Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Everything New Is Old Again in Adobe Photoshop

Everybody has photos laying around from bygone film days.  I happen to be lucky enough to be the keeper of the family's record as told through old photos.  Many of them look like today's image.  They're faded and have turned sort of a sepia-ish brown.  They're probably a lot worse for wear than today's image, having been passed around so many times.  The edges are ripped, there's been drinks of almost any description spilled on several, but the tell the story of who we are.  Today's image "says" it's from September 1934.  The old prints used to say Kodak and have the date they were processed on them.  A little advertising to remind people who were the people to print "the moments of your life".  The thing is, today's image is not old, it wasn't pulled out of a shoebox tucked in the back of a closet or found in a musty attic.  It was found on my "K" drive and the image was shot in September 2010, not September 1934.  Some Adobe Photoshop CS5 technology was used to make it appear to be from many years ago.  To find out how this image was made and what cutting edge technology was used, hit the "read more".
First of all, it started with a three image HDR, using CS5's HDR Pro. One of the nice things about HDR Pro is the Remove Ghosts function it has. Just click the box next to the words "Remove Ghosts" and CS5 will select one of the frames as a master, not change the overall depth of the image and eliminate any movement between images. Someone was walking down by the fence on the left. Because they were moving they wound up as a set of blurred pieces in the image. Remove Ghosts took it down to one person. If I hadn't liked the stance CS5 had chosen, I could have clicked on either of the other two original images and used that. Since they were going to be removed anyway, I really didn't care which version CS 5 selected. I just wanted to make it easier in the next step.

People wondering around in 2010 clothing would probably have been a dead giveaway that the shot wasn't made seventy something years ago. The folks on the left of the image were selected using the freeform Lasso Tool (L). By staying reasonably close to the bodies Content Aware Fill (Shift F5 and use CAF as the "Use" selection. A person just to the right of the train, the white crossing stripes and a sign all vanished thanks to Content Aware Fill. There were a couple of people under the awning of the building and CAF just couldn't unravel that puzzle.

To eliminate those folks the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) was used to select a specific piece of the area of the building. One was the bench with some slats. A person's green jacket showed through the slats. Using the Polygonal Lasso Tool, an area to the side of the side of the person was Selected and the Clone Stamp Tool (S) used to fill in the off color area. By constraining the Selection (using the Lasso Tool), it didn't require a lot of care in cloning the spot. This technique was used for three or four people standing by the building.

With the image "prepped", a B&W Adjustment Layer was added and the Tint checkbox checked. This opened the color picker dialog box and a faded sepia tone-ish shade of greenish brown selected. Next a copy was made (Ctrl J) and the Blend Mode changed to Multiply. A Selection was made of the front of the boiler and a Layer Mask applied. The front of the boiler looks to be circular, but due to the angle of the camera in relationship to the train, it's not. To adjust the Selection it was put into a Free Transform (Ctrl T) mode. Right clicking inside the bounding box gave access to the Free Transform options. Skew was picked and the upper right and lower center handles moved just a bit to distort the circle to match the front of the boiler exactly. Using that Selection to apply a Layer Mask gave more detail to the front of the boiler.

"Normal" High Pass Filter (Filters/Other/High Pass) was applied and a heavy vignette gave the appearance of dirtiness, from being passed around over the years, around the edges. The Canvas was expanded (Image/Canvas Size) to give a old fashioned border around the print and the wording reminiscent of what was found on photos of that time were added to make the image seem a little older than it actually is. (Like about 77 years older.)