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  • Thoughts on where and how to I should approach ...

    restoring an old photo that looks like a bit of a challenge.

    Hi everybody,
    I have attached a copy of an antique photo taken I suspect sometime in the mid-19th century. It is of an elderly gentleman who looks to be in a bit of a sorry state. I can't figure out what is the best strategy for fixing this photo or indeed if it's actually doable.
    If anyone has any ideas on how I might approach it, I'd be grateful. In the meantime, I'll put my Clone Stamp toll away and go the pub for a bevvy or 3.

    Cheers
    Maarten
    P.S. This is the first time in this forum that I have attached a photo. If I haven't done it properly, please let me know.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by MaartenRF; 07-04-2014, 09:58 AM.

  • #2
    Re: Thoughts on where and how to I should approach

    The overall image is not in too bad a shape (i.e., not torn or badly scratched) but it looks as if he's already been worked over (high JPEG compression or an earlier artist's attempt at painting over the image, etc.).

    At the very least you want to convert it to grayscale to get the awful yellow cast off. After that, some small bit of work with the healing tool to get rid of spots and such. Probably the best bet is a full restoration by someone who convert images to paintings, because it's halfway there already.

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    • #3
      Re: Thoughts on where and how to I should approach

      Well the first thing I did was to look at the channels. The red blew out the contrast but a blend of the green and blue seemed to work best. So I used a channel mixer adjustment layer with 0 red and about a 50% mix of green and blue and converted the image to monochrome. Next I applied a curves adjustment layer. Finally I converted the area outside of the ellipse to white.

      After removing the spots with healing and cloning you can put the sepia tone back into the photo.

      So despite significant damage I believe you can do a decent restore.
      Attached Files

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      • #4
        Re: Thoughts on where and how to I should approach

        That's great work Phil!

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        • #5
          Re: Thoughts on where and how to I should approach

          Originally posted by MaartenRF View Post
          restoring an old photo that looks like a bit of a challenge.

          Hi everybody,
          I have attached a copy of an antique photo taken I suspect sometime in the mid-19th century. It is of an elderly gentleman who looks to be in a bit of a sorry state. I can't figure out what is the best strategy for fixing this photo or indeed if it's actually doable.
          If anyone has any ideas on how I might approach it, I'd be grateful. In the meantime, I'll put my Clone Stamp toll away and go the pub for a bevvy or 3.

          Cheers
          Maarten
          P.S. This is the first time in this forum that I have attached a photo. If I haven't done it properly, please let me know.
          Hey guys, thanks for your responses. Interesting that you think he may have been worked on already? When I go the image is was at 72ppi so I experimented with with increasing the resolution to 300pp1.
          What you've done is great Phil. Converting to grayscale is right of course. I think now I'll have a go with the Clone Stamp after which I may try cloning over some textures over from other similar images I have from the same 19thc period. If you're interested, I'll post the outcome. As the restoration is commissioned by a prof. genealogist/historian/author, I don't think he'll go for the idea of converting it to a painting.
          Anyway, thanks again for taking the bother to have a look and make suggestions. Very helpful and much appreciated. Best wishes RF

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          • #6
            Re: Thoughts on where and how to I should approach

            My comment about previous work having taken place was based on the appearance of the jacket, which was oddly soft, at least in the reduced-size version you posted, and at the bottom almost looks as if it had been painted over by a physical retoucher in the past. The original i mage may have been badly focused or may exhibit extremely shallow DOF.

            The conversion to painting idea was valid since it's halfway there already and you didn't mention the commission/client before ;-).

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