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Archive for the ‘picture restoration’ Category

More than one way to restore a photo

When restoring a photo using Photoshop there are so many ways to repair damage that i thought i would take a typical example of a fold mark or crease and show the ways we can use to repair it.

One method we can use for fixing this damage would be to use the “patch tool”, normally good for correcting or replacing large areas of an image.


Using the Patch Tool


Using the patch tool in this way can sometimes result in smeared colour or tone contamination from nearby contrasting areas. To avoid this clone over any overly dark or light spots so when you outline the area to be patched, the outline runs through an area or similar tone. You can patch through nearly a entire image in this manner. The skill comes from knowing where to take the patch from as in a lot or circumstances there seems no obvious place to select a donor piece. Of course like any restoration there will be a fair bit of tiding up to do, such dodging and burning any areas that didn’t patch that well and possibly even using the clone tool to tidy up edges and add back some definition where the patches have left a soft edge.


Using the Clone Tool


Using the clone tool is probably the favorite amongst most of us who know something about Photoshop. It used to great effect and has many options besides the simple clone I have shown here. For example it can be used in conjunction with “darken” or “lighten” to give great effect when cloning up to contrasting edges or over dark or light patches.

Other methods you could use are the Spot Healing Brush Tool or he Healing Brush. These can used to great effect when replacing soft or blurred sections of an image with texture from other part of the image, say to add texture or grain back to blurred face or clothing. Here they work fairly well but not as good as the clone.


Using the Spot Healing Tool


Of these methods they all can be used together especially when patching up or rebuilding a far more complex image. An image such as a child posing in a Victorian photographers studio in a grand chair, with a leg missing and the wooden scrolls damaged on the engravings. This would need careful use of all the techniques above. With these more complex rebuilds, artistic abilities come into play. The ability to see light and dark for shape and form and subtle colours that push and pull detail into and out of the picture. Its these skills that can used to rebuild and restore the image to its former state.

Photo restoration slide show

Sometimes for first time visitors, my photo restoration blog can be quite daunting. I have made a quick reference video of what I can do, so play the video below and in around a minute or two you’ll know what I’m about!

Of course its not all restorations I like to have some fun along the way, but thats another video! Or browse the blog to find out more.

Scanning for photo restoration

Ive talked before on scanning for photo restoration but I still cant believe what I am seeing out there on the web.

Photo restoration is an exact science but it can only be achieved if the original image is created as a digital file. This file must be of a certain size in order for the restoration to be made. Digital images are made up of pixels, single points of light and colour in varying intensities. If there are not enough of them the photo restoration cannot be made.

To create a file with enough data photos are usually scanned to a computer. So many restoration websites ask customers to scan their photos at 300 dpi. This means there will be 300 of those tiny pixels per inch. What if that photo was only an inch square? Then it would only have 300 pixels by 300 to restore with. You would probably want that image enlarging wouldn’t you?  Alas it wouldn’t be possible with scan of 300 DPI, I’ll explain.

To an ordinary person who knows nothing about the digital world this may sound like techno speak but what it means is that your image is effectively like a roman mosaic.  If there is a crack through the images and it has a stain or tear, trying to restore this would be impossible. There are simply not enough mosaic tiles to move around to fill in and patch up the photo.

If the number of pixels in increased for this little 1 inch photo to say 2400 DPI or 2400 pixels along the photos edge this would mean not only would be millions of little squares to restore but it also could be printed in a variety of sizes.

Photo Restoration and scanning at 300DPI

Photo Restoration and scanning at 300DPI. This image show a 1 inch image scanned at 300 DPI and then at 2400 DPI with inches measured across for a size comparison.

Requesting a scan for a photo restoration from a customer without even asking what they require in terms of restoration size is extremely presumptuous. You simply cannot set this scanning figure in stone like so many of the photo restoration services do. It’s very much like building a house without first working out how many people are going to be living in it. You wouldn’t build a 2 bedroom terraced house for a family of 12 would you?

300DPI would be fine for large images such as those of 7×5 inches or above but again it cannot be assumed the final image is to be the same size when restored. I’ve found that most people want their old images enlarged so they can see more or display them with pride.

Can you lighten my pictures I’ve scanned at 300 dpi?? We haven’t even talked about grain and shadow detail either. If said small image was canned at 300dpi and the request was for “lighten” and “enhance” the detail the image would end up looking like a bunch of pebbles on a beach. The more pixels you have in the scan will enable the shadow areas to be probed and lightened, to squeeze as much shadow detail out as possible without those little pixels showing through as noise or grain.

To summarize, requesting a scan of 300DPI for a 1 inch image means it can be printed at one inch, what if you wanted it 10 inches square? The correct question to ask a customer would be “tell us what size you would like the photo to be and well tell you what setting to scan it at”. Assumptions in photo restoration will get you nowhere, just into hot water when it comes to providing what the customer wants. Always ask and advise, don’t assume when it comes to photo restoration. For more on this topic visit saving your file correctly for photo restoration.

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