Monday, March 3, 2008

Photo Restoration encore



So, I'm working on restoring some of my parents old slides, which have been scanned into digital files. This photo is probably 45 years old or so, and I'm not sure if you can tell, but the original is not only discolored, it is also covered with dust. The second image represents essentially three steps (took more than three minutes!): First I color corrected the original, using Kodak's ROC plugin for PS, plus some light sharpening and cropping. Next I 'spotted' and removed dust using the Dust and Scratches filter from within CS3, on a separate layer, then painting out the dust using the History Brush on lighten and darken, as appropriate - a technique I learned from CTEIN's excellent book "Digital Restoration From Start to Finish". Finally I made some tonal adjustments to give the image a wee bit of 'pop'.

If this were a commercial restoration, I wouldn't really be done, as there is still quite a few tiny spots - though you have to get in at 100% view or more to work on them - I've got all the big/obvious ones. However, for a 4x6 or 5x7 print, none of that would really be noticeable. Other work one could consider doing would be a more substantial restoration/cleaning of the wall, which is a bit discolored still. And I could spend more time recovering details from the little girl's face (Diane I believe?), which was obliterated by flash; however that might actually require reconstructing/cloning in some texture and detail from elswhere on the face, and would require a bit more delicate work than I was prepared to do at this time.

So...nothing super special about this picture. But that's why I chose it. A pretty typical example of a family photo that one might want restored - not because it is an amazing photo but because it is an important memory. In this case, I'm relatively pleased with the outcome. The catch is...the dust spotting was/is fairly labour intensive. Any auto - tool runs the risk of obliterating important detail.

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