Reassembling a photo from pieces
Video: Reassembling a photo from piecesLike a jigsaw puzzle, a photo that's torn into pieces gets harder to piece back together, the more pieces there are and the smaller those pieces are, and also the longer they have been apart. Putting them back together however isn't anything you can't handle once you know how. This image of a historic rancho the home of a former Alcalde of Los Angeles is in several pieces and I'd like to put it back together. Always scan your torn pieces with spaces between them to make it easier to put back together.
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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.
- Determining equipment needs
- Scanning negatives, slides, and film
- Importing photos in Photoshop Elements
- Adding captions, keywords, and Smart Tags
- Adjusting contrast
- Fixing fading with Threshold
- Making automatic fixes with guided edit
- Removing dust, spots, and texture with the healing tools
- Repairing rips and tears
- Sharing restored images
Reassembling a photo from pieces
Like a jigsaw puzzle, a photo that's torn into pieces gets harder to piece back together, the more pieces there are and the smaller those pieces are, and also the longer they have been apart. Putting them back together however isn't anything you can't handle once you know how. This image of a historic rancho the home of a former Alcalde of Los Angeles is in several pieces and I'd like to put it back together. Always scan your torn pieces with spaces between them to make it easier to put back together.
Let's duplicate the original layer by hitting Ctrl+J or Command+J and rename this layer pieces. Now, hide your original Background layer by clicking the visibility icon and go over to the toolbar and select the Quick Selection tool, this little magic wand. In your pieces layer run your selection tool around the white part, go slowly and keep your brush size a little small, so you don't grab pieces of the picture accidentally.
You don't have to keep your hand down the mouse button the whole time. You can lift it up and click in areas if it's more comfortable. This might take a while but when it's done we'll click Ctrl+X or Command+X to delete that area. Now, go back over to your toolbar and grab your Lasso tool. Drag the Lasso tool around one of the pieces keeping your mouse button down and continue around until you get to the end and let your mouse button go.
Now, hit Ctrl+J or Command+J on your keyboard to put that piece on its own layer. Do this with all your pieces, we are going to leave this main piece here and take care of that in a minute. You need to go back to your pieces layer and continue with your other little pieces. Go around them with the Lasso tool and hit Ctrl+J or Command+J and continue that with all your pieces. Now, what we'll do to get this main piece is we'll start here at layer 5, hold down the Ctrl button or the Command button and click on the thumbnail to select it.
Go down to the pieces layer and hit Ctrl+X or Command+X.Continue on layer 4, do the same thing. Ctrl or Command on the thumbnail, go down to pieces layer, Ctrl+X or Command+X. These pieces are now being deleted from around this main piece, so we'll have every piece on its own layer. Now, if we close these, that layer is on its own, and we have all our pieces on their own layers.
What we'll do now is make a background layer for our jigsaw puzzle, for our pieces by clicking on Background then going down here to the Create a new layer icon and keeping it under the pieces. You can fill this with any color you want, but it's to show you if there are any big gaps between your pieces so you can choose something rather bright if it helps you to see it. We'll just fill it right now with black, Alt on a PC or Option on the Mac plus Backspace.
Now, let's select one of our pieces and we're going to move it back to where it should be. We'll go over here and select the Move tool, make sure that your Show Bounding Box and Show Highlight on Rollover boxes are unchecked, they are very distracting and have Auto Select layer checked. So when you click here it will select the layer you are clicking on. Now let's bring this layer over here and this is where we are going to want to move in a little tighter.
So go over here to your toolbar and your Zoom tool and bring it right here, let it fill the frame. That's good, that's at about 25%. Now, go back over and select your Move tool again and hit Ctrl+T or Command+T to Transform. With this, we'll be able to move it this way or we will be able to rotate it which we'll need to do to have it match up. We want to match it up, just like a jigsaw puzzle, so we'll rotate it a little just eyeball it.
Your main areas you want to match up are this area where the roof matches and these trees. This big space in the sky that's not the most important thing right now. So we'll move this over until they match up nicely. Again, let's just check ourself by zooming in a little Ctrl+Plus or Command+Plus and let's move this over and we'll move this down just a little.
It's not matching up quite perfectly right there looks pretty good. When you get to a place you like, hit Enter to accept. Now, your torn piece has actually just turned into a crease so it just got a lot easier. If you need to adjust your piece and you see that it could be a little better use your Downward arrow keys or your Right and Left arrow key or your Upward arrow key. It's an easy way to move it just a little ways.
Now, we are going to add a blank layer on top of this and you can do this when you have them all put together or you can do it one by one. So go back down to the bottom, you Create a new layer icon. We'll go get our Clone Stamp tool, looks like the little rubberstamp. Make sure your brush is a fairly small size, your Left or Right Bracket keys or you can go up here to your slider, keep checking if that's a good fit, you wanted to basically just go over the crack here.
That looks good at 40. If you hit that, the reason that comes up is because you have to hit Alt on a PC or Option on a Mac to select your reference point and let's start cloning in the area. Now, with this one you can just slide down very nicely because it's on a blank space and this can be taken care of very quickly. Try not to get your brush too big or you are going to leave spots and every once in a while do a little checks and balances and make sure that you come from the bottom and hit a couple of places to blend your pixels.
You can see this area got a little darker from here, so come over here and just blend it. This really isn't as hard as it looks. Just because something is in pieces, don't panic. It's actually kind of fun if you keep doing it. Keep changing your reference point so you're not always in the same place by clicking Alt or Option in different spaces.
Now, these are the hard parts over here and they're really not that hard. We'll go back over to the toolbar, get our Zoom tool, get in real close on this particular - now, that's little too close. So let's go back down by hitting Ctrl+Minus or Command+Minus key and get our Clone tool again, and what we are going to do is we are going to sample the area from this other part of the tree and use it here.
So, if you'll see this area right here it looks pretty much like this one right here. So, Alt or Option on there and see this little shadow that's in this circle is your guide and it will tell you where it's going to start, so you just begin clicking. You'll see you will have to change that because it's gone into the edge that's a very good example of why you'll always have to change your reference point.
Click there, find another good area and just continue until you get it all. Let's do little quickie there and now we have a straight line we need to do, so Alt or Option, click right there, watch that guide matches up pretty well right there and now your roof is together.
See that was actually pretty easy. Let's zoom out by hitting Ctrl+Minus or Command+Minus key and then take those away. That was pretty good, wasn't it? There isn't time to put together and fix all the pieces in this basic course. But to give you an idea, the results you can have I'll show you the finished project. As you can see, everything has gone together well, you can't see any lines and all the pieces are now together in a seamless area.
It's dauntless a task is putting together a torn up photo may seem. If there are not a lot of pieces and the edges are all intact it's nothing you can't handle with a little bit of patience and practice. Remember, once you get the pieces back in place the tears just become little cracks and it gets easier from there.
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