Scanning old photos with faded dyes


Bruce Bowman <bruce.bowman@...>
 

Hi. New member, new topic, but perhaps familiar to many of you.

I have some old photos whose dyes have faded terribly...especially the blue. People's blue jeans look green. Using auto-levelling helps some, but you can't boost blue that just isn't there.

 

I also have some low-resolution scans of these same photos that were done many years ago. The image scale is bad, but the color balance is good.

 

What I'd like to do is somehow merge the hi-resolution scans I'm doing now with the colors from the older images. Any thoughts on how this could be done?

 

Thanks,

Bruce


Dan Derousie
 

A good alternative solution: try software called negative lab pro which does a good job in Lightroom. Quick, and you can adjust from there.

 

Dan Derousie

 

From: colortheory@groups.io <colortheory@groups.io> On Behalf Of Bruce Bowman
Sent: January 12, 2022 4:35 AM
To: colortheory@groups.io
Subject: [colortheory] Scanning old photos with faded dyes

 

Hi. New member, new topic, but perhaps familiar to many of you.

I have some old photos whose dyes have faded terribly...especially the blue. People's blue jeans look green. Using auto-levelling helps some, but you can't boost blue that just isn't there.

 

I also have some low-resolution scans of these same photos that were done many years ago. The image scale is bad, but the color balance is good.

 

What I'd like to do is somehow merge the hi-resolution scans I'm doing now with the colors from the older images. Any thoughts on how this could be done?

 

Thanks,

Bruce


--
Dan Derousie


Stephen Marsh
 

I don't have forum access anymore, so I'm not sure if this email reply will make it through or not...

Detail in the "a" and "b" channels of a Lab mode file is not so critical, so smaller images can be enlarged for their colour component and aligned to larger high resolution images. This does not have to be performed in Lab mode, it could also be done in RGB with "color" blend mode.

Of course, the L channel of Lab or the luminosity component of RGB will have an effect on the colour, so it is not always "that easy".


Regards,

Stephen Marsh


Bruce Jamieson
 

A secret technique from one Bruce to another. Can the two images be reasonably aligned? Put the better-color-but-low-res image on top of the high-res-but-lousy scan, and set the blending mode to “Color.” Magic.

–Bruce

On Jan 12, 2022, at 4:35 AM, Bruce Bowman <bruce.bowman@...> wrote:

Hi. New member, new topic, but perhaps familiar to many of you.

I have some old photos whose dyes have faded terribly...especially the blue. People's blue jeans look green. Using auto-levelling helps some, but you can't boost blue that just isn't there.

 

I also have some low-resolution scans of these same photos that were done many years ago. The image scale is bad, but the color balance is good.

 

What I'd like to do is somehow merge the hi-resolution scans I'm doing now with the colors from the older images. Any thoughts on how this could be done?

 

Thanks,

Bruce



Bruce Bowman <bruce.bowman@...>
 

On Wed, Jan 12, 2022 at 08:14 AM, Stephen Marsh wrote:
Of course, the L channel of Lab or the luminosity component of RGB will have an effect on the colour, so it is not always "that easy".
Agreed. My experience so far with freeware software suggests that it's not going to be a trivial exercise. I can enlarge the old scan to match the new one's image scale, but getting the two images completely in register will no doubt be part of the challenge.

Bruce


Bruce Bowman <bruce.bowman@...>
 

On Wed, Jan 12, 2022 at 09:01 AM, Bruce Jamieson wrote:
A secret technique from one Bruce to another. Can the two images be reasonably aligned? Put the better-color-but-low-res image on top of the high-res-but-lousy scan, and set the blending mode to “Color.” Magic.
Thanks Bruce. I will need to know what software we are talking about.

Thanks,
Bruce (the other one)


Bruce Jamieson
 

Photoshop. I think you could also do this with Affinity Photo. As long as whatever program has a layer blending mode called “Color” you should be good. Gimp, or maybe try out https://www.photopea.com.

Working in the Lab color space would let you do something very similar, which Photoshop and Affinity Photo are capable of, but you might have to do some further reading.

Good luck!
Bruce

On Jan 12, 2022, at 11:06 AM, Bruce Bowman <bruce.bowman@...> wrote:

On Wed, Jan 12, 2022 at 09:01 AM, Bruce Jamieson wrote:
A secret technique from one Bruce to another. Can the two images be reasonably aligned? Put the better-color-but-low-res image on top of the high-res-but-lousy scan, and set the blending mode to “Color.” Magic.
Thanks Bruce. I will need to know what software we are talking about.

Thanks,
Bruce (the other one)


Doug Schafer
 

Others have good ideas and maybe combine those with:

Try up-sampling (like gigapixel ai or other program to increase resolution; including Ps) on the lo-res images to match the other image size/resolution and blend the color of up-scaled lo res with the luminosity of the larger/hi-res image.


Hector Davila
 

You are lucky to have
low-resolution scans of these same photos
with good color balance.

But imagine if you didn't.

Then you would have to
color correct without
knowing what the other
same photo with
good color balance
looks like.

It would make a good contest photo.

See who comes closer
to the original photo
good color balance
without looking at it.


You would have to read ALL of
Dan Margulis books to win the contest.




Hector Davila






On 1/12/2022 1:35 AM, Bruce Bowman wrote:
Hi. New member, new topic, but perhaps familiar to many of you.

I have some old photos whose dyes have faded terribly...especially the blue. People's blue jeans look green. Using auto-levelling helps some, but you can't boost blue that just isn't there.

 

I also have some low-resolution scans of these same photos that were done many years ago. The image scale is bad, but the color balance is good.

 

What I'd like to do is somehow merge the hi-resolution scans I'm doing now with the colors from the older images. Any thoughts on how this could be done?

 

Thanks,

Bruce

_._,_._,_


 


Bruce Bowman <bruce.bowman@...>
 

Folks -- Just wanted to thank those who have responded to my inquiry. 

My wife and I held a Halloween party for 38 consecutive years (1982-2019) and we've collected extensive documentation of it. For the first 20 or so, I was still using film. The photos from first three years (roughly 100 of them) are the worst. After that, I must have used a different photo processor -- those prints have held up a lot better, and I haven't had to resort to such measures to restore them.

And yes, I am fortunate to have those previous images. With a lot of people in makeup (or other forms of gaudy disarray), I can't always count on "flesh tone" to gauge what the original may have looked like! And as you might imagine, I have a number of other photos in need of this kind of work but don't have any older scans to help me.  :-(

Anyway, I now have everything I need and also some good advice. I plan to tackle this sometime over the next month or so (i.e.: after I get done re-scanning the remaining 17 years). When that's done I intend to report back on my findings.

Thanks again,
Bruce


Bruce Jamieson
 

Hector knows what’s up!
–B

On Jan 12, 2022, at 1:45 PM, Hector Davila <amerphoto@...> wrote:

You would have to read ALL of
Dan Margulis books to win the contest.


Doug Schafer
 

Also, you can try the Ps ai/neural tool/filter 'colorize' to auto color images....try converting to B&W and then adjust colors to match your "correct" lo-res sample.


Dan Margulis
 



On Jan 13, 2022, at 8:10 AM, Bruce Bowman <bruce.bowman@...> wrote:

My wife and I held a Halloween party for 38 consecutive years (1982-2019) and we've collected extensive documentation of it. For the first 20 or so, I was still using film. The photos from first three years (roughly 100 of them) are the worst. After that, I must have used a different photo processor -- those prints have held up a lot better, and I haven't had to resort to such measures to restore them. 

If those first hundred all have approximately the same defect (sounds like the magenta colorant didn’t hold up as well as the others) then the smart thing would be to find one of the images that happens to be easy to correct, and then apply the same correction to the others. That will at least get you close.

Look for a picture that has large dark objects that are known specifically to be *black*. Probably at the moment they’re greenish. Then on a curves adjustment layer, use the eyedropper tool to force them to become black. That should get the image a lot closer to where it should be. And that adjustment layer can be dragged onto any number of other similar images.

One of the many problems with this kind of work is that the deterioration isn’t uniform. Some of these hundred won’t really show the same defect as the others. Also, the defect can be worse in a certain range (say the highlights) or in a certain area (say the upper right of the print). In such cases there’s nothing to do but suck it up and correct manually.


Paco
 
Edited

Hi! Bruce, when it all gets too complicated, I've ended up converting the photos to B&W. You might be able to work with some of the colors still present by intensifying them or completely changing them in color and saturation to get more tonal variety and separation when converting to B&W. Of course, if the colors in the photo are all important, then this advise is useless. All the best!

Paco


Bruce Bowman <bruce.bowman@...>
 

Folks -- As promised, just following up on this thread that I initiated a week or two ago.

Recall that the idea was to merge the colors from an old, low-res scan into the luminance (but poor color balance) of a newer, high-resolution scan in an attempt to get the best of both.

In practice, I am not getting the improved resolution that I wanted to achieve.

And it's proving very difficult to get the scans in register to begin with...possibly due to the behavior of the two different flatbed scanners that were used. If simply scaling up the original scan provides as good or better than I can get by jumping through all these hoops; well, there's little reason to pursue it.

I am unsubscribing now and will not receive further replies. I am much obliged to all of you who have attempted to assist me in this.

Regards,
Bruce


Michael Colby
 

no reason to leave us just for that. 

You came the for scanning. you could stay for the entertainment and for the law.  The Law of Simultaneous Contrast....


Michael Colby
 

The Law of Simultaneous Contrast of Color

The Law