Remastering Old Photos-How Do I Do It Please?

  Alan L 11:13 06 May 2008

Remastering Old Photos-How Do I Do It Please?

Hello.I've tried unsuccessfully to remaster very small old black & white photos and some hand-painted colour reprints taken around 90 years ago. Their size is around 3"x3". I currently use a Lexmark X1180 printer to scan them with,and try to use Adobe Photoshop Album Starter Edition 3.0 for enlargements,brightness,contrast and resizing.The results are not very good especially in terms of resizing.They come out blurred, often out of focus and look nothing like the originals especially when remodelled for an 8"x10" photosize.

I appreciate I'm new to trying this,and would welcome advice as to what the simple best way to resolve all these issues would be.Would a dedicated photographic scanner and new photographic software be useful?

Any help and advice would be appreciated. Thank you very much in advance for your help.

  eedcam 11:30 06 May 2008

When you scan the photo in what resolution are you scanning at. Also if you are changing the ratio ie going from 3x3 to 8x10 this can induce distortion. If I wanted an image close to 8x10 I would scan in at 900 then once imported I would resize to 10x10 and crop to 8x10 . As for software you could try irfranview and /or picassa both free and availble just google for them

  Alan L 11:54 06 May 2008

I don't know what the resolution is nor where to find it I'm afraid. All I know is what I've written earlier. I've tried to enlarge these smaller photos to be 8x10,but the distortion of the subject matter is grim. The whole picture is changed, everything-and everyone-gets distorted and thats not what I wanted. Sadly,when the pictures are shown on the computer screen,the distortion effect is terrible. Even the brightness and contrast change dramatically. I will try and donwload the two things you've mentioned and see if they work. Thank you very much for your very kind reply.It is greatly appreciated.

  jack 12:17 06 May 2008

Tell us more about your computer, and what software you do have.Especially that that came with the printer/scanner
The printer is I believe an older model and its firmware may be limited.
Any way all the info you can then perhaps we can delve further.

Certainly as discussed by 'eedcam' an original of a given size will only reproduce to the same ratio
3x3 becomes 6x6 / 8x8 etc.
Other wise distortion will occur.

  Alan L 12:34 06 May 2008

Hello Jack.My computer is an Aries PC System operating with the Windows XP Home Edition SP2 system and is now three years old. The Lexmark X1180 is also the same age as well.The Adobe Photoshop Editor was installed around a year or two. In all cases, the original hardware/software is around 3 years old. I do update them regularly as and when any updates become available.

When the results were finished,I would appear to have made assumptions that small pictures could be enlarged with no loss of quality. I've seen programmes on TV which show grainy,fuzzy images on CCTV are given enhancements to show what technology could do to such images. Even old photograph restoring software I assumed could be installed to repair and replace existing photos to make them look better than the originals.

I suspect its easier to not bother using a computer to enhance something like this. These old pictures,including hand-coloured, larger pictures made at the time, have been around for 90 or more years in this form.I believe it best to leave them unrestored and unenlarged and let them be seen for what they were. Its a shame, because some of these photos feature my grandad on board a WW1 naval ship and in his full uniform.

Thank you though for your help. If this can be resolved easily,then I'll welcome anything you can suggest. All the best.

  rossgolf 13:27 06 May 2008

PCadvisor done an article about how to do it in one of the magazines a couple of months ago :D

  keef66 15:23 06 May 2008

You can't take a small image and blow it up without magnifying the imperfections, nor can you take a poor quality image and improve it, despite what you see on TV.

You can use image editing software to resize and crop, to carefully remove scratches, blemishes, tears etc, and to experiment with contrast and colours.

It isn't a one click process; you need to start with a good quality high resolution scan, and take your time. And never work on the original!

  woodchip 15:47 06 May 2008

You set Resolution between "Preview Scan" and the "Scan"

  eedcam 19:06 06 May 2008

Alan it is surprising how well some old photos can be restored dont give up at the first hurdles. Evenone treasured result is worth it

  jack 20:10 06 May 2008

It may be that once you have 'The bit between your teeth' so to speak- you will want to obtain some better image editing software- Serif is a good place to look they even give away older editions- so that you will want to update[for a price]
Or you may want to purchase something like Photo-shop Element or Paint-shop Pro both excellent programs at £50 or so.
But dont give up.
One important point - once you have a scan and proceed to work on it always use the 'Save As' function.
In this way you have a file of your improved version ans retain the original scan- just in case your latest effort is not up to much.

  Technotiger 20:29 06 May 2008

I have done lots of mastering of old photos, mostly for friends rather than for myself. I use Photosuite4 which is very easy to master - during the mastering the tool you will use most is the 'Clone' tool, with a bit of patience it is possible to get some quite good results. I also have PhotoSuite7, but I am more comfortable using Version 4.

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