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Archive for the ‘restoring old photographs’ Category

Photo repair, patience is the key

When you get a photo as bad as this in need of photo repair, it is seriously tempting to let a quality photo restoration service do it for you. But if you were to tackle this one it might be easiest to airbrush a new back ground or cheat by tightly cropping the photo so there is less work to do. This of course isn’t what restoring is all about.

It is about quality time restoring photos so they look like new from the time and period they were taken.

Creased up old photo restored

Creased up old photo restored

Patience is the key, its take a long time to fix a photo like this. Start with patching and retouching away the cracks that are on their own, giving larger and larger areas to sample texture from when you patch some more.Think of the photo as a sliding block puzzle, you are simply moving areas from one place to another to replace a bit that is missing. Sounds easy does it not? Obviously there is a degree of care from where the replacement texture is taken from, so that the new section blends in well. It’s not much good patching a smooth section of sky with texture from somebody’s woolen sweater. Common sense and patience is the recipe for success here.

When it comes to rebuilding the facial areas or areas where you have to be creative with your patching, slow down. Take a look at what you have in front of you and with a bit of imagination and perhaps a rescale here and there, possibly a flip, feather and blend, you can fill in the gaps. For a quality photo repair you may have to re texture afterwards by first rubber stamping in the correct tone from a nearby source and then patching to regain a little texture.

In this case a nose tip had to be borrowed from another photo and blended in. The windows in the back ground had slight re structure and overall tone and definition was improved with dodge and burn in subtle amounts. A low opacity layer of sharpen was added to the finally repaired old photo. Now we have the quality photo restoration we were looking for. You may want to down sample from your high res scan and apply a slight sharpen again depending on the final reproduction size.

Neil Rhodes Providing quality photo restoration Surrey and Farnham area

Photo Restoration Telling the good from the bad

If ever you look into having a photo restoration done, how do you know that you are going to have it done properly? You can look at the site that offers the restoration and look at their example images of “before” and “after” and surely if it looks good then that’s all there is to it. The price is right so why not go for it.

STOP! I will tell you why. Look closely at those “before” and “after” images of the so called photo repairs. Think about what the restoration artist has done. Let us check the skill level of the restoration artist.

1. When replacing a back ground on a portrait. Has the background got the same tone and texture and grain as the part of the image that is left. Look carefully as there may be some tell tale signs of a quick fix. Halos or smudged lines around the original subject or person. There may also be cropping of the photo repair where the artist has eased the workload and trimmed off background that they didn’t want to deal with. Did you ask for that, and do you mind?

Good background texture

Good background texture

Image showing good texture where a restoration has been carried out correctly

2. Restoring details in the background. Are there strange repeat patterns in the background? Does it look like the grass is like a repeat pattern wall paper? Does the same bit of wood appear many times, or is that brick wall just a 10 times copy and repeated over and over to save time? Is there smudging or are there ill defined areas where the artist has simply blotted out details?

Incorrect cloning technique

Incorrect cloning technique

Image showing repeat patterns and bad texture where a restoration has been carried out incorrectly and with a lazy technique.

3. Does it look like it has been restored? When an image is very badly damaged, the artist will have to work hard to fix the damaged areas. Depending on the skill of the artist the image may look like it has been worked on. This will normally be where large areas of faces have been damaged or smooth tones or block colours have been divided by a tear or tape marks. However a skilled artist will make sure that the tones and the texture match and that the photo repair does not just look like a lifeless block of colour.

Look out for these pointers when examining the work on display, if you detect any of this go somewhere else, as the skills probably aren’t there in the first place. Providing photo restorations and repairs throughout the UK

Photo Restoration Another example of vanishing point and clone

When starting on a photo repair it’s a good idea to de-saturate or grey-scale the image before starting. If you wish to end up with a sepia tone at the end, then we can apply a photo filter to colourise the image when we have finished.

Let’s look at what we have to do. Invent a window and rebuild the boards and sky.

Repair a missing piece of a photo

Repair a missing piece of a photo

Using the vanishing point filter, draw a grid that matches the perspective of the boards and house, notice in the original the boards converge to the left, so the grid must follow these converging lines.

Repair a missing piece of a photo

Repair a missing piece of a photo

Get familiar with the tools on palette, we will be using the clone tone with heal off. Start with the window. Using the clone tool clone the vertical sides of the window frame upwards. Until you reach what would be a good height for a sash window.

Repair a missing piece of a photo

Using the vanishing point

Repair a missing piece of a photo

Cloning inside the vanishing point work area

Swap back to normal photo shop window. Repair the right had corner of lower section. Using the selection tool make a selection around the corner section of the lower pane, top left corner. Feather the selection by 1.5 pixels and then cut and paste. Flip horizontally and rotate slightly to become the mended corner.

Now we have a full lower pane we can use for the top half. Select just the pane from the newly complete lower window with the selection tool. Feather again, cut and paste. Position the new upper pane in place where it looks most natural. Now dirty the pane slightly by dodging back the highlights with a soft large brush. Now we need to add to and correct the top of the window. Select the window sill minus the shadow under it, feather and cut/paste. Re-scale the sill to make a wooden beam for the top part of the window frame and position.

Now it’s down to you to add texture by using either the clone tool set to a low opacity and a small brush or the patch tool to grab some grain and texture from suitable wooden areas around to make the new wood work like it’s always been there. Assess the shadows under ledges to make sure they are all consistent with the look of the image and strength of the sun.

Swap back to vanishing point filter. Let’s fix the boards. In the original photo the boards to the right are significantly lighter than those to left, so when we clone them over we would have a house that looks spookily similar on both sides and not natural enough.

So although cloning them across is a good starting point using vanish point still, it might be better to use what we have on the right and clone the up and then borrow the texture and dark markings of those on the left to blend them in a bit. To blend over the texture from the right hand boards use a clone tool set to medium soft and around 50-70% opacity, vary this if the results do not look convincing. You can the use the same method to make sure the shadows between the boards look natural.

All done

Finally for a convincing photo repair, when you have done with the boards just clone up the sky, select the bottom edge border of the photo and use it to make one at the top. Flatten the image and rotate and correct the perspective.

Another fine digital restoration example brought to you from image-restore



Providing a Quality photo restoration service

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