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  • Photo Restoration Classes

    My plan is to make a pitch to the local adult education facility to start a class on restoring old photos (they already offer computer classes, and genealogy and historical societies are a biggie around here). I'm just trying to get a lesson plan together and some materials to work with before I approach them with the idea. I'd at least like to LOOK like I know what I'm doing...

    When Doug asked me to write some tuts, it helped give me a nudge toward preparing my prospective class materials. My concern now is a lesson plan. I think the class would be about 6 weeks, maybe 2 hours a week..

    I know that my first order of business will be scanning, levels, curves, cloning and painting.

    I'll also plan to cover cropping, resizing & resampling.

    Anyone care to help me brainstorm and give suggestions about what things would be the most important to teach someone in a basic photo restoration class?

  • #2
    I've been toying with this idea as well. A local university here, is looking for individuals to teach some unique classes.
    Some of my thoughts/blocks:
    Will there be hardware & software in the school.
    I will have to teach with Photoshop, but which version?

    BTW, there are several websites, that have outlines for restoration classes already established. You could look at those for some ideas. (Although, you have to be registered to view the actual lessons) Actually, there are a couple that have links to my site, maybe I could send off an email and ask for some teaching tips?

    I'll be watching this thread, for sure.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Vikki
      Some of my thoughts/blocks:
      Will there be hardware & software in the school.
      I will have to teach with Photoshop, but which version?
      Since the school I'm looking at already teaches computer classes, I believe that hardware wouldn't probably be a problem. I think most schools these days have a computer lab of some sort available. I may contact them sort of anonymously and inquire about computer facilities, classes and software...

      As for Photoshop, they may not already have it, but an older academic version would be pretty do-able as far as I can see. I personally use an older version (PS 5.5) and think that anyone can learn to do a good, basic restoration without the newer bells and whistles. They might need to get some scanners, but I saw some decent little starter flatbeds recently at Staples for about $20 after rebates.

      All I have to do now is become my own salesman and sell this idea to them... I figure in order to do that I need to show them what the class would involve when I first approach them.

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      • #4
        I totally agree about the bells and whistles. In truth, they sometimes add to the confusion.

        I personally use an older version (PS 5.5) and think that anyone can learn to do a good, basic restoration without the newer bells and whistles.
        BTW, all the work done on my site was done using version 4.0, and I'll probably revert back to it for the clone tool (it's different in that version).

        So, as you said, I think if the basic theory and techniques can be taught, it will tranfer to other software.

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        • #5
          Wow Vikki - I just connected that is your site. I actually have run across that site before in my wanderings and thought it was really nice. I really like the simple, elegant, tasteful look.

          And your work is beautiful.

          I haven't really seen the need to upgrade to a newer version yet. I think that as far as learning goes, all of those extras just add confusion. I've heard a lot of hoo-ha about the healing brush, but in my mind cloning and painting works just fine. IMHO, I'd rather spend my $$ on a tablet than an upgrade. Now THAT'S $$ I'd consider well spent. Most of the labs I've worked at had older PS versions and none of them were really in a hurry to upgrade either.

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          • #6
            I have thought about doing similar things...maybe starting a small group or volunteering to teach a class or two. I would probably teach it as a general "computer art" class with photo restoration being part of it. Keep posting on here to let us know how it progresses!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by G. Couch
              I would probably teach it as a general "computer art" class with photo restoration being part of it.

              But you are an actual and true "artist" (I took a peek at your website a couple of weeks ago, btw. Incredible stuff, Greg.)

              I, on the other hand, am just a photo jockey. And that is really the only thing I'm comfortable teaching at the moment.

              You really should pursue that idea though. I think it's a really neat one. If I ever learned to actually make some kind of PS art from scratch instead of starting out with a photo, I'd sure consider it!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Jakaleena



                But you are an actual and true "artist" (I took a peek at your website a couple of weeks ago, btw. Incredible stuff, Greg.)
                Thanks! My website is in a bit of limbo at the moment.

                Actually, the more I think about it, just teaching it as photo restoration would probably make more sense. It's a more focused topic and would make preparation and teaching much easier. My only problem is that I have not really learned enough yet about the history of photographic processes, which would be something I would really want to focus on in a class.

                -Greg

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by G. Couch
                  My only problem is that I have not really learned enough yet about the history of photographic processes, which would be something I would really want to focus on in a class.
                  I don't think that would really be a hindrance for you. I've never taken a photo class, art history class, Photoshop class or any other kind of class that has anything to do with this profession that I've worked in for the last 20 years!

                  I've learned everything I know from other photographers, other retouchers, books and the internet... More than 90% of it has been learned on the fly - meaning some boss came up to me and said, "here, learn this and the project is due TOMORROW MORNING!"

                  It's nice to know the history of the photograph someone has plopped down on your desk and said, "fix it" but it isn't really necessary in order to perform digital repairs. Now, if what I was doing was photo conservation, that would be a different story. The only thing in that area that might be a consideration for me would be to offer a section to teach the students how to archivally store their old photographs so that the need to repair them in the future is lessened...

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                  • #10
                    Average class size maybe what, 15-20 people? More than 10? With a class of any size at all it is difficult to crowd around one scanner or one computer that you are working on.

                    Ask if the computer labs are available for this, and if so if they are networked. If they are networked, then you could sit at the network monitor position and all would see what you were doing on their computers. The drawback is the hands-on for the students.

                    Do you have video recording capabilities? A videotape is really the best (both for you and for them) because you can stop it and answer questions and then continue on. Videotapes can also be played over a networked system of computers.

                    A few thoughts...

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                    • #11
                      Greg - I think Jak is right about skipping the photo history/process part. Only my opinion, but I don't think it would interest people who were only interested in learning how to restore with their computer. Nor do I think it's necessary either, and would probably be too long of a course anyway.
                      I've met loads of people that want to just play around with photos, and would take a simple class, but are not really interested in the whole package.

                      As I right this, I'm wondering how much interest there is for specifically photo restoration, vs general photo manipulation.

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                      • #12
                        Just a suggestion, but perhaps you could collaborate on a syllabus?
                        Learn by teaching
                        Take responsibility for learning

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Jak, day one go over the tools pallette

                          Jak, I have taken a 1 week class for photoshop and illustrator. The instructors started day one off with the tools pallette and you would be surprised how many people said they knew and understood the tools didn't.

                          They also worked directly from the photoshop tutorial book which I found to be a big help. I feel you should have a book in mind to help the students>ex Katrin for an example as a starter.

                          Also, the photoshop instructor wrote many notes while the illustrator wrote none. I can look back at my notes for photoshop to this day which is helpful but I can't remember a thing from the illustrator class.

                          This is my take on your question and I hope this might help you out.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Vikki
                            Greg - I think Jak is right about skipping the photo history/process part. Only my opinion, but I don't think it would interest people who were only interested in learning how to restore with their computer. Nor do I think it's necessary either, and would probably be too long of a course anyway.
                            I've met loads of people that want to just play around with photos, and would take a simple class, but are not really interested in the whole package.
                            You and Jak are probably right. I guess I was thinking that if the people in the class had an interest in genealogy, history etc... they would want to know a bit about the process. I have a couple of friends who've brought me old photos, including several Tintypes, and they were very interested in learning about the history behind the process. Plus, doing the research helped me learn a lot! In the case of two of the Tintypes, learning about the process and clothing in the pictures (I got lots of good answers here!), helped to date the photos and ultimately helped my friend get an idea of which relative the photo was of!

                            I think Vicki brings up a good point about the interest in a Restoration class compared to a photo manipulation class. I guess there is no real way to find out until you actually start getting people enrolled.

                            Blacknight- One possible solution would be the use of a projector system to project an image of the instructor's computer screen. It's not something every school has, but it might be worth asking about. I definitely agree about having all of the computers networked. This would allow for a common server to save files to...each student could have their own folder on the server.

                            Another thing to consider is the type of computer that will be used. Many schools and institutions use only Macs, so it would be good to find out beforehand if you are going to need to brush up on the Mac OS...or vice versa.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I took a class last fall that was sold as a "PhotoShop" class. The instructor was very knowlegable about PS and I managed to learn a great deal from him.

                              He used a combination of demonstration (using and overhead projector) and hands-on work.

                              He covered the tools and demonstrated some of the really WOW things that you can do with PhotoShop - I was amazed and it was from him that I got the idea of learning more and starting my own business.

                              Based on my experience with that class, I suggest that almost as important as your lesson plan will be your contengency planning.

                              Out of a class of 12, 3 had never used a computer, 7 had never used a Mac, 11 had never seen or even heard of PhotoShop, 4 wanted to learn PSP, 6 had been told that they could retouch their photos using MSWord. When asked about their level of computer experience, all put up their hand for "very experienced" yet only one person besides me knew how to save a file so they could later find it again!!

                              Not to discourage you - even though the class ended up being a bit disjointed, I came away with enough knowledge to get me started and everyone in the class learned something.

                              Based on what you've shown us in your tutorials, your students will be enthralled with your instruction and you will have some budding PS experts among your graduates.

                              Best of luck,
                              Margaret

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