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Repairing Discolored and Stained Photos In Adobe Photoshop 7

A sequel to "Reconstruction & Repair of Heavily Damaged Photos" By Karl Kizur
A few months ago I wrote an article on the repair of heavily damaged photos. From the responses I got to that article, it has come to my attention that there are some aspects I did not cover, and have thus received requests for further explanation. Recently I received an email from Lonny asking for advise on how to repair an old photo of his "little sister". With his permission, I will use this photo to demonstrate some approaches that can be taken when dealing with discolored, stained and heavily spotted photos. As she clearly means so much to him, we will do our best to bring back her smile.
Original image as was scanned.
Digital ROC applied . After further repairs.
Fig 1. Before, midway and after reconstruction. (a large version of the final image can be seen at the end of this article)

The image has been cropped and rotated to a more compact and attractive composition. The original image is a space with a girl. The tighter crop is the girl with a background.

Fig 2. Applied Science Fiction: Digital ROC.
The Red Tint
Although Adobe Photoshop provides a wide range of color adjustment features, there is a growing variety of third-party software available that automatically balance and restore color in moments. A good example is Digital ROC from Applied Science Fiction. (fig.2) Lonny had used this filter very effectively to remove the red tint.If you don't have something like ROC, don't worry, there is a variety of features in Photoshop under Image > Adjustments that are both automated (like Auto Color) and specialized (like Curves).

Fig 3. Duplicate layer
Fig 4. Before and after Dust & Scratches Filter
Fig 5. The layers palette as it appears on completion.
Fig 6. Replace Color.
The Spotty Background
The ROC may have cleaned up the colors, but there is still the matter of the spots. What's more, a blue green stain has been revealed in some parts of the image. The background is relatively flat, so we can take the following approach to cleaning it:
  1. Duplicate the layer on which you are working. (fig.3)
  2. To the duplicate layer apply Filter > Noise > Dust & Scratches, and adjust the settings so that the spots on the background are no longer visible. (fig.4) In this case it was Radius:6, Threshold:0.
  3. Add a mask to the duplicate layer, it's the second button from the left on the bottom of the layer palette. (fig.5)
  4. Click on the mask you have just made and go to Image > Adjustments > Invert. You now see your original image, the mask is black (fully transparent).
  5. Take the brush tool at a convenient setting and paint with white over the damaged wall. Watch the spots disappear as you paint back the layer above. (fig.5)
If the blue/green discoloration is still present, one approach is to use "Replace Color" found in the Image > Adjustments. (fig.6) On your new layer, click on the color you wish to replace (you can select several holding shift) and use the settings to find the right alternative. This was sufficient for the background of this image. Other more precise approaches are discussed later.

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