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Photo Restoration Question

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by syilim, Feb 2, 2011.

  1. syilim

    syilim Mu-43 Regular

    54
    Jan 31, 2011
    Hi all.

    I'm "trying" to help my girlfriend's family out with their old photos. Unfortunately her house was burnt down, and almost everything was turned to ash. They managed to salvage a few family photo albums, but most of the photos are pretty damaged. Just spent like the last 10 hours trying to pry the photos out of the albums >.<

    I figured i'll scan them, and do some light restoration on them (mainly put a soft blurry boarder around where the photo has been burnt).

    Question is, what dpi/ppi should I scan the photos? I tried researching online, most say like 300-600dpi. But then found this one website, which says that it depends on the resolution of the original photo. But i have no idea what the resolution of these photos are. They're taken like 10-15 years ago, and most of them are badly burnt to say the least. Scanning is better than taking a picture of the photos right? :confused:

    Also, any quick photo restoration tips?

    Many thanks
     
  2. michaelfinch

    michaelfinch Mu-43 Regular

    104
    Sep 24, 2010
    Lancashire, England
    Hi. If you have a reasonable quality digital camera - MFT for eg!! - and you can place the originals flat to photograph them, there's no reason why you shouldn't (with care) get results that will print out to a reasonable size. As far as possible, make sure the camera is square on to the original and that it is evenly lit, perhaps with natural light through a largish window.
    If you take the scanning route 300dpi should be fine with the image set to the size you want to output it. Of course, you might have to tweak the quality whatever route you go but for regular sized family photos you shouldn't encounter too many problems. There are a number of approaches to get the best out of a scanner but in this case there shouldn't be a need to get too complicated.
    The main thing is that they are family pics and and are clearly valued. Thank goodness something was left from sounds like a nightmare. Hope that helps.
    Cheers
    Michael
     
  3. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    Yes, you can get a better reproduction out of a scan. Some scanners will even restore the color and contrast.

    As far as scan resolution, that depends on the size of the original. Take the long dimension of the original in inches and divide 3000 by that number:

    3000/10"=300ppi/dpi (for a 10" print)
    3000/5"=600ppi/dpi (for a 5" print)

    If you crop out the burn areas, then the dimensions are the scan dimensions. You may also want to tweek the scans in post processing with curves and unsharp masking. You can also eliminate some of the damage in photoshop. See the following pdf:

    http://imaging.bates.edu/node/21
     
  4. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    I have been scanning a LOT of old family photos over the last year and occasionally when I run across a special one, I scan at600dpi, but it seems to introduce artifacts (not to mention it takes a LOT longer). I really think 300dpi is more than enough for the task. If there is something that may be blown up bigger, you may want to do more, but for simple reproductions and small enlargements, 300dpi should be more then enough. If you want some help doing restoration..... I love to help. And if it's past my skill set, I can help direct you to more people who prefer restoring to photography.

    Good luck!
     
  5. red

    red Mu-43 Veteran

    455
    Sep 21, 2010
    For over ten years I make digital restaurations. Depends on the source picture I highly recommend to use a scanner with a least 600 dpi resolution - for detail restauration like folds and cracks in a picture or spots in a text I usually using 1200 dpi.
    You need some practice and a tool like Photoshop in which you can use different editing tools.

    Here is a sample of an old advertising document related to the Swiss National Exhibition Bern 1914 (it's from my virtual museum). Please note that the effort was about ten hours for this picture... :smile:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Good luck with your project!
     
    • Like Like x 2
  6. syilim

    syilim Mu-43 Regular

    54
    Jan 31, 2011
    Wow! Great job Red on that restore. 10 hours, thats dedication! Kudos!

    I tried scanning at 300 DPI and the image came out pretty good. I tried again at 600 DPI, just for comparison sake, and was prepared for a really big file as I've been reading online. Strangely enough, it was only 1mb 0.o

    The photo that i scanned was a full size 4 x 6 due to not having really badly burnt edges. I placed it at the bottom right of the scanner bed, scanned it. The thing is, on my computer, the image was of the whole scanner bed. As in a white area equal to the size of the scanner bed and then the 4 x 6 photo in the corner. I was kinda expecting it to be just the 4 x 6. Maybe i did something wrong =S Also, the only difference that i noticed between 300 DPI and 600 DPI was that at 100% zoom, the 600 DPI was twice as big. Obviously. Quality wise I couldn't really tell with my eyes.

    is there any reason why the 600dpi 4x6 photo only came out at 1mb? It's this btw. [​IMG]
     
  7. red

    red Mu-43 Veteran

    455
    Sep 21, 2010
    You should be able to select the object that you like to scan. Then you should be able to select the ratio (normaly 1:1, means you are working on the original size of the object) and also the resolution (e.g. 600 dpi). A 4 by 6 inch picture will result in a size of about 20M (uncompressed tif or psd file), at 300 dpi you will have about 6M. If you like to make a print you can downsize the resolution to 300 dpi (I would recommend 400 dpi).

    With 600 dpi you will not see much more if the picture is displayed on your screen. But you will be able to work more detailed. And in generally you should work in a higer resolution than the final picture should have. So the last step is always downsize the file to the target size. For archive I would store a high resolution copy (like the negativev film which has the better resolution than your 4 by 6 print)

    (PS: I was not able to see your picture because of the restriction at my work place - no flickr, no photobucket)
     
  8. syilim

    syilim Mu-43 Regular

    54
    Jan 31, 2011
    Ah ok. Thanks for the tips Red.

    Oh Luke. Forgot to respond to you in my last reply. So sorry!! I had it in my head what to write, but forgot for some reason =S Thanks alot for your offer, but given the situation, I think i'll try and tackle this task on my own for now. It shouldn't be too hard as I'm only working with the lesser damaged photos and mostly only putting a soft border around them to negate the burnt edges. But thanks alot for the kind offer!
     
  9. BobBill

    BobBill Mu-43 Veteran

    261
    Dec 29, 2010
    MN USA
    Bob Hively-Johnson
    Scans of Old Photos and Negs

    Red +1/ Find a good scanner= say in $500+ range, and do high dpi scans, slow, but when large enough, you can do wonders with them, film or prints. But, it is time consuming, so have alternative while scanner is grinding away. I use a Microtek Artiscan...but there are likely better alternatives. I needed one that did film in large strips and dpi levels.
     
  10. red

    red Mu-43 Veteran

    455
    Sep 21, 2010
    that's right - a good scanner will help...
    I'm using an Epson Perfection V700 Photo - and I'm very satisfied to work with it.
     
  11. syilim

    syilim Mu-43 Regular

    54
    Jan 31, 2011
    *sigh*

    Been spending the last 10 or so days "trying" to restore these photos. Everything looked fine on screen. Was so excited anticipating the finished product. Today, i suddenly thought to try printing some of the restored photos out with home printer to see the quality of the prints............................... They're no where near the original quality =( Suddenly feel so disheartened. grrr.

    I'll upload some pics to see if anyone can help.
     
  12. syilim

    syilim Mu-43 Regular

    54
    Jan 31, 2011
    Before:
    [​IMG]

    After: Minimal edit. Just cropped to fit 6x4, auto contrast/colour/tone, some cloning here and there.
    [​IMG]

    Before:
    [​IMG]

    After: Bit more editing here. same auto contrast/tone/colour, quite a bit of cloning, and then creating feathered crop effect because had no way to fix the bottom right corner.
    [​IMG]

    Before:
    [​IMG]

    After: Alot of edit. had quite a bit of fun with this pic with removing the people on the left side of pic (yes, i left someone's pants there >.>).
    [​IMG]
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. syilim

    syilim Mu-43 Regular

    54
    Jan 31, 2011
    Firstly, i didn't really expect any professional results since I'm a complete beginner at this. Never even touched photoshop before this. So everything is first time for me. But my expectation kind of went up after seeing how much better the photos looked looked on screen. At least to my unprofessionally trained eye (also my girlfriend's actually).

    Some information about my process:

    I scanned the photos with a HP Photosmart C7250 All-in-One at 600dpi and saved as .tiff.

    I then opened in CS5. Usually first thing I did was use the cropping tool set at 6x4 (cropping dpi set to 300), then started the other editing.

    Then saved as both .tiff and jpeg file

    Today i tried printing both the .tiff and jpeg file which had been cropped at 6x4 300dpi, the results was so-so. So i tried cropping at 600dpi, not much different. I then tried printing the scanned copy with no editing, and still the quality was not as sharp as the original.

    Could this be due to my printer being rather poor? Or is a lost of quality simply expected from scanned photos?

    Now i'm really not sure whether I should continue editing and hope that when the photos are processed by profession service, it'll turn out better, or just use the original photos even though they are damaged and really smell of chemicals (they were damaged by house fire and all the other chemicals that were used by the firemen, and was also left in that environment for several weeks before being allowed to collect).

    *sigh*

    THanks for reading
     
  14. deirdre

    deirdre Mu-43 Top Veteran

    661
    Aug 9, 2010
  15. syilim

    syilim Mu-43 Regular

    54
    Jan 31, 2011
    I read quite a few articles where it said that scanning beyond 600dpi doesn't always improve quality, and infact might actually degrade the scanned image. So I figured I scan at 600dpi as suggested by a few people. Maybe I should've went higher?