Thursday, March 15, 2012

Damaged Photo Restoration

Pictures never last forever.  Natural aging on older versions of print paper can turn your image yellow.  Improper storage can result in any number of damages - tears, scrapes, folded/bent corners, etc. 

The BEST way to keep your photos looking the way you want them is to bind them in protective albums on low-acidity paper.  But here we are in 2012 and digital media allows us to back up our images on disks, external hard drives, and online. 

Rule of Thumb - back everything up 3 times, 3 different ways.

When the damage has been done you don't have to settle for ruined images.  If you have Adobe Photoshop or know somebody who does, you can (if you give it a good effort) restore an image, reprint it, and save a digital copy for your records. 

The picture above is from the 70s and clearly shows signs of damage.  The Healing Tool can remove scratches and abrasions while your Clone Tool can help replace areas of the image that are torn.  As you can see above I completely replaced the flowers in the bottom right, on the left edge, and replaced the woman's stomach.  By using these tools along with miscellaneous other brushes and the Smudge Tool I was able to fix the image flaws without cropping a large amount of the outter edge. 

After that, all that was needed was to desaturate the yellowish aged overtone and increase the saturation of the greens in the background.  A Curves Adjustment Layer  with a standard, slight "S" shape added a little more contrast and further removed some of the picture's age while still maintaining the desired vintage look.


This image needed to be processed a little differently.  First, I resampled this image to increase the ppi... Basically, I improved the image quality so it would be print ready.  Second I straightened the image so I used my Ruler Tool to align the bottom of the print image by tracing from one side of the photo to the other, following the bottom of the printed part (his shirt and sleeves).

The two biggest flaws in the image are the yellowish/green spot right in the middle and the large fold in the upper right corner.  I used the Clone Tool to remove the fold and then the Clone Tool and Healing Brush to take care of all the other little scrapes and scuffs.

The spot in the middle was actually very easy to remove simply by desaturating the yellow tones in the image with a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer.  By moving the slider all the way to the left it not only removed the spot but the aged yellow look of the entire image.  Aces.

I used a Curves Adjustment Layer with a slight "S" curve to darken the dark tones and add a little more contrast.  Finally, I used the Burn Tool at about a 20% intensity to darken the eyes, lips, eyebrows, and ears.

There you have it - two different images, two different restorations, both taking less than 30 minutes (the color image taking approx 25, the black and white taking approx 15).

If you have any questions or have photos you would like to have restored you can contact me at Ricky@RickyBarnesDesigns or by any other contact method listed on my Contact page.


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