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How to remove stains or spots from a photo

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  • How to remove stains or spots from a photo

    The actual size of this photo is approximately 2x3. I am suppose to enlarge it to about 8.5x11, however, while attempting to enlarge this photo, I had noticed that the gentlemen jacket and face is completely full of black and orange spots. The woman face is also full of orange or red spots. I would like to know if this photo can be salvage. I had never seen so much spots or stains on a photo like this before. How can I remove those spots from the whole photo?

    Gerald McClaren
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Gerald McClaren; 07-04-2006, 02:20 AM. Reason: more information

  • #2
    Spots & Stains

    Gerald, the image is salvageable. I only had 3 minutes to play with it (off to work) but you can restore it completely with a little work.
    The Blue channel is severely damaged. I used the channel mixer to replace it. Then used Noise Ninja / Neat Image to reduce the color noise and course noise. A quick Hue / Saturation adjustment to move the colors back toward original. I stopped there. You could then clone over the remaining specs which should be mostly light colored, and then resize your image. I recommend you scan the image at a high resolution (at least 1200 dpi).
    Regards, Murray
    Attached Files


    • #3
      Good Job Murray...wish I could do that in three minutes...or three



      • #4
        Similar technique to Murray, in that I used one of the other channels.

        I copied the Green Channel to an alpha, adjusted with levels, then pasted it into the damaged Blue Channel to replace it.

        Sharpened resulting image.

        Again, like Murray, it only took a couple of minutes.
        Attached Files


        • #5
          Hi there

          Thought I'd give it a try... rather then make drastic changes to the blue channel I just blurred it some and used the healing brush on a few places. Still did a little color correction... at least what I thought the colors should be. I found a yellow that did not match so I opened a blank layer set to color and painted some color to hide it.Then a reduce noise filter to finish. Forgot to remove the red and yellow from the eye whites and teeth.

          Attached Files
          Last edited by Daviskw; 07-04-2006, 05:03 PM.


          • #6
            Spots & Stains

            Gary & Butch, great work. It is clear from the different versions that the image can readily be manouvered into a good range of skin color which Gerald can fine tune them to.
            Gerald, good luck with the restoration.
            Regards, Murray


            • #7
              How to remove stains or spots from a photo

              I was blown away from the result of the work that was presented. You guys are very, very, good. I'm amazed of the finish product. I'll see if I can follow some of these directions. Thanks again.

              Gerald McClaren


              • #8
                You're welcome Gerald, good luck with your restore. Any problems come back, and I'm sure we'll be able to talk you through them.

                Great results Butch and Murray, as usual there's more than one way to skin this cat.


                • #9
                  How to remove stains or spots from a photo

                  Gary Richardson, dude, I'm trying to follow your method, but I got stuck. I clicked on the channel button and checked all of the channels. This was what I had noticed of the channels. First, I clicked on the red channel, the channel turned into a black and white with some spots visible. Second, I clicked on the Green channel and it was a black and white with lots of spots. Third, I clicked on the blue channel and that one looks awful. Because of my limited experience with photoshop cs 2, I don't have a clue on how to copy an alpha channel.

                  Why did you use the Green Channel instead of the Red Channel? The Red Channel looks better than the Green Channel to me. How did you paste this channel onto the damaged blue channel. When you inspect a channel what do you look for in that channel. Please give me some more information on exactly what you had done. I appreaciated your help because I had given up in trying to fix this photo.

                  Gerald McClaren
                  Last edited by Gerald McClaren; 07-05-2006, 02:52 AM. Reason: more info


                  • #10
                    Hi Gerald,

                    All the channels will look like B&W renditions of your picture. What they are showing is the luminance of the particular colour they represent.

                    I chose the green channel because its luminance levels were the closest to those of the blue (red is usually radically different to the other two), and would therefore be easier to adjust to the level of the original blue channel.

                    OK, first open the channels palette. Now drag the green channel to the new channel symbol at the bottom of the palette (its the Square one with the square in the corner). This will create an alpha channel copy.

                    Rename the new channel as Blue Replacement. Click on it to make it active, then use levels to make it a touch lighter (don't overdo it too much), click between the alpha channel and the blue channel to see if they match (not easy to judge because of the damage to the blue channel.)

                    When you're happy they look similar, click on the Alpha (Blue Replacement) channel to make it active. Now click Select > All to select the channel, then click Edit > Copy.

                    Click on the Blue channel to make it active, then click Edit > Paste to replace the blue channel with the Alpha (Blue Replacement) Channel.

                    Now click on the RGB channel so you can see the effect.

                    It may be necessary to adjust the overall colour cast of the image if you didn't quite get the levels right on the new blue channel.

                    Easiest way to do that is with a Color Balance adjustment layer.

                    Hope this explains things, anything not clear just let me know.
                    Attached Files
                    Last edited by Gary Richardson; 07-05-2006, 08:37 AM.


                    • #11
                      Hi everybody,

                      great jobs!!!

                      I had a go too...

                      1) Used a Levels Adjustment Layer to balance shadows and highlights (Attachment 2)

                      2) Merged Visible and replaced the Blue Channel with the Green Channel:

                      * go to the Channels Palette,

                      * Click on (activate) the Green Channel and press Ctrl+A to select it and Ctrl+C to copy it...

                      * Now, click on the Blue Channel and press Ctrl+V to paste the copied Green Channel on it...

                      This procedure will remove the strong blue colour cast and strongly improve the colour spots [which you'll have to completely eliminate otherwise.. (healing brush, clone tool, etc.)]..... but, in my opinion, it doesn't really do anything for the skin colour which remains a 'greysh/bluish' magenta.... (Attachment 3)

                      3) to improve the skin colour I added a Color Balance Adjustment Layer and set its blending to 'Color' ...(values in Attachment 4, result in (Attachment 5)

                      After this it's a matter of how much or how little you want to do to finish your restoration...


                      The values in the attachments worked for the size and resolution of the image you posted...if you work on different size and resolution, you might have to tweak them...

                      Hope this helps...
                      Attached Files


                      • #12
                        How to remove stains or spots from a photo

                        I would like to thank Gary and Flora for their time and patient on explaining to me on how to remove those spots and stains from this photo. Gary, I followed your instructions and it worked excellent, on the other hand, I also followed Flora instructions and it also worked excellent.
                        Flora how did you clean the faces so smooth? The reason for asking is that sometimes when I use the clone tool, I tend to loose the definition of the person face I'm working on. Without help from everyone, we beginners would be lost. I thank everyone on their input.

                        Gerald W. McClaren


                        • #13
                          You're welcome Gerald, glad I could help a little.

                          Flora as usual comes up with a slight tweak which makes all the difference. When I adjusted with colour balance I just did the mid tones, whereas adjusting highlights and shadows as well gave a better result.


                          • #14
                            How to remove stains or spots from a photo

                            Hi: Flora, I had repeated your method and the ugly blue overcast and black spots disappear from the photo. First, I had noticed that the gentleman, face and suit still had some red sport all over them. The lady still had some red spots over her face. Second, I had noticed that in your demonstration that you had used three color balance for the midtones, shadows, and highlights. Third, In the layer pallette, I saw only one color balance. Were there two more color balance that were hidden? Last, how did you remove the rest of the red spots from the faces and jacket of the photo.

                            I started with the midtone, I adjusted the CYAN-RED, clicked on shadow and adjusted the MAGENTA-GREEN, clicked on highlights and adjusted the YELLOW-BLUE. I clicked on OK to complete the color balance adjustment on the photo. I was using that method for a long time on all of my photos. I had noticed that you had used three color balance on the midtones, shadows, and highlights. Please tell me if I was using the color balance incorrectly.

                            Gerald McClaren
                            Last edited by Gerald McClaren; 07-07-2006, 12:21 AM. Reason: more info


                            • #15


                              thank you so much for your kindness!!! ...


                              thanks for your kind words too

                              Originally posted by Gerald McClaren
                              Hi: First, I had noticed that the gentleman, face and suit still had some red sport all over them. The lady still had some red spots over her face.
                              Yes, substituting the Blue Channel isn't enough to completely eliminate the discolorations spots as I've pointed out in my previous post
                              Originally posted by Flora
                              This procedure will remove the strong blue colour cast and strongly improve the colour spots [which you'll have to completely eliminate otherwise.. (healing brush, clone tool, etc.)]
                              ...but here is how I did it....

                              First, I minimized dust and scratches (Attachment 1) this way:

                              1) After the Color Balance Adjustment Layer, I merged visible* and duplicated the merged layer.

                              (*) Merge Visible:

                              Keeping the Alt key pressed, open your Layers Palette's Menu and, click on 'Merge Visible'.

                              A new Layer containing all your corrections will be created on top of all the other Layers ....

                              This procedure enables you to carry on with your restoration from your advanced point... without losing any of the previous steps/Layers... thus giving you the possibility to retrace your steps and making changes wherever necessary.... even after you've 'finished' the job....

                              2) Working on the merged duplicate, I used Filter>Noise>Dust&Scratches (Attachment 2)... The image looks really bad now, but we'll fix that ...

                              3) I added a 'black' layer mask to the Dust&Scratches Layer as shown in Attachment 3

                              4) I clicked on the black mask to make sure I was working on it and not the image... I selected a very fuzzy white brush (adjusted size and Opacity when necessary) and, very carefully, I painted over the spots, dust and scratches steering well away from nose/nostrils, eyes and mouth to not lose definition in those vital features ...

                              See how much better and smoother the skin looks after this procedure... actually some of the wrong colour spots have also already been eliminated!
                              Before and After Dust&Scratches in (Attachment 4)

                              Originally posted by Gerald McClaren
                              Last, how did you remove the rest of the red spots from the faces and jacket of the photo.
                              ... To remove the remaining colour spots, I did the following:

                              5) Created a new blank/empty Layer, changed its Blending to Color and, using a fuzzy brush, I sampled good colour and fixed the remaining 'bad' colour spots as shown and explained in (Attachment 5)

                              .... Reached the 5 attachments per post limit, so, I have to continue in my next post...
                              Attached Files


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