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How would you restore this photo?

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  • How would you restore this photo?

    As you can see numerous marks, scratches and fading.

    Any advice on how to restore this photo would be much appreciated. I use CS5.


    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: How would you restore this photo?

    1. Scan the original at the highest resolution available, 16 bits per channel, and save it as TIFF/PSD/PNG. Do not save it as JPEG (it will loose quality). Now you have a good starting point.

    2. The time consuming step: On a new layer, use Healing brush (and the clone stamp tool) to clean up all the little specs, scratches, etc. Make sure the tools are set to sample "current and below" to make them work on the blank layer.

    3. To correct for the fading (and adjust brightness/contrast in general), use Curves adjustment layers. To selectively target areas (like the lower left corner), paint in the mask using a large soft brush.

    You can go back and forth between step 2-3 many times to refine it until you are happy. When you increase the contrast a lot of the damage will be more visible (and easier to target). Just keep the layer that you heal/clone on below the adjustment layers.

    As a final creative tweak some people like to add a bit of brown/sephia tone to it (or whatever colour the original photo would have had) - I recommend using a gradient map set to blend mode "Color". Don't make it too strong.
    Attached Files


    • #3
      Re: How would you restore this photo?

      Thanks for your advice, my current version is attached.

      Any advice on improving it much appreciated.
      Attached Files


      • #4
        Re: How would you restore this photo?

        It's looking really good now!

        You can increase contrast contrast further by moving in the white and black point in a bit, and brighten a bit to compensate (as it will become darker in this case). This might remove some of the "old photo" charm of low contrast, so don't make this adjustment too strong.

        There isn't really much more to do except to keep refining it (for as long as you bother) using the techniques I outlined earlier. You can still even out the "lighting" a bit.

        In the attached image I've increased contrast, evened out the brightness a bit more, and added a gentle coloration. You can see the layers on the side. I put red arrows at two edges that looked harsh/odd, but that might just be artefacts from the downsampling/compression.
        Attached Files


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