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Now we'll tackle something a little more challenging, and that's lightening these stains that are on the image. And to do that, we will go over first and we'll add a new fill or adjustment layer. Go to the bottom of your Layers panel, click on the half-white, half-black circle, and let's go up to Curves. Now let's bring our histogram up toward the upper left-hand corner to lighten. Now we're going to invert our curves mask: Ctrl+I or Command+I. Let's zoom out here, so we can see what we're doing.
Let's center this a little more. Let's get our Brush tool from the toolbar. Make sure white is our foreground color. We can adjust our brush using our open and close bracket keys and start painting in with the light color on our stains. Some of these are actually in what should be shadow. I'm just going to have to eyeball that and say "well, a shadow should be here," because we don't want to paint all our shadows away-- that would look very unnatural.
Just paint over your stains. This probably won't--in fact, most likely won't--get rid of every bit of every stain, but what it will do is get rid of some of it, and it makes other areas more manageable to get rid of with your other healing tools. So just do a good painting and when you're done painting in your stains--again, here I am trying to figure out what should be shadow and what shouldn't; that's something you always should keep in mind-- then go up to Filter and Blur. And this brings a good point.
When Taz Tally scanned in this image, he did it in 16-bit depth, which gives me more information to do the restoration work in. But once we get this, and it's still in 16-bit, a lot of our filters and a lot of our adjustments would be grayed out. So after I get through with this, we'll go back and I'll show you how to fix that. Now we are in Filter > Blur and down to Gaussian Blur, and we want to soften our blur up just a bit. Let's look at the preview.
We want the edges to be nice and soft, and click OK. And we are going to lower the Opacity. What we want is to have our light area and our good background area--not the stain, but this keeper background area--to be close. We don't want a big white dot, in other words. So you are going to bring it down low, and you are going to do multiple layers. Let's bring it down to about 20. Look at it before and after, see the difference that's there.
And now we're going to add another layer really quick, but first I wanted to jump over here, and let's take care of our 16-bit depth. Go to Image > Mode. And then right down here you'll see it says 16 Bits/Channel, and we want to change it to 8 Bits/ Channel, and we'll leave it there for the rest of the restoration. And now if we got up to Filter, we have all our filters are usable. Let's go back to our lightening.
Again, create a new fill or adjustment layer and Curves. We are just going to repeat the process, bringing the histogram up toward the top left-hand corner, Ctrl+I to invert our mask, and paint in on our stain. Each time you do this, the area that you're painting in probably will, eventually, of course, get smaller. It might not happen for one or two times, but notice, especially down here in this really, really dark stain, look at before, our last, and this one, we've got a little less area now that's the solid stain. And you just keep doing these layers until you get a good manageable stain to fix with another tool, or the stain goes away.
And again, when you're done, go up to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur--same process--click OK and lower your Opacity. Again, you're looking for that benchmark of blending in with this background. It doesn't have to do it perfectly, but we want it as close as possible. So let's move over to this one where I've done the work, and we'll see that the stain is much less. I ended up doing five curve levels, and I also did some repair with the Patch tool, the Healing brush, and the Clone Stamp tool.
You can see that this stain is still here, but much less, and especially this one down here-- that's quite a difference. Now let's look at the whole picture. Let's take this down to around 66.7% and bring this up. We see there is quite a difference in the stain. It's not all gone--neither of them are--but it's much less. In our next step we'll work to bring back some of the faded tones in the facial features.
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