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Granddaddy

Recovering memories, gifting friends

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Our 98-year-old friend Mildred proudly showed us a 5" x 7"photo of her father standing with his pupils outside his schoolhouse in southwest Virginia around 1900. Details were a bit hard to make out. (I'm posting only small images here because the photos are not my own, but you'll get the idea.)

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Having recently started using Affinity Photo, I was looking for a project to test it. So I asked if I could borrow the photo in hopes of making it more presentable.

For those who haven't done this sort of thing but would like to try, here's a brief summary of tools used.:
1.) duplicate the photo and work only on the duplicate
2.) crop to remove bad edges 
3.) convert to B&W
4.) levels adjustment to improve brightness and contrast overall
5.) inpainting brush tool to repair creases, remove most of the tree on the left as it added little to the photo, smooth the badly mottled sky, and fix damage or distracting details in dirt in front of children
6.) clone brush tool to fill in part of the schoolhouse and to fill breaks in the branches of trees on the right
7.) quick masks to make selections over the several long faded streaks (water damage?) across various parts of the photo
8.) levels and/or brightness adjustments to adjust the selected washed out streaks
9.) copy, flip, then paste the teachers left eye where the right eye was badly damaged. (I am definitely not an artist who could draw details into the badly damaged face)
10.) make final adjustments using brightness, levels, and/or curves on entire image
11.) frame text tool to insert caption for the scene in foreground (not shown)

Most of this was done non-destructively by painting on a new pixel layer with the clone brush or inpainting brush set to sample layers below. I'd do it a lot more systematically and non-destructively now that I've had several months of practice using Affinity Photo and have watched many more videos both from Affinity and from several other sources.

The end result was a B&W 5" x 7" photo framed on a table top.

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Hardly anything is more enjoyable than fixing an old photo for a friend.


Affinity Photo 1.6.5.123, Windows 10 Pro x64 version 1809, 
Dell XPS 8930, 16 GB Ram,  Intel Core i7-8700 CPU, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070

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That's nice, I'm wondering if you didn't lost some details on the white garments and other parts… perhaps it's the small size of those JPG?

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A great job. I would have  actually worked in the original colours to ensure the white clothing was easily  'painted over' in the parts needed to define each person/clothing. I also sometimes  work on 2 to 3  images separately, concentrating on one main  theme on each.I then merge all 2 or 3 or more layers using the Stack utility.

 

In some cases I also remove white paper on a layer image to define more of the finer details and  overlay it.

 

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23 hours ago, Wosven said:

That's nice, I'm wondering if you didn't lost some details on the white garments and other parts… perhaps it's the small size of those JPG?

Thanks, Wosven.

As for loss of detail, it's hard to tell sometimes what some of the clothing looked like nearly 120 years ago given all the speckles and scratches and spots and streaks on the original photo. These blemishes are not visible in the small samples I posted even when blown up as those samples simply lack the resolution of the original. As you noticed, some of the whiter blouses are a bit blown out in the interest of bringing out some details in the darker parts of the photo. 

Printed at 5x7, as was the original, the photo looks quite presentable, which was my modest goal. Our friend hadn't realized until seeing this restoration that there is a dog lying across the laps of two boys in the front row. 

Zooming to 200% on screen, the 4007x 2862 pixel image shows a lot of speckling and scratches on peoples faces and clothes that a professional perfectionist might work on for hours, assuming there was some purpose to be served by that further work.  

I posted this mostly to encourage other amateur beginners who have posted questions in these forums and who seemed somewhat reluctant to plunge in and just give it a try.

It is relatively simple with Affinity Photo to recover memories that at first might seem totally lost. The friends I've done such work for have been delighted and very thankful. Working non-destructively is especially helpful for amateurs like myself who cannot visualize in advance the effects of their transformations, but who now have the ability to back up and readjust, or to extend their initial efforts further in the future should that be desired.


Affinity Photo 1.6.5.123, Windows 10 Pro x64 version 1809, 
Dell XPS 8930, 16 GB Ram,  Intel Core i7-8700 CPU, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070

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23 hours ago, LyricsGirl said:

A great job.

Thanks LyricsGirl, for your kind remarks.

23 hours ago, LyricsGirl said:

 I would have  actually worked in the original colours to ensure the white clothing was easily  'painted over' in the parts needed to define each person/clothing.

I think the original photo, taken around 1900, was B&W, or sepia or whatever monochrome system they had back then.

Do you mean I should not have converted my scan to B&W as the first step? It's impossible for me to know what happened to bring this photo to its current deplorable condition over the past nearly 120 years. My friend at age 98 seems to have little memory of what it looked like when she was younger. I'm not even sure when she came into possession of the photo.

I see you are in Australia, whereas I am in Virginia (USA). I love these forums that bring together people from all over the world.


Affinity Photo 1.6.5.123, Windows 10 Pro x64 version 1809, 
Dell XPS 8930, 16 GB Ram,  Intel Core i7-8700 CPU, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070

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G'Day !

When I work on a repair project, and it is something precious, I run 2 high dpi scans. 1 in color and in B & W. Then I work on copies of each  keeping the original scans in a separate folder (just in case).. 

In the color scan I  set out to then duplicate the colour copy and on the first copy I work on color correction. The second on details  then on the B&W again, details. I then stack  by sandwiching the B&W in-between the two colored  images. Then  make manual adjustments  on each layer. When happy, I then merge them into a single final image.

For lesser important images I do a scan always in colour even old B&W ones.. and work on them in AKVIS Retoucher.This is  a faster way to repair some parts of an image.I purchased AKVIS before Affinity came out, and update it  as it still gets used at times.

As you become more familiar with Photo and  also in the craft of photo repairs you will work out what works best for you and the particular project at hand.  I think you did a wonderful job.

On some repairs it may be more prudent to leave out  or not 'fix' some areas as the result may be worse than the original problem.

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