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In Photoshop Elements 9: Scanning and Restoring Photos, professional photo restorer Janine Smith shows how to bring new life to old photos. The course begins with a look at the types of photos that may require restoration, including slides, negatives, prints, and newspaper photos, and options for scanning them. She discusses the types of scanners that are available, from flatbed to film, and the best settings to use for originals. The course then delves into Photoshop Elements tools and techniques to help restore clarity to faded photos and fix problems such as dust, scratches, and tears. Exercise files are included with the course.
When a photo fades, all the tones in the photo have lightened, so it stands to reason that if you darken the tones, the fading will lessen. Layer blend modes are a sort of one step process to darken a faded photo without using sliders and histograms. The layer blend modes are destructive in a sense, meaning they change the layer you're working on, so you need to make a duplicate layer of your original by using keyboard shortcut Ctrl+J or Command+J or right-click on the thumbnail and choose Duplicate layer. Let's rename this Blend mode, and click OK.
layer blend modes, found in the dropdown box, above the layers, are divided into six unmarked mode categories, Normal, Darken, Lighten, Light, Invert and Color. For darkening the contrast in a faded photo, the Darken mode category containing Darken, Multiply, Color Burn and Linear Burn will be your top options. Nine times out of ten, you'll probably end up using the Multiply Blend mode, but don't get stuck in that rut, it's always a good idea to scroll through the entire layer Blend mode list.
It doesn't take much time and it's good to see the effect the Blend modes have on different photos. Let's run through them right now just to see what happens, start with Darken. On a PC use your Downward Arrow key to scroll through the Blend modes. Next, we have Multiply, Color Burn, Linear Burn and Darker Color. Naturally, we'll probably go with Multiply. If you need to darken or lighten the photo a little more, duplicate the layer containing the Blend mode and adjust the Opacity.
You duplicate again by hitting Ctrl+J or Command+J and then you can go to your Opacity and lower it until you find a place you like. layer blend modes are just one more tool you can use on faded photos. All photos are different and what works on one, may not work on another. The more ways you know to tackle your photo challenges, the better your chances of success.
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