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The most basic part of digital restoration work may be the little specs and spots that most photos of a certain age have, but the larger rips and tears tend to happen, and a lot of times they tend to happen in the most inconvenient places. Take this image for instance. This large creased tear combination just so happens to be in a place in the image where a whole lot is going on. One good thing about all this is it isn't in an area that would be even harder to reconstruct, like the face. What we do need to repair here is a small portion of the horse and some harness mostly.
Let's zoom out and have a look at the whole picture. I am using Ctrl+Minus or Command+Minus. You can see it goes right through the middle, so we just need to repair a little of that area. It's a good idea to start on the smaller end of a rip and a tear. And the tools you use mostly are your Patch tool, your Clone Stamp tool, and if you have Photoshop CS5, your Content-Aware fill. Begin by selecting an area. Keep to the smaller side; if you try to get too big, you're just going to get big smudgy areas. And work just in a little pieces.
Another hint when you are using your Patch tool is go ahead of yourself with the Clone Stamp tool and prepare areas. When you do this, it's a good idea to work from the top and the bottom, not just try to make one big sweep. Again, work in little areas, and make yourself little bridges that you can then go in and use your Patch tool to select the area, and you don't have all that white area around that will smudge. Just bring it up.
Sometimes you'll have to go over the area again and again to fix the areas, and that's okay, to fix the little smudges. That's a really good way to whittle away the small areas. Now this big area is much the same, just on a larger scale. Again, get your Clone Stamp tool, select an area, and make a bridge for your other tools. If you try to do the whole thing with your Clone Stamp tool you'll probably end up repeating yourself too much, and that's not going to be a good fix.
Let's just do a couple quick bridges here. Try not to make your area that you're making your bridge in too large. Again, it's not a good idea to go in too large an area. Get your Patch tool, select the area, and bring it up, and that's a much better way to fix it. And you can go back and fix any little smudges that occur this way. Larger rips and tears take more patience and care than the small ones, especially when they happen in detailed inconvenient areas. But attention to the surrounding areas and details can make the job easier.
Take your time, take breaks as needed, and whittle away at the large areas to make the big stuff smaller.
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