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Stuck in restoration hell

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  • Stuck in restoration hell

    Hi all

    I have the mother of all damage to work on
    This wedding photo taken im assuming around the late early 1900's was brought to me after this poor woman got turned away from every restoration service place she approached, that she knew of anyway... commercial print services and afew photographic places I would expect. All of them basicly said they "cant" do it... rather they wont because its not worth the time or effort for them....the cost alone would be a heartattack :P

    I have come to a point where I cant get this photo any better without airbrush work, The thing im stuck with at the moment is trying to get the tones to even out on the dress and its causing me serous headaches as to how I should resolve the problem.

    Ive enclosed a largish origional for any of you to feel free to play with..
    warning its a lil over 800k and thats at reduced size and slight compression. for the slow bandwidth users
    The dpi im working in is 600 with an 8x6 image. totaling at 56mb and a rather largeish 933mb psd lol

    Unfortunately after bringing the image out I found that she scanner caused noticable steps in the tone of the image every 2 inches...
    I did a re scan today and its fine.. So this one is a better option to work with if the first one scares you
    Keep in mind i only re scanned this today after already geting to my last point..I used the first one on all steps.

    I also have linked the second step after I brought it out with levels.

    a third to show where I could go no further with ajustment tools alone.

    And then the final one of where im at at the moment.

    The other thing thats giving me grief is no matter how many times i go back to the origional pic and try to bring out the detail I can never do it without bringing the grain along with it. Which causes the detail in the faces and other areas to become grainy and harsh.

    Im thinking maby somone here may know of a tequinique that im not aware of to bring out the detail and still keep the subtleness in the softer tones.
    You may also notice there is a rose and a lilly or something shooting down from the flowers shes holding...I didnt even notice till I played around...
    But Id like to bring them out further.

    One major thorn in my side is the finger print on her face... his hand... and all the other crap that comes out over the top of the image.

    I origionally painstakingly healed most of it... but theres just way too much white dots and white sun bleached areas to handle....driving me nuts.

    I do know its getting darker... But I will be lightening it and giving it a nice sepeia tone at the end as the way it should be.

    I used the red chanel alot to get the smoothest tones to work with, just a tip.

    Any comments or feedback would be much appreceated, and any tips on where I should go from here would be great... along with any criticisim and what ive done wrong that I could do a different way to get a beter outcome.

    Kind reguards

    P.S I love this site
    Last edited by moofactory; 04-27-2005, 08:20 AM.

  • #2
    Hi Moofactory!

    Well, you defiantly have a rough one here. I to have had this type of restoration work to do. It will take you a long time to restore. I took a look at you images and I am still not happy with the quality of the scan. As you know this is sooooo important when you are restoring a photo this far gone.

    The work you have done thus far is GREAT, just keep working on it. At this point I would narrow my restoration to the objects in the photo. I mean, I would mask off a lot and work on very small areas of the photo. I like to approach it as a puzzle, when I have the areas done, it will all fall together. I would not worry about tones until the very last thing.

    My advice or two cents - I would scan the original at no less then 1200 dpi. You will need a large amount of disk space and memory. By working this large you are able to minimize the pixeling in the photo to a smaller size and thus restoration easier (not faster – the trade off).

    I really think what you have done so far looks great. I love these challenges myself. If I get a chance, I’ll play around with your photo. I do wish I had a very hi scan tho.

    Good Luck!


    • #3
      You're right about the red channel. In fact, for monochrome images I start by splitting the channels and discarding the blue and green. Then I would do a levels adjustment (holding the alt key while you move the highlight and shadow sliders so you can check to make sure you're not discarding any actual image data). Then a gentle use of dust/scratches (on your original I used 3px with a 36 threshold). The spot healing brush in Photoshop CS2 or Elements 3 makes quick work of most of the remaining white and black spots (the regular healing brush will work as well, just not quite as fast). The patch tool takes care of the largest spots.

      While this doesn't improve all that much on your "where I am now" post, you get there in about 5 minutes, which is a big morale boost.
      Attached Files
      Learn by teaching
      Take responsibility for learning


      • #4

        Do you think this is an early color print from the 1940's?



        • #5
          I can see where you might think that, but I don't think so. And even if it is, there's no color information left.
          Learn by teaching
          Take responsibility for learning


          • #6
            Thanks, Doug,

            Then I'm not going to beat my head against the screen trying to bring back any color.

            Flora worked on a print some time ago of a little girl in a backyard. She was able to bring out significant detail in her dress. I have tried to search back in the archives for the thread and to look at her workflow; unsuccessfully. It seems to me her method for the little girl print would work on this dress where there appears to be a fair amount of detail left.

            Anyone remember that thread or picture?


            • #7
              as for focus... right now im concerned about the detail in both their faces... particularly hers as shes the one with the finger print slaped over her cheek and eye.

              The other is the detail in the dress.
              I recently found out that theres actually lace under all that crap on the bodess. from the chest down. from the chest up theres a plain material with no pattern.. luckly theyre sending me an image of what it looks like.

              As for your desturbing advice on the 1200 dpi minium... I wanted to sulk
              Im going to get the new scan to a colour corected point and then do the same as i did earlyer today.. replicate the colour and contrasts on the previously worked on one... and set the top layer to darken.

              hey presto no need to go through and use the heal tool on every little white spec. cause the layer darkened is the one already worked on and makes the light pixels that dont match the top layer dissapear.

              The only concern I have now is blowing up the previous work and using this new layer as the detail one. well see how it goes anyway.

              by the way the 2 large images that I posted are 200dpi..8x6
              Thats for bandwidth reasons for u guys, the one ive been working on has been 600dpi.... now its going to be 1200 lol.

              The flowers and high light sources on the dress are my main concern too...
              I need to get them down to the same level to bring out their detail.

              Her face could do with some improvement too.
              Ill post both their faces in full rez soon... so you all can have a wack :P
              In the mean time I have to fix her mangled face. and put the pins back in pinstripe....his suit is a mess


              • #8
                1200ppi (NOT DPI) won't actually get any more image detail than a lower setting, but it does make restoring easier and will avoid resample blurring (assuming it's optical rez and not interpolated).
                Learn by teaching
                Take responsibility for learning


                • #9
                  I know this is a somewhat drastic move, but in regards to that thumbprint, would you consider testing something like PEC-12 emulsion cleaner on a small corner? In theory it is safe for photographic prints - though who knows given how this has deteriorated what unusual properties it has...

                  *Edit* - sorry I wasn't actually looking at the image when I wrote that. I see now that the thumbprint has actually caused additional fading/deterioration. Scratch that idea!
                  Last edited by Caitlin; 04-27-2005, 04:39 PM.


                  • #10
                    Hi moofactory,

                    Welcome to RP!

                    ...Boy, what a nightmare! You have really done a very good job with it!!!

                    I worked on your 'secondscan' (the darker one)... like Doug, I checked the channels first .... not satisfied with what I saw in RGB, I changed to CMYK .... big surprise there .... for some mysterious reason, Magenta an Yellow Channels were inverted!! (looked like negatives) (attachment 1).

                    I inverted them back and 'played' with Apply Image to lighten up the image a bit ... Once I got an acceptable image (attachment 2), I changed back ro RGB and started my routine restoration procedure ...(meaning: try everything! )

                    Attachment 3 shows how far I got .... (which is not much!) ... concentrating mainly on the bride, but particularly on her dress....


                    the thread you are referring to is here but, in this case, as Doug says, there was no colour information ....
                    Attached Files
                    Last edited by Flora; 04-29-2005, 03:39 AM.


                    • #11
                      Thank you Flora, that's it. I'll look it over today.



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