It Can Always Be Better

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ask The Retoucher #51 - Inkjet Prints and Sharpening

In show #51, Eric of Photo Grafix responds to a viewer’s questions about inkjet print longevity and scanners. He also begins work on a new photo restoration to be continued in the next show.

Francine asks: “My sister wants to scan her husband’s slides and would like to know what type of scanner to use. Does a scanner work with both the PC and the Mac?”

Answer: Most scanners can be used with both the PC and the Mac, as the scanner comes with software that can be loaded on the computer for either PC or Mac.

 You can use a flatbed scanner for sides, if you choose one that has a transparency tray (a slide-out drawer in which you can place negatives and slides).
Another viewer asks: “Will a printed photo from a computer copier fade if it is matted and framed. It has great color and clarity now.”

The important aspects to keep in mind when considering longevity in prints from copiers/printers are the paper and the ink. Epson is probably the top of the line for printing photos. Be sure to use the paper and the ink which is made by the equipment manufacturer.

Framing: Keep the paper off of the glass by using a mat, in order to produce a little gap between paper and glass. This will help protect the print from sticking to the glass, should a little moisture get into the frame.

Starting a new photo restoration

How do you determine if a picture is blurry? In this picture the background is sharp and the foreground is soft. That means we have a selective focus problem: Background in focus and foreground is not. We know we need to sharpen the picture. But the Sharpen Tool or Unsharp Mask Filter will not necessarily help or must be used very carefully.

Aspects of the Unsharp Mask Filter

1. Amount: Amount of sharpening throughout the entire image, or pixels which will have a build-up of lightness and darkness.

2. Radius: Area between the light and dark pixels, smaller the radius the more narrow it is. When you increase radius, it builds up, increasing the noise.

3. Threshold: This function can help isolate certain levels of color when applying Amount.
Click to download and work on the photo

Cleaning up the photo

1. Crop the white border surrounding the photo and save a copy of the photo
2. Eliminate the major defects, using the Clone Stamp tool or the Healing Brush.
3. Will finish the picture in the next session.

Hint for the day website is a great resource. Search for your topic (i.e., scrapbooking) to get some advice from experts.

—Edited by Judy Bond for Photo Grafix University

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.

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