SandyFeet, on May 13 2009, 01:16 PM, said:
PBarnes, on May 12 2009, 09:14 PM, said:
Great job on the restoration Leanne!
Can you share the steps you took to restore the photo once you scanned it into photoshop?
I am impressed by how much improvement you accomplished and would love to know how to do the same for my heritage photos.
My goodness the steps I took......the steps I took.... hmmmm I didn't actually follow a set procedure and quite possibly broke every rule that there is and I doubled back any number of times and tweeked to my hearts content (I'm very particular, very much a perfectionist....its sad really) but I'll try and remember. I've only ever restored 2 or 3 photos so there is a lot of trial and error (lots of error).
I used Photoshop Elements 7 and scanned the photo as a RGB picture (even though it was black and white I read somewhere that scanning all photos as RGB opens up a whole array of grey scale that would other wise be lost, especially important for old photos as they generally are either Sepia or have a tint of some sort) and 600dpi (takes longer and is a much bigger file, but when a photo is faded and damaged I figure it needs all the detail it can get!)
I duplicated the original photo and used the copy to do all my restoring.
I then Enhance, Convert to Black and White and used the Newspaper option (use whatever looks smoother and you are happy with) and tweeked the Contrast a little (I tweek a lot!!). In this case I used Newspaper as it brightened the photo more than Portrait or any other option.
I then played with the lighting controls, Shadows/Highlights, Brightness/Contrast and the Levels until I was happy with the look of the people, I try not to focus on the background too much when I'm adjusting the lighting as some photos are faded in different areas and getting a level of overall sameness in the background that I'm happy with can often lead to poor language and much gnashing of teeth! I sometimes use the Marquee tool to copy and paste areas of background to other places on a photo if i really can't stand the way it looks. But I try to accept that it is an old photo and a varied background adds to the overall effect (I tell myself this a lot)
I cropped as much of the damage out at the edges that I could without loosing too much detail and straightened the photo.
I then decided to tackle the larger areas of damage first and used the Clone Tool to cover the hole in the bottom right hand corner.
I then choose the Healing Brush, and with a soft brush slightly larger than the area that I was 'healing' I repaired the creased and folded areas. I did a lot of clicking. I also used the Clone Tool as sometimes the Healing Brush grabbed the wrong pixels.
I then let the perfectionist side of me reign free and 'Spot Healed' the little specks that were on my GGGma and Guncle's clothing. I was very particular and zoomed right in and clicked on every minute irregularity that I could find, I'm not sure if that's 'normal' but if you can stand the bleeding retinas at the end, its worth the effect.
I got rid of the chair at the left hand edge as cropping had got rid of most of it and what was left was more distracting than anything else. I did this with a combination of Healing, Clone and a bit of copy paste Marqueeing.
I then had a play with the Reduce Noise filter, with Remove JPEG artifact checked to get rid of some of the grainess, then used Enhance, Adjust Sharpness, to add a bit of sharpness, I used 22% with a 3.8 pixel radius. I used 'undo' a lot!! I guess you could do this at the start, but I only read about it part way thru so did it at the end.
I then used the Dodge tool to lighten up the left side of GGGma's face and shoulders, I also used the Dodge tool and worked on the shadows under and around her eyes. - Dodge tool was set at 'shadows' and '20%' with a small soft brush, don't over lighten as it looks a bit odd if you overdo it - less is definately more with the Dodge tool!
Then I decided that the Background was very spotty and uneven, due in part to the restoration and also the original background of the photo, so I used the Blur tool to try and soften and smooth out it all out. I used a soft tip brush, set at Normal and around 25% and blurred the background zooming in so as not to Blur GGGma or GUncle, I wanted them to be a bit Sharper so as to retain as much detail as I could. Blurring the background, achieved a much smoother look and also had the added advantage of hiding the difference in the colour and lighting in the background and also made the Healing Brush 'marks' invisible. I then selected a much smaller brush and used the Blur tool again, on about 15% and blurred their faces too, the photo was very grainy and the blur tool added some smoothness to their faces, took years off GGGma ;o).
I could have added a tint or converted it to Sepia at this point, but I liked the way it looked and left it at that.
I'm guessing I could have used layers to do some of the restoration, but I'm not confident with using Layers like that, so kept with what I knew.
I used the 'undo' button very very often and saved every time I was happy with a particular section!
I hope that helps and wasn't too confusing. I did warn you that it was a bit of a convoluted method. But I was very happy with the end result, just hadn't planned on telling anyone!!
If someone else knows of an easier method, please jump right on in.