It Can Always Be Better

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

ATR #41 - Handling Handwritten Signatures

Sometimes we think of Adobe Photoshop only as a photo editing program, but it has many more uses. When you are reviewing your own photographic collection, often you will find documents that need restoration.

I received a question from a viewer in St. Louis who asked how to handle hand-written signatures in a document.

  1. Use the Lasso tool to select the signature from the document.
  2. Inverse the selection, making sure “Default Foreground and Background Colors” is chosen in the tool bar. Then strike the Delete key to fill the background with white.
  3. Try to scan the signature as high as possible, no less than 300 ppi resolution, being sure to save the image as gray scale.
  4. Use the Pencil tool to add white color and begin cleaning up the rough edges of the Signature. Drawn in black pixels to fill in gaps in the letters. Be careful not to change the signature, keeping the brush size to match the original.
  5. Using the Levels Adjustment Layer, move the sliders on the histogram to build up contrast.
  6. To insert the signature into a word processing document:
  7. Open the document and choose “Insert-Picture-From File”. Be sure that you have checked both “Link to File” and “Save with Document.”
  8. Insert the signature file into the document.
—Edited by Judy Bond for Photo Grafix University

Please send your questions and problem photos, your location—and genealogical society affiliation if appropriate—to Eric for future "Ask The Retoucher" columns. Visit Photo Grafix online for more information.

Eric runs Photo Grafix, a humble photo-retouching studio in Evanston, Illinois (USA), making photo illustrations and improving photos for hundreds of people and companies worldwide. If he doesn't know the answer, he won't rest until he finds it. Eric Basir is at your service: With each "Ask The Retoucher" article, he'll help you successfully tackle your digital photographic problems. 

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