B&W Photo Restoration


TPF Noob!
Dec 30, 2008
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I am currently in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
So here's my delima. I have to retouch a photo for our command board. very old photo, taken mid '60s. The only thing that is giving me a problem is his face. It is very grainy and i have tried the healing brushes and all, is there something else that i can use in PS? (i do have CS3) Is there a certain skin tone to use for it? Is there a way to have a new layer masked over his face? Thanks in advance for all of your help.

I do appoligize for the poor quality, but that is how the photo is unfortunately.
I have an 8X10 of it, i just wasnt able to get it any bigger from flickr, sorry. Any ideas though? Please and thank you.

8x10 are print dimensions. What are the dimensions, in pixels, of the image you're trying to fix? (I'm assuming that you have a high-res scan of a print.)
Without seeing a much higher resolution image its hard to say what your problem is so any ideas on a fix is simply a guess.

When I need to retouch an image where there is either distinct grain or some texture of the original paper being resolved by the scanner the only tool I've found effective is the Clone tool. I generally use it as follows:

1. Disable all layers in the PS image except the actual image (e.g. Adjustment layers, layers that create borders, ...)
2. Create a new empty layer just above the image layer.
3. Select the Clone tool and check the "Use all layers" box.
4. Optionally, set the fill on the clone tool to something less than 100%. I often use values in the 25-75% range; generally higher when I'm cloning grainy or textured portions of an image.
5. Select (highlight) the new empty layer and use the clone tool to sample from a good portion of the image (face in your case) and paint of a damaged section.

With the "Use all layers" box checked, PS will sample from all visible layers (this is why you must hide/disable all Adjustment layers) but paint only on the selected layer. As a result, your cloned data is on a separate layer and can be erased if you make a mistake. You can also create different new layers for differing sections of the image so that face retouching and uniform retouching are on their own layers and can be revealed or hidden independently.

By sampling a spot on a cheek to paint on the scratched other cheek, you clone the grain and all leaving a much more convincing patch. You have to constantly retarget the source (ALT-click to set target) for each repaired area so that the target has the appropriate tone to match the spot you're trying to fix.

This is what i have so far. Again, the face is my only problem. The pixel size i am working with is 2400 X 3000. I hope this helps better than the previous one i posted.

Thanks for the info Dwig, i will certinally try it myself and hope.

Edit: i finally figured out how to make the image size bigger in flikr.
Here's one way to do this: Get a photo of another man's face, approximately the same size but with clear skin and visible (normal) skin texture. Open this in Photoshop along with the image you're working on -- each image in a separate window.

Use the healing brush. Sample from the clear-skin photo and paint on the one you're fixing (on a blank layer, of course). Here's a quick illustration of what you can do with this technique, working just on the camera left side of the face.

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So here's my delima. I have to retouch a photo ... It is very grainy ...

What is "grainy". Only the results of the scan or it the original grainy??

From looking at the higher res post carefully, I find is has a distinct lack of smooth tones on the highlight portions (primarily face, shirt, & tie). I question whether there has been some interference between the visible grain in the print and the scanner's chosen resolution. Perhaps scanning at a noticably higher resolution would avoid this interference. You should wait to downsample until after retouching. Otherwise, you may be running into problems with the scanner mis-adjusting its exposure settings resulting in some clipping in the highlights. The subject matter is rather textured in the shadow areas making it impossible to tell if similar blockiness is occuring there as well, but I suspect that there is less in the shadow areas.
Unfortunally, it is not the scanner, it's the photo. The orginal print is from at least the mid '60's. I have been able to get his tie pretty good, still just messing with his face.
Unfortunally, it is not the scanner ...

Odd, the blotches in the posted image bear no resemblance to grain in a print. If it is true grain in the print that is triggering the blotchiness in the scan, the problem is the settings in the scanner software or performance limits in that particular scanner. A properly made scan, with a decently high quality scanner, of a print that shows true grain from the original negative will resolve the grain in the scanned image. It woun't be blotchy.

Does the original scanned image look just like the posted image, or did you post a downsample version that became blotchy when the downsampling handled the grain poorly?

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