Perhaps I should try to make it a solid color? Any ideas?

      Attached Files


      • #4
        I selected dark ridges using select colour, copied to new layer and applied levels to lighten them. Kept fuzziness low. Repeated 3 or 4 times. I have only worked on the face not background or clothing. This took about 5 minutes work. It's not totally satisfactory, but gives a starting point.
        Attached Files


        • #5
          Hi everybody,


          The 'pattern didn't disappear completely, but would this be acceptable?

          (I cropped and enlarged the picture so you can see the fine details...)

          Attached Files


          • #6
            Thanks Gary & Flora. I'm always happy to have new ideas to try!

            Flora, how did you get your result? Like you say, the pattern didn't disappear completely, but it looks better than it was. That's almost always a good thing.



            • #7
              Hi Jeanie,

              here is what I did with your picture:

              • Run Median Filter and Gaussian Blur on the BG duplicate.
              • Created an Overlay Adjustment Layer (filled with medium grey) added some noise and slightly blurred it.
              • Created a Luminosity Mask (blending=Multiply), duplicated it changing the Blending to Soft Light ... adjusted Saturation and Opacity of each Mask.
              • Merged visible, created a new Luminosity Mask and sharpened it slightly using the Custom Filter.

              I continued working nearly exclusively with Luminosity and Shadow mask ... I used the Blur Tool to fade the most 'stubborn' streaks alternating selective sharpening by Custom Filter and USM.

              I stopped when I did, for fear of blurring the details beyond recognition....


              • #8

                This example is only partially done, but in a short time (30-40 minutes) this is what I came up with using one of my favorite tools in the EyeFidelityTools options, which is Moire. This option of EFT allows you to point the filter in the direction of whatever you're trying to get rid of, useful when you have a strange grain that's running in a certain direction. The filter dialogue box allows you to 'swing' an arrow around so it aligns with the grain.
                (To be truthful, first thing I did was a levels correction, which is something I always do anyway, followed by duplicating the layer, changing the blend mode to lighten and then moved it around to hide at least some of the brush strokes. I'd recommend that be one thing you consider doing first.)
                Obviously what makes this picture odd for us is the grain is going brush-stroke-like over the picture in every which way. This is a stumper for photoshop, it's not that smart. So, in quickmask and using an appropriate-sized brush, I casually brushed along those lines (going in whatever direction they were going in), then got out of quick mask and inverted the selection. Then ran EFT Moire filter to subdue the brushy grain. I continued to do that, quickly getting a gestimate selection in quick mask for whatever direction the lines were going in and repeating the process with the EFT Moire filter.
                I stopped without actually touching the picture with other filters or brushes to give a sense of what can be done with this filter, which I think is a great tool. With more time and by using different tools in photoshop the picture can be significantly improved without too much loss of detail.
                This would have made for an excellent challenge.
                Anyway, it looks like it's certainly possible to get a reasonable result. Good luck with it.

                Attached Files


                • #9
                  Thanks Flora & Mig. I had to put the image aside for a couple of days to work on other "urgent" projects. Hope to get back to this one in a day or two. I've got a lot more options to try thanks to your suggestions!



                  • #10
                    STOP THE PRESSES!!!!!

                    Speaking as a photographer:

                    That grime over the "texture" can possibly be washed off. If they stretched the photo on canvas and put that acrylic textured strokes on it, it means they had to spray it too. Some companies back then sprayed over the brush stroke texture. Meaning the clear acrylic painted strokes were basically sealed with that spray. If you have it scanned high res already, I would try a corner to see if that smoke can be cleaned off!! Try a soft warm slightly wet cloth and see if you can clean it. DO NOT RUB HARD!!!! It should be safe if it was made properly.

                    Trust me. Ive done this before!

                    Also, you can have this redone (the canvas mount and all) SO you could do minimal photoshopping and just have the photograph remounted on stretched canvas. So the texture will look good, and like the original. Its kinda of costly, but worth every penny!!! I mean, even Sams Club does this nowadays.

                    Email me if you have questions on where to get this done. I have never had it done at Sams Club, Ive only used professional photography labs.


                    • #11
                      Thanks Courtney. I will definitely give that a try.

                      My client expressly said that she "just wants a photo back", so probably won't go the "printing on canvas" route.



                      • #12
                        Latest news. With a soft cloth apply laquer thinner very softly, this should work if you want to take those brush strokes off completely. Though it might smear the soot. I talked with a friend who reminded me, I forgot.

                        Anyway, I hope it works out. Its a lovely image. (I personally LOVE the canvas look, but Im a sucker for canvasing my photos)


                        • #13
                          THANKS Courtney! I don't know if I'm "brave" enough to try lacquer thinner, but you got me thinking that perhaps I should contact the preservation department at my local university and see if they have any "tricks".



                          • #14
                            Literal cleaning (as opposed to digital cleaning) is a definite possibility, but before doing anything you'd need to determine conclusively the technique used to print the photo on the canvas in the first place. Some techniques that will safely clean photos made with one technique could damage another photo made with another technique.

                            It does seem apparent that a coating of some sort is present. These were usually acrylic (good news) but were also frequently water-based (bad news). Other variants were also available.

                            The age of the original might help to narrow this down. You'd need to determine if it's actually printed on the canvas (as opposed to merely being transferred onto the canvas). That would help determine what cleaners might be harmless to the image.

                            Regardless, it's a very risky operation. Unless you have a waiver from the client (in writing) or insurance for this kind of thing, I'd stick to digital restoration or refer her to a professional conservator.
                            Learn by teaching
                            Take responsibility for learning


                            • #15
                              In the meantime, just to contribute yet another idea to this excellent thread, here's what happens when you dupe the original, apply D/S until every trace of brush pattern is gone (using the highest possible threshold) then duping the original layer again on top of the D/S layer and applying Blend If. Not a total solution, but gets you quite of the bit of the way there.
                              Attached Files
                              Learn by teaching
                              Take responsibility for learning


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