Retouching old photos in Corel PaintShop Photo Pro

  • Tutorial
Corel's PaintShop Photo Pro bitmap editor has rich tools for retouching old photos. In this article, we will look at the tools used to restore old photographs and look at a few examples of retouching.

Scratch Removal

To automatically remove scratches, use the dialog box called up using the command Settings -> Add / Remove Noise -> Automatically Remove Small Scratches . It is necessary to indicate the color of the scratches, the intensity of the filter and the limits of local contrast (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1. Dialog box. Automatic removal of small scratches.
As a rule, this filter copes with small scratches well, but sometimes parts of the image are taken for scratches. In this case, it is necessary to apply a filter to the copy of the layer and apply a mask to the layer, protecting the required areas with black.
You can use the Scratch Remover tool to semi-automatically remove scratches.which is in the same group as the cloning brush. On the properties panel, you need to set the size of the tool, and then drag the mouse along the scratch, enclosing it in a frame (Fig. 2). The edges of the frame serve as samples for restoration. If a scratch passes through contrasting areas, it is best to apply the tool several times, changing small parts of the scratch.

Fig. 2. An example of using the Scratch Remover tool

. 3. An example of using the Clone Brush tool.
To remove scratches manually, use the Clone Brush tool. Before you start cloning, you must determine the sample with the right mouse button. As a result, a cross appears, indicating the place where the sample will be taken from (Fig. 3).
To remove dark scratches, set the blending mode.Lightening to make dark tones lighter, and for light scratches it is better to use the Dimmer mode . If you just want to apply a part of the image to the scratch, use the Normal mode . A better result is also achieved by reducing the opacity of the tool.

Removing stains and discoloration of the photo

Old photographs created by professional photographers of the last century were tinted in some color. Therefore, before proceeding to retouching, you should get rid of the hue by turning the picture into a black and white image. Discoloration and stain removal on the image is performed in the dialog box, which is called up by the command Effects -> Photo Effects -> Black and White Film . As a rule, you do not have to change the initial settings (Fig. 4).

Fig. 4. Black-and-white film dialog box with default settings
But in cases where the spot is located on a white or light background of the photo, the default settings will only discolor and convert the spot to shades of gray. Therefore, for its clarification, it is necessary to shift the point on the color wheel. For example, to remove yellow spots, you need to shift the point so that you set 100% for red, and 0% for green and blue.

Noise removal

To remove noise, the Noise removal in one step and Digital noise reduction commands from the Settings menu can be used . Also in the Settings -> Add / Remove Noise submenu contains a fairly large number of commands, the choice of each of which depends on the specific case. For example, in fig. Figure 5 shows the Smoothing with Preserving Edges dialog box from this menu group. The degree of smoothing equal to 4, in this case was quite enough to remove extraneous pixels on the face of the child.
Fig. 5. Dialog box Smoothing with preservation of edges

Recovery of lost fragments

Recovery of lost fragments is perhaps the most difficult stage of retouching, because it is not known what should be depicted on the deleted fragment. Therefore, you have to finish painting parts of the image, including your own imagination and imagination. What retouching tools will help restore parts of the picture?
To restore large fragments, you can “patch” them with fragments taken from other parts of the photo, and then glue the created layers into one with the command Layers -> Merge -> Merge with the bottom . To “grout” the boundaries obtained when copying fragments, you need to use the Clone Brush, Soften and Smear tools (Fig. 6).

Fig. 6. To remove scratches and restore the left side of the photo, we used the tools Scratch Removal, Cloning Brush, Softening and Smearing

Toning black and white photographs

After retouching a black-and-white photo, it can be tinted in the color that was used in the original image. To do this, use the dialog box called by the command Settings -> Hue and Saturation -> Hue / Saturation / Lightening . In this window, you must select the Coloring check box , change the position of the Ott slider . to set the color of staining and move the Saturation slider to set the color intensity (Fig. 7).
Now consider the use of retouching tools with specific examples.

Fig. 7. Hue / Saturation / Lightening Dialog Box

An example of retouching a black and white photograph

In fig. Figure 8 shows a photograph that has a greenish tint.

Fig. 8. The original black-and-white image.
To bleach the image, use the command Effects -> Photo Effects -> Black-and-white film with the default settings (Fig. 9).

Fig. 9. The result of the filter. Black and white film

Fig. 10. Scratch removal result Scratch
removal tools and the Clone brush (Fig. 10) are suitable for removing scratches.
Now we’ll blur the photo a bit to remove the noise caused by scanning. To do this, it is enough to set the degree of smoothing 5 in the Smoothing dialog with preserving edges.
I would also like to darken very bright areas, without affecting the medium and dark colors, in order to show the cover of the book and remove the glare on the girl's face. To do this, in the Highlights / Midtones / Shadows dialog box, enter a negative value in the Highlight box . The window is opened by the command of the same name in the submenu Settings -> Brightness and Contrast . To generalize the image and increase the contrast in the Levels window , which is located in the same submenu, move the gray slider to the left and black to the base of the histogram graph. During the tone correction, any scratches may appear, we will remove them with the cloning brush (Fig. 11).

Fig. 11. The result of tone correction

Fig. 12. The result of retouching a black and white photograph
And finally, you can tint the photo, for example, paint it in sepia color. To do this, you can use the command Effects -> Photo Effects -> Sepia Toning with a degree of aging of 30. You may need to slightly increase the contrast of the image. The result of retouching is shown in Fig. 12.

Color retouching example

As a rule, color photographs taken during the Soviet era necessarily have a color shift. Therefore, when restoring a color photograph, in addition to removing scratches and noise, it is necessary to carry out color correction.
In fig. Figure 13 shows a color photograph with a clear predominance of red. Due to the fact that the dress and bows of the girl are also red, this can not be noticed. Take a closer look at the picture: the white square on the girl’s dress has a pink tint; the background should be blue or blue, and it is clearly mixed with red. Therefore, during the color correction, it is necessary to remove the excess red color by adding blue.
Let's start by removing the scratches. Pass the photo through the Smoothing filter with preserving the edges with a value of 3. Then we will scratch the scratches with the toolsScratch Removal and Cloning Brush (Fig. 14).

Fig. 13. The original color photograph

. 14. The result of removing noise and scratches
Now we proceed to the correction of color shift. We need to remove the excess red. This can be done by increasing the content of green and blue or reducing red. Due to the fact that the RGB image model is additive, reducing red will darken the image, and adding green and blue will lighten it.
One of the color correction tools that allows you to influence color channels is the Levels dialog box , which is called up by the command of the same name from the Settings -> Brightness and Contrast menu. In the red channel, move the black slider to the right to reduce the red content. In the green and blue channels, move the white slider to the left to increase the content of the corresponding colors (Fig. 15).
At the end of the correction, you can slightly increase the saturation of the image in the Hue / Saturation / Brightness dialog box . You must disable the Coloring check box and increase the value of the Saturation parameter . If the color of some fragments of the photo does not suit you, they can be tinted with the Paintbrush tool in the blending mode Color. At the very last stage of retouching, you can re-remove the noise that occurs when the color correction of the picture. The final result is shown in Fig. 16.

Fig. 15. The result of removal of color shift

Fig. 16. The result of retouching
As you can see, with the help of the graphics editor Corel PaintShop Pro you can bring back to life your favorite photographs from childhood or photographs taken long before your birth.

Author: Sofya Skrylina, teacher at the Art Training Center, St. Petersburg
Based on Corel Art

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