Photoshop, restoring old photos

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Photoshop: Restoring Photos

Repairing old or damaged photos

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]This photo was given to me by a friend. It is only a portion of the full image, but you get the idea of the quality. It’s old and discoloured and suffered some damage.

yellowed and damaged old photo

Clearly this photo has seen better days. No idea what was stuck to the baby’s arm, toffee is my guess. Anyway, there is plenty to consider. Firstly I want to get rid of the yellowing of the photo, this can be resolved easily.  As this is a black and white photo we can take advantage of the desaturate function, (image/adjustment/desaturate). Don’t change the colour mode to greyscale – more on this in another tutorial.

photoshop adjustments menu

Great, that’s sorted that nasty yellowing.

old photo desaturated

So if we are going to restore this old photo we will need to get to work on the marks, scratches and that toffee blob. Choosing the right tool for the job is half the job done. This will come with experience and some tools work great on one image and not so great on another. I am going to attack that blob first and for this I will select the Patch tool.  You may not be able to see the Patch Tool so click and hold your mouse button on the whatever tool is visible to reveal the other tools hiding. See image below.

photo restortion tutorial image

Using the Patch Tool draw roughly around the blob.

damaged old photo

If your selection isn’t quite right, just click away and draw again.

photoshop tools for repairing damaged areas of photo

Next, click inside the selection and drag the selection up and over to a ‘clean’ area of the arm and let go.
The blob will vanish! Photoshop compares the two areas, understands that the selection contains something not in the targeted area and so combines the two areas, removing the blob in the process. To see how this works, try choosing a randomly targeted area, like the baby’s eye, then see the result.

The Patch Tool does a pretty good job. You may be lucky, it may do such a great job in one go or you may have to combine the use of different tools to finish the job. I tried the Patch Tool on the hole by the baby’s cheek. It didn’t work well at all. For this area, I am going to use the Clone Stamp, see image below.

photo restoration tutorial image

Careful with this tool. It can be brutal if you don’t set it right. You need a soft edge brush and size accordingly. Remember, you need to sample an area to clone first. Hold down ALT and click. The best method is to constantly re-sample areas so you are not cloning from one fixed point. I started in the area where the blanket meets the cheek – see the red lines.

showing damaged photo

photo damaged area
Once I had red-drawn this edge it made it easier to repair area on the cheek. Using the clone stamp and the patch tool to complete the repair. Practice, practice, practice! I have been a little vague with this tool as I will provide a more detailed walkthrough in another tutorial.

Try the different tools available and see the difference. The spot healing tool is great on spots! Remember to keep a soft edge to your brush.

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Photoshop, removing chromatic aberration

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Removing Chromatic Aberration

Magenta or green fringing

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]Chromatic aberration, the term we apply to the nasty magenta or green fringing in digital photography.  The areas most affected are high contrast areas, for example around trees the high contrast of the sky.  It will ruin a good photo. But fear not, we have a technique that will help target those areas and fix them.
Here is a classic example of chromatic aberration, not a great photo, but a good example nonetheless.

showing areas of high contrast
image 1

Image 1 shows high contrast areas around the bridge.  The sky has ended up quite over-exposed and there is magenta fringing where the tones change so dramatically.

close up showing chromatic aberration
image 2

Image 2 clearly shows the issue. Correcting our photo of this problem is, fortunately, easier than expected.

copying a layer in photoshop
image 3

Copy your layer

Open the image in Photoshop and copy the layer. Drag the layer to the new layer icon as shown in image 3. 

Blur the layer

Next we are going to apply a blur to the top layer.  Select the top layer and click on Filter in the menu and select Blur/Gaussian blur. See image 4.

filter gallery photoshop
image 4

You need to be quite generous with the blur, in this case I have chosen a blur setting of 50pixels.

gaussian blur panel photoshop
image 5

Click OK to apply the blur and then we need to take a look at the blending mode of the layer.

photoshop blending modes
image 6

Blending mode

Change the blending mode to Colour.  When you change the blending mode you will notice although the magenta fringing has gone, we have also lost colour across the entire image. Not good! But do not fear…

applying layer masks in photoshop
image 7

Layer mask

We are going to add a vector mask as shown in image 7. click on the add layer mask icon. You will add a white mask to the layer. We need to change this to a black mask – we need to inverse it. Ctrl+i(win) cmd+i(mac)  If you can remember to hold down the alt key when you click the add vector mask option then you will get a black mask! The image will now revert to it’s original state.  In other words, the mask now has a big hole in it so we can see the image underneath. 

removing the magenta fringing in photoshop
image 8

Now paint

Now select a soft round paint brush and choose white as the colour. Resize your brush just a little larger than the magenta fringing and spray over all the magenta areas. 

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