GRAPHICS PRO

April '21

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S I G N A G E & P R I N T I N G T H E D I G I T A L E Y E | S T E P H E N R O M A N I E L L O RESTORATION TECHNIQUES: PART 1 METHODS FOR RESTORING ANTIQUE AND DISTRESSED PHOTOS 9 0 G R A P H I C S P R O A P R I L 2 0 2 1 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M T he digital restoration of old photo- graphs has become popular among professional digital artists and hob- byists alike. Perhaps it's because creative individuals want to connect to the past, and what better way to travel back in time than to resurrect the glory of former days in the form of a portrait, group, interior, or landscape. Many people have hundreds of old photos in their attics in cardboard box- es—photos of their ancestors who have long departed. ese photos are impor- tant because they are a true window into the family's history and may be the only record of the lives of deceased grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cous- ins. Restoring their photographs brings past family members into the present. On the professional side, historians rely on the restoration of photographs in order to collect visual information of a particular time and place, and develop a clearer idea of the social mannerisms, attire, industries, and culture of a par- ticular era or event. Today, we are at the zenith of the amazing technology with software that enables us to restore both static and moving images and recreate a picture of the past as it actually was. PROBLEMS WITH OLD PHOTOGRAPHS Time is not on our side when it comes to photographs. Many factors erode images over the years, and unless they've been preserved in a literal vacuum devoid of oxygen and light, photographic imag- es will deteriorate in a number of ways. Here is a partial list of problems that can result from simply existing over time in a "normal environment": • All or part of the photo is faded. Fading results from the deteriora- tion of the emulsion on an image caused by exposure to ultraviolet light, air, or uctuating tempera- tures. Frequently the photograph might be ne on one side and grad- ually fade on the other (Figure 1). • e photo has a colorcast. A color photograph might have washed-out colors or a yellow, red, or green cast over its entire surface, usually the result of the emulsion's chemical reaction with air or the paper it was printed on. • e image is wrinkled, torn, scratched, or covered with spots. Wrinkles and scratches are often a result of mistreatment of the pho- tograph. Spots can develop from exposure to dust. Images stored in a damp environment can collect mold that appears as splotches on the surface. • Part of the photograph is missing. A vital portion of the image, such as a hand or a face, might have a Figure 1 (above). Fading results from the deterioration of the emulsion on an image caused by exposure to ultraviolet light, air, or fluctuating temperatures. (All images courtesy Stephen Romaniello) Figure 2 (right). A color photograph may have washed-out colors or a yellow, red, or green cast over its entire surface, usually the result of the emulsion's chemical reaction with air or the paper it was printed on. This photo also has scratches, spotting, and missing regions.

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