Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Restoring a Photograph

   So I’ve been spending my free time tackling this recently. It’s an old photograph that my grandma gave me to restore. It has my grandpa in it and the other members of the military group he was in.

   As you can see, the photo was not in the best condition originally. It was kept folded up in a duffel bag that my grandpa carried around. Usually my first steps to restoring a photograph involve color correcting. Old photos tend to fade, distort in color, and age in a variety of ways. I try to correct for the improper color so I can “peel” back the layers of time to get a better visual to the original condition.

   Once I bring some of the original color back into the photo, I continue by doing a light once-over to take out minor imperfections. This can be dirt, hair, small scratches, or random dots that appear. This step is probably the easiest but also the most mind-numbing. I usually stick to the healing brush, though tend to wander into the clone brush at times. Once this step is done, I can really see the breadth of what I’m about to undertake.

   All that I’m left with now are the large tears and major blemishes. For this image, there were a few people who had parts of the photo peeled off to expose some of the paper underneath. This made it difficult because there was barely a base to go back to for reference. Having a Wacom tablet really makes this process faster. It involved more creating than what I’m usually used to when restoring a photo.

   After painting in the lost details, I simply recreated the background layer and did some final, minor color corrections. All that’s left is to print it out and see how well I did. I’m sure my grandma will be happy with the results and chalk it up to some magic power I possess.

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