Restoring old negatives copied digitally

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Vikramdev Rao Regular Member • Posts: 168
Restoring old negatives copied digitally

I have been copying old negatives using my digital camera. I have copied a few negatives whose emulsion has deteriorated. I have been rectifying minor blemishes using the spot healing tool and clone stamp tool in Photoshop. Some photos have extensive damage and I am posting a photo of one of them to give an idea of what I am experiencing. Any suggestions on how I could recover them using Photoshop tools?

Thank you for any help

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D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 26,898
Re: Restoring old negatives copied digitally

Hard work with the Clone Tool and the plain Healing Brush is the only answer. Mostly the Clone tool in this case.

For the wall area you can use quite a large size of brush, while for the face I find a radius of 26 pixels is a good routine size (you can save this as a standard brush).

When holding down the space bar, pressing the right mouse gives you a quick menu for jumping to Actual Pixels. Sometimes on face areas, you need to go in even closer, to about 400%, and use a 6 pixel brush -- which can also be saved for quick access. You're lucky with this one that the trouble doesn't affect the eyes much.

It's good when the picture finally comes up all sparkly clean.

Roll up your sleeves, grit your teeth and have fun.

Neat Image is usually good for reducing grain.

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Sigma fp
Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 17,643
Re: Restoring old negatives copied digitally

Vikramdev Rao wrote:

I have been copying old negatives using my digital camera. I have copied a few negatives whose emulsion has deteriorated. I have been rectifying minor blemishes using the spot healing tool and clone stamp tool in Photoshop. Some photos have extensive damage and I am posting a photo of one of them to give an idea of what I am experiencing. Any suggestions on how I could recover them using Photoshop tools?

This is how I do it. First a general introduction: blemishes are usually either lighter than the background (as most of yours are) or they are darker. I start by treating them separately. I deal with the major issues as a first stage; anything minor that's left I do at the end.

[Note: I use two screens for Photoshop - on a single screen the windows at the right will be alongside or over your image]

The problems often are not uniform across the picture, so it can be a good idea to select areas (I use the Magic Wand but any method that suits you is OK. In the example below the top section shows where I've selected the left-hand side.

I want to deal with the light blemishes so the next stage is to create a Duplicate Layer of the area selected. I want those blemishes darker so I set the Blend Mode of the layer to Darken - red rectangle; you get to that via a drop down menu in the Layers dialogue.

Now we deal with the blemishes via the Filter menu (green rectangle). Click on that and you get a drop down menu with Noise about half way down; click on that to find Dust and Scratches.

That brings up the box with options that you have to choose (yellow box). The top choice (radius) sets how big the blemishes are that are dealt with. Its value depends on the pixel count of the image (the more pixels the higher the radius value) and also how big they look in the picture. The bottom choice (threshold) controls how bright the limit is set for removal.

The values I've used are roughly what I think that area of your picture needs but you can adjust to suit. Note that if I'd done this to the whole picture PS wouldn't distinguish the highlights in the hair so they'd be removed too. That's one reason for selecting areas; another is that some places (possibly the face) might need higher or lower settings.

So: that's the outline for one area. Carry on selecting other areas the same way. If after that there are dark blemishes to deal with (I don't see any here but your other pictures might have them) do the same again but with Blend Mode Lighten.

Finally, use the Spot Healing Brush to pick out things that this broad brush technique missed.

Thank you for any help

-- hide signature --

Gerry
________________________________________________________________________
I'm happy for anyone to edit any of my photos and display the results
_________________________________________________________________________
First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006
http://www.pbase.com/gerrywinterbourne
gerry.winterbourne@ntlworld.com

Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 17,643
Re: Restoring old negatives copied digitally

D Cox wrote:

Hard work with the Clone Tool and the plain Healing Brush is the only answer. Mostly the Clone tool in this case.

Not so. See my response: much quicker and easier, although it usually needs a bit if what you say to polish the end result.

For the wall area you can use quite a large size of brush, while for the face I find a radius of 26 pixels is a good routine size (you can save this as a standard brush).

When holding down the space bar, pressing the right mouse gives you a quick menu for jumping to Actual Pixels. Sometimes on face areas, you need to go in even closer, to about 400%, and use a 6 pixel brush -- which can also be saved for quick access. You're lucky with this one that the trouble doesn't affect the eyes much.

It's good when the picture finally comes up all sparkly clean.

Roll up your sleeves, grit your teeth and have fun.

Neat Image is usually good for reducing grain.

-- hide signature --

Gerry
________________________________________________________________________
I'm happy for anyone to edit any of my photos and display the results
_________________________________________________________________________
First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006
http://www.pbase.com/gerrywinterbourne
gerry.winterbourne@ntlworld.com

D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 26,898
Re: Restoring old negatives copied digitally

I found that the Dust and Scratches filter removed too many image details such as branches against the sky. And very often it needs human judgement to tell whether a mark is dirt on the film or a small highlight in the image.

So nowadays I use D&S only for sky areas, carefully selected.

================

White marks such as the fungi in the OP's example (which is exceptionally bad) don't just need to be darkened, they need to be matched to the nearest clean patch. The healing brush can do this with isolated dots, but it has to be used with care. The Clone tool is slow but safe.

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Sigma fp
Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 17,643
Re: Restoring old negatives copied digitally

D Cox wrote:

I found that the Dust and Scratches filter removed too many image details such as branches against the sky. And very often it needs human judgement to tell whether a mark is dirt on the film or a small highlight in the image.

That;'s why it needs tuning and separate treatment of lights nd darks.

So nowadays I use D&S only for sky areas, carefully selected.

================

White marks such as the fungi in the OP's example (which is exceptionally bad) don't just need to be darkened, they need to be matched to the nearest clean patch. The healing brush can do this with isolated dots, but it has to be used with care. The Clone tool is slow but safe.

-- hide signature --

Gerry
________________________________________________________________________
I'm happy for anyone to edit any of my photos and display the results
_________________________________________________________________________
First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006
http://www.pbase.com/gerrywinterbourne
gerry.winterbourne@ntlworld.com

RedFox88 Forum Pro • Posts: 30,022
Content aware?

Isn’t there a function called content aware or something designed to fill in the blanks meant for replacing an area if you want to remove an object? Sounds perfect for this though this has a lot of blanks .

OP Vikramdev Rao Regular Member • Posts: 168
Re: Restoring old negatives copied digitally

Working on it and will get back with my results. It is quite laborious so may take time

Thank you for the suggestions

 Vikramdev Rao's gear list:Vikramdev Rao's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 Olympus E-M1 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ +2 more
Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 17,643
Re: Content aware?

RedFox88 wrote:

Isn’t there a function called content aware or something designed to fill in the blanks meant for replacing an area if you want to remove an object?

No; this serves a completely different purpose. What it does is replace the area you've selected with another equal area from the same picture. So in this case it would just move the blemishes around.

-- hide signature --

Gerry
________________________________________________________________________
I'm happy for anyone to edit any of my photos and display the results
_________________________________________________________________________
First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006
http://www.pbase.com/gerrywinterbourne
gerry.winterbourne@ntlworld.com

thinkinginimages
thinkinginimages Senior Member • Posts: 1,042
Re: Restoring old negatives copied digitally

Vikramdev Rao wrote:

I have been copying old negatives using my digital camera. I have copied a few negatives whose emulsion has deteriorated. I have been rectifying minor blemishes using the spot healing tool and clone stamp tool in Photoshop. Some photos have extensive damage and I am posting a photo of one of them to give an idea of what I am experiencing. Any suggestions on how I could recover them using Photoshop tools?

Thank you for any help

I use a Wacom tablet for better brush control in Photoshop. It gives you a great level of dynamic control. Brush width and density are handled by stylus pressure and tilt. There's a great deal of info/tutorials on Youtube and it does take a little time to get familiar with a Wacom. I can't imagine doing high level retouching without one.

A Wacom tablet will work with any program. The computer and software just sees it as a "powerful mouse". Photoshop and Wacom have been used  together for years.

There are other "tricks". I tend to "scan big" at at least 200% and higher if possible. I downsample later. If it's a black and white negative I scan as a tiff in color to get as much bit depth as possible. Again, all this can be reduced later. That's just my method. Do whatever works for you.

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