Old Photo Restoration: 3 Types of Elements
There are three elements that are typically used in old photo restoration. Fading is used to adjust the color levels to ensure that the photo maintains an authentic look. Color casts can be used to add balance to the photo or colorize a photo that was originally black and white. Finally, selective editing tools can be used to address localized damage such as scratches, tears or dust. This can be accomplished by using a healing brush or by using a clone stamp to repeat existing photos and replace those which were lost.
When addressing degradation or fading, the blacks of the photo will need to be enhanced to reverse these effects. To enhance the contrast of the photo, photo restoration software often balances these edits by increasing the lightened areas of the photo so that the whole picture appears brighter. This will need to be handled delicately when working with old black and white photos. Most photos do not have truly black or white photos, but rather had shades of brown or gray which became lighter or darker across the photo. Creating a photo that has crisp coloration may remove the historical look of the photo that may be essential to keep the mood of the piece.
In order to effectively undertake photo restoration, layers are often added on top of the photo. Altering layers allows the user to address specific areas of the photo rather than changing the photograph as a whole. Adjustment layers also remove the risk that the original photo will be lost. Editing layers can always be removed to return the photo to its original form. To avoid this risk, save a copy of the original photo as well as the paper copy before you begin the editing process.
Most older photos to be restored contain photos of people. Clothing and skin do not have straight edges in their design. Use curved tools when using photo restoration techniques on these photographs. This will maintain a natural look for these figures. Otherwise, they may wind up looking pixelated or artificial. Curved tools also allow fades to be added to the photo easily. You can automate these tools to add auto contrast or auto levels to your editing toolkit. This will help guarantee that all hues or color levels added to the photo will match as you edit each portion of the picture or add original elements to the photo.