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This hairline is killing me

Started by ohfer, October 15, 2011, 06:20:27 PM

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This is just the part of the photo I'm having trouble with. I figured it would be easier to see if I separated it from the rest and enlarged it.

Help please! I can't tell where his hairline is in back, and how it transitions to the rest of his hair. Looking at the channels is no help. The photo looks like it had some kind of plastic film on it that partially pulled away and the loose edges doubled over backward and stuck to the remaining film. The light area is where the film is still intact on the photo.

If he were some random dude in the crowd I'd just do something that looked right and move on, but he's the subject.


Hi Ohfer,

I would fill in the gap rather and have his hairline follow what you see at the higher lever. In this case, better to have more hair than less and he will like it. I think what you are seeing could be plastic film if it was in an album, but there is a good chance that this is where the emulsion lifted.

"carpe diem"

Margie Hayes
OPR President
[email protected]


Hey Ohfer. Maybe if you selected the lighter area and darkened with a curves layer to match the rest of the background; then painted and heal brush to blend it, it would help. A quickie.

Photoshop 2021, MacPro


Lynnette, I agree with Kiska.  I'd select the light area on his head and then use levels or curves to bring the saturation as close to the rest of the photo as possible.  You can see his hairline pretty well when you do that, with no guessing.  I'd use a mask to separate it from the rest of the image. When I did that it blended well enough that I didn't have to do anything else - short of what you'd have to do for your normal restoration work.

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)


Thanks! kiska, that looks perfect. I'd been working the photo for several hours by that point and was tired and overthinking, apparently, because it's such a simple fix!   :crazy:

Margie, this is probably a real "duh", but I had no idea that the emulsion layer was that thick (or cohesive). Most of the restorations I've done have been on pre-1950 photos, including tintypes and silver gelatin prints, and never any with this particular kind of damage.

glennab, thanks for your help too.  I want to learn and I really appreciate your taking the time to help.