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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.
One challenge with ripped or torn photos is when some well-meaning relative has helped us out by taping it. Tape especially old-fashioned cellophane tape which yellowed over time can be a real challenge to repair, but fortunately, not impossible. This photo which is an old family photo of mine has been taped on the top and the bottom and in the middle. This tape in the middle which is cellophane tape is what we are going to work on today. We are going to start by going over to our Background layer and duplicating it by hitting Ctrl or Command+J. Then we'll double-click on the name and rename it tape.
Now, we'll go over to the toolbar on the left and select the Polygonal Lasso tool. Next, we're going to zoom our photo in just enough to fill the frame, so you'll have a clear view of the tape edges. We'll do this by Ctrl or Command, and the Plus sign. Click on a starting point with your Lasso tool and follow the straight line of the tape keeping just to the outside edge of the tape. Luckily, tape has straight edges, so it's not going to be all that hard.
Always click on the area when you're going to move your straight line. Continue clicking until you get to the edge of your tape, and when you see this little circle at the bottom, click to select. Now, we are going to move our selection to its own layer by hitting Ctrl or Command+J. Double-click on the name, and we'll name it something like tape2. Now, go down to the Create New Fill or Adjustment layer icon and select Hue/Saturation.
Back in the layers panel, hover between these two layers; your Hue/Saturation layer, and your tape2 layer, and hold your Alt key down until you see these double circles and click. hat this does is make it so your Hue/Saturation layer is only going to work on the layer directly beneath it. Now, we'll go back to our Adjustments panel, and lower the Saturation to get some of the yellow out of the tape.
You don't want to go too far, or it will make it too gray. You just want to get the yellow out. It won't be an exact match, but we'll try to get that a little better here in a while. We'll keep it at about -77. Next, go to your Lightness slider, and move it over to the right to lighten it up just a bit more. What we want to do is get a pretty good match with the foliage right here.
You'll see that this is pretty brown and this is gray but we are going to take care of that. We just want to get a little better blend here; lighten it up just a bit, +4 is pretty good. Next, we are going to go over to our dropdown menu all the way to the bottom and Close the Tab Group, and then click on your layers tab. Now, we are going to put all of these layers on their own layer, and we are going to use a keyboard shortcut that's going to use all of your fingers.
Hold down Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E on a PC and Shift+Command+Option+E on a Mac. Now, we are going to zoom our picture in even tighter; Ctrl or Command and the Plus key. Let's move down to an area on the edge. This looks like a good place to start. Now we are going over to our toolbar, and selecting the Spot Healing Brush and make sure Content Aware is selected.
Lower your Brush size to a decent level, that's a little too big, so we wanted to go, we'll start at about 11 pixels and move it across the damage to blend the two areas and make a seamless transition.
You may have to go over the area few times. You can click on it if you have too obvious a line, just get a nice blend. Next, we're going to lighten this area just a little bit more by putting a Levels Adjustment layer on it. So go over to your layers panel, Create New Fill or Adjustment and go to Levels. Now, we're going to bring your White slider over, and lighten everything up. You don't want to go too far or you'll blow things out.
We're going to keep it up here at about 189. Now, go back into layers and we want to invert your Levels mask. You'll do this by Ctrl or Command+Backspace. We've now hidden the entire mask, and we need to paint back the area that we want to lighten. So make sure white is your foreground color and go to your Brush tool.
Now, we can keep this one fairly large because we're just going to paint in this area to lighten up this darker area. If you go outside the line, all you've got to do is go over here, make black your foreground color, and paint it back in. Just remember to make white your foreground color again when you want to paint-in some more to lighten the area up.
Next, let's go up to Filter, Blur, and Gaussian Blur, and let's give it a little bit of a blur to help blend it. Get a pretty good blur going, you don't want to necessarily blow it all out because that wouldn't look good, but you want it soft. Check the Preview button. You can see that, that blended-in pretty well, and click OK to accept. Now, go to your Opacity and lower it until you have a good blend with your tones.
If you need to, zoom-out with Ctrl or Command+Minus so we can see what we're doing, and let's keep this sit right around 59-60%. Now, I am going to merge all these layers again and put them on their own with that all fingers trick; Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E on a PC, Shift+Command+Option+E on a Mac. Now we are going to do one more thing to blend these two together.
I am going to go up to the Enhance menu, and down to Convert to Black and White, and then we are going to just give it a little eyeball and see if that's going to look good. I think it will look fine. All we are trying to do is make it a black-and-white; it's not going to be a precise thing. Click OK to accept, and you'll see the two areas look pretty good. They still need some work. We might have to lighten this a little more.
But if we hide all these other icons, and just keep our background layer, you can see that's a vast improvement. When people put tape on photos to repair them, they were really leaving us in a sticky situation. But luckily, with just a little work, removing tape from an old photo won't be as hard as you might think.
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