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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.
It seems like the sky is always the first thing to fade away in an old photo. Sometimes all the restored photo needs is to get a little sky back to look perfect. The trick to replacing the sky is to do it, so it's not obvious that it was ever even gone. I'm going to be working on this photo of this cute little dog with all this blank sky above him, and I'm also going to use this image of the sky. As you can see, it has a lot of nice details and it's going to look great. Let's go back over to our original image, and let's duplicate the background by hitting Ctrl on a PC, Command on a Mac, plus J.
Now let's go over to our Image menu, and go down to Magic Extractor. Let's zoom in on our photo by hitting Ctrl++ or Command++. If you want to move a photo in Magic Extractor, you need to go over here to your Hand tool and just drag it down. This is your Foreground Brush tool. Whatever you click all with this indicates the areas you want to keep. This is your Background Brush tool, and whatever you click with this you want to delete.
So let's start with our Foreground tool and I'm just going to go over this really quick for the sake of time, you can be more exact, by all means please do. But I'm just going to hit a few areas. You can make your brush smaller or larger by using your Left and Right Bracket keys. Select your Hand tool to move, go back to your Brush tool, and let's just hit these areas real quick right now.
Let's get the Hand tool and move it down. Make the brush a little bit bigger, there we go. And now we're going to do the Background tool, let's makes that even bigger since it's blank, pretty much, except for it's not totally blank. Let's get our Hand tool and move it up it up a bit. Because as you get closer to the top there's a gradient and it does get a little darker, so be sure -- let's get our Hand tool and move up again, and be sure to get this as you can see that's a little bit darker.
When you have it done, just go over here and select Preview, and let's zoom out using Ctrl+Minus or command+Minus to see how that did, and it actually did pretty good. So let's click OK and go back into Elements, and make sure your Background layer is selected. Now we'll go over to our sky image, and you're going to make sure your Move tool is selected and drag in and drop it onto the tab of dog.jpg.
Come down here, until you see this rectangle and the Plus sign, and then lift up on the key. You can move it up by dragging it, until it looks good and you can Ctrl+T or Command+T to Transform it, if you want to. Make it a little bit smaller whatever you'd like to do, just leave that like that, and you can either hit Enter or the screen check to accept. And now we want to clean it up a little bit by going over and getting our Rectangular Marquee tool, and use what's left to the photo is your guide up here, take it and drag it over and hit Ctrl+X or Command+X to delete.
Do the same on this side Ctrl+X or Command+X to delete, and on this last side drag it up Ctrl+X or Command+X.Now let's blend it in a little more by going to our Enhance menu and down to Convert to Black and White. Don't worry about any settings on here; all you're doing is converting to black and white so just hit OK. Then you're going to go over here and take your Opacity way down to about 25%, maybe even less with some cloud images it will just vary whatever your image is, and now we'll look at the before and after.
It's very subtle and you wouldn't know it wasn't there when it was taken, and it just looks a lot better. Sometimes backgrounds are just too damaged or distracting or skies if faded away, well you should never just change something for changes sake and every effort should be made to repair a background before replacing it, there are some valid reasons for background replacement. When you do replace just remember keep it subtle and make it look completely natural.
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