Did you see...

Smoothing Texture (Redux)

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!

About Janine Smith (114 Articles)
Janine Smith is the owner of Landailyn Research and Restoration, a Fort Worth, Texas based company whose services include family history research and photo restoration. Janine honed her skills in restoring badly damaged photos as a volunteer with Operation Photo Rescue, a non-profit organization whose mission is to repair photographs damaged by unforeseen circumstances such as house fires and natural disasters. <br> Janine’s work is well-known in the world of genealogical and historical societies, museums, libraries, university archives, and non-profit organizations; appearing on the board of directors for several organizations and institutions. She is a sought-after lecturer on photo restoration and preservation to libraries, genealogical and historical societies. <br> In addition to being a Lynda.com author, Janine is the author of many articles on research and restoration appearing in newspapers and magazines, both on and offline. Janine's history and photo restoration columns appear regularly on TipSquirrel.com and in the popular Shades Of The Departed Digital Magazine. <br> Janine is the winner of the 2010 “Photoshop User Award” in the photo-restoration category.

2 Comments on Smoothing Texture (Redux)

  1. Nice technique and explanation.

  2. Or just use an FFT filter or my preference as its works really well is a free tool called image analyzer. Works great for those little round dots of texture when trying to restore a photo.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.