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  • Help on Old Photo Restoration

    Hi all,
    I downloaded an old wedding photo quite a while ago and attached is a close up of the head of one gentleman in the photo. Of course I didn't maintain the photo name so i can no longer find the thread to see how others handled it. Lesson learned.
    My question is related to how pixelated the photo is (not sure that is the proper term but i think you'll know what i mean). With something like this, how far do you take a restoration? I didn't want to blur it but working at a pixel level with D&B will take me to my grave I'm afraid and I can't imagine many willing to pay the number of hours I'd guess would be required. Can anyone shed some light on client expectations on photos in this shape or does it really vary too much to say? Fyi the one on the left is where I am so far, the one on the right is the original.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by dweekley; 06-19-2009, 06:03 PM. Reason: Picture Update

  • #2
    Re: Help on Old Photo Restoration

    I would call it "graininess". And you are right, it really depends on the client if that is who owns the image and who is paying you to fix it up.

    I have not seen many older images where things look natural (or matched) after applying d&b to the skin and not the rest of the image. If you're going to go that route, you may as well experiment with other techniques on all parts of the image.

    I personally like these super grainy older images to look just a tad smoother, but not smooth. I don't think you will find a "restorer" that objects to a certain amount of well placed filtering. You can always mask it and bring back more of the original texture to the eyes, nose, mouth, hands, edges of clothing, etc. to give it back some of its original appeal.

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    • #3
      Re: Help on Old Photo Restoration

      Thanks Tommy. I suppose grain would be more accurate, I've been zoomed in so far I tend to forget that it would be printed at 100 pct, not 500. I think I'll go ahead and do as you suggest, remove what I can with some blur but add grain back in. My upload doesn't really show it to the full extent either. I'll think I'll have another go at finding the original thread too

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      • #4
        Re: Help on Old Photo Restoration

        these are not that difficult to fix. you can use a noise removal program or filter for at least part of it. some dont like that, but if you keep it less than full strength you can control how much or how little to remove this way and thus avoid the 'noise blur', that overly smooth effect from too much noise removal.

        you could also try things like the median filter.

        or, try an airbrush on a blank layer on top of the image and just 'paint' it correct. it really doesnt take that long and you control the whole thing.

        you could also try cloning, but on an image like this, i wouldnt recommend it unless you are quite familiar with your clone tools.

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        • #5
          Re: Help on Old Photo Restoration

          More great ideas Craig, thanks. Although I'm no expert with it, I have used neat image and generally like the results it gives I'll probably end up using it here. I'd not thought of 'painting' at all, that is an interesting idea that I'm going to try my hand at. I find it hard to know how far to take an image after cleaning up the cracks and obvious issues. Guess more experience is what I need. If I can get this further along I'll post it for critique.

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          • #6
            Re: Help on Old Photo Restoration

            If I can get this further along I'll post it for critique.
            it's actually a pretty good way to do things here. it takes a bit of bravery, posting your work for everyone to see, but it does allow for others to help you spot where you're going right and where you're going wrong. it would be great if we all had streaming video workflows in real time that we could just watch each other work on a given image. wouldnt that be something?

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