Saturday, August 4, 2007

Photo Editing On Computer

Folks, I'm sorry for not posting yesterday, and not visiting much lately. We've been having work done on our home, and this week it was paint (next week too). They painted in the rooms where we have our old, and my new computers, so both were unhooked.

Friday night, I finally got them put back together, after stealing a circuit card out of the old computer so that I can input video into my new one.

Anyway, I'm back up an running finally, but am way behind on preparing photos, taking photos, and selecting some to post.

Here's another before and after of a photo of my maternal grandparents, Henry and Hilda Hinton, taken in the early or mid 1950s.

The past couple of posts have been about photo restoration and repair. I thought I would answer a couple of comments that were left for me, and use the answers as a post. How's that for lazy?

photowannabe and bluemountainmama said: "I must learn photoshop. My folks had many slides that need help." and "how did you do this? did you scan them into your computer and then photoshop?"

bluemountainmama and photowannabe - Yes, I scanned them into the computer. I have a Minolta Dimage Scan Elite II film/slide scanner that is designed specifically to do just that, scan either 35mm slides or 35mm negatives into digital form. It's the most accurate way to scan, much better and more detailed than scanning a printed photo on a flatbed scanner. But I also have and use an Epson Perfection 2400 Photo flatbed scanner that is EXCELLENT. I love it.

The only problem with the slides in Wednesday's post was that they are square images from 126 film (I think). So I actually scanned the Citrus Tower and Silver Dollar City Train with my flatbed scanner, which can do slides, but isn't as good as my Minolta scanner is. But, I was able to scan the whole square on the flatbed scanner, whereas they Minolta thought I was using typical 35mm slides and only would scan a 35mm sized rectangle.

Once they are scanned, I use Photoshop Elements, which is a $80 software program as opposed to "real" Photoshop CS3, which is a $600 program.

The first thing I do, once an image is scanned, is to open it with Elements and use the "Levels" tool to point out to the program 3 separate points on the image. One is a spot that "should be" absolutely black, but isn't. Then I select a spot that "should be" absolutely white, but isn't. And finally, I select a spot that "should be" a medium gray.

When those three points are selected carefully, and it takes practice to do so, the image is almost perfectly color corrected. It can literally take me now only one minute from opening a color shifted slide as shown today, to making it look printable.

On photos in otherwise good shape, that is all I have to do to make a dramatic change.

After using levels to color correct, I might have to adjust the brightness, contrast, and color saturation a little, but usually this is only "tweaks" as the real problem of the color shift was fixed.

After that, I look at the image blown up huge on my monitor to identify dust specs and little things that might have stuck to an old slide or negative, and use the "Healing Brush" tool to pick off, so to speak, the dust specks.

What results, from just a couple of minutes work, is a totally rejuvenated image.

Doing image repairs, where part of the picture is torn as in the case of scanned print from a flatbed scanner, is much more difficult and time consuming.

I have a whole lot of images on my computer, just awaiting my working on them. So on any given day, I might feel like digging deep and repairing torn photos that I've scanned, while other days, I just want to have fun, and repairing an undamaged slide that has color shifted, like today's, is fun and quick.

I can do the work that matches my mood.


Ben said...

Good post!
I'm sure many people appreciate you share your process in this post.

Meg in Nelson said...

Hi, Jam. Great to see the Sainted Grandparents!

kmm said...

Jam, thats a typical photo from that time. My grandmother loved her camera and lined up everyone in front of a car/tree/etc. I have always wondered about scanning negatives and you have answered my question. Thank you Kerrin

Moi said...

Thanx for sharing the details , John.