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Author Topic: Article on photo restoration in NY Times  (Read 12029 times)

cmpentecost

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Article on photo restoration in NY Times
« on: August 13, 2007, 12:12:41 PM »
This was an article in the NY Times on photo restoration. According to the Times, it just takes a few clicks of the mouse to restore a photo!   :D

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/26/technology/26retouch.html?ex=1335240000&en=0c8ccbabf3e9f657&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

Christine

Offline phischer

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Re: Article on photo restoration in NY Times
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2007, 01:26:27 PM »
Wow! It sounds so easy!

cmpentecost

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Re: Article on photo restoration in NY Times
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2007, 01:46:07 PM »
I found the article in the NAPP forums this morning.  Other people were commenting on it, and it's articles like this that make people think we can literally restore a photo in a matter of minutes.  I've decided that the next time someone asks me how long it took to restore a photo, I'll tell them "5 years, 6 hours".  It took 5 years to learn Photoshop to get where I am, and 6 hours (or whatever) to repair their photo!

Christine

Offline Hannie

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Re: Article on photo restoration in NY Times
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2007, 04:14:19 PM »
Thanks for the article Christine.  All my restoration problems will be solved with just a few clicks of the mouse. Now why wasn't I told told this earlier, it would have saved me so much time!   :mad:  ::)

The article reminded me of the last chapter on glamour restoration in Katrin Eismann's book on Restoration & Retouching.  I am totally disinterested in that aspect of restoration but I really should study it anyways.  It is probably a good way to learn to restore skin in damaged photo's e.g.

Hannie
Hannie Scheltema
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Offline schen

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Re: Article on photo restoration in NY Times
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2007, 05:26:14 PM »
Quote
because a burgeoning cottage industry in photo retouching is making it easier to clean up all of those problems with a few clicks of a mouse.

The article is not clear on this but my understanding of the excerpt above is that the clients need only a few clicks of a mouse and the professional restorers will do the rest (after the check is cleared)  :D.

Windows 10, Photoshop CS6

Offline Tess (Tassie D)

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Re: Article on photo restoration in NY Times
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2007, 06:08:12 PM »
Quote
I think he was under the impression that we would be able to take a very small image, blow it up, and press the magic button on the keyboard where it automatically enhances every little detail and brings out the faces of the bad guys, just like they do on TV shows like ‘C.S.I.’


I watched an episode of CSI last week where they had a polaroid photo that had been in the water 12 years. They put it in some sort of developing solution, scanned it in and 2 mouse clicks later had a complete color image, perfect, no run, no bleeding. Hubby jokingly said 'you need that program', I just laughed.
The question in my mind is 'do these shows create unrealistic ideas as to what is achievable and how long it takes'? Would they be better saying it will take days to try to clean this up instead of going for the whiz bang computer does it in 30 seconds?
Tess Cameron
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kstruve

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Re: Article on photo restoration in NY Times
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2007, 08:13:26 PM »
Tassie,

In answer to your question:  Of course they do!  They are completely unrealistic and hokey.  TV show and movies like that are always showing some guy in front of a computer screen tapping away on his keyboard (not using a mouse, for some reason) and miraculously extracting a high-resolution image of a license plate from a cell phone camera photo taken 5 miles away in the middle of the night - I'm exaggerating, of course.

Kurt

Offline Ausimax

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Re: Article on photo restoration in NY Times
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2007, 08:34:36 PM »


What worries me is, how many people believe this garbage? They say that enrolments in forensic courses doubled after CSI started, what a blow when they find that most crimes are solved after years of plodding police work, not in one hour episodes.

There are some programs that claim to be able to do most of the scut work in restorations, I downloaded a trail version of one "Akvis-Restorer" about 5 months ago, never even got around to installing it, it seemed from the blurb that it would take longer to set it up to do the job, than actually doing the job yourself and you are still left with the really difficult stuff.

Max


Max
Wisdom is having a well considered opinion .... and being smart enough to keep it to yourself!     MJS

"Life" is what happens while you are planning other things!

cmpentecost

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Re: Article on photo restoration in NY Times
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2007, 09:52:50 PM »
Aahhh....hence the humor of the whole article.  My parents have shown some of their friends the restorations I've done for OPR, and they have one friend who says" he can do that in just a few minutes".  My parents know better, and roll their eyes at him, but WE all at OPR know better.  Sure...I could bring out contrast and color in a few minutes, but to repair the damage back to the original state is a whole different story.  I think we should all be proud of the hours and labor and learning and love we put into these photos.

Christine

Offline glennab

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Re: Article on photo restoration in NY Times
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2007, 11:45:22 PM »
Kurt, your description isn't that much of an exaggeration.  Lon and I get a kick out of the hokey investigative scenes where a totally mega-pixelated license plate all of a sudden becomes crystal clear on the computer screen.  That is some hellacious interpolation in my book!

And it does give people a totally unrealistic perception of the time required to accomplish a true restoration, as opposed to "glamor" tweaks and CSI magic.

I catch that garbage at work all the time.  We have a photo of the Florida Aquarium that was used for a cover on our Discover In-Town Tampa guide.  Problem was, there were only a couple of people there at the time, and the idea was to make the venue look like a very busy place.  Oh, yeah, and the trolley needed to be moved about a quarter of an inch, and the superstructure of construction cranes needed to be removed from the background.  So I had to glean people from other shots that didn't turn out as well, get the shadows properly placed, have no evidence that we'd moved the trolley or added the people.  And we were on deadline.  "C'mon, Glenna, I could do that in 15 minutes!"  (the term BITE ME comes to mind!)  I raised a fuss, but got it done in about a day and a half.  No one else in the art department would touch it.  Go figure!

It has to be a tough go for people trying to make a living at doing true restoration work for a reasonable amount of cash.  I'm rethinking my objective to one day have my own restoration business.

Glenna
« Last Edit: August 14, 2007, 01:41:43 PM by glennab »
What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. ~Albert Pine

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Offline RosyBijou

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Re: Article on photo restoration in NY Times
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2007, 11:22:26 AM »
Very interesting article/thread...  It does shed some light on why folks who don't do restorations have unreasonable expectations about the maximum achievable level of restoration when it boils down to the bottom line.  It never occurred to me that the impact of the media is so strong-- (though seeing it here makes it so glaringly obvious!)

I do have a small home restoration/photo editing business and from my experience, nearly everyone has pictures that they need restored.  I haven't talked to any single person who doesn't think this is a great idea for a business.  However, unless the work is simple cropping, very light touch-ups, global color adjustments, etc., they are amazed when the estimate comes back that it's so expensive.  (And folks don't bring those kinds of pictures to be restored--they bring the 100 year old cracked & darkened 2"x3" dauggerotypes with deep gouges through the soft focus facial features and fingerprint imprints (developed into the image) -- and are stunned that it costs more than $30 to "fix" them and enlarge them to 8"x10" with the clarity of modern day images!)   :-\ 

My business is just over a year old and there is no way that I could make a living doing this.  It doesn't help that I'm hopelessly inept at accurately quoting the cost--so every image takes me twice as long as I expect it to...  and I end up charging half of what I should...  and it is already considered expensive in my area...   The business earns enough to keep it's overhead (which is nearly nothing, considering I do it in my family room!) but that's about it--- so really what it is, is a hobby that supports itself!   I've resigned myself to the fact that I do restorations because I love the process and I love the idea of preserving a part of history that would otherwise have faded away.   

I'd love to know how folks who do have profitable restoration businesses do it though... 
Kerry
(aka RosyBijou)

kstruve

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Re: Article on photo restoration in NY Times
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2007, 11:30:48 AM »

Kerry,

The profitable ones probably outsource to digital sweatshops overseas.  ;)

Kurt

Offline glennab

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Re: Article on photo restoration in NY Times
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2007, 01:38:18 PM »
Hi Kerry

Your description of your restoration business is what I've been envisioning for me as well.  When Wallgreens advertises that it does restorations for just a few bucks, and people see the unrealistic digitizing on TV, it doesn't appear to allow much room for a profitable enterprise.  However, like you I love the restoration process and will probably do it if only for that reason.  And I'll have the same problem with not knowing how much to charge.  I dealt with that when I did freelance work.  I designed a series of kids' stickers, and the guy for whom I did them seemed to think that because it was a "fun" job, it shouldn't have to cost him much. I was happy to enlighten him!

Right now I'm trading out chiropractic treatments for restorations.

I did get a wonderful project this past weekend.  My husband's mother sent us an envelope full of photos from when he was a baby and a child.  He's a 5th generation Floridian, so there's an incredible heritage there.  And fortunately most of the photos are in pretty good shape.  A few cracks and a lot of fading.  I'm going to scan them, tweak them, and give a disk of the restorations to each of the kids and grandkids (most of whom are 7th generation Floridians.  A rare breed indeed!)  Those photos bring home how precious a part of our life they are and how devastating the loss of images of their history must have been for the people who survived Katrina.  It's wonderful to be able to return a little of their heritage to them.

Anyway, as usual, I digress.  It's nice to see you posting again, by the way.  I've missed you.

Glenna
« Last Edit: August 14, 2007, 01:42:30 PM by glennab »
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 RosyBijou

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Re: Article on photo restoration in NY Times
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2007, 09:20:05 PM »
I'm such an awful business person though. You're going to laugh at this...

Right now, I'm involved in a huge project—restoring and then "placing" the correct uniforms on certain civil war veterans--All of the existing photos are in various stages of deterioration and many have the men in civilian clothing.  So, after restoring the faces, I'm merging the heads with the uniforms of soldiers taken at modern day re-enactments.  Of course, not all of the uniforms are historically accurate, so I have to "fix" those uniforms after the head transplants so they have the right number of stripes, buttons, etc..., try to make them look like they were wearing the uniforms in the first place (old faces & modern pictures of clothing don't blend easily...), and then warp them so they match the head & shoulder perspectives of the originals...  Some of these images are being merged into collages and others are being isolated as portraits...
 
All will then be etched into a 9' monument that is being erected in Mississippi in Vicksburg National Park. So I have 12 men to restore and clothe for portrait etchings, two 3'x3' montage/scenes to (pretty much) design and prepare for the etching artist!  pretty wild, huh?
 
This project started with one restoration that I did for a friend last spring--it happened to be the only existing image of an important colonel in the Civil War, and he was in civilian clothing—(I didn’t know he was an important person when I did the restoration…). 

When the person who was organizing the monument first contacted me, it was for a few "touch-ups" so I happily volunteered my services--- good exposure, right!!!???  It’d be easy to put a uniform on my lovingly restored colonel!  Well, here I have found myself, still volunteering (so much for being a savvy business person!), only now I have this monumental (literally!) task that I would never have dreamed could come my way.  I am utterly thrilled just to be part of this--and the exposure has already generated some interest in my services—only I have to be careful to allocate my time properly because the monument deadlines are nearing…   I joke with my family that this is going to be my "moment in history"--getting my work etched onto a national military monument!  They're not that impressed... someday maybe they will be...  :)
 
In a way, I'm glad that this happened at this time in my business.  My lack of business experience was how I found myself volunteering my services, (and then letting it slide into this sheer volume of work)—I would have had absolutely no clue how to value my services, and frankly, I’m not even sure if I could tally it all up now. When they first contacted me, I don't think that even they realized how much they needed imaging services.  They had a bunch of taped together photocopies… 

It wasn't until we were designing the montage panels that the etching artist informed them that she only etched exactly what images were given to her (meaning, if a soldier had a mold spot or scratch across his face, that it would get etched--and she would certainly not merge heads onto uniforms or combine pictures...)  At that point, the fellow organizing the project gave me free reign to experiment with the photo-merging of the portraits and montages.... and that’s how I ended up with the design aspect too… He had some specific ideas but then asked me to get creative with it… 

It has been such a pleasure doing this—not a conversation goes by where he doesn’t express his appreciation for my work and he’s so gracious about when he doesn’t like something or wants something done differently.  It’s getting kind of exciting now, though, because most of the federal & state funding finally came through (so the granite and etching artist contracts could be signed…) and now the etching is slated to begin in September or October…

So, “the business” (aka “Kerry’s-not-for-profit-digital-sweatshop”…) is keeping me busy, and summer, with the kids home, is too precious to not spend time with them, they’re growing up so fast and I want the time with them while they still want to spend it with me… 

Glenna, I love the trading treatments for services!  How wonderful about your family photos, and what a lovely gift you will be passing on to your children & grandchildren!

I’ve missed being here too…
Kerry
(aka RosyBijou)

Offline John

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Re: Article on photo restoration in NY Times
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2007, 10:09:06 PM »
not sure if you checked out the phojoe site's restoration gallery... some are pretty good.. others... ehhh..

http://phojoe.com/Restoration.html