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Adobe Photoshop Restoration & Retouching

Photoshop Restoration TechniquesAuthor: Katrin Eismann with Wayne Palmer   

Almost everyone in the world has a digital camera now and lots of photos—not all of which are perfect, no matter how hard you tried to when you took the photo. Then there are those boxes and boxes of old photos, loose or in albums that constitute our family histories. Old photos fade, get scratched, bent and generally lose quality over time. This book is for those who want to preserve and enhance those photos. The book is also a tutorial for users of Photoshop, beginning with a section called Photoshop Essentials.

In this section, the author reviews Photoshop tools, keyboard shortcuts, how to navigate and use Photoshop efficiently, with the focus on the tools needed for restoration and retouching. It is not a primer for Photoshop. I have used Photoshop in the past, but did not bother to upgrade after version 4.0. I recently upgraded to Photoshop CS2, so I am very rusty and as my skills were not very high level to start with, this chapter is a great help. Not only does the author show you how to use Photoshop, but she also discusses how to set up your work area, what kind of lighting you should have, the workflow, equipment needed, with tips on how to proceed in a manner that allows you (or someone else) to come back and know what you have done.

The author’s web site contains files with the tutorial images as well as other materials about Photoshop. Of particular interest is an article that includes information on scanning. The web site could be improved as it is difficult to find some materials.

The web site also includes a gallery of reader produced restorations. Look through those and you will be amazed at what you are able to do. photos exhibit all the characteristics that we have experienced with our own photo collections. The results of the restorations are astounding in some cases and inspiring.

One of the things that impressed me when I first glanced through the book is the large number of photos used to illustrate the principles being explained. In addition, the explanations did not only focus on the mechanics, but also on the reasons for making the needed changes. Learning the principles behind the changes will help you assess what needs to be done to your own photos.

The book is organized so that each section is almost independent of the other sections—at least once you have some basics down. The sections include: • Photoshop for Retouching • Correcting Tone, Exposure, and Color • Essential Restoration, Repairing and Rebuilding Techniques • Putting the Best Face Forward Each section contains chapters on dealing with specific problems. For example, in the “Correcting Tone, Exposure and Color” section, the subheadings are “Improving Tone and Contrast,” “Exposure Correction,” and “Working with Color.”

This makes it possible to focus on areas that are of more interest to you or necessary for the work you want to do. This is especially true if you are already very familiar with Photoshop and able to identify the problems that need solving in your photos.  If you are not familiar with Photoshop, your time would be well spent to work through the exercises. I find that I can read about stuff forever, but when I actually use my hands and my brain together, I retain more information. You will be able better to identify what needs to be improved in your own photos by reviewing the samples and making the corrections.

This photo was taken by a relative on a trip to the Caribbean. I chose this image because it’s reflective of a fairly common problem—overexposure. It took me all of five minutes to complete the modifications.

Before modifications:

Before image

After modfcations:

After image

I highly recommend the book to anyone who wants to seriously undertake the preservation of photographs that are important for whatever reason—family history or historical significance or just to create better photos. Digital images allow us to preserve and pass on.

Now if I could just find an automatic tool to organize all this material—maybe a photo-robot that not only creates catalogs of digital images, but can scan and catalog my boxes of old photos.

Adobe Photoshop Restoration & Retouching (3rd Edition) 

New Riders Press

ISBN-10: 0321316274
ISBN-13: 978-0321316271
List Price: $54.99, Amazon.com:  $34.64


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