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Colour Fix Doozy!

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  • Colour Fix Doozy!

    Hi all,
    I'm seeking help on how best to colour fix these little girls spotted dresses. As I don't have my customer's permission to post this photo, I have blurred their faces. Hope that's enough. The rest of the image is no drama for me to fix so please don't focus on that.

    So the problem as I see it is to recreate one little girl's dress red and the other blue. I tried curves but no go. It was pretty patchy given the image is pretty discoloured.

    So then I was thinking of two ways
    (a) Do a colour change selection. I tried this today but it returned me sloppy results. I saturated the image first to get a better selection. (But then, I could have been the sloppy one given I'm unfamiliar with this tool).
    (b) Somehow create a mask. When I did a Threshold Layer I could see it could isolate the spots on the dresses nicely and possibly could create a mask to then do a hue/sat layer. Then I didn't know how to convert that to a mask which I could then tweak.

    Even if I convert to greyscale and recolour which I'm happy to do I still have to isolate these spots on the dresses.

    OK that's about the extent of my knowledge on how to fix this problem and I'm hoping that you kind people can perhaps give me some detailed recipe steps on how to go about this one.

    Thanks a mill in advance.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: Colour Fix Doozy!

    I played with it in hue/saturation/lightness and seem to get a better color. I'm sure if you try that with more tweeking you can find the shades you are looking for.
    Also after going thru the above run thru curves and see how much more you can do!
    Attached Files


    • #3
      Re: Colour Fix Doozy!

      Hi Liz,
      I used 2 adj. layers, one for the blue dress, one for the red dress, with a layer mask for each dress, selective color/neutrals.

      Attached Files


      • #4
        Re: Colour Fix Doozy!

        Ooooo Ray! very nice!


        • #5
          Re: Colour Fix Doozy!

          The problem is, that due to staining and emulsion fading, the blue and red colours on the dresses have become contaminated with (many) other colours in patches. Any kind of general colour adjustment other than a total paint over, which would look flat and unrealistic, still leaves areas of discolouration.

          I'm sure that there is some clever curve layer technique that can fix this, but I opted for the simple method of zooming in to pixel level and using "replace color" to select and change each discolouration tone at a time, with one layer for the blue and one layer for the red. Using black masks, I painted over the dresses as appropriate. A few small spots were total grey so they had to be touched up with a brush.

          As this is just an example, I did not fix every last pixel.

          Like D&B, this is a slow, tedious method, but it does work.
          Attached Files
          Senior Member
          Last edited by Verywierd; 09-29-2008, 02:28 PM. Reason: Typo


          • #6
            Re: Colour Fix Doozy!

            My thought was that the skin tone color looks off so fix that first and the correct colors for the dresses might look closer to right. Working with the arms I worked on color hue and color balance sliders until the skin looked right. Then I enhanced the resulting dress colors. I used a paint brush blue / red respectively to get the colors here
            Attached Files
            Senior Member
            Last edited by swarbees; 09-29-2008, 03:13 PM.


            • #7
              Re: Colour Fix Doozy!

              Thank you all. This is such a treat to live on the other side of the world....wake up.....and have some options before I go to work.
              Learnin Lady and Swarbees - Good of you both to have a go at this. You certainly got better colour than I did with my attempts. How would you keep the polka dots white though?
              Des 151 - A good result. I had a quick try of your suggestion immediately. Colour's are good. I had never thought of using selective colour/neutral. I did find my result a bit patchy here and there like around the tiny one's tummy. I'll have another play with your suggestion when I get to work.
              Very Weird - Ah! I see by your fine results that I definitely was looking for the quick global fix which is pretty well impossible with, as you've assessed, the various discolouration in the dresses. I'm so unfamiliar with this tool that I'll read up on it now. I seem to remember I can widen the selection with the + option.

              Thank you all again for taking the time to help me out. Yesterday I was feeling pretty hopeless about it, but to-day I can see by your results that it can be done, and done well. Hope renewed!


              • #8
                Re: Colour Fix Doozy!

                I copied the layer and used the average filter then inverted the layer and used color blend mode at 50% opacity. this pulled out the yelloow cast.
                I used 3 more layers one for each dress and one for the skin. blend modes are color again sample good area of the dress or skin tone and then paint it on. This basically just pulls out the cast or color shift in the color your painting in.
                Attached Files


                • #9
                  Re: Colour Fix Doozy!

                  Mr Blake, very impressive colors while keeping the polka dot/flower detail. I have looked very hard for a filter called "average" in my old PS7 and am unable to find it.. Am I missing something.. like the filter? How about a step by step tutorial for us neophytes who do not understand how you paint the good colors on without painting the dots N flowers.. Is it as simple as just paint in between the dots/flowers or is it global lay down of the 'good' color?

                  Did I mention I like your outcome? A LOT!


                  • #10
                    Re: Colour Fix Doozy!

                    OB, it's BLUR -> Average


                    • #11
                      Re: Colour Fix Doozy!

                      Thank you OlBaldy

                      1.Because we are making a lot of adjustments to color I suggest beginning by changing the mode to 16 bit under Image Mode 16 Bit.
                      2. Create a new layer. Change the blend mode to color. Now under the Filter menu Blur click Average.
                      (untitled 2)
                      Lower the opacity of the layer to about 60% where you see the background become less yellow and more neutral.
                      3.control alt shift E to jump all to a new layer.
                      4.Open a curves layer and with the black eye dropper click on the darkest part of the girls hair. Use the white eye dropper on the background.
                      (untitled 3)
                      5. Open a hue saturation layer and raise the master color level till you like the saturation in the dresses. (judge by the most saturated points, we’ll fix the rest next.)
                      6.control shift alt E
                      7.Copy the layer and change blend mode to color. Bring up the eye dropper and make it set to 5X5 average. Select a portion of the blue dress where you like the color. Switch to the brush tool and begin to paint the entire dress.
                      Add a layer mask and paint out the flowers on the dress to be sure they keep they’re pink color.
                      8. Now repeat the same for the pink dress.
                      (Untitled 4)
                      9. Now jump to a new layer again and pick a skin tone from the face to use to paint on the arms and necks. Remember to set the blend mode to color.
                      K, your done. Now you can use hue saturation to even out the hair color and start on your repairs.
                      Attached Files


                      • #12
                        Re: Colour Fix Doozy!

                        The bad news is I rang my customer today with a quote to do the work. She said, "no thanks, I thought it would be about $ just print it as is". (Too many third world offshore operators in competition, methinks) I figured it would take me about 5/6 hours to pristine this job. Who would squig on these bucks to restore a memory? But there you go......Am I over-estimating?

                        I've rarely had an image to restore that matches the "textbook" experience. They are usually much more difficult - like in this image with the polka dots getting in the way of an easy (and thus inexpensive) fix.

                        Good news is I'm so glad I made this post (one of my few) as it has turned out to be a magic learning experience for me, and I hope too for other members. I'm always amazed at the different ways you can approach a problem to achieve a result. How great that you would share that time with me! Can't tell how much I appreciate your posts. You've added to my learning curve. (which in Photoshop is always steep and up!).

                        Crazyfly1 - Thanks for laying down such clear instructions on how to achieve your result.

                        I'd love to say that I would continue with this job, but I now have 5 more landed on my desk, frustrating to let it go. Would have loved to do it! This is one I shall now fiddle with based on your suggestions, lap top where it was designed to be, at night, in my jim-jams, while half-watching re-runs of some old movie, with my hubby saying, "whatyudoinluv"?. Well, any advice on how to explain to your significant other photoshopaddictionism?
                        Last edited by Liz; 09-30-2008, 10:01 AM.


                        • #13
                          Re: Colour Fix Doozy!

                          Wm. Blake, Thank you sir.. Very comprehensive instructions.. If I do not have the average blur in PS7 do I need this step or would there be a workaround
                          Attached Files


                          • #14
                            Re: Colour Fix Doozy!

                            Slightly different (less delicate) would be; set the eye dropper to its highest sample area and then sample an area you believe to be color cast (the background).
                            Create a new blank layer and fill it with that color with the paint bucket. Invert that layer and switch the blend mode to color. Drop the opacity until your background is nuetral. Laying down a point sample with the eye dropper (shift, click) and then keeping an eye on the info pallette can be hepful here. For me, 48% brought R G and B to 215.

                            Same kind of thing, just that average blends every color into one so you tend to drop out just the color that the image is really leaning toward, instead of picking one yourself. This is the reason for the wide point sample. (in cs3 it's 101X101)
                            I just tried this and after adding the sat back with hue sat and then seetting the curves white and black points it gives a very nice result.


                            • #15
                              Re: Colour Fix Doozy!

                              So, if I understand it correctly, in Cs3 the 'blur>average' filter used the way you did acts like a one or two button cure to removing a color cast. Kewl, Thanks for the explanation


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