One of my most difficult challenges yet, has been the restoration of some photo's in which the blue and yellow have so severely faded over 20+ years, that the image is now predominantly shades of red. After working this through, I posted a discription of how the problem was finally solved on the Submini Newsgroup.

This is the e-mail posted with the addition of buttons to the images.

I want to thank everyone for the input. I am amazed what a tremendous base of knowledge is out there amongst you. I wish to thank Godfrey and Jimmy Patrick for their input. They gave me some good direction.

I have to admit that the breakthrough came to me when Kevin Bell essentially explained the process of the blues and yellows breaking down before the reds. With that I began thinking, "ok, how do you reverse the process?" The obvious answer is to initially adjust for the red in the color balance.

This will leave you with a faint, almost black & white image that is still unusable. The part that had thwarted me was saturation! By adjusting the saturation and going back and forth to the color balance, I was able to adjust for the breakdown in the blues and yellows.

The most tricky part was not ending up with a "colorized" looking print. I ended up nudging the settings back and forth to get where I wanted to go.

There were also the remnants of the original textured paper that through a more' blur I was able to adjust out with minimal loss of resolution (the original is scanned in at 8x10" at 300 dpi.). I think that while the contrast on the outfit is more than I would like, the results are amazing considering the original.

For those interested in seeing the evolution I have posted the pictures. The third is a significantly larger file due to my need to reduce the compression of the JPG to keep the colors more true. It washed out at higher ratios.

The original scan:

red picture

My initial proof of theory:

almost there

My final and more careful execution:


Again, thanks for the input everyone, this has been a tremendous help. My mom will be proud ;)


Some additional notes:

There are two things that were not mentioned in the note.

First, contrast and brightness came into play on the final photo, and even more so on some of the others that were similarly afflicted.

Second, when I went to print the photo, it came out with noteably less yellow than is represented in the final photo. I attribute this to a mis-calibration between my monitor, scanner, and printer. This is an issue that I will need to address in the future, but the priciples outlined above are not affected by this.

Oh, and my mom was THRILLED! ;)

Last Updated April 11, 2007
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