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Restoring Faded signatures

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  • Restoring Faded signatures

    I have a Marriage Certificate from 1913. The Certificate itself is in excellent condition. The signatures and other handwriting are so faded that it cannot be read. I can adjust the levels enough to be able to see faint indentations and I think I can draw or drop pixels to recreate the handwriting. My problem is that I need to be able to do this on a layer?? or some way so as to be able to undo the major level adjustments and keep the changes to the handwriting. Does anybody have any ideas or suggestions. Thanks


  • #2
    Yes - you've got it. The layer idea. When you're done, turn on just the layer you want (with the little eyeball to the left), select ALL, and copy. Open a new document (which will be the right size automatically) and paste. Or just throw away all the other layers and save from there (with a different file name, of course!).


    • #3
      Jim, Here's what I would do:

      1. Use a levels adjustment layer and adjust to that you can see the handwriting (or at least the indentations).
      2. Create a new layer above the adjustment layer. Now draw on the new layer in whatever color you want the ink to be to recreate the handwriting.
      3. When you're done, delete the levels adjustment layer and you should be left with the restored handwriting that you drew on top of the original background.

      I would probably also save a version with the layers and a flattened version - just in case you need to go back and edit any of the handwriting. (You can always add another adjustment layer to the background if you need to.)

      Hope this helps. Please let me know if it's not clear.



      • #4
        Hi Jim,

        Sounds like an interesting dilemma - can you post a sample of what you've got to work with? I'd be interested in playing around with it to see what I can come up with...


        • #5

          I don't know if this will help, but it might be a good idea to check out this challenge , and the results.



          • #6
            Faded signatures

            This is a small section of the certificate. As you can see, there isn't much to work wiyh.
            Attached Files


            • #7
              Ok, here's what I did... (I only worked on the top 2 groups of writing above the words "were by me united")

              1. Make a new layer. Select yellow color from document by clicking on it with eyedropper and fill the new layer with it.

              2. Invert the filled layer (it will be a slate blue color) and set blending mode to color dodge

              3. Copy the background layer and make the original background layer invisible (this is just to preserve it incase you need it to go back to later. If all goes well, it will be discarded when the image is cleaned up).

              4. Merge the background copy and the blue layer

              5. Enlarge the image to huge (I was at 200%) and start burning in where the signatures are at 50% opacity with a brush barely larger than the pen strokes.

              6. As the letters became more apparent, I used the paintbrush loaded with the white background color to clean up around them. The letters became discolored with intense burning, so I made a tight selection around them and desaturated just the writing.

              This is where it got difficult for me because of the low resolution of the file. You may have an easier time of it since you have the original and most likely a better resolution to work with. It may also be easier for you since you probably know what information is supposed to be written in and can recognize the letter patterns more easily.

              If you want the yellowing back in once the sigs are recovered, I would make a note of the color when you choose it with the dropper and add a layer filled with the same color back over it when you're finished.

              I hope this helps you out some!
              Attached Files
              Last edited by Jakaleena; 06-21-2002, 12:55 AM.


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