Image Restoration

After months of scanning hundreds, dare I say thousands of family photos. I have found several that have nearly lost their image due to age and not being kept in ideal conditions. Here is my restoration project of one photo that caught my attention.

The image started out like this. I scanned it at 600 DPI so it would be large enough to work with in Paint Shop Pro.Yes, Paint Shop Pro. I know a lot of you snootier folks prefer Photo Shop, but Paint Shop Pro is my friend and I swear by it for any image project I decide to work on.

You can see the small tear and some of the spots of discoloration on the background.

If those were the only spots it wouldn’t be such a problem except that the spots are on her lovely face too…which is not acceptable.

You can see on the left that the spots are luckily not in any vital areas like on her eyes, nose, or mouth, so they are not too much of a problem to fix. I use a tool in PSP called the “clone” tool to copy and recreate most of her skin tone and some of the hair line.


Here is a view of a beautiful face that has been worn down over time. It’s definitely time to give her a make over.

First, the spots had to go. It wasn’t too bad, about a 30 minute job of carefully smoothing over the darkened areas. The overall skin still isn’t smooth, but then again, neither is mine!

Second I adjusted the contrast and tweaked the darkness value to bring out more details.

This is a pretty good image as it is..but I had to go and get greedy. I decided to experiment with some color. So here it goes.

Next, the lips. It looks kind of funny now, but just wait. I made several layers and did each part separately and piece it all together bit by bit.

One layer got a blue tone so that when it’s time to make the eyes stand out it’ll be there waiting.

Ta da…after erasing most of the blue layer, leaving only the eyes, they fit in just right. I don’t actually know if her eyes were blue. I had to take a bit of artistic license.

Next, increase the contrast and darkness of her hair to give it more depth to bring the image to life, so to speak.

The background needed a bit of umph so I darkened it and made it contrast more with her hair color. It helps to send the background to the back so it’s not such a flat image.

Every lady needs a silky blue dress, so here it is. I of course have no idea what color this dress really was, hopefully it’s not too much.

And now for her final touch, a bit of rouge. I can’t make her smile, but I can make it look like she’s either just smiled, or is about to.

Below are the results of the restoration. You cans see from the before and after that it’s well worth it to take the time to work on your old photos.

I rather like it. The color might not be everyone’s favorite way to go, but that’s the beauty of using digital images, you can do what you want and keep the original in tact.

I really enjoyed this little project. I look forward to working on many more pictures. I will be printing this one out and putting it in a frame. This charming face will not be stuck in a drawer anymore.

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2 comments for “Image Restoration

  1. kim
    December 9, 2008 at 6:40 PM

    this looks so much like grandma—it is scary—-who is it?

  2. shella
    December 21, 2008 at 12:44 PM

    who is that?it looks like ember and leah tell us who it is

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