Operation Photo Rescue's Online Community

OPR Workshops => Difficult => Topic started by: Mhayes on March 07, 2009, 04:32:31 PM

Title: Group Project
Post by: Mhayes on March 07, 2009, 04:32:31 PM
Hi Everyone,

I know that it is discouraging to have so few photos to pick from in our galleries. Until we come back from the Galveston copy run, which looks like it may happen the first weekend in May; I thought maybe we could have some fun with some of the difficult ones left to restore. I sense that most of you will be very cynical to hear the words fun and difficult used together.

In my gallery, I still have quite a few photos for the Riemann family and they all look pretty bad. What always catches my eye and make me take a 2nd look is when a photo has one or two colors that have ruined the photo. In this one, yellow is the problem color. If I go in and look at the blue channel, you will see the missing detail. What I would like to do on this post is to have the original available to everyone that would like to play with restoring it. I have removed the personal information and the photo is at 300 dpi. Posted below is a sample of what you can see in the blue channel, but this shot is only a screen shot, since it would be better to play around with this one for the best result. This will not be a fast restore and probably some time will be spent in trying to get the blue channel ready.

If we get enough of you that would like to try this one and post you progress; it will be a good learning experience for all of us. Each of us have different ways of approaching a photo and it will be interesting to see what direction this one takes. My first thought is to get the blue channel in good shape and repaired. From there I would be thinking that I will either start at the beginning and colorize or I will have the blue channel as a duplicate on a layer above the original and working with masks and colorizing to bring it back.

Thanks to all of you that have taken out photos to restore these last few months.  :up: So many of these photos have looked like lost causes, but you have brought them back to life.  :wnw:



Title: Re: Group Project
Post by: Hannie on March 07, 2009, 06:34:05 PM
What a great idea Margie!

(that reminds of one "blue channel project" somewhere on the forum I should be working on.... :-[)

Title: Re: Group Project
Post by: Tori803 on March 07, 2009, 07:23:03 PM
Margie, if we're brave enough to join this project, do we just add a comment to the picture in your gallery like usual? Then plan on posting work-in-progress periodically?
Title: Re: Group Project
Post by: Mhayes on March 07, 2009, 08:14:41 PM
Tori, no you do not need to add a comment to the gallery, since the photo can be downloaded directly from this post. The resolution is at 300, which is the important thing. The nice part about doing it this way is that no feels the pressure of doing it alone. Also, when posting back here, keep the resolution at 300 as that will allow others to work it. The reason I did not post the blue channel at 300 is that it still needs repair and is still a little dark. Once we get the blue channel looking good, post to the forum and we will go from there. Those who choose to go another route, post your progress.

Hannie, more "blue channel projects" mean more fun! :D

Title: Re: Group Project
Post by: VBrestorer on March 08, 2009, 12:50:11 PM
A terrific idea!  This will give me something to help me work on figuring out what Channels are all about in PhotoShop.

Title: Re: Group Project
Post by: Mhayes on March 08, 2009, 08:13:51 PM
Thanks Larry! There will be some out there that will think that this was just a devious way of getting one of my photos worked.  ;D

As soon as I get a couple of photos finished, I am going to play with this one also.

Title: Re: Group Project
Post by: glennab on March 09, 2009, 08:02:24 AM
Larry, if you're looking for really good information on Channels, Scott Kelby has written The Photoshop Channels Book (go figure!), that's awesome.  I learned so much from that one. Check it out!

Title: Re: Group Project
Post by: VBrestorer on March 09, 2009, 02:14:56 PM

Thanks for the suggestion.  I have Ben Willmore's book Adobe Photoshop CS2 Studio Techniques which has a "supplemental" chapter on Channels that's on the included CD.  The chapter being on the CD is probably why I haven't read it yet; I think I'll start there.

I believe I've seen Kelby's The Photoshop Channels book in our local Borders bookstore.  Perhaps I'll wait until I get another 40% off coupon and then go buy it -- that will bring my personal Photoshop library up to 6 books.

I'd better get to reading ...

Title: Re: Group Project
Post by: Mhayes on March 09, 2009, 06:13:01 PM
I don't want to throw a curve ball out on this photo.  >:D All of the books on channels are great and will be one more tool in helping restoring photos. However, for this photo you really have only one good channel for detail and that is the blue channel.  My thoughts were to use that channel for a black and white and then colorize. There are several ways to get there and maybe the best is to do an Adjustment layer >Channel Mixer >check the Monochrome box. This will turn the photo into a black/white, but the color space will still be rgb and not grayscale, which is what we want. Since the blue channel is the best channel, move the blue slider to the right and bring the other channel sliders to the left. This will allow you to vary the lightness. The other way would be to take the blue channel and change to grayscale and then back to rgb. From there you would need to work on the shadows and highlights.

Once we get a good black and white, we can set about repairing the photo. Later will come the fun of colorizing. One thing to watch for is that we do not want the photo to be too dark or too light. Places that are show snow will be light, but even then you will see different shading.

Anyone have other ideas on how you would go about fixing this photo?

Title: Re: Group Project
Post by: Tori803 on March 10, 2009, 10:20:17 AM
One thing I've tried so far is to make a selection of the wood pile, copy and paste it onto its own layer, and set the blend mode to screen. That brought out more detail in the wood pile, but the rest of the image doesn't seem to have any more detail to pull up.
Title: Re: Group Project
Post by: G3User on March 10, 2009, 07:09:19 PM
I am working on one of Hannie's little gems which also has a relatively clean blue channel. There are considerable differences in relative brightness in the blue channel as compared with the desaturated original.
If I continue working on it as two layers, luminosity and color, it will need lots of masking and levels adjustment to get individual areas anywhere near to the original brightness so I suspect I am going to continue with the clone stamp and healing brush on the original

I have had a quick play with this one, it has the same problem in spades. Afraid I have no idea where to go from here
Title: Re: Group Project
Post by: Mhayes on March 10, 2009, 08:23:18 PM
Athol, I tried doing the duplicate and then putting the blue channel on top of the original and changing the blending mode to luminosity. That might work, but it looked like it was going to take a lot of tweaking, masking, and hair pulling. That is why I tried the sneaky way of seeing how the rest of you would approach this one. Right now I am going to repair the blue channel and will post when I get further along. I will then colorize the black/while to match what good colors I can find in the original.  :funny:

Tori1803, another way to lightened a photo is to go up and on the pull down menu choose "new layer." On the blending mode pick overlay or soft light and check the box for 50% gray. What that will allow you to do on that layer is to take a soft brush --foreground-white will lighten and foreground black will darken picture. Adjust the opacity of your brush to get the results that you want. After doing that, go to your layer palette and do a merge visible, which will allow you to work on what you have just done. I usually duplicate that layer. You may want to lightened the wood pile a little, but also consider that it will be natural to have shadows.

Title: Re: Group Project
Post by: G3User on March 10, 2009, 10:36:58 PM
I will be very interested to see how you go Margie.

I have found that when I add the color information to the "repaired" blue channel it becomes very obvious that the repair isn't as good as I thought. Just working on shades of grey seems not to be as easy as it looks
So then I end up switching between luminosity and color layers, alternately repairing both or giving up, doing a merge and resorting to healing and cloning. This still leaves the errors in brightness from the blue channel.

I must admit I am a novice when it comes to blending modes and there may be some assistance from them

Title: Re: Group Project
Post by: lurch on March 10, 2009, 10:51:45 PM
Margie, thanks for throwing this one out as a group project. It's a doozy and a half. I took the opportunity to play around with channels (calculations, to be specific). I know that the only useful detail is in the blue channel. It's also painfully obvious that the blue channel is way too dark and plays hob with colors if it's used as a luminosity layer. So here's what I did, taking a cue from Ctein, sort of.

I made a gray-scale image from the original. That image contained the original's detail plus the damage grunge. The original blue channel contains detail and only a little grunge. I subtracted the blue channel from the gray image ((detail + grunge) - detail = grunge) and boosted the contrast to get a grunge mask. Went back to the gray image and applied a curves adjustment layer with the grunge mask as a layer mask. Darkened the grunge until it pretty much matched the original grays.

Now using the result as a luminosity layer is a lot kinder to the colors in the original image, and there's almost as much detail as the original blue channel had. I can't guarantee this will work, but it looks promising. Here's my potential lum layer:


By the way, I did crop out a bunch of the grunge - no use correcting more than the image needs.
Title: Re: Group Project
Post by: Mhayes on March 11, 2009, 01:50:32 AM
Athol, I find this the hardest part of restoring is when I try to use the blue channel and bring back the colors. I am pretty close to being able to post my restored blue channel via the Channel Mixer. There are parts of this photo that I will hint at. It looks like in the distance is a highway. The one thing I could not figure out was the color of the truck with camper top, so I called the owner and she said that it is brown (and so is the shed). She said: "Thanks in advance for fixing my pictures.  I know they will be great."

Lurch, as I was posting this reply, yours came in. This looks pretty good and I am asking myself why I did not crop! It is interesting to see how you did yours. I agree about the blue channel being too dark. What I did was to do a Channel Mixer Adjustment with the Red=+32, Green=-4, and Blue=+158. I did it this way because I knew that I could have a better chance of adjusting the tonal range, plus I would remain in rgb.

Here is what I got doing the Channel Mixer and some repair. I have no idea what is in front of the tricycle, but it does not look like damage.


I still have lots of repair to do, but this is what I had in mind for colorizing. My version is already in rgb, so I can colorize.


Go to Adjustment Layers and pick "Solid Color" that is at the top. You will have a solid black fill and you will now want to hit Ctrl I (Mac Cmd I) to invert the mask.


You will double click this layer to bring up the blending modes and you will want to choose "Color." Duplicate this layer 20+ for as many color layers as you will need.


Double click on the first black box to bring up the color picker and you will start picking colors. You can also change if you do not like the color you picked.


It helps to label your layers to avoid confusion. Pick the color you wish to use and make sure that your foreground box is white (black will conceal) and then pick a brush and paint in the color. Play around with the opacity if you find too dark. One caution is to not try to paint on areas that appear to be totally black or white.

I'm sure after all of this, some of you are wondering if I ever heard of the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid).