Archive for the ‘photo restoration’ Category
Restoring colour photos is never easy. When they are unevenly faded it makes it very tricky but when they are both unevenly faded and the frame has shifted and the sunlight has faded it some more… this was no easy restore!
Tackling a restore this complex require some thought on the best processes to fix it. No amount of automatic colour fix filters is going to get close to resolving this!.
First the over all tone was brought up to more normal levels to see what colour could be brought back. I concentrated on the center section but soon found it was way more faded in mid tones than the outer rings. The image was never going to be corrected with matching colour tones if the densities of those rings were not equalized.
It took some time to get the densities of the colours to match. I used “apply image”, some “dodge and burn” also some layer masks to blend it all in. It left a mess of over saturated colours in those rings. The colours then had to be desaturated and match in. Needless to say they didn’t match or come that close to blending in. I ended up recoloring the water and grass with colored overlay layers and painting it back in, as it was the only way to get a good even tone.
The water created another problem, banding between the fade lines. Here i used a combination of both dodge and burn and frequency separation techniques. I’ll cover that in another post!
Any questions on this restore i’ll be happy to help.
I was approached by the Myland Paints and Varnishes to re-colour one of their old photos of the newly set up shop in Lambeth from 1884.
“John Mylands paints story began in 1884 when ‘Honest’ John Myland set up his modest shop in the heart of Lambeth. Unlike some other paintmakers of the day, John was absolutely in thrall to the art of the colourman, insisting on only the very best materials that would allow him to create colours that were lustrous and flawless, with guaranteed quality.” – Mylands.co.uk
Like any image from this era it had mottled fading. Areas of uneven fading in spots. Its rather like getting a sponge and dabbing on a freshly painted surface and lifting off the paint. Tricky to fix unless you are a dab hand at dodge and burn with a soft low opacity brush!
The shop still in the family business today. Mr Myland wanted the image for launch the were doing of a new line of products. The only problem was the image had to be wall to ceiling and hand coloured!
Whilst the restoration went well the colouring was lengthy but had to be subtle. A quick look at the image doesn’t seem like much colour is in the image. But due to the colour charts and bottle labels and shelves with numerous items there were dozens and dozens of them. There are many references to colouring on my blog on how to do this.
It took many revisions to get the colouring correct. My Mylands paints and labels had to be correct according to his paint colours and branding colours. I worked with him very closely to get the image to a quality that would enable him to produce a massive enlargement for his product launch.
The Wixon family in 1908
The Wixon’s Mr Authur Wixon and his wife Mrs Alice Wixon are shown below in a the damaged photo. The oldest daughter’s in the photo was also called Alice.
Large families were common and the Wixon’s would go on to have 15. Sadly two died before they were eight. Kate Wixon died aged 4 of diphtheria in 1912 and Robert Wixon died also aged four in 1904. The second youngest of the 15 wasn’t born until 1921! Another sad tale from a very large family and of death and record breaking can be found in the 1909 story of the record breaking unicyclist
The location for the photoshoot was a four roomed “court house” in Coventry 1908
The restoration was made slightly simpler by another reference photo of Mr Alice Wixon.
The new face image was scaled, flipped and converted to black and white before setting the blend mode to darken and masked out. The mask was the painted on to reveal the useful details to fill in the missing face. Great care was made in keeping the grain, focus and aged look to blend in all together.
The plant pot was recreated to left. This was done by finding a reference image of a Hydrangea leaf and making a custom brush from it. This was then used with the brush tools, including scatter, scaling and angle jitter to achieve random pasterns of leaves that could used to make a new plant. The pot was reconstructed with what little detail there was within the image. Everything was the blended in.