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Author Topic: How to repair tiny cracks in a vintage photo  (Read 7103 times)

Offline ditto1118

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  • Posts: 10
How to repair tiny cracks in a vintage photo
« on: November 08, 2008, 11:47:43 PM »
My mother has a very old family photo, yet to be scanned, that I want to restore for her. One of the major issues with the photo is that it has little tiny cracks all over. I was wondering what the best method would be to smooth these out. My first thought would be clone tool and healing brush, but I thought I'd see if there was an easier method before I went that route, since I'm sure it will be very tedious.

Offline glennab

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Re: How to repair tiny cracks in a vintage photo
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2008, 11:59:52 PM »
Hi ditto

I just read about a technique for getting rid of that sort of damage.  It was to dupe the layer then blur it just enough to make the blemishes disappear.  Take a snapshot of that blurred version, and then use the history brush and bring back the areas of detail.  Also, if your cracks all go in one direction and are very thin, I've seen a technique by Katrin Eismann in which she dupes the layer and then nudges it a pixel or two away from the original.  If I remember she then reduced the opacity of the moved layer, and the cracks disappeared without distortion of the original.  It's in her book on restoration & retouching if you have a copy of that (and if you don't, I can assure you it's worth getting!).

Good luck.

GK
What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. ~Albert Pine

(Photoshop CS5 /Mac Pro)

Offline AllenH

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Re: How to repair tiny cracks in a vintage photo
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2008, 01:08:32 AM »
Another book that I have found to be very helpful is "Digital Restoration From Start to Finish, How to Repair Old and Damaged Photographs" by Ctein.   The author describes a technique that uses a combination of sharping steps and the glowing edges filter to create a mask.  The mask is then used with the "Dust and Scratches" filter and then for painting the results back in from a history state using both Lighten and Darken history brush modes.   I have used this method on a number of my family’s old photos and it works great for fairly narrow scratches.  You may need to do the method multiple times for wide scratches.

There are also some software tools that can be useful.  One that I use on occasion is "Smart Fill" from Alien Skin; it is part of the Image Doctor 2 suite.   In some circumstances, this tool seems to work magic and in others I am not able to get a usable result.

Offline glennab

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Re: How to repair tiny cracks in a vintage photo
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2008, 01:23:13 AM »
Allen, you're the first person on the forum besides me who seems to have "discovered" Ctein's wonderful book.  After reading your post, I think I'll have to go through it again for gems like the one you mentioned.  Great reference!

GK
What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. ~Albert Pine

(Photoshop CS5 /Mac Pro)

Offline recycledhippy

  • OPR Jr. Member
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  • Posts: 56
Re: How to repair tiny cracks in a vintage photo
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2008, 01:03:28 PM »
I too would like to voice my agreement with the statements made regarding Cteins book
It full of great advice on curing so many problem areas

A method I have used in the past for removing smaller cracks is using the smudging tool with a small soft brush

Hippy

P.S
Congratulations to US for its election results
Obamah reminds me so much as a modern day John Kennedy :up: :up: :up: :up:

Offline lurch

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Re: How to repair tiny cracks in a vintage photo
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2008, 02:37:15 PM »
I've found Ctein's book to be a goldmine of techniques for repairing many 'old photo' problems. His approach is a little shotgun-ish, so it pays to browse around.
<C>
<C>

Offline ditto1118

  • OPR Newbie
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  • Posts: 10
Re: How to repair tiny cracks in a vintage photo
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2008, 02:55:38 PM »
Thank you all for your helpful tips and advice! I can't wait to get started on the photo so I can play around with all these methods!

I've ordered Katrin Eismann's book and am anxiously awaiting it's arrival. It sounds like I'm going to have to get the Ctein book for my collection as well!

 :wnw: