Join Tim Grey for an in-depth discussion in this video Evaluating "before" and "after", part of Restoring Photos with Photoshop CS6.
As you're working on improving the appearance of the old photographs you're attempting to restore, you'll naturally be evaluating the results along the way. And that can be very important, in terms of making sure you're producing the best image possible. Beyond simply evaluating the image, simply looking at the image as you're working and deciding whether you're happy with the results or not, It can also be very helpful to get something of a before and after View on the image. For example, with this photo, I've applied some cleanup work, using a Cleanup Layer, and I can turn off that Layer, in order to see the image before the cleanup work was applied.
I'm putting all of my cleanup pixels onto a separate layer, so any blemishes in the original image that I'm cleaning up, are being cleaned up by via pixels placed on to this Cleanup Layer. And that means simply turning off the visibility for this layer, by clicking the Eye Icon to the left of the thumbnail on the Layers panel, enables me to see the image, before that cleanup work was applied. And I can simply click in that spot again, in order to re-enable that Cleanup Layer, so I can see the after version of the image. In other words, with the effect of that Cleanup Layer, visible in the image.
And so by clicking in the Eye Icon and then clicking again, I can go back and forth between the before and after version of the image, in order to get a better sense of exactly how good a result I've achieved, as well as areas that I might have missed. So, for example, I can see that there are a couple of bright spots in the sky over here, that are not cleaned up on that Cleanup Layer, and that I might want to clean up in the image. I can also see the effect of Adjustment Layers. For example, here I have a Curves Adjustment, that I'm using a Layer Mask for targeting the effect into specific areas.
Specifically to darken up the area over where this gentleman is sitting in the background. And if I want to see the before and after there, I can simply click on the eye icon for the Curves Adjustment Layer, and then click again to see after. So I can turn off or on the visibility of individual layers, as I evaluate my work. I can also create a universal before and after View. And that's done by holding the Alt key on Windows, or the Option key on Macintosh, while clicking on the Eye Icon for the Background Image Layer.
Doing so, will cause all layers except this layer to be hidden, and then Alt or Option clicking again, will cause all layers to be Enabled once again. So I can hold the Alt or Option key and then click to Disable all other layers, besides the Background Image Layer, and then click again holding the Alt or Option key, to see the final result. And this allows me to get an all up overview of the before and after. So here's my before version, and here's my after, and I can evaluate the results accordingly. It can also be very helpful to zoom in on specific areas of the photo, as you're reviewing.
So for example, I'll zoom in on where those spots were. To do so I can simply choose the Zoom tool from the toolbox. But I can also hold the Ctrl and Spacebar keys on Windows, or the Cmd Space Bar keys on Macintosh, and then click and Drag in order to Zoom in, or out on the photo. Dragging to the right will Zoom in, and dragging to the left will Zoom out. I can also press and hold the Spacebar key to get the Hand tool, which is also available on the toolbox, in order to then Click and Drag around the image looking for additional blemishes. And you can see, there are a fair number of blemishes that I would probably want to clean up in this photo.
So by Zooming in or out, I can also use Keyboard shortcuts. I'll press Ctrl Zero or Cmd Zero, for example, to fit the image into the screen. I can also press Ctrl Minus or Cmd Minus to Zoom out, and Ctrl Plus or Cmd Plus to Zoom in, and then once again use the Space Bar to access the Hand tool, so that I can click and Drag around the image, in order to evaluate different areas of the photo. The key point is, that we want to make sure that we're evaluating our results as we go, and especially, evaluating with close scrutiny, once we feel that we've achieved an optimal result in our photo.
- Choosing your source image
- Adding metadata
- Image restoration strategy
- Working with layers
- Evaluating before and after
- Tonal and color adjustments
- Image cleanup
- Adjusting detail
- Saving the master image
- Creating a print or online version