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Alternative to Healing Brush.

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  • Alternative to Healing Brush.

    Let me know if what I am doing makes sense or if there is a better method. Since Elements does not have the healing brush and fade I have been experimenting with alternatives. I am restoring old family photos and the clone tool is not satisfactory. I am cleaning up blotches, scratches, cracking, spots, etc. Typically what you find in 100 year old photos. The best alternative I have found is to duplicate my image. Then filter >noise > dust & scratches at around a radius of 10 pixels and threshold of 10, enough to totally obliterate the defects. Then take a snapshot using Hidden Power and name this snapshot, lighten. Unlock the snapshot and change the mode to lighten. Then take another snapshot and name it, darken. Unlock the second snapshot and change the mode to darken. Activate the history brush in Hidden Power and set the brush to a medium to low opacity. Then paint with white on the two snapshot mask layers, lighten or darken depending on the defect and background. This seems to work best with the darken snapshot above the lighten snapshot. It takes experimentation but the brush opacity and size can be changed and any mistakes can be erased with the eraser. The lighten mask seems to require a much lower opacity brush than the darken mask. Sometimes the lighten layer mask must be painted first then the darken mask painted over the same area to blend together for the best results. I have been working on black and white photos up to this time and have had excellent results. I have not tried a color photo yet. I would value your opinion or suggestion as to a simpler or better method. Others may also have a better method or may wish to experiment with this workflow. Thanks. CaseyJ

  • #2
    sounds interesting.......

    can you post a before and after example?


    • #3
      Before and After

      I did not have anything which had not undergone further processing so I did a very quick touchup on a photo. This is a scan of a photo which was about 80 years old and had suffered normal wear from rubbing against other photos. I believe this process maintains the texture and feel of the original while improving the appearance. Further processing would continue to improve the photo but this will give you an idea. Tell me what you think. I hope this link works as this is my first try in this forum. CaseyJ

      Before and After


      • #4
        CaseyJ - this is a often used method in the full version and it sounds like you are getting similar results with PSE.

        Here is a similar technique using clone in the full version:

        Stephen Marsh.


        • #5
          Lighten, Darken, Luminosity and Colour (hue & saturation) - not to mention normal blend mode <g> are the four common and critical blend modes for more extensive retouching.

          Stephen Marsh.


          • #6

            Thank you for the link to the Russell Brown tutorials. The one using the clone tool and changing the clone tool mode rather than the layer mode was just what I was needing. Much faster and easier than what I was doing. Thats what Senior Members are good for, to help us junior members. I had not had success with the clone tool before and had never thought or known that I could change the tool mode. Thanks again. CaseyJ.


            • #7
              Hi CaseyJ, glad to be of help - yes blend modes in the paint tools are great and Russell is the MAN! Just remember to double check the blend and opacity before you start painting.

              You can still use the history method but perhaps with blend modes with the history brush instead of two different sources.

              I generally use a rough selection (feathered) and apply dust n scratch removal filtering then perhaps add noise. The clone or healing tools would be used for the bulk of the work, although a rough selection of content which is floated to a new layer and then moved and masked/erased seamlessly into the original is good for regular repeating patterns.

              Stephen Marsh.


              • #8
                Stephen - for your information - using the two different sources is as close as Elements users can go to using a history brush. It's one of the (few) things that Adobe dropped out to justify the lower price! The links are really useful, thanks Stephen - and an interesting thread CaseyJ. I've learnt a lot.
                Susan S.


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