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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos RAW, Post Processing & Printing 
Thread started 22 Jul 2012 (Sunday) 19:20
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Black and white restoration

 
boog69
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Jul 22, 2012 19:20 |  #1

My mom has found tons of family pictures in an old smokehouse. She has taken a couple to Walgreens and Walmart to have copies made for people that have cried when she has given them first because they have never seen that picture and some people didn't have any pictures at all of great grandparents, cousins...you guys get the picture. Anyway, she asked me if I could restore some or all of them. I would love to but have never attempted black and white before plus volume of pictures is overwhelming. Do you guys or gals know of any good place that restores black and white? Maybe even a program that would help me out where I could do some? Thanks for help.


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Kolor-Pikker
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Jul 23, 2012 07:36 |  #2

All you really need is Photoshop and a pen tablet to do precise restoration work, but it's very time-consuming, even on a relatively small set of photos. I also doubt you'll find a place that could do the job for cheap, so the best thing to do in my opinion, is to work on this in your spare time...

Whenever I restore photos the tools I most commonly use are content-aware fill, healing brush, clone stamp, curves adjustment layers, and sometimes I copy/paste selections and use masking. Some old photos tend to be so damaged, you practically have to "invent" details and forms that weren't there before, but luckily this isn't as hard in B&W as it would be in color.

Edit: to put words into a picture, here's how I turned a photo that had almost nothing left, and I made it into something.

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The work on it is a little crude, but I had to do 50-something such photos, some of which were even worse. Took over a month I believe.

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danielb59
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Jul 23, 2012 09:03 |  #3

Very impressive. I was anticipating doing some of the same type of work. Now that I see your example, I may just give it a try.
Dan


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ScubaDude
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Jul 24, 2012 01:00 |  #4
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It's probably very expensive to have old photos restored due to the time involved. I've been working on this one on-and-off for a couple of years and have at least 200 hours into it. Great job, Kolor-Pikker; I have an old photo that has that same pattern on it and I've never been able to restore it.

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Damo77
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Jul 24, 2012 03:27 |  #5

ScubaDude wrote in post #14760723 (external link)
I have an old photo that has that same pattern on it and I've never been able to restore it.

Google the FFT filter, my friend. ("Fast Fourier Transform" filter). It rocks.


Damien
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Kolor-Pikker
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Jul 24, 2012 04:07 |  #6

Damo77 wrote in post #14760982 (external link)
Google the FFT filter, my friend. ("Fast Fourier Transform" filter). It rocks.

Right on the money. It's very difficult to use effectively, but you can effectively get rid of any repeating pattern, which is how I did it.

Oh, when I said "took me over a month" I meant all 50 photos, not just this one, just clarifying. (I was actively working on them, not on-and-off)

Great work ScubaDude, that there's a near-perfect restoration, the only detail I see out of place is the bottom edge of his stripes - it's flat across the bottom, when it should be a little curved.

And a pro-tip: Always scan in at 720ppi for photos 4x6"/10x15cm and over, and use even higher ppi for those smaller, there may not be any detail at such magnification, but it makes editing much easier.


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I acquired an expensive camera so I can hang out in forums, annoy wedding photographers during formals and look down on P&S users... all the while telling people it's the photographer, not the camera.

  
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ScubaDude
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Jul 24, 2012 04:28 |  #7
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Thanx for the tip, Damo77.

I scanned the photo at whatever the highest rez my scanner had. It ended up around 3000x4000 pixels.


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Kolor-Pikker
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Jul 24, 2012 06:09 |  #8

ScubaDude wrote in post #14761059 (external link)
I scanned the photo at whatever the highest rez my scanner had. It ended up around 3000x4000 pixels.

Sounds about right.
I use an Epson V750-M Pro because it's about the highest-res flat-bed scanner you can get and it can also scan film, this model has been around for forever and a half, but it's also a hell of a workhorse.


5DmkII | 24-70 f/2.8L II | Pentax 645Z | 55/2.8 SDM | 120/4 Macro | 150/2.8 IF
I acquired an expensive camera so I can hang out in forums, annoy wedding photographers during formals and look down on P&S users... all the while telling people it's the photographer, not the camera.

  
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Kolor-Pikker
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Jul 25, 2012 09:59 |  #9

Did some work on my great grandfather today...

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boog69
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Jul 28, 2012 07:27 as a reply to  @ Kolor-Pikker's post |  #10

Great job guys. I'll going to attempt my first one and see how it goes. Thanks for help.


Canon 40D, Canon 20D, Panasonic FZ-30, Canon 17-40L, Canon 70-300 IS, Canon 85 1.8, Canon 50 1.8 MK I, Canon 550 EX flash. Wishing for 135L:D !!!

  
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dexy101
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Jul 28, 2012 07:45 |  #11

WOW, amazing stuff guys.




  
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ScubaDude
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Jul 28, 2012 10:22 |  #12
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boog69 wrote in post #14753874 (external link)
My mom has found tons of family pictures in an old smokehouse. She has taken a couple to Walgreens and Walmart to have copies made for people that have cried when she has given them first because they have never seen that picture and some people didn't have any pictures at all of great grandparents, cousins...you guys get the picture. Anyway, she asked me if I could restore some or all of them. I would love to but have never attempted black and white before plus volume of pictures is overwhelming. Do you guys or gals know of any good place that restores black and white? Maybe even a program that would help me out where I could do some? Thanks for help.

Back to your original question, do you have Photoshop? I'm not sure what Lightroom or Elements has in the way of cloning tools. If you're short on image editing software, Corel PaintShop Pro is a great budget program, and it's perpetually on sale (currently $40). I did mine mostly with the cloning tool, going pixel-by-pixel for the most part. Very tedious, but I'm a PhotoShop junkie... I spend more time editing my photos than taking them.


Canon [7D & BG-E7 grip] [T1i & BG-E5 grip] [400mm f/5.6L] [50mm f/1.8 II] [18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS]
Induro [AT313 tripod] [AM25 monopod] [GHB2 gimbal head]
My Flickr page (external link)

  
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Kolor-Pikker
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Jul 28, 2012 10:38 |  #13

In my opinion, PS CS5 changed the game for photo manipulation, I wouldn't recommend anything less if you're starting from scratch. CS6 doesn't bring anything new in this regard, so it's up to you whether to get the latest version.
LR is probably not very well suited to this kind of editing, because it's primarily a RAW converter and works best with RAW files, what you need is a pixel-level editor like Photoshop.
I don't know much about Corel software, as the only app I use from them is Painter 12, it's better for straight-up drawing/painting than PS is. Some people also swear by Corel Draw as the only other Corel program worth using, but it's outside of my interests and hasn't been available on Mac OS in forever anyway.


5DmkII | 24-70 f/2.8L II | Pentax 645Z | 55/2.8 SDM | 120/4 Macro | 150/2.8 IF
I acquired an expensive camera so I can hang out in forums, annoy wedding photographers during formals and look down on P&S users... all the while telling people it's the photographer, not the camera.

  
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ScubaDude
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Jul 28, 2012 10:51 |  #14
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I used Corel for about a dozen years (just switched to PS last year) and it provides all the basic editing tools (levels, curves, cloning, perspective adjustments, etc.). PS plug-ins also work with it. The last version I had was 12, and it did tend to crash fairly often, so I learned to save my work after every step. I was just mentioning it because not everybody wants to pay the steep price for PS.


Canon [7D & BG-E7 grip] [T1i & BG-E5 grip] [400mm f/5.6L] [50mm f/1.8 II] [18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS]
Induro [AT313 tripod] [AM25 monopod] [GHB2 gimbal head]
My Flickr page (external link)

  
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Black and white restoration
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