ex­plained… Tools for fix­ing old pho­tos

Mac Format - - APPLE SKILLS - Dave Steven­son

the Lev­els ad­just­ment tool to brighten the white point and darken the black point of your im­age of­fers more fine-toothed con­trol. Us­ing the Curves tool (see MF306) can bring colours and sat­u­ra­tion up, pro­duc­ing an im­age that will print with more im­pact. Sharp­en­ing and noise When digi­tis­ing your im­ages, if you’re us­ing your scan­ner at its high­est, native res­o­lu­tion, you shouldn’t lose any sharp­ness be­tween the scan­ner and Pho­to­shop. How­ever, for all the nos­tal­gia at­tached to the aes­thetic of film pho­tog­ra­phy, there’s a pretty good chance the tech­ni­cal qual­ity of your scans will fall well short of that of­fered by al­most any mod­ern dig­i­tal cam­era. Cheap film and lack­lus­tre high‑ISO per­for­mance are just two of the cul­prits, and that’s be­fore you con­sider the ef­fect of cheap fixed-fo­cus lenses or the pos­si­bil­ity of the pho­tog­ra­pher miss­ing fo­cus when shooting the pic­ture in the first place.

Sharp­en­ing and noise re­duc­tion of­ten go hand in hand, but when work­ing with scans of ana­logue prints, sharp­en­ing is the tech­nique that’ll most likely give you good re­sults. Use Pho­to­shop’s Un­sharp Mask fil­ter to ap­ply a round of in­tel­li­gent fil­ter­ing. Sharp­en­ing can be a tricky thing to get right: when us­ing the Un­sharp Mask’s 100% view, try to have the view be of an edge of some­thing in your pic­ture. Not only will this give you the best view of how well the tool is work­ing, but it should also give you the abil­ity to keep an eye out for ha­los – glow­ing edges. Over­sharp­ened im­ages of­ten suf­fer from these arte­facts, and with many clumsy ed­its you may not spot the prob­lem un­til you print your im­age.

Noise re­duc­tion is a tool you’ll prob­a­bly have less use for: the Un­sharp Mask and Re­duce Noise tools of­ten off­set each other, and it’s prefer­able to have a broadly sharp im­age with a touch of noise than one that looks cleaner but has soft edges. Crop and straighten Of course, you should make sure your im­ages are aligned prop­erly when plac­ing them in your scan­ner, but of­ten im­ages are al­ready mounted on card­board frames and to vary­ing de­grees of straight­ness.

If you’re go­ing to straighten hori­zons (press C to switch to Pho­to­shop’s Crop tool, which also en­ables ro­ta­tion when the pointer is just out­side a cor­ner), be mind­ful of any hand­writ­ten notes and cap­tions – any ef­fort to straighten an im­age will crop parts out, so make sure you’re not los­ing any­thing fu­ture his­to­ri­ans might find use­ful. Con­sider keep­ing two ver­sions of your im­ages: a straight­ened one that crops out the frame, and a full wonky one with noth­ing re­moved.

1 Clone stamp This is key in re­touch­ing. Use it to paint over pesky de­tails with parts of the im­age taken from else­where. 2 Spot heal­ing This brush is a sim­pler ver­sion of the clone stamp. It’s great for deal­ing with blem­ishes on de­tail-free ar­eas. 2 1 4 3 3 Un­sharp mask

A quick round of sharp­en­ing can help bring your old pic­tures up to date and get them ready to print. 4 Wa­ter stains

This im­age is a great can­di­date for re­touch­ing. Fix­ing the colour cast and wa­ter dam­age will be straight­for­ward.

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