Monday, June 29, 2009

Rejuvenating Old Photos

One of the satisfying things about working in Photoshop is being able to give an old photo new life, or in some cases to repair the damage done by time and careless handling. My guess is that this picture of my Uncle Ken was taken in the early thirties, and the photographer hand-tinted the bird on his sweater and the grass in the background (which was probably green to begin with). After I’d scanned the photo and got it on-screen in Photoshop, I could see this “painting” was crudely done, but I decided not to alter the color, just brighten it up.
You will get some idea of the original state of Uncle Ken’s photo if you compare it to the one taken of my father at the same time (see below left). Restoring Dad’s childhood picture is probably the most difficult task I’ve attempted in Photoshop. The vertical creases through his face were really challenging to repair. I actually thought re-working the eye area would be the hardest, but it turned out to be the chin. Go figure.

The interesting thing about photo retouching is that each picture presents its own set of visual problems that need to be solved. While the tools to do this are available in Photoshop—I use the Clone Stamp and Spot Healing Brush tools the most—in the end it’s more about the moment-to-moment creative decisions you make than anything else.


Godelieve said...

Great result Susan!

me again said...

Susan, you did a great job here. I have done a wee bit of retouching work and I completely agree that each photo is soooo different to work with, with very different challenges each time. Oh, your dad and uncle? VERY attractive young men!! :-)

Leslie Jane Moran said...

Well Done! Very sweet boys, and how nice that they are fresh faced once again. Those chin shadings can be a dickens can't they!?

Lucy Ladham-Dyment said...

Lovely job. Keep it up. Love to read your blog.

martha brown said...

Wow! great work. I'm taking a photoshop class at the end of the month and hope that I can learn to fix old photos!!!

spindelmaker said...

These are just great! You have managed to get such a good feeling into these pictures by adding the subtle tones of colors. And the repair-work is really great.

A bird in the hand said...

Fabulous! You strongly resemble your papa, I notice.

Linda Cain said...

Fabulous work! Want to get Photoshop, but as usual, don't know where to begin. Have tried the 30 day free thing, and loved to play, but didn't get very far.

Need a full month of nothing else to give it my full attention.
Like that gonna happen! Ha!

Suze listed us both today on her newsletter...she's such a treat!
Had to check you out!

Linda Cain