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PHOTOSHOP TUTORIAL: Photo Restoration, How to repair and restore damaged Photographs

January 18, 2020

Hello! So on this channel I restore a lot
of old black-and-white photographs. Today I’m gonna be walking you through my
methods of how I do so. So a picture like this can become a picture like this,
let’s get to it. So by default Photoshop tends to work in a very destructive way.
I like to work non destructively, so the first thing I do is take my image layer
and convert it to a smart object. In essence what’s happened is that my
original image layer has been placed inside say a clear plastic wallet. So you
could write on the wallet you can you know stretch the wallet. You can do all
manner of things to the wallet but the image inside is safe. The next stage for
me is to crop out any edges of the photograph which I don’t wish to restore.
Which I do using the crop tool. Now within the crop tool as a quick thing to
mention there is the straighten tool. Now in the case of this image I don’t need
to use it but if you were using say an image that you’d scanned in that had
gone slightly skew whiff. You can click the straighten tool drag along the edge that
you want to be straight and Photoshop will straighten the image based on where
you’ve dragged that line. As I say I don’t need to use that on this image but
it’s a good tool to use. So the crop tool understandably crops
your image but again by default on the whole destructive non-destructive thing
by default Photoshop leaves delete cropped pixels ticked. And that means
that if you crop out an element and then you go actually I think I cropped a
little bit too much and you try and undo that crop, that original information
that’s been cropped under these lines will be gone.
So with that ticked this stuff above the line would just be gone. So we want to
untick that, because then as many times as we want to we can change this crop
later on. So with my crop tool in unconstrained mode I crop my image in to
remove the black border that I don’t want. I then crop the image. So for me an
image tends to have three types of damage that all need to be repaired
slightly differently. First up we have these small spots of damage. These can be
fixed quite easily since they’re generally surrounded by very similar
pixels and you can just patch them and they’re done. Then you have your more
complex spot repairs such as the ones around her eye here. For these the
surrounding pixels are no use for the repairs so I’ll probably have to sample,
for example, here from her other eye in order to fix them. Then you have your
edge repairs, these tend to look a lot worse than they actually are to fix but
they still require more precision than the small dot repairs to fix. Now not
every healing tool in Photoshop can be used in a non-destructive way. Two that can
are the Spot Healing Brush tool and the Healing Brush tool. So with these tools
selected we can create a new layer and you’ll notice up here it says Sample All
Layers, on the Spot Healing Brush tool. So when you paint on this blank layer it
will be sampling from the layer underneath as well. So if we zoom in
quick here we can find a spot like this paint on it and it will look around the
surrounding areas of this dark bit and fix them. And the advantage is that all
these repairs are stored on this new layer. So if, say, you weren’t happy with
the repair you could erase it off this layer and redo it as needed. So with the
general healing brush tool selected it works slightly differently if you try
and paint it will tell you that you need to Alt click or on a Mac I imagine
Option click to define a source point on the active layer. And this means that for
example in the case of this eye we can tell it we need to find something that looks
like that spot and obviously here we have another eye for that. So if you
sample you now see that we have that eye selected. So you can now line that up
paint in and it will fix it correctly. Now I truthfully tend to use the main
Healing Brush tool more than the spot healing brush tool because you can very quickly
sample a nearby spot and that way you don’t have to change tools all the time.
This is also very useful when you find something that’s a little bit trickier
to fix. So sometimes you may need to entirely replace part of the image. Let’s
say for example this eye were entirely missing. The best thing to do would be to
replace it with the existing eye. The problem obviously is that if we were to
sample this eye and then paint it in. What you would find is it looks really
strange because obviously the eye isn’t facing in the right direction and it’s
flipped the wrong way and all that kind of bad stuff. So what we could do in that
circumstance is go up to window, clone source and now we can modify this image
to make it look different. So for example first thing we can do is flip it. So now
it’s facing in the right direction. Obviously though it isn’t curved enough
so what we can also do is change the angle of the duplicate. So with that
adjusted we now have an eye that would look correct. So now if we paint that in, it
looks a lot better than it did on the previous attempt. So for me there’s one
area where the Healing Brush tools tend to make mistakes and that is with the
edges. So say we sample here and then we try and paint out these black spots. What
you’ll get is a big black smudge and that is because what it’s doing is
sampling both from the image we can see here and from the black border that we
cropped out earlier. Now of course you could have deleted that cropped border
with the delete pixel area in the crop settings but the problem I find is that
sometimes Photoshop will get confused and think that that area is still there
even if you’ve told it to delete it. Therefore when I have an issue like this
what I tend to do is go up to my mode on my healing brush tool and change it to
replace because under normal it’s trying to blend the colors but under replace
it’s literally taking an area and copying and pasting it. So there we go
it’s not as good because obviously it’s not blurring the pixels together but in
real terms for edges you don’t tend to notice and if you change it back to
normal you can go back
over some of these areas and it will blend them through. Now using only the
methods that I’ve just shown I’m gonna repair the rest of the face while you
watch. So with the Healing Brush tool selected some of this is obviously
fairly straightforward such as these spots here there we go. And even some
like this area under the eye where you can see there’s a gradual gradient
aren’t gonna be too tricky as long as you choose in the right spot. As you can
see these tools are very good at adapting for the most part. It is all
really about just finding an area that is the same brightness and then paintng
that in and as with the edges they’ll be the odd area where you’ve got really
high contrast and the best thing to do is to replace those missing areas with
surrounding details just sampling as you need a different piece and then if
necessary go over it quickly with the tool in order to smooth it out. I
actually find this process like very very therapeutic to do. Now any area such
as the edges where you have these high contrast black and white differences is
going to cause some problems for the healing tools. So again in those cases I
tend to switch to replace mode and just replace what I need to so that the other
tools can work correctly again so now I’ve done that you can see there’s a
slightly rough edge but if we switch back to normal mode I can now go over
these bits a little bit and patch them. Now sometimes you have a spot like this
eye where it takes you a few seconds to work out the best way to fix it. In this
case the high contrast white against the others is going to mean that most of the
simple patching tools won’t be able to do a great job. So the first thing I’m
gonna do is go to Replace mode on my Healing Brush tool here and gently and
carefully replace what I can from the surrounding area.
I may need to go over it again to smooth it out of it but it will allow some
quick repairs which will repair most of the issues. Now I’d ideally like this
edge here to be a little softer so if I switch back to normal mode and just
paint in there you’ll notice it softens it out and I can go back over these
various bits here that look a little strange and patch them until they don’t,
there we go. Now using only the methods that I’ve
shown I’m gonna go through the rest of this image. I don’t think we really want
this tutorial series to be like two hours long. So I’m going to go through
here patch all this damage out and then we’ll regroup and we’ll adjust the
lighting. So with the restoration done I now have two main areas and when I look
at. One is the fact that there seems to be light bleeding into the left and
right hand sides of this particular negative which can be seen on the
original version as well and I would also like to have a little look at the
general overall exposure. So firstly I’ll add a curves adjustment which I can use
to affect how light or dark the image is but what I’m going to do is apply a mask
to it. So we can see we currently have a white mask on it which is showing
through the full adjustment. I can fill that with black which then means I, well,
none of it’s showing through as you can see and now I can paint into the left
and right hand sides or at least mask into them, in order to darken down those
areas. Now with both the left and right hand sides unmasked while the middle is
masked you can see I can adjust those separately but at the moment there’s
quite a harsh line so I’m going to apply a blur to my mask, a motion blur, just to
smooth that out. So now I can adjust that far more precisely. I think i’ll blur it a
little bit more and I’ll make a few little adjustments
down the bottom for the bits that it didn’t cover and a few on the right. Now
looking at this I’d like to just make a little bit of an adjustment to the
center because it’s a bit overexposed just to see what I can bring back
detail-wise. So using a curves adjustment I can just
drag down a little bit in the center I don’t want to do it too much and let’s
have a look at that before and after. There we go, I think we would say that is
done maybe I’ll dial that back a little bit and there we go that is restored.
Thank you very much for watching if you’d like to watch a tutorial about how
I go about coloring this picture I’ve got one on this channel along with lots
of videos on various historical pictures which I’ve restored and colored. A Like
and or Subscription would be very much appreciated as they really encourage me
to keep making videos .Thanks again and bye for now!


  • Reply Oli Toxiic January 18, 2020 at 10:42 am

    Awesome video!

  • Reply George Plays GTA January 18, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    Excellent tutorial video! I CANNOT believe the improvement after all of the fix ups. I saw the fixed up one first on the other video and i was blown away when i saw how much you'd fixed! worth the watch

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