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Sunday, January 16, 2011

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Saving Photos: Healing spots on photographs

Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library 
Repository: Beinecke Rare Book; Manuscript Library, Yale University

If you recall, corrected the lighting in the above photo in the last article: Saving Photos: Amateur Photo Restoration.  Now we will show you how to repair spots on photographs with the healing tool in Photoshop Elements.  I will open the photo below and zoomed in so I can see the spots up close.
Zoom Tool
This does not change the physical size of the image.  I put a red mark around each spot that I am going to heal.
Healing Tool

Spots to heal

When you click the Healing Tool icon, you may find the size of the tool needs adjusting.  The slider below is set at 36px.  The diameter of the Healing Tool is too big.  I will move the slider slightly to the left so the circle is closer to the diameter of the spot.
Adjust Healing Tool side.
You will notice that the slide is set at 11px now and the size of the Healing Tool  is smaller.
You have  two options to choose on from on the toolbar:  Proximity Match and Create Texture.  Proximity match picks up the colors around the spot and replaces the spot with those pixels.  Use Texture if you do not want the section to appear smooth.  The pixels will match the texture around the spot.
Proximity and Texture

Next, I will heal the first spot by dragging the mouse over it while holding down the left mouse button.  Notice the spot furthest to the right has been healed:

Spot healed.

Now I will fix all the spots within the red marks:

Before                                                                                                                     After

If you look closely, you can see that I took the liberty to fix other spots and scratches in the photo.

I truly believe that we need to preserve the integrity of our ancestors by restoring old photographs.  I am excited to share the techniques that I have used to make our heritage more appealing to my daughter.  Visuals really do make a big difference, and we have only just begun!

Now you can try this on any photo that is in need of repair.  Let me know if you are ready to go on or if you would like for me to use another photo.  If you have a photo you would like me to correct in the next sample, let me know!


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