Restoring my faith in Photoshop

I began this week somewhat confused about how to get anything done in Photoshop, but by the end of the week I feel like I’m finding my way around and even understanding how to restore photos! On Friday a group of us played around with matting and engraving as well as testing out some restoration techniques. It took a little while to recreate what we did in class, but by end of our meeting we each had an image matted and engraved! Here is what I created:

south carolina slave quarters with caption copy copy

My first attempt at restoration was not very satisfactory and I couldn’t seem to get the “patch” tool to work correctly.   So I attempted to “heal” my image again using the instructions in the article That Wicked Worn Look, but again did not meet with much success. I did, however, color a few items on this photo of my mother:

colorized mom

I’m not sure if this was taken while she was a student at Kent State or while she was newly married to my father and he was teaching at Athens College. Really the place is irrelevant, although I’m sure it would have influenced the color of her corsage! I tried coloring her lips as well, but that was a disaster!

But back to restoration! I now turned to help from our good friend Lynda. At last I began to get results and was successfully utilizing the Photoshop tools.  I used an image I downloaded from the New York Public Library, entitled, A Plantation Scene in South Carolina.  Here is the original image I used:

slave quarters in SC

Here it is after using the healing tools, including the patch tool, which I really like!

slave quarters in SC healed 1

On this image I created a new layer, used the paint brush and darkened the left side of the image, then used Gaussian blur. I originally used black as directed in the lesson, but she was working on a black and white image. I decided it made more sense to use a brown tone that better matched the image color.

slave quarters in SC healed 2

Finally I used to used the color balance and curves tools in this restoration, which I actually think is the most successful!

slave quarters in SC cb curves

One of the other things I realized during this process, was that I should probably have downloaded the GIFF of this image from the Library of Congress instead of the JPEG as I think this will not expand well.

I commented on Mark’s blog

5 thoughts on “Restoring my faith in Photoshop”

  1. Your restoration looks great! I’m dreading that part of the project. I’ve been focusing on the hand coloring a photograph, which seems equally as tedious but more fun for me! I look forward to seeing the rest of your mothers picture colored.

  2. Your work is pretty impressive. I think you did a fantastic job on the restoration. You seem to have mastered several more tools than I did. One of the problems that I kept running into on my photo was smudging from the healing brush. I was regularly getting these streaks that would develop over the long creases in the photo. Your project gave several ideas that I’m going to go back and try.

  3. Great work Alicia 😀 I am still somewhat confused by the coloring part! I did though have success in using the healing brush tool (and the clone stamp tool) to smooth out some of the imperfections in a picture.

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