This weeks post is a re-post of a tutorial I had on my blog, Janinealogy, way back in…well, way back. I beg everyones forgiveness for this bit of laziness on my part, but with my home network being taken out with a virus last week, and the three (count em, three) subsequent re-installs of Windows XP I had to do, I’m a bit tuckered out, to say the least! So if you saw this the first time, please read again and see how many spelling errors you can find (or something – let’s make a game out of it, shall we?). If this is the first time you’ve seen it, I hope you enjoy it and that it helps in your digital photo restoration workflow!
Today I’m going to show you a super easy way to remove texture from on old photo. You know, those old photos that look like they were printed on watercolor paper, or something? Very arty, I’m sure, but not everyone likes that sort of thing. It’s also very difficult to restore a photo with heavy texture, especially using the clone or patch tool. All the light’s and dark’s of the texture don’t translate well with these tools. The photo I’m using in this tutorial was sent to me by Monica, who has graciously consented to let me use it here and in book form. Thank you, Monica!
Sometimes, the texture in a photo, while not looking horrible to the naked eye, once enlarged for restoration looks pretty bad. All it takes is a couple easy steps to smooth it out and get on with the restoration process!
Duplicate your background layer (Cmd / Ctrl + J). Now, to put on a little surface blur. This is the main piece of the whole process, everything else is just finishing touches. Go to Filter > Blur > Surface Blur. In the dialog box, enter a Radius of 2, Threshold of 95 levels. This is a guideline. Play with the settings a bit, see what happens to the photo. Different texture depth will need to be treated differently. However, your ultimate settings will probably be somewhere around these settings. Click OK.
I personally think the result of the surface blur is a bit too soft. Again, this is subjective. I put a little detail back with the High Pass Filter. The trick here is to go easy, not all Harry Potter on the thing. Subtle is good. Make a copy of the blurred layer (Cmd / Ctrl + J)Go to Filter > Other > High Pass…. I found a radius of 8.5 pixels to be just about right. Again, play. Experiment. Click OK.
Change the Layer Blend Mode to Soft Light.
Almost done! All that’s left now is a little light clean up! Take the blur tool and size it to about 10, opacity at around 75%. Now go over any little rough edges. The High Pass filter will leave some edges looking like little icicles. Just smooth them out!
Now proceed with the standard restoration practices, and you’re good to go!
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