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Darlie B
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Turning a textured portrait into a non textured photograph

Mar 10, 2012 1:13 PM

Tags: #cs5 #windows #images #portraits #textured

Good morning,

I have spent the last 2 days trying to take a portrait taken between 1950 and 1970 and printed on "Kodak extra life" photo paper made to resemble a canvas painting. I took several photos of this portrait using a Canon 60D EOS. Unfortunately, the portrait looks like it was literally printed on flattened bubble wrap. The Gausian blur can't do enough to help. Even when combined with ALL of the noise filters AND the sharpen, unsharpen masks. Curves and levels, hues and saturations, radius, inverting, working the image in RAW... I have tried all available forms posted on the web and I have even tried a few other things just to see what would happen. Gimp with fft failed right along with other programs claiming to be able to do this task. I spent the entire night recoloring pixels in an attempt to get this portrait to lose the bubble wrap and not be so blurred you could go cross eyed looking at it. Unfortunately, when you zoom in on the pixels you can see what could be random brush marks in the "Kodak extra life" paper printed portrait. I am stumped with this one and the web does not have a lot of info regarding this type of image. There are more people seeking an answer to this question than there are answers. The portrait belongs to a friend whose mom died. As they were going through her things they found this photo of her when she was younger than they can recall her being. It is the only one they found. It is stained and color faded, no problem to fix that part of it... I just need someone who is not squeamish to sit down and nibble on this one with me. I am not sure it can be transmformed from "bubble wrap" but I will keep trying until something can change it. I have ADOBE Photoshop CS5 running on windows 7. Any help outside of what I have already done would be appreciated. Thank you for your time and consideration and have a GREAT weekend!

 
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  • Noel Carboni
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    Dec 23, 2006
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    Mar 10, 2012 7:20 AM   in reply to Darlie B

    That textured paper does discourage copying.

     

    Something that might help is take some more images...  You're seeing the texture because the light is falling on the paper from primarily one direction and causing light and shadow in the texture.

     

    Assuming you don't have access to a light box that would diffuse the light all around, here's a technique astronomers use to average out image quality issues called stacking that could be helpful:

     

    1.  Try to set up so the image is lit primarily from the front (i.e., avoid strong sideways light).  Maybe take it outside and let the whole sky illuminate it while you stand over it.

     

    2.  Carefully take a photo of the print 4 times from the same spot, each time rotating the print itself 90 degrees.  What you're trying to do here is to get enough data with the shadows falling in different directions so that you can cancel out the light/shadow, leaving only the image.  Take care not to overexpose any part of it.

     

    3.  Open all images in Photoshop as layers.  You can use the File - Scripts - Load Files Into Stack function to help with this.

     

    4.  Set the layers' Opacities as follows:

     

    Layer 3    25%

    Layer 2    33%

    Layer 1    50%

    Background

     

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    Mar 10, 2012 1:00 PM   in reply to Darlie B

    I'm sorry that didn't work...  I've actually done it several times with good results but I probably don't have quite the texture you're dealing with.  Can you crop a small part of the image and post it here?

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    Mar 10, 2012 3:43 PM   in reply to Darlie B

    Wow, that even looks as though the color is darker/deeper in between the raised areas.  No wonder you couldn't eliminate the pattern!

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 11, 2012 5:47 AM   in reply to Darlie B

    Hard to tell without seeing the full size original, but perhaps noise reduction is a better point of attack than blur.

     

    Here's what you need to establish: What scale is the smallest useful detail in the image? If the smallest useful detail is, say, 4 pixels, then you can safely run noise reduction at 3 pixel radius to kill everything at a higher frequency than that.

     

    From the samples it seems there is no image detail at the same scale as the "bubbles".

     

    Untitled-1.jpg

     
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  • Pierre Courtejoie
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    Mar 11, 2012 8:16 AM   in reply to Darlie B

    One of the best ways to remove texture from an image is done using a fast fourier transfom plug-in, deleting the "texture points", then removing the FFT:

    http://www.tipsquirrel.com/index.php/2010/04/use-fft-to-reduce-texture /

    http://www.skeller.ch/ps/fft_action.php

    http://www.retouchpro.com/forums/photo-restoration/30496-fft-filter-ph otoshop-cs4.html with many links.

     
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  • Pierre Courtejoie
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    Mar 11, 2012 9:12 AM   in reply to Darlie B

    The texture is maybe too big?

     
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  • Pierre Courtejoie
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    Mar 11, 2012 9:14 AM   in reply to Pierre Courtejoie

    Too bad the texture is irregular, one could imagine fixing it with the negative pattern set to dodge or burn according to the areas if it was the case.

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    Mar 11, 2012 3:45 PM   in reply to Darlie B

    Normalized, to where it's not all so high key, there are some remnants of the texture, but it's not too terribly bad.

     

    Bubbles.jpg

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    Mar 11, 2012 4:27 PM   in reply to Darlie B

    I just did an Image - Adjust - Curves operation and moved the black point to the right, so that the resultant levels would range from black to white instead of light gray to white.

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    Mar 12, 2012 10:25 PM   in reply to Darlie B

    I really don't want to discourage you, but so far she's looking quite heavily retouched, probably because that gaussian blur is overly smoothing her skin.  I'd be worried that her hair is going to lose all definition.

     

    You said you had taken the image with 4 different rotations...  Is there a way you could post a crop of the same part - say one of her eyes or her mouth from each of the 4 different photos?  I'd like to experiment with those.

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 13, 2012 12:06 AM   in reply to Darlie B

    No, this clearly isn't going to work.

     

    But I misunderstood this (or didn't read carefully enough): you do have the original print to re-photograph. I thought the file was all you had.

     

    So what you need to do is reshoot under diffused lighting, but coming mainly from the front. Normally, of course, I would never recommend frontal lighting, but this is indeed a special case. What I would try is to set up a screen of diffusing material with a small hole for the lens. If the screen is fairly large you should be able to eliminate direct glare. Glare is an obvious risk, but OTOH glare is exactly 50% of your problem now.

     

    You need to experiment a bit, and maybe widen the hole around the lens. Don't worry about the work involved, you have a lot of work now...

     

    If you have a polarizing filter you can try that to reduce glare from the bubble edges (it only works around 30° angle).

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 12, 2012 11:58 PM   in reply to Darlie B

    Congratulations on getting the face looking as good as it does.  As Noel has already said, it does look heavily retouched and blurry and I'm curious to see if he is able to get better results using the different photo rotations. If all else fails, have you thought of experimenting with a painterly look?   Many people retouch their photos to look like oil paintings, especially for the purpose of printing them at large scale and hanging them on the wall.  In that case details are blurred anyway.   Just a thought...

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 13, 2012 12:40 AM   in reply to Darlie B

    All right...I'd love to get my hands on the original print, this could be an interesting lighting challenge. But I believe it could be done. And even though the lighting setup would have to be elaborate, it would still be less work than doing it in Photoshop.

     
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  • Pierre Courtejoie
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    Mar 13, 2012 1:03 AM   in reply to Darlie B

    What I don't get, even though you rotated the image, is why the most illumination comes from the same side of the bubbles. the goal of the rotation is to make different areas of the bubbles illuminated, so that they could even out each other, right?

     
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  • Pierre Courtejoie
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    Mar 13, 2012 1:04 AM   in reply to Pierre Courtejoie

    I am wondering if this is not why we need a frequencies plug-in in Photoshop, like the old KPT one.

     
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  • Pierre Courtejoie
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    Mar 13, 2012 2:48 AM   in reply to Darlie B

    So you did not rotate the photo, but only the point of view of the camera?

    If you look at the bubbles, they are all brighter in the top spot...

    I thought that the multi-scanning / multi-capture process' goal is to change the angle of the light source (even if it is a diffuse one) on the photo.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 13, 2012 3:06 AM   in reply to Darlie B

    But did you just change camera position, or did you rotate the print? I think PEC put the finger on it. Now that I look closer the light does indeed seem to come from the same direction in all of the shots. That defeats the whole purpose.

     

    If you have four exposures, lit from N, E, S and W, it should be possible to stack them and cancel out the texture. I assumed that this was a four-directional light composite, and with the texture still visible I assumed it was very deep. But maybe not after all.

     

    Either way, you have to reshoot. Then stack them and use either Darken or Lighten blend modes for the top three layers, and combine that with "Blend If" to target a specific tonal range per layer.

     

    Edit: cross-post.  - BTW, maybe a simple transparency distribution from bottom to top is enough.

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    Mar 13, 2012 5:59 AM   in reply to Pierre Courtejoie

    PECourtejoie wrote:

     

    What I don't get, even though you rotated the image, is why the most illumination comes from the same side of the bubbles. the goal of the rotation is to make different areas of the bubbles illuminated, so that they could even out each other, right?

     

    Sorry, I had to sleep for a while.

     

    As the others have said, the issue with the multiple shots is that you want the light coming onto the print from a different angle.  If you did, indeed, rotate the print for each shot as compared to the direction the light is coming from, then I wonder if maybe the print is worn or dusty so that the little "bubbles" are all lighter on the top edges, instead of the issue being uneven illumination.

     

    But thanks for posting the images.  I'll experiment a bit with them, as I'm sure the others are already doing.  I'm thinking maybe somehow a High Pass filter can be used, then the result subtracted from the image...

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    Mar 13, 2012 10:26 AM   in reply to Darlie B

    Using the single image you posted above in the small size, I was able to isolate the pattern pretty well and compensate for it.  I feel as though it could be done a lot better if starting with a higher resolution image.

     

    PortraitRetouched.jpg

     

    I used the High Pass filter and creatively combined the results back into the image, along with some banding noise reduction tools I've developed.

     

    If you'd like, you can send me your original out-of-camera files for several of the porch shots.  I'll combine them to eliminate the lighting differences and go through the pattern isolation process again.

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    Mar 13, 2012 11:38 AM   in reply to Darlie B

    You can use a service called YouSendIt.com, I think, to send large files.  It used to be free; don't pay if it is not free any longer, I'm sure there are other sites.

     

    -Noel

     
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