This week’s web visit, “Photo Restoration with Photoshop,” showed the program’s seemingly limitless capabilities. If an old photo had a crease, Photoshop could smooth it out. If a photo had been ripped into numerous pieces, Photoshop could put the photo back together again, leaving Humpty Dumpty to wonder why Photoshop did not exist when he fell off the wall. Photoshop’s abilities are so expansive that each picture can be restored, no matter the damage done. In fact, photos that suffered extensive fading can be brought back to new vibrancy.
The web visit prompted me to toy with Photoshop, attempting to restore one of the photos I had on file. Looking through the pictures, I decided to work on the photo of C.O.R.E. members protesting on East Baltimore Street, also known as “The Block.”
Below, you will find the initial photo of the C.O.R.E. protest.
I assessed the photo to determine what needed work. First, after blowing up the photo to full size, I noticed that the picture contained fading in places. Even after solving the fading issues, the photo still had small spots that had to be removed. The biggest problem, however, stemmed from the considerable staining that rested in the upper right-hand corner.
To improve the fading, I established a “Curve” layer. I used the police officer’s pants as the darkest point in the picture, and used the white shirt as the picture’s lightest point. In doing so, I was able to bring more detail into to the picture, while also removing some of the stains. Fortunately, the stains occurred away from the action, so it is not obscuring importing details. This enabled me to create a “Black and White” layer so I could reverse out the background and foreground colors in an attempt to remove more of the stains. Still, several stains remained, but I took my paint brush and brushed over the stains. The roadway also had numerous spots. Because the spots were compressed over a smaller space, I decided to use the Clone Stamp tool, using sample areas on the photo to remove the spots.
In all, I am happy with the results, though I realize that more work remains. The restored photo gives viewers a better sense of what is happening in the picture. While a protest is going on, you can tell that it is a peaceful protest. The police officers and spectators are hanging out, not providing any evidence of agitation. Yet, I am still working on bringing out more detail of the protestors in the street. They are the focal point of the photo, but they seem so inconspicuous. In a way, that seems contradictory given the fact they helped close East Baltimore Street through their protests. I would like to bring out their faces more, to see if they are exhibiting any fear, apprehension, or calm.
Below, you can see the picture with current, but ongoing, restoration work.
I so far enjoying the tools that Photoshop has to offer, and can see all the benefits the program brings to people as they work to restore the pictures in their collection.
Addendum: I responded to David’s More Photoshop Play.
I also responded to John’s Authenticity.