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Archive for the ‘image restoration’ Category

Photo repair – scanning with an all in one.

With the cost of living ever increasing electronics manufacturers are more than happy to produce ever cheaper equipment for our everyday needs. Cheap printer, scanner, copiers are everywhere these days, even in your local village supermarket. This is where the trouble starts. They do seem like a bargain don’t they? All that functionality for under £40 pounds!

STOP. If you are thinking of buying this to scan in your family photos for archiving them and restoration when you have the time or when you can afford a photo restoration service then please take my advice, think again. Why? The optics on these devices are designed for everyday scanning and printing. When scanning an image to produce a high resolution file for restoration, the software and optics together often produce a “fluffy” scan.

Let me explain. On an original photo, take a look at the dark and light areas between two objects or surfaces; say a dark door and light wall, or the rim of someone’s spectacles against their pale skin. The edge between the two is sharp and straight. Now scan it on your new scanner copier printer and blow up that section, it’s now a fluffy line with little definition. If you then save it with medium to heavy JPEG compression, this will only go further to destroying what little detail is left.

image with bad edge definition

What is happening is the substandard optical glass in the scanner is being supplemented with software interpolation.  As the optics are not up to scratch to give a good, high resolution scan, so the accompanying software is adding in pixels to make the scan bigger. Two wrongs don’t make a right, one just makes the other worse.

Does it really matter? Well if you try to make a perfect circle from Lego bricks, it is very hard to do. When a face needs rebuilding in a restoration and the only pieces are “fluffy” edged, then it is very hard to restore and much better result can be obtained from a high quality scanner. Better to make a good scan from a professional scanner and spend less time restoring it. If you are using me to restore your photos then it will cost less if it takes less time.

If want to read further advice on saving and scanning see saving your image correctly

Image-Restore for fixing your photos

Photo restoration and matching grain for photo repairs

This is a follow on post from my original matching grain article a while ago.

This is just one example of how to match grain when replacing a back ground or perhaps any part of an image.

matching grain strating image

Look at this image, it is part of a man’s shoulder and the background could do with evening out or replacing altogether.

matching grain delete and fill

Here I have just selected and deleted the back ground to white. It does not look at all right.

matching grain blur

Above a blur might clean up the background. Whilst evening out the background it still does not match very well.

matching grain blur and add grain

Here I have added some grain (noise) but it still does not match. If I apply a blur to this then we can achieve a better result.

matching grain blur and add grain and blur

With a slight blur its much better and using the correct selection technique for the original background selection it looks fairly convincing. Using this matching grain technique and varying the amounts of grain and blur ratios and perhaps even repeating the process a few times along with varying the type of noise, we can achieve different  patterns of grain to suit nearly every situation.

For a short video on this topic see below.

I am not an advocate or you “must replace the background”. In fact i’m quite the opposite. The above is meant to show you what can be done if its needed.

Very old, board based black and white photos

I have been restoring a fair few black and white photos on fibrous cardboard recently. This type of photo seems to have had the light sensitive emulsion painted onto the board and then exposed to light.  I would suggest that such large sizes of paper could not be made so the photographer simply grabbed a stable matt cardboard base and painted on the chemicals. The resulting image is a very soft focused photo without any hard defined edges.

With this photo board it has a matt finish and absorbs moisture very well.  If you have any very large old photos, perhaps stored in the loft, still in a frame in a plastic bag, please dig them out and put the somewhere dry and warm before they suck up the moisture in the cool damp air, circulating around your loft.  As they do this they swell a little and often grow mould of varying types.  The fine black soot-like mould and dry white, spidery feather-like mould, possibly mildew.  Neither of these do your photos any good, its best to dry them out slowly and then dust them off very lightly with a soft artist’s paint brush.  Once the worst is off, use a little photographer’s canned air to blow away the spores, but do this outside otherwise they will just settle in the house and not too close to the photo either.

Once it’s all clean get your photo restoration done. The process of degradation is already happening and there is not a lot you can do to stop it! Click this link to see a post on photo restoration of board based photos

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