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Flood damage restoration project - extreme

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  • Flood damage restoration project - extreme

    I would sincerely appreciate any input in assisting me with finding the appropriate techniques that I can use for the restoration of these images. I have 12 images to restore for a couple that I met recently. All images were in a photo album, enclosed in plastic sleeves. They cannot be removed from the sleeves, all attempts at a wash and removal have failed, so I am stuck with what I have. All images look quite similar to this one. I do not have permission to show faces, but the faces are actually the least of my worries. My Photoshop background is extremely retouch-heavy (10 years as a digital retouch artist for NILMDTS), but restoration is a whole other thing! I'm fine with the tedious work of spot removal/cloning, etc. The main thing I would appreciate help with is the extreme "splotchiness" everywhere, but especially on the groom's uniform. All of the images have heavy mold staining on them, similar to this (or worse). Thanks!
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  • #2
    Hi Linda Lee. A lot of the tools you use for retouching are the same for restoration - i.e. clone stamp, spot healing and healing brushes and patch tool. You are looking at finding clean areas in the photograph as source for covering the parts that are damaged. You can also use blends, layers etc to build up new areas and dodge and burn tools are useful for brining out details and obviously hiding details. What you are aiming to do is not make any of your work obvious, as you would in a retouch, but you are not stylistically altering the original image as you want to retain the characteristics of the original photograph. You may want to colour correct it as the water damage and age will have affected the original. Working at the pixel level and having a high resolution scan in the first place is also helpful - 48 bit scan, profiled scanner and high resolution - I personally do not scan anything under 600dpi, and I usually scan higher depending on the size of the photograph and the detail in it and the amount of damage. Larger areas of damage you might get away with the patch tool or selecting areas and playing with the content aware fill tool ... but that is very much dependent on the photograph and what is in the immediate vicinity of the damage. For the grooms trousers it looks like there is some source material in his jacket, plus a bit in the trousers of the men in the background that you could clone from.... little hard to tell from this image - plus if you have similar images of the same event taken at the same time they may be useful.... bit of playing around with the tools, working in layers as you would with a retouch....


    • #3
      Hello Linda Lee. Its so sad that these precious photos have been damaged. JoReam has given some excellent advice. I think Photoshop should be able to make a great improvement.

      Here are some points that come to mind.

      1- Ask the couple to check with relatives if they have any other surviving prints. Can the photographer be located? He might still have the negatives.

      2- This is a long shot. Try looking in the rgb monochrome channels to see if one channel is in a better condition than the others. If that is the case, one channel could be a better starting point and the colour could be added back later.

      Kind regards


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