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In this course, professional photo restorer Janine Smith describes how to use Photoshop to restore, retouch, and enhance old or damaged photos. It covers evaluating scanned images for imperfections, using the Clone Stamp tool and other Photoshop tools, and addressing common problems and their fixes, starting with the basics (fading, spots, and paper texture) and continuing with more complex challenges (rips, adhesive tape, ink marks, mold, and more). Also included are methods for fixing exposure problems and colorcast as well as advanced techniques in photo restoration, such as replacing backgrounds and recreating missing facial features and body parts. The course includes a project that takes an image from damaged start to restored finish.
The most common tools used in digital photo restoration are the Clone Stamp, the Patch tool, and the Healing brushes. We will be using these tools throughout the course, so I want to go over briefly what each of them can do. The Clone Stamp tool can work on a new blank layer as well as on an existing image layer. Let's go over and add a new blank layer and then move over to our toolbar and select the Clone Stamp tool. It looks a little like a rubber stamp here. If you do work on a blank layer, be sure the use Current & Below option as selected from the dropdown menu at the top.
The Clone Stamp works best on small-to- medium areas of damage and where there's plenty of similar areas around the damaged bar your selection's from. Keep your brush on the smaller side, using the open and close bracket keys to adjust your brush size, and hold down your Alt or Option key to select the areas you wish to clone from. Let's go back to the toolbar and select the Healing brush. The Healing brush only works on layers that contain pixels, not new blank layers, so you will need to duplicate your original image to work with this tool.
You do this by holding down Ctrl+J or Command+J. The Healing Brush tool is a little like the Clone Stamp in that you need to tell it where to source from, again by holding down Alt or Option and selecting your source point. But unlike the Clone Stamp, Photoshop then tries to analyze the surrounding pixels to closely match the source in terms of tone and texture. This tool also works best in smaller areas of damage. Next, we will have a look at the Spot Healing brush.
The Spot Healing brush doesn't have to be told where to sample from; it chooses the pixels from the surrounding areas for you. If you have Photoshop CS4 and previous versions, you need to make sure Proximity Match is selected and then just begin painting in an area, or clicking. If it's a very pattern-heavy or busy area, it's probably better to click than to drag. See, that added a little smudge.
You just begin clicking, and you don't have to tell it a source point. This tool also works best on smaller areas of damage. If you're repairing an area with a heavy texture or pattern, you can also try the Create Texture option. But on areas like this grass, you'll see that it just makes a blurry mess. Let's look in really close at that, and you'll see it has an actual texture to it. And we will go back out again.
This option works best when you're using a pattern, say, on cloth. Then it comes in very handy because it can add that texture of a cloth, of a linen or a cotton. If you're using Photoshop CS5, there's another option available, which is Content-Aware. Let's get back into the Spot Healing brush from the Zoom tool and click Content-Aware. The Content-Aware Healing brush works in much the same way as the regular Spot Healing brush, except you can use it to repair much larger areas of damage.
It works by comparing all the nearby pixels, and determines which of those pixels will best fill your selection. Another Healing tool is the Patch tool. Again, it only works on a pixel layer-- an image layer itself, not a transparency, so you will have to duplicate your layer. If you have the Source option checked, you select a damaged area to repair and move it over a clean area. With the Destination option checked, you do the reverse, moving a clean source area over the damage itself.
You need to be careful with the Patch tool not to get an area of radically different tone in your selection, such as a much darker or lighter area, as you will get a large blurry smudge as a result. One last tool I'd like to go over for repairing damaged areas is the Content-Aware Fill feature in Photoshop CS5. To access Content-Aware Fill, make the selection and either go to Edit > Fill and select Content-Aware or hold down Shift and F5 to bring up the Fill dialog, and click OK.
Content-Aware Fill allows you to repair larger areas of damage in an image and more often than not, has pretty great results. It doesn't work on completely blank layers, but it does work on transparent or solid-color areas within an image. When it comes to healing tools you will use in digital photo restoration Photoshop offers quite a selection. While no one tool always works in every situation, one, or a combination of these tools, will certainly do the job.
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