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'Restoring' old newspaper photo


col.campbell 17 1.4k 4 United Kingdom
23 Feb 2021 7:28PM
13524_1614107085.jpg


Hi everyone. I'm looking for any tips anyone might have on how to restore or improve the quality of this old newspaper photograph. It features my wife's dad as a boy; the only photo she's ever seen of him as a youngster. He was the youngest in the picture, the baker's apprentice. The photo itself is the old-school dots (halftone?). I imagine that I'm trying to improve the detail in some way but in reality there isn't much detail there to be saved.

The only thought I've had so far is to do a Levels adjustment on a new layer or and tweak the opacity to fine-tune the effect, or similarly tweak a Brightness & Contrast adjustment layer. Any other ideas? Gratefully received.
chase Plus
15 2.1k 541 England
23 Feb 2021 7:53PM
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I had a bash, very basic.
Levels, drop more contrast, took it into camera raw filter and reduced highlights a tad.
Attempted noise reduction with define.
Straightened and a touch of dodging and burning in the appropriate places.

I would guess this is quite a specialist subject though, sorry I can't offer much else Sad
col.campbell 17 1.4k 4 United Kingdom
23 Feb 2021 8:14PM
Thanks. I think mine is possibly comparable. Perhaps with more tinkering I may be able to refine it a little, but I'm doubting there's much more to be done.
dark_lord Plus
16 2.8k 751 England
23 Feb 2021 11:26PM
There are only black dots in varying densities so details will be difficult to extract. It's not as though it's a print or negatve with vaguely discernable features tha would respond to the usual tweaks you've tried.

The dots won't be 100% black so making then 0 on the histogram will look unnaturally dark, but tweaks to Levels and Curves should yield a punchier result. It might be worth looking at how dark (in terms of the grey value) of current newsprint to get an idea of how dark to take the 'black tones' here. Working on a 16 bit scan or photo of it should mean finer control of any adjustments.

There's no way of knowing how much has faded over the years or indeed if the original printing was darker so I think gettig something that looks slightly punchier and less washed out is the best you can get.

I may be ofver-thinking this. I'd be interested in anyone else's ideas.
col.campbell 17 1.4k 4 United Kingdom
24 Feb 2021 2:06AM
Thank you as well. I appreciate your explanation although I'm not in the right frame of mind to absorb the technical aspects of it. Here's what I came up with, using a separate layer to adjust brightness & contrast. I'm just working from a 1200 x 1600 jpg sent by WhatsApp.

Before
13524_1614124325.jpg


After
13524_1614124338.jpg
24 Feb 2021 9:39AM
If you can get hold of the original newspaper cutting, using an Epson scanner and their Scan software in professional mode, there is a De-screening filter. The newspaper setting should significantly reduce the dot issue.
24 Feb 2021 11:39AM
There is a British Newspaper Archive and it may be worth asking if they have the paper in question. If they do it would be a pristine copy.


https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/
dark_lord Plus
16 2.8k 751 England
24 Feb 2021 3:09PM
Your tweak has resulted in better density which I guess is as good as it'll get as in closest to how it once was which is fine.

If you can obtain the original cutting at some future point and scan it yourself or take a photo that's flat and squared up so much the better. Then get a print done.
col.campbell 17 1.4k 4 United Kingdom
24 Feb 2021 3:14PM
Couldn't find it in the newspaper archive. It would have been one of two local local papers that printed it; we're now looking to find out which one so we can ask them for a copy, see if we can get a better file from them to use.

Thanks again, everyone!
dark_lord Plus
16 2.8k 751 England
24 Feb 2021 3:56PM
Is there a chance thy have original photos in their archive. That's if they haven't got rid of stuff due to cost cutting (though maybe in local library archives), if they had one in the first place.
It may cost a small amount to get a print but worth a try.
Just thinking of options.
miptog 15 3.6k 65 United Kingdom
25 Feb 2021 4:48PM
Printing the tweaked image, then rescanning may improve it. The print could smooth out the dots and noise, and give you better tonal definition, which would be a better starting point once re-scanned.
col.campbell 17 1.4k 4 United Kingdom
25 Feb 2021 5:34PM

Quote:Printing the tweaked image, then rescanning may improve it. The print could smooth out the dots and noise, and give you better tonal definition, which would be a better starting point once re-scanned.


Sounds counter-intuitive, but it does make sense! Thanks.
27 Feb 2021 11:35AM
Or you can use the 'Blur' tool in PS to remove the dots. Best done selecting an area to 'blur' to avoid the edges and easier to get a sharper outline.
chris61 11 5 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2021 1:31PM
101715_1614432452.jpg

I hope you don't mind but reading your request I had an idea photoshop colorise may help clean up your photo, so I gave it a go for half hour. Not sure abut what colours are right or even if the result up loaded (not too good at working in forums.

Chris
col.campbell 17 1.4k 4 United Kingdom
1 Mar 2021 5:42PM
Chris that's fantastic! My wife and her sister are very impressed (and so am I!)

Thanks

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