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Archive for the ‘restoring old photographs’ Category

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.

Image-Restore.co.uk 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

Done.

Neil

Providing a Quality photo restoration service

Photo Restoration Enhancing the tones quick tip

Boosting the black and adding punch

Boosting the black and adding punch

Ok so have the images restored and they look great but they are a little flat in tone.

A great trick for enhancing the blacks and making a great contrast to the highlights to finish if the photo repair is to add a separate adjustment layer for colour balance. Convert your image to RGB

In this layer adjust the shadows so that they appear tinted slightly with blue. So add around 10-15 blue and 10-15 cyan on the sliders.

Now switch over to the highlights and warm them up, so use the sliders to add around 10-15 red and 10-30 yellow.

Now take a look at the before and after. It jumps out at you now doesn’t it! You can of course tone down this effect by adjusting the opacity of the layer in your layers palette.

Subtlety is the key as always when you want to achieve a convincing photo repair.

Neil

Providing photo restoration service uk

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