It Can Always Be Better

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ask The Retoucher #45 - Photo Restoration Part IV

In this 45th article of Ask the Retoucher, Eric of Photo Grafix continues on his mission to restore a unique copy photo of martial arts legend Grandmaster Moses Powell.

1.     Start by cleaning up any obvious spots left after our last session.
2.     In Color Mode, use the Paintbrush Tool, to remove a yellow color cast still remaining in areas around the hair and head.
3.     Create a Curves Adjustment Layer to work on the contrast, adjusting the endpoints of the curves.
4.     Make a Duplicate Layer, naming it LAB for Lab Mode.  Go to the menu, Image=Mode=Lab Color to switch the color to Lab Mode.
5.     Using the Paintbrush Tool, work in various channels to get contrast to separate the legs from the carpet.
6.     In order to experiment with various options and make the uniform “pop,” convert a duplicate layer into to a “Smart Object” through Layer=Smart Objects=Convert to Smart Object. Then choose Adjustment/Shadow-Highlights to try to get the best contrast.
7.     To work on the Magenta color cast, make a Hue and Saturation Adjustment Layer. Switch from the composite drop-down menu to Red channel. Move the Saturation slider to the left and move the Lighteness slider a little to the right. 
8.     Build a path around the person to create a mask separating him from the background and Desaturate some of the color in the background. 
9.     Do a QuickMask around the face and adjust the color of the skin.

In the next session, we will finish up this photo—hopefully!

In the world of digital photos, we have to accept the fact that every picture needs a little work.  You can approach even the best of pictures with the idea, “Let me see what I could do better with this picture.”  As my college teacher and mentor, John H. White, a Chicago Sun Times photojournalist, told us: “Good, better, best, never let things rest…Until your good is better and your better is best.” 

Even with your new, digital pictures, you may need to adjust the color cast and contrast. It might help to crop the photo. In my course on Photoshop Restoration Basics, I give you ideas about how to crop and when to crop, as well as how to adjust the color and contrast of your photos.

If you want to learn about some production issues I have had with Photoshop CS5, check out this video.

—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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