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Noise in Photo.

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  • Noise in Photo.

    I have scanned in 3 old photos that looked ruined. However, I thought they could be repaired in Photoshop.

    The problem I ran into was there was this white fuzzy stuff on the photos. It looked simular to TV Static or Noise. Nothing that I tried got rid of the problem. I used every manipulative effect that I have learned so far, however, it had no effect on this noise. In some cases my attempts made the problem even worse.

    Has anyone ran into this problem before, and can it be solved? In these photos the noise is very dominant and almost drownds out the actual picture. One of the photos had this problem so badly that on the bottom left corner of the photo the subjects were not visible at all, and the noise on that photo was multicolored.

    If anyone has advice on this I would appreciate it. I know very little about Photoshop at this time so there was very little I could do.

  • #2
    Welcome Jimmy!

    Your situation is very common, it sounds like it is caused by 'silvering', a metalic coating on the surface of old photos. If you tilt the photo until the light reflects off of the silvering you will be able to see it. Your scanners light really shows it off, thus drowning out the detail in the photo.

    The best way to handle this is to take a picture of the photo with a digital camera, but since that is not always available I just wrote a tutorial to work around this some using a scanner;

    Hope this helps,


    • #3
      Well, I will checked that post again and see if it will help me.

      However, this noise is highly visible without tilting it. In fact you could prop it up against the wall on the other side of the room and you could see it very clearly. It is so bad that in one of the photos the noise drownds out the subject. Would that still be the silvering that you described? Also, I have Photos that are much, much, much older than the ones I am speaking of, why don't they have silvering at this time?


      • #4

        If the amount of noise doesn't change as the photo is tilted at different angles then the noise is not silvering and is not created from the way the scanners light reflects off of it.

        Sorry if I caused any confusion. Please post a photo and hopefully we can help.

        Thaks, Roger


        • #5

          Ok, here is the photo. I saved it at a low image quality so that it would load on the web faster, the photo is in such bad shape that the low image quality didn't affect its appearance.

          I used the photo that I think could be saved. I didn't include the one that was so bad that I don't think it could be saved. That was the one that had the noise so badly it drowned out the subjects; however, in that one the noise showed up in Photoshop as colored confetti.
          Attached Files


          • #6

            I am curious, if you don't mind, post the real bad one too. It is amazing the different solutions that the talented people on this forum can come up with.

            The photo you posted looks like a color photo that has faded. I will take a stab at it.



            • #7
              Actually, the low quality does make a difference. First I added a curves layer and set the white, black, and gray points. This brought up the color. The jpeg artifacts were the worst I think I have ever seen. I saved this version and cleaned it up in Neat Image. Some jpeg artifacting was still visible; but it was much better. Opened this version in PS7 and used the lasso tool to select ladies face, feathered at 5 and cntrl J to put in new layer. Did the same for man. Appied USM to the two face layers to bring out a little detail. Flattened and save. Did not go any further.

              My advice is to do this on your original and see what you get. Also. are you saving as a TIF file out of your scanner? If you are not, that might be an additional reason there is so much jpeg artifacting.

              For future posting you may want to try this. Resize image to 72dpi and 800 pixels on largest side (I start at 800 and reduce to 600 if quality too low.). Then select Save for web in File menu(this is important step). In the Save for web window click on the arrow just below and to the left of the Done button and select Optimize to file size. Set desired file size to 100K and click okay. If the resultant quality is below 50, cancel and resize your image more by cropping and/or reducing the dimensions. Repeat until you get a result above 50 (I prefer 80 minimum) and save.

              Attached Files
              Last edited by catia; 08-31-2003, 11:00 AM.


              • #8

                Here is the really bad photo. Catia said that the other photo was saved poorly. I did use a low compression on that one because I didn't think anyone would want to wait on it to load up. However, I raised the jpeg compression quality on this one and with a 56K dial up modem should load in 68 seconds.*

                I did get basically the same results that you got with restoring the photo. Did you noticed the fuzzy white stuff in the corners of the photo? That is the stuff I was trying to get rid of. Nothing that I did solved that problem, in fact some things that I did try made it worse. There were a few things that did rid me of that noise; however, those attempts also messed up the image as a whole really bad (i.e. Gaussian Blurr 5.0 setting). Is this problem removable or is it a permanent scar on the photo itself?

                It might help to point out that, if memory serves me correctly, this picture came from the developer in that condition. It isn't the result of old age. We have several pictures that came form the developer in bad condition. It wan't the developers fault, I think it was just a bad picture.

                *Roger, had to rescan this photo and save at a low image quality. The board just wouldn't accept it the other way. It kept saying the file was too big. Sorry, this is the best I can do at this time. I am still new to Photoshop and the art of image saving.

                Roger, the board still will not accept this photo. I have it down to 106kb, however, the board is still saying that the file is too big.


                • #9
                  100K is the limit here. That is why I had 100K in the Save for web instructions above.



                  • #10
                    Sorry, I didn't pay close attention. I read it again carefully and was able to pull it off this time. So, Roger, Catia, drumroll please and here is that photo.
                    Attached Files


                    • #11
                      Interesting photo. I punt.... Over to you Roger. Or Flora???


                      • #12
                        Now I get it!

                        Your photos were just underexposed, not enough light into the camera - or out of the range that the sensor is sensitive to - or low low light with a high iso/slow shutter speed. I asume this is digital, it would look just about the same without so much of the color noise if it was film.

                        The way the image was exposed it should really be black everywhere that there is no detail. That is what the camera really saw at that exposure, it is just that the camera introduces the noise in that situation which gives the illusion that something is there.

                        So here is my take on the master disaster ...

                        Make a good cover for a mystery killer thriller
                        Attached Files


                        • #13
                          Here is my stab at it. Played with levels for quite a while trying to get it clearer but what you'll see is the best I was able to achive. Also removed noise via Neatimage and applied a sharpening by duplicating the layer-
                          -hi pass at 1.5
                          -set to overlay on layers pallet.
                          and here are my results.
                          Attached Files


                          • #14

                            Then what you are basically saying is that Photoshop could not ever really repair these particular photos because there is no information on the image for Photoshop to interpret. Photoshop can only repair what the camera can see.


                            Well, that is ok. At least I have learned how to tell the difference between a photo that can be fixed and a photo that can't.


                            That turned out really good.

                            I was never able to get the image to improve that much. However, I did notice the noise in the four corners of that picture could not be totally eradicated. I guess this was just a problem that was similar to what Roger just described.

                            I am curious, Cronk, you mentioned the word Neatimage. Is this a filter?


                            • #15

                              Photoshop can only repair what the camera can see
                              Exactly, unless you borrow from another image or paint it in ...


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