Archive for the ‘hand colouring photos’ Category
Photos that I restore the most are be those that have faded. Simple fades are simple to correct. Just a quick adjustment of the levels or a quick burn in with dodge and burn tools. Complex fades like the one below are not so simple.
This image could not be colour corrected by tweaking the colours, in stead it had to be converted to black and white, restored and then coloured. You may have seen similar posts by me before on this but each one presents different challenges.
In this case the fades were corrected by multiple layers using “apply image”. Each layer was dropped on the next and masked in tighter to build back the tones. I had to stop when things started to look too gray. It then became evident the image need more contrast but this introduced more bleaching, so more masking. Once the exposure was looking ok, it was treated as any other restoration and the coloured using my colouring technique.
Restoring a colour fade is never an easy job.
This restoration was from a 29 inch photo print of a Hawker Hunter Mk 6A caught in mid-flight. The scan made of the print was a pdf, not ideal for the restoration as it’s not a native image format and normally very compressed and showed many development banding lines and fade bands which added to the complexity of the restoration.
As you may have read in my colouring tutorials, colour only “sticks” to the image if the underlying tones are balanced. For example the density of the sea needs to be similar both sides of the image, the wings of the plane need to be toned the same too. The important thing for the customer was that it should be good enough to reproduce to 29 inches again, so attention to detail was essential. A formidable task when you know that every pen stroke of your retouch has to be spot on as it will be under heavy scrutiny when its 29 inches wide. This restoration just tipped the £100 mark including the print.
The final restoration turned out very well and both I and the client were very pleased with the result. Presented with such a challenge its sometimes easier to say “no” it can’t be done but having faith in your own abilities is essential. More often than not, restorations like these are out of budget for a lot a people and they cannot justify the costs. However when the image was this bad to start and the results are this good to finish, its worth every penny!
A customer of mine recently sent me this photo.
As you can see it is faded heavily in the middle due to sun exposure
It’s always sad to see your photos face in this way but all is not lost.
The first task was to see if I could recover any colour at the scanning stage. This saves time if you can scan one image correctly for the outer section and one for the inner and combine the two. This did not work that well as the density of the tones were too light to get close to the correct colours. Abandoning that approach i tried adjustments layers, but they reveal no colour left that can be restored in the center section. The carpet and surrounding background have enough clues to give the colours to paint back into the photo but still the densities need to be changed.
I selected the faded area with the selection tools and adjust the curves so that it resembled the tone of the outer section. To check this was spot on I painted a little of the cushion covers colour, on a separate layer, over the lighter area and adjusting the curves and matched it as close as possible with the darker, outer section.
With the burn tool for shadows and then mid tones, i set about burning the bits of background that didn’t quite match perfectly with the surrounding tones. From here on in I used lengthy techniques described in the previous 2 posts for colourising or adding colour to old photos. The final result is below.
This took a fair while to complete but the result is more than worth it.!
Colouring old photos can be done for as little as £25. The more complex they are the more it would cost. A typical examples is one or two people on a relatively simple background for £25. The above was £75