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Brown Cast on Photo

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  • Brown Cast on Photo

    Hi, brown cast on photo is putting it mildly; what you can see is pretty much a ghost image. I think this might be a high school proof photo (b/w). It's the only photo two girls have of their father, at least at that age; I don't know much else except that the young man's picture never appeared in his yearbook.
    Is there anyone out there that can give me a bit of advice? I scanned the photo with and without scanner adjustments, converted it to CMYK, kept the C channel, returned to RGB, and worked with curves and levels. It seems not very much information remains except very faint indications of outlines of his face and a hint at features. His necktie, collar and shoulders are very evident. Too bad it isn't the other way around. Anyway, if anyone knows of a way to bring up any more info, or read the info in another way, I'd certainly appreciate it!
    I generally work with a color since I can see detail better that way, so there's a purple or brown cast to the pictures. I also burned in features where I 'think' there are some indications of them. Thanks in advance for any help or advice.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: Brown Cast on Photo

    well, for all the masochists, this is a great image

    it's VERY far gone. i did QUITE a bit of speculation on the face. i first split the image into rgb, then hsl, then cmyk. i took the best of those channels and put them back together as an rgb. it still didnt give me much better than the original. there was only one even partially decent channel per each of those modes and they were all pretty much the same.

    so, i simply guessed. but, i stopped this well short of doing too much. i just wanted to give a general idea of where this might go. besides, this is a heartache picture. no matter how much you work on it, you're going to end up in a heartache.

    one thing i would ask here, did the gentleman wear glasses? there was a tiny indication that he might have.

    also, some of that junk on the image looks like fingerprints. you might be able to get the image cleaned physically and get a better scan after.

    also, if this is one of those old red proofs, be VERY careful in handling it. i have some at home and they'll degrade pretty badly, pretty quickly, to where the red film will actually start peeling and flaking off the media. yours doesnt look like it's hit this stage yet, thankfully. i have one at home that i have to handle with tweezers.

    also, if this is for a client, you want to be sure to tell them ahead of time, before doing any work, that this is going to NOT be very satisfactory, no matter what you do. put that disclaimer in early and make sure they understand this. i would also consult with them frequently and show them your progress and time sheet and ask if they want you to keep going or not. you could put in a LOT of time and still not be very happy with your results.

    anyways, here's just a very rough idea of what might be... 1000 folks could work on this and come up 1000 different ways and i wouldnt argue that any of them were wrong.
    Attached Files


    • #3
      Re: Brown Cast on Photo

      Hi Craig, thanks for your input and try on the photo. I knew it was practically (if not completely!) hopeless when I first saw it. I had the same thought you did about eyeglasses and, like you, also tried the channels in other modes, but that seemed too confusing a view for me to work with and none of the others was as clear, so I settled for the cyan which was the best for me. I was hoping the different modes/channels would hold different info also since the view I did get reminded me of someone I worked with and now can't get his face separated from this photograph (duh).
      As for fingerprints, if you saw the photo itself you'd see them immediately. They seem to be right in the picture, not on top of the discoloration; I don't know what happened to the photo over the years. I had the thought it might have been near heat. And it does seem to be cracking already around the edges, and another crease coming near the face on the right of the photo. The man graduated in 1967, so the photo is from '66-'67.
      Have to agree with you on the masochists taking this one, lol.
      This is a client's photo, so I will ask about the glasses although they might not know; I did ask if they had a photo of him in his later years, but I haven't heard back on that. I'll ask again.
      Too bad the people don't live nearby; I could do the sketchwork while they sat beside me saying, no the nose was longer, eyes were larger, etc., etc.. Or maybe send them to a police artist (lol)!
      Thanks for all you've done, and for the tip of telling the clients ahead of time. That was the first thing I did, after I saw the photo in person. That's why I did the "sketch" around what looked like features - drawing was my first language; photo restoration came much later. Both sketches together didn't even take five minutes to do.
      Thanks again, and again I agree with you on the multitude of possibilities. Only the family could know for sure!



      • #4
        Re: Brown Cast on Photo

        WOW and I thought the ones I work on were tough!! Good Luck


        • #5
          Re: Brown Cast on Photo


          you're welcome and i hope you find some solutions.


          • #6
            Re: Brown Cast on Photo

            Candice and Craig,

            Thanks, both of you, for your replies and good wishes. I'm hoping to get a photo of the gentleman when he was older - but not holding my breath! We tried, that's about all anyone can do - thanks!



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