Photoshop Help Resources Tutorials

From Photoshop 911 Forums:

Help With An Old Photo: I've read plenty of tutorials on how to repair dents and such with the clone/stamp tool, but haven't found anything to help with the color problems. Any advice would be very appreciated.


 

Old Photo brought back to life

If we've heard this lament once, we've heard it a thousand times. Stephanie scanned this old photo for a friend who thought it would just be a click here and a click there to fix it. But approaching this kind of job takes a little skill and a lot of visual inquisitiveness -- then knowing what tools to correct what features of the image.

Old photo colors brought back to life

Judging from the amp up on the stage, I'd guess this was a local band gig from the 70s and this could possibly be an old flame. Well, anyway -- I guessed this because I've been there. But this is a typical problem with dime-store photo finishing where they're trimming costs in the fix bath of the Kodacolor processing machine. Not to worry, it's only a brown glaze over the photo, and we somehow know there is color data behind that glaze. We can't help the focus much -- the photo was taken with an inexpensive camera. But we can do something with the color.

STEP Open the Photoshop Window showing Layers It should open in a new window you can move aside.

For the sake of this demonstration, our goal was to restore the photo to the way it might look today, merely removing the brown glaze. No pains were taken to select and retouch specific areas as you would if you were doing a completely professional make-over. Additionally we're not going to take you through this step-by-step because it would take twenty pages. Instead, I'll only comment on the layers. This will help you see the process of evaluating what is needed, and why.

I have included the actual Photoshop Layers file that you can open and check all the settings. (saving_phil.zip) Just double-click on any of the filters to see their settings. Modify them, or toggle the "Preview" button off and on to see the effect. Starting from the bottom, let's look at each adjustment layer.

STEP Photo Filter: This was one of the most welcome filters to come along. You initiate it through Adjustment Layers rather than filters. We turned on the blue to counter the greens in the photo. (Actually the photo is still a little on the blue side. You can fix that)

STEP Color Balance: next Adjustment Layer is Color Balance, working in all three values to attempt to achieve an acceptable flesh tone. Any time you're retouching photos, go for good flesh tones. If you've got those, all the other problems don't seem as bad because people react and relate best to people -- er, uh, flesh tones that is.

STEP Levels: now we need to balance out the image because of the changes so far. The levels helps bring it back.

STEP Hue/Saturation: the levels sort of flattened the color, so we'll increase the saturation here to increase the amount of color to work with.

STEP Hue/Saturation: Another H/S is now needed to correct the orange sky. But before initiating the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer, I first selected the sky areas with the Magic Wand. (In real life, you would take much more pain making the selection.) With the active selection (racing ants) when the Adjustment Layer kicks in, you see the part of the image to be corrected is WHITE in the mask thumbnail.

STEP Hue/Saturation: Another one is needed to correct the water. Same routine as before. I had to do just some slight modification by adding white to the mask.

STEP Hue/Saturation: When all the above were done, I noticed a circle of over-saturated color down at the bottom of the image. That had to be cured so I roughly circled it with the lasso tool, and gave it a fairly hefty Select > Feather so its edges would be very soft. Initiating the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer, the problem spot is gone. (In the PSD file, toggle the preview on this one and see the dramatic result.)

STEP Brightness / Contrast: Finally, to raise the key just a little bit, I added a slight amount of contrast -- and voila, finished. Total time for the modifications, and writing this tutorial: 45 minutes. Click here for a rollover BEFORE & AFTER

coverThere is a lot more that could be done to this photo -- including selections of various features and acting on them separately. (The jacket, the wood of the stage, the grass, the trees along the shore, etc.) But by now you should have an idea of how some Adjustment layers, and insightful modifications can make a LOT of difference.

The pros would take a somewhat different approach, using curves and all manner of channel hacking. For that, you need to buy
STEP Adobe Photoshop Restoration & Retouching by Katrin Eismann. She is the world's leading expert, and will easily show you how to get spectacular results on such a retouching job.
Don't look now, but I think there's just one copy left in our yard sale.

Good luck, and thanks for reading.

STEPNOW RETURN TO the FORUMS where you were.

 

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