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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.
Removing things like dust, scratches, stains, those little specs and spots caused by dirt and dust even fingerprints is the groundwork of photo restoration, the basics. Not every photo will be faded or have a color cast or be ripped or torn but you can be sure that every photo you work on will have at least some specs and spots. Begin by duplicating your original photo by using keyboard shortcut Ctrl on a PC or Command on a Mac+J.Be sure you name your new layer, double-click on the layer name and enter the new name you like; I will name this Dad, click next to it to accept your change.
Next go to the toolbar on the left side of your workspace and find and select the icon that looks like a rubber stamp, this is the Clone Stamp tool. Now let's increased the zoom on your photo using keyboard shortcut Ctrl or Command and the Plus key. Zoom in as tight as you need to, to see all the damage up close and then get to the point you want. Let's work on this area with these red spots and white spots, looks like a good place to start.
If you need to be decrease your zoom use Ctrl or Command and the Minus key. Also if you need to you can increase or decrease the size of your brush, you do this by using the left and right bracket keys on your keyboard. You want to keep your brush fairly small in relation to the size of your screen. This is at 8 pixels and I think we'll go down to lets try 6 pixels. The Clone Stamp tool clones exact pixels from one area of your photo to the other.
You have to hold down the Alt key on the PC or the Option key on a Mac, then click on the area of your photo you want clone the information from. This will be your reference point. The reference point moves with the cursor as it moves from area to area. So check your reference area often so you don't accidentally start cloning areas with other areas you don't mean to.
Let's work on his hair a little bit and try this be careful of this area you see right here, where there's an obvious repetition of reference point. Grab reference points from different areas to give a sense of randomness. Keep changing your reference point and keep in mind where the darks and lights in the photo are, there is darker area here and lighter area here and any time if you need to make your brush smaller, it you'll make it easier to work with do so by using your right and left bracket key.
One benefit of the Clone Stamp tool is that you can use it on a blank layer over your photo layer if you choose. I'm going to create a new blank layer by clicking on the Create a new layer icon at the bottom of the layers panel, be sure to name that layer also, we'll name this one clone, click Next to except. If you do choose to work on a blank layer make sure they sample all layers box at the top of the work area is checked.
Be sure to look at the big picture the photo at 100% often during your work, just to make sure you're on the right track and that everything is looking good. I'll Ctrl+Minus to zoom out on my PC and I see an area that I think could use a little work, so we'll zoom back in. The reason this might not look as good as it could, is because I was sampling everything from one side only and it made it a little darker, to fix that just go to the other side and start fixing from their.
Also get above it where the transition in colors happen and click there. You need to move your reference point often to get a good blend. Use caution when choosing areas to clones so you don't have the same small reference area over and over again.
Too much repetition in the same area can cause obvious patterns that won't look natural, if at any time you don't like what you've done, just Ctrl or Command+Z to undo the last procedure. If removing dust and scratches is the groundwork of photo restoration, the Clone Stamp tool is the workhorse. Probably one of the most used tools in the restoration workflow, it can raise areas of damage without a trace with just a bit of work.
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