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Green mold and colored streaks

Started by jmpndgs, December 14, 2021, 10:21:47 AM

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Good morning! I've learned a lot from reading the forum and have been practicing on old projects in the posts.  I'm a newbie to OPR and have done several of the easy restores. My experience is mostly reconstruction and composites, but that is self-taught.  I'm anxious to learn how to restore the very badly damaged photos. The work I've seen from forum members is so impressive! I'd appreciate a few tips.

For right now, two questions...

What would be your suggestions for dealing with the greenish mold, especially on the faces? I've been using cloning, hue/saturation, dodge and burn, and painting on a color layer. But I feel like I'm missing something easy, or I'm using an ineffective work flow.

A second question...on the photos that have streaks and swirls of strong colors, where do you even start? The only experience I have with the blue channel is what I've read on the forum and in a couple books. I understand 'what' it is but I'm sure I'm not 'using' it effectively.

Thanks so much for any insight you can give me. No advice is too basic  :)



Hi Jan. Welcome to OPR. Reading through some of the old posts and trying out some of the recommended techniques is a good way to learn for sure. Maybe post a pic with some of the issues you mentioned and folks can offer tips and techniques. There are some real gurus on this site and I bet there are others who would enjoy some refreshers.  :)


These are a couple examples of the issues that I mentioned. The picture of the two women isn't complicated...my concern for this type of photo would be how to remove the mold without losing facial features. The second is an example of the color streaks and swirls. It's a screenshot of one of the St. Pierre photos in Jonas' gallery. What would be the workflow for something like this?
Thanks, Jan


A quickie... needs much more painting on a color layer.

Photoshop 2021, MacPro

Jo Ann Snover

Quote from: jmpndgs on December 14, 2021, 10:21:47 AM

... But I feel like I'm missing something easy...

A second question...on the photos that have streaks and swirls of strong colors, where do you even start? ...


My experience here leads me to say that in general, there isn't anything "easy" for you to miss :) There are some good things to know - like looking at details in the individual channels, using blend modes, getting rid of bobbly textures from prints with the FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) filter, etc. - but there's a ton of detail work for most restores.

I don't know how you like to work, but I am a strong advocate of lots of layers, well labeled so you don't get lost, pixel layers at the bottom and adjustment layers above. Non destructive editing is how this is usually referred to, and it allows you to preserve pixel edits if you later need to make changes in adjustment layers.

I will separate out the pixel layer edits - Walls, Furniture, Woman, Boy, Flowers, etc. - because that can often make it easier to make changes when you decide you've gotten something wrong with an earlier guess at where a hand was, or that an object was a phone not a toaster.

Learning how to get the best from the healing (and cloning) tools really helps when there's a lot of damage in background areas like the door in the second picture you posted - there's lots of other wood to clone from.

Regarding the blue layer, one of the techniques I like when it contains lots of the detail hidden by streaks is to copy it, paste into a layer and then (on a new layer) draw color outlines over it to help guide the other work. Some examples:


Another general suggestion for handling lots of layers without going mad is to use layer comps so you can easily turn groups of layers on or off to look at your progress.

Post your questions here (with the original photo at full size and your current version); we all need extra eyes and a little help!
Jo Ann



Good tips from Kiska and Jo Ann, plus Jo Ann has given you 2 links that are helpful. There is a good one that Bambi has posted and will have to look that one up on the Blue Channel. My advice is that the harder ones you will need to build up your experience before tackling them.

"carpe diem"

Margie Hayes
OPR President
[email protected]


Thanks so much, very helpful tips.
This is where I'm at with the picture of the two women, along with the original.



Trying to get rid of the 'flatness' of her chin. What's the best way to do that? I added a little noise in this version.

Jo Ann Snover

You're almost there!

The chin looks flat because it and the lower lip have lost some of their shadows and highlights. See what you think of this version of your WIP2

I added two adjustment layers above your WIP2 to make shadows & highlights and painted on their masks with a very soft edged gray brush. Then use a little Gaussian Blur filter to soften even more. Rinse & repeat :). You can put a selection around some of the mask areas when using the Gaussian blur filters if you want to leave other areas of the mask alone. Here's an enlarged explainer:

I have an action that makes these layers (because I use them all the time), but each is a curves adjustment layer, no edits to the curve, with a black mask. Set the blend mode to multiply or screen (and label the masks so you can see easily which to paint on.

I added a 50% gray background so you could see what the edits look like not over the image. Another way to make small adjustments is to use the dodge or burn brushes on the mask - set the opacity very low and then you can add a little or remove a little until you're happy with the result.

Hope this helps
Jo Ann


Yes, that's tremendously helpful!!! Exactly the type of advice I'm looking for. Much appreciated...I'll post after I give it a whirl.



Looking better.  :up2:  Would add to what Margie said ... even the easy ones can often benefit from some extra eyes here on the forum.

Jo Ann Snover

You're getting there, but there are a number of changes you've made to the shape of the face of the woman on the left that make her look different. I think the easiest way for you to see that is to put the below version into your file as the top layer. Shift drag it so it's exactly in place. Then turn that layer on and off to see the differences. It might help to look at 200%.

This version is the original with no edits but color adjustments to get rid of the green and fix tone and overall color cast

The major things I noticed:

- the shadow under the chin is darker and comes up higher towards the center. It's given her a rather chipmunk look :(
- you've lost the catchlights in the eyes - that isn't damage. (on both women)
- the nostril shape on the right has changed
- the highlights under the cheeks have gone (which also makes the face look a bit flat)

Jo Ann


Yes, I absolutely see what you're talking about. This is what I meant by losing her facial features while attempting to get rid of the green, so I really appreciate your help. My initial color corrections weren't quite right and the 'waters got muddied' from there 😊
What did you do to remove the green with just color corrections? I'm sure it's a basic concept, but it's a skill I need to hone.


Jo Ann Snover

QuoteWhat did you do to remove the green with just color corrections?

This is only one way of getting rid of the green; looking at the relative lack of damage in that area, and how uniform the green stain was, I figured it'd be the simplest.

The other two curves adjustment layers were just overall adjustments. For the color adjustment layer, I just picked gray from a couple of areas (using the eyedropper on the left of the curves adjustment layer properties; there's one for black, gray & white). I like to keep color and contrast separate, even though you could do them together, as it's much simpler for me to make any tweaks without messing up something I want to stay the same :)
Jo Ann