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Restoring Old Photos

Scanning family photos has become a very popular and I often get e-mails asking for tips on restoring old and damaged photos. The following useful tools can be found in Photoshop and most similar programs.

Clone can cover over cracks, scratches, specks and spots.

Dust & Scratches can blend out mars in areas that do not have important details you want to retain. If you have a large area like a sky, with a lot of specks, etc., you can carefully select it and then run Dust & Scratches. The preview window will show you when you have the proper combination of settings to even out the mars. If there are clouds or other details you want to preserve, use as mild a dose of Dust & Scratches as possible.

Variations is the easiest way to resaturate and rebalance colors. You can see the possible changes in a set of preview windows, and select what looks best.

Brightness & Contrast can be used to give low contrast, flat-looking pictures more depth and pop.

Unsharp Mask is the best solution for images that are not in sharp focus. The preview window shows exactly what you will get with any combination of settings. Use Unsharp Mask after the corrections listed above.

Always save your raw scan, then also your cleaned scan, and finally save your tweaked scan. As the state of the art and your own skills improve, you may want to go back and redo a scan from either the raw, or the cleaned version.

A pictorial tutorial on "Restoring Old Photos" by Photoshop expert Joseph Kling
can be found in the UG Network sponsor's website at:
Watch for the online "Photo Retouching" seminar series coming soon to The Design & Publishing Center:


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