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Blown out clothes help!

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  • Blown out clothes help!

    I'm working on a pic of my mom & her brother from the late 1930's where the clothes are pretty blown out. I've done basic work on removing the stains and big scratches, but I'm having problems with the clothes and getting the contrast to look ok. Also, there's still a lot of fine scratches you can see in the dark parts of the hair on my uncle.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! I want to give the pic to my uncle for his birthday, most of the photos of my mom's family were ruined in a flood.

    Attached Files

  • #2
    It looks like you might have "clipped" the highlights a little too much, hence the lack of detail. It looks like there is some detail in the clothes in the original image and the green channel looks like it has enough without too much other damage (like the blue channel).

    Try going back to the original image and copying the green channel only (in the Channels palette, select the green channel, Ctl-A to select all and Ctl-C to copy; then select the composite RGB channel again.) Back in the Layers palette, select the top layer and Ctl-V. This should past the green channel into a new layer on top. Change the blending mode to Multiply and adjust opacity to suit. You may want to add a layer mask it if makes the faces and hair too dark.

    Unfortunately, you may need to do a little more cleanup on the green channel layer (since it was taken from the original image). So if you have an intermediate "cleaned-up" step before you did a levels or curves adjustment, you could use the green channel from that step instead of the original image.

    What you are trying to do is find the information that is missing, then build up the "density" of the blown-out areas by using multiply blending mode. Let me know if any of this doesn't make any sense.



    • #3
      Looking a little closer at your before/after photos, I'm thinking that maybe you used the red channel as a starting place for clean-up because the yellow stain is almost non-existent in that channel. Unfortunately the clothes are quite blown-out in that channel as well. I find that sometimes I have to combine different channels in different areas of my image because of that. I might put two different channels on separate layers, then use layer masks to blend them in to get as much detail and as little damage as possible. Sometimes I need to resort to using more than one channel to achieve that.



      • #4
        Just trying to fix the stain and contrast, nothing else...

        Used the marvellous Adobe tutorial on stain removal:

        Digital Stain Remover

        Then added a Channel Mixer adjustment layer at 10% Red, 60% Green, 30% Blue.

        Then added a Levels adjustment layer and dragged the left hand slifer to the right to improve contrast (Hint: holding down the ALT key while you do this shows you what data you'd be losing (blowing out highlights or shadows) at any given setting).

        Obviously there's still tidying up to be done, but the general idea is there.
        Attached Files


        • #5
          Hi Karen,

          After duplicating the image and chaging the duplicate to LAB Mode, I selected (Ctrl+A), copied (Ctrl+C) the Lightness Channel and pasted it (Ctrl+V) on the RGB version.
          Beside containing enough details for the clothes, I found that this took care of the stain as well ....

          To bring out the details more, I used Methods 1 and 2 as described in my Tutorial, repeating 'Method 2' a couple of times and playing with the blending (Soft Light, Overlay, Color Burn ... you just have to find what you prefer).

          Finally, I cleaned the picture, sharpened it with USM and colorized it lightly.

          Attached Files


          • #6
            Truely amazing Flora - I'm going to look at your tutorial tonight.



            • #7
              Flora, do you get tired of people saying, "Truly amazing!!" You should because that seems to be the most common response when people view your work!

              I'd be interested to know how you achieved the smooth skin, porcelain look... When I tried to enhance details with usm, the picture went grainy on me.

              Attached Files


              • #8


                Thanks so much for your feedback ....

                I hope you found my tutorial useful .....


                Originally posted by sdubose99
                Flora, do you get tired of people saying, "Truly amazing!!" You should because that seems to be the most common response when people view your work!
                I would be lying If I said that I get tired of hearing that.... I love working with Photoshop, I love sharing my results and how I got there with anyone who is interested .... I am very happy when people like what I do .... and let me know it ..... I only fear the "Gosh... not her again ..." reaction ....

                Originally posted by sdubose99
                I'd be interested to know how you achieved the smooth skin, porcelain look... When I tried to enhance details with usm, the picture went grainy on me.
                I just cheated ... .... I run it through Neat Image (I'm sure you know it ... if you don't just let me know ....)
                When I use it, I usually go for very 'soft' setting as I hate the plastic look that stronger settings can give to the image.... (actually, looking at my restoration, I think I could have gone easier on it!!! )

                Last edited by Flora; 04-26-2004, 01:23 AM.


                • #9
                  I might as well join in too... Simply amazing Flora. I would never have thought of using LAB mode..


                  • #10
                    Flora, thanks -- actually, I used NeatImage, too but didn't want to go too far. I put a smooth NeatImage version and blended with the version I have to get the look I wanted...

                    thanks again,
                    Attached Files
                    Last edited by sdubose99; 04-24-2004, 12:38 PM.


                    • #11

                      Thanks for your feedback!
                      (Looking at the Channels, RGB, CMYK and's the very first thing I do before starting any restoration .... You never know what goodies can be hidden there .... )

                      Wow Scott!
                      Very, very good!!!!


                      • #12
                        Thanks for all the help everyone.

                        Jeanie, you're right - I sort of started with the red channel by using the channel mixer with more red and less blue to get rid of the stain.

                        Flora, I tried your method and found it to be much easier than working with the channels. But I've been frustrated for days trying to get the picture as smooth and sharp as you did. Now I find your secrets! I'm going to try Neat Image and then repost my attempt. I was starting to think I was never going to learn how to do this, but now I have hope !



                        • #13

                          I followed your tutorial and instruction on this pic on one of my own and it came out great. Your methods always produce such good results and are easy to follow. Changing the duplicated RGB into lab, and then copying the lightness channel into the RGB picture was a great lesson for me. Thanks again and looking forward to your next lesson or example. This was like Eureka to me.
                          Thanks again


                          • #14
                            Karen, Wayne,

                            thank you so much for your great feedback!

                            So glad I could help!


                            to minimize the worst 'blown out' spots on the children's clothes, I found it helped creating a new Layer (blending=Multiply) and with a very soft black brush (Opacity 10%) carefully painting over them.


                            • #15

                              At what point in your process did you use neat image and USM?



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