Strong color cast in old negative photos

Started Jan 16, 2017 | Discussions
RTomita New Member • Posts: 9
Strong color cast in old negative photos

Hello,

I'm scanning some old negative photos and some of the older ones have a strong color cast probably due to film degradation. Most of the color cast is yellow and/or green. I'm using GIMP to treat the photos.

Using the Levels tool, I've noticed that the blue channel has very little information (histogram almost flat), hence the yellow cast. The green channel usually shows "normal" histogram, although I need to ajust the middle point. In most of the pictures, just ajusting the colors in the Levels tool fixes the color cast. However, in some of them, the cast is so strong that changing the levels introduces a blue of purple fringing.

So, have anybody go through this sort of situation? Is there another (maybe better) way to fix the color cast without introducing the fringing or is there a way to remove (or reduce) the fringing afterwards?

Thanks!

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(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 13,189
Re: Strong color cast in old negative photos
1

Look for better scanning software to convert the neg to a positive (part of this is removing the orange mask, some products do this far better than others). Perhaps you can download and examine SilverFast which is pretty good at this task. Trying to fix this in an image editor AFTER the scan is hit or miss.

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Sailor Blue
Sailor Blue Forum Pro • Posts: 15,536
Re: Strong color cast in old negative photos

I have had the same problem with color negatives and many times the bet solution is to just convert the final image into B&W.

Here are some methods for Photoshop. Perhaps you can translate them to gimp.

Color Cast - Tim Grey - How to Remove a Strong Color Cast from an Image in Photoshop - LensVid.comLensVid.com

Color Cast - Jimmy McIntyre - 500px ISO » Beautiful Photography, Incredible Stories » 5 Ways to Color Correct Beautifully in Photoshop and Remove Any Color Cast

I'm not sure this will be of any help in your case but I'll add it.

Color Cast - Remove color cast automatically in Photoshop - YouTube

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IanYorke Veteran Member • Posts: 4,677
Re: Strong color cast in old negative photos
1

RTomita wrote:

Hello,

I'm scanning some old negative photos and some of the older ones have a strong color cast probably due to film degradation. Most of the color cast is yellow and/or green. I'm using GIMP to treat the photos.

Using the Levels tool, I've noticed that the blue channel has very little information (histogram almost flat), hence the yellow cast. The green channel usually shows "normal" histogram, although I need to ajust the middle point. In most of the pictures, just ajusting the colors in the Levels tool fixes the color cast. However, in some of them, the cast is so strong that changing the levels introduces a blue of purple fringing.

So, have anybody go through this sort of situation? Is there another (maybe better) way to fix the color cast without introducing the fringing or is there a way to remove (or reduce) the fringing afterwards?

Thanks!

Download a trial version of Vuescan scanning software. It has more options than the software included with the scanner.

Ian

OP RTomita New Member • Posts: 9
Re: Strong color cast in old negative photos

Thanks. I'll try one of these methods of color correction.

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OP RTomita New Member • Posts: 9
Re: Strong color cast in old negative photos

Just adding more info. I'm using a Wolverine F2D scanner, not a flatbed one, so I can't really change the scanning software. I've bought it mainly due to the cost and also because we had a simple point and shoot camera, used mostly with cheaper film. It does produce good results in newer negatives, and it has some ajustments that I didn't explore yet.

So you guys can have an idea of what I'm talking about, here's a picture, straight from the scanner:

And then, after I've treated it. If you zoom in the people's hair, for example, you can notice the blue/purple fringing.

The B&W idea is good, although I think I'd rather keep it in color.

Thanks.

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genf New Member • Posts: 15
Re: Strong color cast in old negative photos

And then, after I've treated it. If you zoom in the people's hair, for example, you can notice the blue/purple fringing.

Given the extreme cast in the scan, I would say that's a fine correction. If the purple fringe is limited to the hair, you can simply remove the color from it (or make it dark brown). Target the correction by a simple mask.

Trying to do it automatically (e.g. by an action) involves a risk of introducing a cast somewhere else.

Gerald Bakker

http://geraldbakker.nl

AndreasBraun
AndreasBraun Contributing Member • Posts: 723
Re: Strong color cast in old negative photos

RTomita wrote:

Hello,

I'm scanning some old negative photos and some of the older ones have a strong color cast probably due to film degradation. Most of the color cast is yellow and/or green. I'm using GIMP to treat the photos.

Using the Levels tool, I've noticed that the blue channel has very little information (histogram almost flat), hence the yellow cast. The green channel usually shows "normal" histogram, although I need to ajust the middle point. In most of the pictures, just ajusting the colors in the Levels tool fixes the color cast. However, in some of them, the cast is so strong that changing the levels introduces a blue of purple fringing.

So, have anybody go through this sort of situation? Is there another (maybe better) way to fix the color cast without introducing the fringing or is there a way to remove (or reduce) the fringing afterwards?

Thanks!

I went a different way with extremely satisfying results after deciding to digitize all my negatives from about 20 years as an important period of growing up of my children: I went with all the negatives - about 5000 pics - to a professional lab. After two weeks and paying 600 Euros I did receive two DVDs with all images as JPGs with amazingly good quality. Never thought this to be possible, but now I have a treasure for my children and grandchildren.

Andreas

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OP RTomita New Member • Posts: 9
Re: Strong color cast in old negative photos

Sailor Blue wrote:

I have had the same problem with color negatives and many times the bet solution is to just convert the final image into B&W.

Here are some methods for Photoshop. Perhaps you can translate them to gimp.

Color Cast - Tim Grey - How to Remove a Strong Color Cast from an Image in Photoshop - LensVid.comLensVid.com

Color Cast - Jimmy McIntyre - 500px ISO » Beautiful Photography, Incredible Stories » 5 Ways to Color Correct Beautifully in Photoshop and Remove Any Color Cast

I'm not sure this will be of any help in your case but I'll add it.

Color Cast - Remove color cast automatically in Photoshop - YouTube

Just a feedback. I've tested the method described in the first link. It recommends you to create a new layer, fill it with the average color (in my case, a green/yellow color), invert it (became a tone of blue) and control the opacity to compensate the color shift. After that, I've used the Levels tool to increase contrast. Here's the result. It has less fringing, but maybe the color still need something. What do you think?

The only problem is that this method takes more time and effort, considering that I have a lot of pictures.

Unfortunatelly, the other methods basically describe fiddling with Levels directly or automatic tools that are not avaliable in Gimp. I'll give a try in changing the scanner settings and post again.

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Vernon D Rainwater Forum Pro • Posts: 14,530
Re: Strong color cast in old negative photos

RTomita wrote:

Hello,

I'm scanning some old negative photos and some of the older ones have a strong color cast probably due to film degradation. Most of the color cast is yellow and/or green. I'm using GIMP to treat the photos.

Using the Levels tool, I've noticed that the blue channel has very little information (histogram almost flat), hence the yellow cast. The green channel usually shows "normal" histogram, although I need to ajust the middle point. In most of the pictures, just ajusting the colors in the Levels tool fixes the color cast. However, in some of them, the cast is so strong that changing the levels introduces a blue of purple fringing.

So, have anybody go through this sort of situation? Is there another (maybe better) way to fix the color cast without introducing the fringing or is there a way to remove (or reduce) the fringing afterwards?

Thanks!

My preferred method for best results when scanning such type negatives is to use the "Color Restoration" setting available in the Epson Scanning Software (Epson Scan) that was shipped with my Epson V700 Scanner.

I have found this to be very effective with scanning MANY Negatives and Slides.

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Vernon...

OP RTomita New Member • Posts: 9
Re: Strong color cast in old negative photos

So, after your suggestions, I tried to correct the images on the scanner. As I mentioned, I'm using a Wolverine F2D scanner, so changing scanning software is not an option. However, the scanner has a RGB setting and ajusting that gave the best results so far. I had never looked at those settings before, but now I'm considering rescanning some of the pictures.

Here is the picture, ajusted with the green color -1/2 and the blue color +1/2. Also, increased contrast in the Levels tool. No fringing at all, and the histogram shows a good amount of blue (instead of almost no blue before).

So, for me, I've learned a lot about color correction after looking at the histograms from the "bad" pictures. And learned that the scanning process is more important than I thought it was.

Thank you very much for your inputs!

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Vernon D Rainwater Forum Pro • Posts: 14,530
Re: Strong color cast in old negative photos

RTomita wrote:

So, after your suggestions, I tried to correct the images on the scanner. As I mentioned, I'm using a Wolverine F2D scanner, so changing scanning software is not an option. However, the scanner has a RGB setting and ajusting that gave the best results so far. I had never looked at those settings before, but now I'm considering rescanning some of the pictures.

Here is the picture, ajusted with the green color -1/2 and the blue color +1/2. Also, increased contrast in the Levels tool. No fringing at all, and the histogram shows a good amount of blue (instead of almost no blue before).

So, for me, I've learned a lot about color correction after looking at the histograms from the "bad" pictures. And learned that the scanning process is more important than I thought it was.

Thank you very much for your inputs!

I am pleased that you are getting better results by starting at the Scanning stage.  I learned that a few years ago before my "Gigantic" scanning project for many Many  thousands of scanned images (for a period of over 60 years of exposures) using Negatives and Slides -- both B/W and Color of various sizes from Minox- 8mm through 4 x 5.

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Vernon...

Erik Ohlson
Erik Ohlson Forum Pro • Posts: 22,322
Re: Strong color cast in old negative photos

Easiest way I know of:

PSE:

Enhance>adjust color>adjust color for skin tone.

Click on a well lit medium skin area. Done.

I've marked an "X" where I clicked.

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hubcap91
hubcap91 Junior Member • Posts: 25
Re: Strong color cast in old negative photos

Hi,

I understand this an older thread and the OP's questions have been responded as to the correction required. My problem is exactly the same. The negatives have a strong light green/aqua color. When I found the printed photos, they look perfectly normal. Can anyone explain if this is due to the negatives degrading over time?

Many thanks

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jonby Regular Member • Posts: 300
Re: Strong color cast in old negative photos

hubcap91 wrote:

Hi,

I understand this an older thread and the OP's questions have been responded as to the correction required. My problem is exactly the same. The negatives have a strong light green/aqua color. When I found the printed photos, they look perfectly normal. Can anyone explain if this is due to the negatives degrading over time?

Many thanks

It could be to do with film degradation, but it could also be something in the scanning process. To give people the best chance of helping, you should say a bit more about about the film - age, type, scanner, scanning software, scanning settings etc.

You may be able to make changes to scan settings to improve things.

Even better, post a scan if possible, and even better still, post a flatbed scan/photo of the corresponding print.

hubcap91
hubcap91 Junior Member • Posts: 25
Re: Strong color cast in old negative photos

Hi, thank you for the reply.

The negative is an AGFA XR100, I understand this was a common film stock in the 1980s from information on the internet and indeed the set of photos are from 1987.
I have used an Epson V600 for this set but have also used it for several other rolls with no such issue which leads me to think it is the negative which is the cause of the problem.
I am using SilverFast 9 and have not applied any color correction. I could not find the printed photo for demonstration but I recall quite clearly that it does not have the green tint. The setting for SilverFast are related to ME (multiple exposure), iSRD (for scratch and dust removal).

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jonby Regular Member • Posts: 300
Re: Strong color cast in old negative photos

hubcap91 wrote:

Hi, thank you for the reply.

The negative is an AGFA XR100, I understand this was a common film stock in the 1980s from information on the internet and indeed the set of photos are from 1987.
I have used an Epson V600 for this set but have also used it for several other rolls with no such issue which leads me to think it is the negative which is the cause of the problem.
I am using SilverFast 9 and have not applied any color correction. I could not find the printed photo for demonstration but I recall quite clearly that it does not have the green tint. The setting for SilverFast are related to ME (multiple exposure), iSRD (for scratch and dust removal).

Thanks for posting the image.

There's a chance that your colours are being thrown out by the presence of the date digits within the image. Do the other sets of images which have come out ok also have a date imprint? If not, then this could be a factor.

You say you have not applied any colour correction, but chances are that the software is set to do corrections automatically, and it will likely use the colour of brightest parts of the image to set clipping points for each colour channel, and the date could be throwing this out of balance.

I haven't used Silverfast recently, but I presume you can choose to crop the image. Try cropping the date out and see if that causes an improvement in the auto colour corrections. In Epson Scan, you can do this by scanning in non-thumbnails mode, selecting a portion of the image which excludes the date (you should also exclude the borders), turning auto corrections off and then resetting the crop to include the full image. There may be an equivalent in Silverfast - I'm not sure.

Whatever the problem is, you should be able to get better results by working with settings in the scanning software, even if it means doing manual corrections. Essentially, you need more blue and red, less green. If you have one of the more limited versions of Silverfast, then you might have somewhat limited options, but you should be able to get some improvement. An alternative approach is to scan as 16 bit with all corrections off, and then do corrections in other software such as Photoshop.

Changing the film profile is one thing to try. It's also worth trying Epson Scan if you can't improve things in Silverfast.

Looking at the histograms should help - these help to show problems with the scanning. here are the histograms for your scan. The white clipping point for the blue channel has been set way too high, resulting in no blue in the midtones and highlights. Also there's too much green in the upper midtones.

I took the liberty of downloading your image and trying to correct in Photoshop - hope you don't mind. Although an improvement, there's too much colour info lost at the scanning stage, so it's difficult to get a really good result. That's why you are better off getting the best result you can at the scanning stage.

Hopefully a Silverfast user will come in and help in more detail with the details of using that program.

Good luck

CAcreeks
CAcreeks Forum Pro • Posts: 17,165
Re: Strong color cast in old negative photos

Agfa negative films were prone to magenta fade. Their dye technology never reached the longevity level of Kodak and Fuji, although I liked Agfa films when shot fresh and scanned shortly after development. Editing your original, I got results similar to those by jonby, with effort. To save time, you might want to investigate color recovery software.

There used to be a film comparison table on the web, but I can't find it now, so I'm not sure what XF100 was called on the box.

hubcap91 wrote:

The negative is an AGFA XR100, I understand this was a common film stock in the 1980s from information on the internet and indeed the set of photos are from 1987.
I have used an Epson V600 for this set but have also used it for several other rolls with no such issue which leads me to think it is the negative which is the cause of the problem.
I am using SilverFast 9 and have not applied any color correction. I could not find the printed photo for demonstration but I recall quite clearly that it does not have the green tint. The setting for SilverFast are related to ME (multiple exposure), iSRD (for scratch and dust removal).

GCam Veteran Member • Posts: 9,538
Re: Strong color cast in old negative photos

Are you scanning negatives or prints?  The sample you show has all the signs of improper bleaching of the print.  If negatives, where you store them is important.  Never store film or prints in a chest of drawers or any similar wooden cabinet, due to the formaldehyde used in wood processing,.  I don't use Gimp but in Photoshop it seems to be easily fixed using raw then opening in Photoshop and using hue/sat layer.  gc

robgendreau Veteran Member • Posts: 8,949
Re: Strong color cast in old negative photos
1

I find the easiest method of correction is to use Negative Lab Pro. Most of the film shooters I know now use it, and it often does great, even with old negatives, on just the auto settings. And it's a very fast workflow. https://www.negativelabpro.com

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