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Snake Skin

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  • Snake Skin

    I am in the middle of restoring a portrait that has been kept in a wallet and has terrible cracks accross the eyes. One eye has already been replaced and the portrait looks 90% better already. The problem with it, is that the original had this glossy snake skin like finish to it. I have been copying one scale at a time. Needless to say, its been very tedious. I have used decrack besides just about everything I can think of to get rid of the snake skin finish without any luck. Well, actually it has reduced it bit, but not enough. Has anyone come accross this before? I have attached a copy of the portrait.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    This doesn't appear to be as bad as I thought it would be by your description.
    A trick that often works for me, is to do two scans. One right side up, and another upside down. I then overlay one ontop of the other and make adjustments to the layer blend modes until I find the one that looks the best.


    • #3

      That's interesting, but I'm not sure I'm following you. Are you saying that you put the top of one image towards the top of the screen, and another on top of it with the top of the image towards the bottom of the screen? Or are you rotating one of them? Surely the latter must be it. Just can't see it working the other way.



      • #4
        Almost sounds like the texture of the paper used to print the photo is showing up. Besides what Vikki has suggested you might try:
        (1) Scan at a high res...around 600-800lpi and then downsample to around 250-300. this will sometimes blur the texture without doing too much damage to the entire image.
        (2) try running the median filter at a setting of 1 and repeating until the texture is gone..sometimes using a combination of median and despeckle will work as well.
        (3) Try using transform command to rotate the photo 90 degrees then rotate it back, do this a few times and see if the patterning begins to "even out".
        Just some thoughts..... Good luck. Tom


        • #5

          I am not sure if I am seeing what your talking about. I would agree with Thomasgeorge that it appears to be the texture of the paper. I have two actions that I downloaded for photoshop to help me with digital camera images, one reduces the noise and the other sharpens the edges. I have found that they work good in helping to reduce the texture of the paper images are printed on. I hope you do not mind, I downloaded the image to photoshop and applied the noise reduction filter at a med level, then ran the strong edge sharpen. I did not try to clean up the image any other way. I have attached the image after both actions were applied. Does this help reduce what your concern about?
          Attached Files


          • #6
            Here is an example of what I meant.
            I scanned this photo twice. The left side is scanned in the normal orientation. Then I turned the photo 90 degress clockwise, and scanned it again. You can really see how doing this changes the level of damage! You can then use the layers palette in PS, to align them over each other, and work to blend the best of each photo from there.
            Does that help?
            Attached Files


            • #7
              wow vikki that is cool. i had trouble understanding what you were saying initially, even wondered for a minuted if you meant scanning the backside (), but ultimately saw what you meant. the light must hit it differently. i will use this. thanks.


              • #8
                Yes it is the texture of the paper. Its all beaded looking, alot like snake skin. George, I checked your and there's not that much of a change. On the screen it looks like little dashes accross the picture. But, if you zoom in you will see the texture. I will try with Vicki suggested and will let you know if that works. Thank you.


                • #9

                  Thanks for starting this thread. There have been some good ideas coming out of it.


                  That's a great tip! Thanks very much for sharing it. I'm sure it will be used by quite a few people.



                  • #10
                    Vikki I tried your suggestion but it did not work for this image. Still see that snake skin. But I will try that one another image.

                    I happen to find another copy of the image. Alot of the detail was missing though. So created a new layer and using some of Vikki's techniques, created a new layer and adjusted it so that it would cover the original. Changed the opacity, created adjustment layers for contrast and added some grain. What I was trying to achieve was to keep the detail of the original and loose the snake skin. Its seemed to come out alittle grainy though, so I created a new layer and used the gausian blur to loose some of the grain, then I used the dust and scratches filer. I tried to use the decrack, thinking it may fill in the grain, but it only added more grain. Needs alittle more work, but this is what it looks like now. You can still see the heart and edges of the original, but that should be pretty easy to clean up.

                    I would like to try thomasgeorge's suggestion next and compare the two.
                    Attached Files


                    • #11
                      Your welcome Ed. Alot of good people who are willing to exchange ideas.


                      • #12


                        Here's what I did, it's not perfect--but seems somewhat better. Of course I didn't do any retouching, just focused on the "snakeskin" problem.

                        I'm working in Picture Publisher, but I'll try to translate into Photoshop where I can.

                        As I see it, there are a couple of problems here:

                        If what you posted is what you scanned, I would have adjusted the exposure on the scan to acquire more detail in the shadows and I would have scanned at a very high resolution. Does your scanner have a "de-screen" function? Does it help?

                        Here's what I did with the image you posted:

                        1) using the "Average" interpolation, I increased the size to 1200 ppi.

                        2) in order to unblock the shadows and increase the detail in the low end: reduce the contrast of the image until it all smooths out and is pretty gray (don't adjust the brightness)---I'm sure the Pic Pub scale is different than Photoshop, but I reduced the contrast about 3/4 or a little more of the total possible reduction.

                        3) Ok, since that now looks like crap, we have to fix the histogram. I went into "tone balance". I don't know what it's called in Photoshop, but it's the one where you can set the black pt, white pt. and mid. It's pointless to give numbers here---but set the three points until it looks good to you. Set all three independently; don't let the mid move with one of the ends.

                        4) Good, that looks better! Now your noise and interference kind of looks like mostly horizontal line patterns. So,

                        5) Duplicate the base layer

                        6) reposition the layer to x=9, y=0. In other words lower the top layer by 9 pixels. Merge/ combine with the base layer (flatten the image) using the Luminance mode at a 50% transparency on the top layer. Use whatever value you like--9 works pretty good.

                        7) You have now cancelled out a good deal of the horizontal banding, but have not affected the facial features too badly.

                        8) Apply the unsharp mask at about a radius of 4 and a 100% factor------experiment with this one. It's important to sharpen before you shrink it back down.

                        9) Now, using the spline interpolation, re-size the image to 150 ppi. (or wherever)

                        10) you should have approx. what I attached--

                        11) The background still shows some banding, but the subject is pretty good. Now you can mask out the subject and do whatever you want to the background in terms of smoothing that out.

                        12) I worked with the RGB file but you could go to grayscale either before or after all the above

                        This is yet just another approach--hope it was helpful and not too weird. The histogram looks pretty gnarly--I wonder if it will print.

                        Attached Files


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