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Photo with cracks and other damage

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  • Photo with cracks and other damage

    Hello. This is my first post. I don't know where to begin with this photo (or what can be achieved). I've had some success with CS5 healing and cloning tools starting with better originals, but I'm essentially a newbie and this photo is a real challenge for me. The original is a 3" square B&W glossy snapshot that has been badly mis-handled, having large and small cracks, emulsion voids, is out of focus and stained. I have done a 16 bit 1200 dpi color scan on an Epson V700, no automatic adjustments other than levels in the scanner software. I've tried to apply techniques from Ctein's book as well as from postings by the impressively skilled members of this forum, but to no avail.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: Photo with cracks and other damage

    Welcome to the forum billr

    The image overall does not look too bad and you should be able to restore to a reasonable level. There are a few areas that will require a little attention due to missing information but it is quite 'doable'.

    Your comment that you do not know where to begin suggest you may be in awe with this due to the amount of damage to repair. For sure this will take you some time and if you are looking for a quick fix I doubt if there is one - just a little patience and perseverence.

    You will be able to acomplish much just using the Spot Healing brush set to Content aware, the Healing Brush and even the Patch tool. I would suggest doing this work either on a blank layer (Spot Healing) or a duplicate layer for the other tools. The Clone tool will also come in handy.

    It may help you to first crop the white borders then make a Curves or Levels adjustment to get the overall size and contrast correct.

    Then why not start in the less challenging areas around the main subject and kind of sneak up to the hard bits. I think this way you will gain experience and confidence to tackle the harder bits like repairing the face.

    A little at a time make full use of layers and if you are in doubt post your image progress here and someone will try and help with specifics


    • #3
      Re: Photo with cracks and other damage

      Well I agree with Tony. I cropped out the white first. You can add it back later if you wish.

      I looked at each of the channels R, G, & B and thought that the blue may be the best. So I used a b&w adjustment layer and selected the Blue Filter option built into that adjustment. On top of that I used a levels adjustment layer and increased the contrast some.

      So that being done one needs to bring out the various restoration tools.
      Attached Files


      • #4
        Re: Photo with cracks and other damage

        This is just a case of very carefully cloning and repairing the damaged areas using the cloning tool in various sizes and density. Personally, I would find this a lot easier as it is a black and white image whereas colour ones rely far more on matching shades and textures.


        • #5
          Re: Photo with cracks and other damage

          100% agree. Have a copy of the file, desaturate to b/w or even better, use Images/Adjustments/Channels mixer/Monochrome to make a better conversion. Later, the clone tool brush will do the rest.
          Bill, with the 1200dpi resolution this could be so fine to work.
          Try my method to enhance the unfocused faces after finishing the basic retouch of the cracks and clean the pic: select the Burn tool, open the Brushes palette/Brush tip shape/chage spacing to 10% (will have more density), unmark all and let only the "smoothing", resize the brush as a slim one, some 20-25 pixels or less, close the palette and select Midtones/Exposure 3-4%. Now you'll gently pass over the unfocused ares of the face (eyes, mouth etc) and all the other details which need to be sharpened.
          I prefer this to the sharpening filters which are making halos around the shapened areas.

          Tip 1. Add some vintage noise whenever your final image is too flat or glossy after the cloning retouch or painting this way:
          Filter Gallery: Texture / Grain / Clumped / Intensity 35% / Contrast 50%
          Edit / Fade Filter Gallery 68%
          Image / Adjusments / Channel mixer / Monochrome Red +43 - Green +40 Blue +20
          Filter / Blur / Gaussian blur 1,1 %

          I recently used this over a very old picture, 1200dpi. Then, I croped/resized it to 8x10 inch/300dpi for printing.

          Tip 2. If you do not want to use traditional methods or do not match the vintage tone of the b/w pic, do this:
          Make a new layer after the previous steps of the grain.
          Fill with color: R157 / G138 / B82 (or change with your color choice)
          Change layer blending mode to Color and put Opacity in 68%
          Flatten Image



          • #6
            Re: Photo with cracks and other damage

            I suggest scanning it twice. Once with Digital ICE on, and once without, and then mix the layers. (mask out the parts where ICE didn't work too well, if needed)


            • #7
              Re: Photo with cracks and other damage

              Question for zekeode...
              I thought Digital ICE could only be used for transperancies during the scanning process. Is there a way to apply it when scanning prints?

              Last edited by deps; 05-14-2011, 05:39 PM.


              • #8
                Re: Photo with cracks and other damage

                You can use it on any scans. Just select it.


                • #9
                  Re: Photo with cracks and other damage

                  Thanks, I'll give it a try.


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