Removing Spot Scratches in Your Treasured Photos - 5 Minute Digital Fix
Probably one of the most common problems you will be faced with in doing any type of digital photo restoration work will be to do with spot scratches on your old photos.
When we first look at those old black and white or early colour photos they often have small scratch marks and spots on them from being stored incorrectly.
These small spot scratches are easily perceived by your eye when you are looking at the photo, detracting from the overall subject matter.
Here is a very easy quick fix using Adobe Photoshop's History Brush tool.
Our example "before" image on our web-site has numerous small spot scratches on the old sepia toned photograph.
The basic removal method described here can quickly and effortlessly bring those scratched photos back to (almost) their former glory using the History Brush Tool found in Photoshop.
This basic technique works extremely well for those types of images that have spot scratches in areas of the photo that do not contain a lot of detail.
As you can see in our example image on the web-site, the spots tend to be primarily on the background of the photo, making it ideal for this correction method.
Step - 1
Having opened up the image in Photoshop we will first apply the Dust and Scratches filter by selecting Filter->Noise->Dust & Scratches ...
Set the Threshold to between 1 and 4 (I generally start with 1) and then increase the Radius until you see the spot scratches disappear.
Our example image on the web-site finally made the largest spot scratch on the left hand side of the photo disappear at a Threshold of 3 and Radius of 10.
All well and good but our image is now totally blurred!! Not really what we wanted to see is it?
This is where the History Brush tool comes into play.
Step - 2
Open up the History Palette by selecting Window->History if you cannot see the window already open.
We are going to create a "Snapshot" of the current state of the image in question by clicking on what looks like a little image of a camera at the bottom of the History Palette window (see the red arrow on the web-site image).
After clicking you will notice that the History Palette now shows an extra image icon called "Snapshot 1".
This is a snapshot of the image that includes the effect of apply the Dust & Scratches Filter in Step 1.
Now click on the little square box to the left of Snapshot 1.
You will see a little "brush" icon appear which is now telling us that the "Snapshot 1" image will be used as our "source" when we paint with the History Brush.
Remember ... this snapshot image actually has none of the spot scratches on it because we made them disappear by applying the Dust & Scratches filter in Step 1.
Step - 3
Make the original (un-touched) history snapshot active by clicking on it (in the case of our example image this is "Restore-Before-Image.jpg").
Select the History Brush from the main toolbar (this has the same icon as the little "brush" icon that appeared in the History Palette window).
We are now ready to "paint away" those spot scratches!!
Step - 4
I'm going to zoom in on the largest scratch on the left hand side of the photo to show you how we use the History Brush.
We selected the History Brush in Step 3.
Select an appropriate brush size and soft edges.
We now need to decide how to apply the brush to the scratches in question.
You will notice that the scratches in our example image are "lighter" than the surrounding image.
Step - 5
We need to paint "darker" pixels and as such we set the History Brush Mode: to "Darken" (Top Menu Bar option when you have the History Brush as the active tool).
This has the effect of "telling the History Brush" to only replace pixels on the original image with pixels from our snapshot if the snapshot pixel is darker.
Start to paint over the scratches and see what happens.
The scratches start to miraculously disappear as you paint over them.
They are being replaced with the underlying snapshot image pixels you created in Step 1.
The benefit of using this techniques is that you have complete control over which parts of the original image you "paint over" so as not to blur important details of the image had you just applied a Dust & Scratches filter to the whole image.
Now what if your scratches are darker than the surrounding image, I hear you ask?
Easy!! ... just use a History Brush Mode: of "Lighten" instead of "Darken".
You can experiment with all of the History Brush options - Mode, Opacity and Flow until you get the desired result.
The resulting "After" image has had all of the spot scratches removed easily without compromising on the photographic detail of the image.
And there you have it!! Less than five minutes of digital image manipulation to remove those unwanted spot scratches.
If you find the steps taking are a little hard to understand in this text based article, you can click on the link at the end of this article to see the same method explained on our website with the aid of example graphical images.
© Gary Wilkinson 2005 - All Rights Reserved
You can see this removal method complete with example images at Basic removal of Spot Scratches in Photos
Feel free to re-print this article provided that all hyperlinks and author biography are retained as-is.
Gary Wilkinson is a photographer, photographic restorer and the owner of a photographic retail business.
He is also the publisher of the restoring-photos-made-easy.com website, where other methods of correcting common photographic restoration problems are discussed.
Specialized Styles of Photography
Outlined below is a list of genres that call for specialized treatment in the process of creating outstanding photographs. These thematic approaches will be discussed in detail here, though there are few more categories and sub-categories in thematic photography like ad messages, corporate brochures, under-water photography and so on.
The Well-Dressed Photographer - Summer
Outdoor photographers shoot year round. That includes the hot summer.
Disposable Cameras for Weddings
Disposable wedding cameras (also called single-use cameras) will never replace a professional photographer, of course. But they could save money on the overall photo budget, provide memorable fun for you and your guests, and occasionally turn up a priceless casual shot.
The Paradigm: Going Digital
As you might imagine the paradigm shift from traditional film-based photography to digital is rapidly creating new opportunities to learn and grow. The photography industry is moving at an incessant pace, and digital cameras sales have surpassed their film-based cousin at an alarming rate each year.
Proper Handling and Storage of Paper Photos
Youv'e taken that perfect photo in the perfect light at the perfect angle and it has turned out beautifully.How you handle and store the photo from now on will determine how long it will last.
Is Film Better than Digital for Weddings?
As a professional wedding photographer I get this question asked more than anything else. Rarely will somebody ask me about my wedding photography education, awards, or professional memberships.
Extreme Digital Photography: Beyond Point-and-shoot
When my old Olympus digital camera got broke while caving during a family camping trip, I had mixed feelings. For quite some time I had felt that the quality of some of my pictures was hampered by the limitations of that camera, but I did not look forward to spending the money on a new one.
7 Things You Must Do If You Want To Make That Perfect Camera Shot
Saturate yourself with your subject and the camera will all but take you by the hand. Margaret Bourke-WhiteThese tips should help you relive those moments back where you've said "if only I had a camera.
How to Easily Start Up Your Own New Photography Business From Home
With modern technology in the form of SLR digital cameras, you do not even need the room for a dark room. You need only to have a personal computer and a photo-editing program.
Infrared Photography and Big City Crime
One of the major problems of the larger cities of the word these days is crime. It appears that the larger the city the more-acceptable serious crime seems to be.
Light and Depth of Field
With such a fantastic device as the digital camera for the recreation of magic in arts, a lot of care needs to be taken so as to maintain the perfection of the end product. This perfection is not only obtained by the artistic feeling of the photographer but also with the intricate knowledge of every minute aspect of the medium of creation of art (in this case the digital camera).
Hyperfocal Focusing: What Is It And Why Should You Use It?
When should you use hyperfocal focusing? Well, sometimes when shooting a landscape, you want everything sharp from the front to the back of the scene. Setting a small aperture such as f/16, f/22 or even f/32 can help, but if you really want to maximize depth of field, hyperfocal focusing is the technique you need to use.
Top of the Line Digital Cameras
If you think that digital cameras are for snapshots only, then you obviously haven't heard about SLR (Single Lens Reflex) digital cameras. SLR is a type of camera which has one lens for composing the frame and capturing the image.
Start a Photography Business from Home
Anyone with the right camera equipment, and the necessary skills can set up a home business, marketing photography. You need only to convert a room of your house into an office, and then you can work immediately.
The Primer on Digital Camera Printers
Once you have clicked photos through your digital camera, then the next step is to turn these 'virtual' images into real photos. One way is to send the memory card to a digital photo laboratory and get the images developed there.
Digital Camera Basics
Digital Camera Basics? The VocabularyShopping for a digital camera can be a difficult task considering the sheer number of choices out there. The number of manufacturers, models, and price ranges that need to be sorted out make the process difficult enough, but throw in all the buzz-words that need to be understood, and even a short list of cameras can become difficult to analyze.
Color Management, the Digital Darkroom, and Adobe Photoshop
PrefaceIn order to understand color management, it is important to get your hands around some of the workflow. It is also important to understand a little bit about the ICC itself.
Canadas Digital Cameras, Digital Camcorders and Cheap Memory Cards Canada
Digital SLR Camera or Digital single-lens reflex (SLR) camera is an ideal camera for professionals and amateur photographers. They usually having interchangeable lenses and are known for capturing superior quality images.
How to Take Better Photos of Your Baby or Toddler
Every Mom wants to take great photos of their babies and toddlers. We all want professional looking photos for our children without paying a fortune! This better baby photo article will help you take the best photos you can and you don't even have to own an expensive camera.
Diffusion & Softening of Digital Photography Images
Like many people who've made the switch from film cameras to digital, I've discovered that the lens tools I once used so effectively on my cameras to soften, diffuse and vignette my images for quality "finished" professional results won't do for digital what they did for film.I'm sure it's arguable by some that their diffusers still work fine, and I too have discovered that some tools still work okay under some circumstances; my Ziess Softar #1 seemed to offer decent results when photographing a single subject in the studio but I knew that the black netting diffuser that I used with my Lindahl Bell-o-shade no longer worked on the Nikon D70 zoom lens at the wider angles without showing lines in the image.
|home | site map|