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Author Topic: Scanning reflective old photos  (Read 15832 times)
lausanne
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« on: June 29, 2010, 10:10:35 AM »
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So sorry if this is an oft repeated question.  I searched for it but couldn't narrow the search down enough to hope to find the answer.

I'm trying to scan mom's old photos - many from the 1920s.  The scanning process is resulting in an image that pics up all the glare in the darks from the old surface material (sorry, I've forgotten the chemistry).

Is there a Photoshop trick I can use to eliminate this? Levels just exacerbates the problem.  My scanner doesn't have a lot of fine tuning options on it.  (Canon MP560).  Not in a position to buy something fancy.

Thanks for any input!
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PeterAit
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2010, 11:12:09 AM »
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Quote from: lausanne
So sorry if this is an oft repeated question.  I searched for it but couldn't narrow the search down enough to hope to find the answer.

I'm trying to scan mom's old photos - many from the 1920s.  The scanning process is resulting in an image that pics up all the glare in the darks from the old surface material (sorry, I've forgotten the chemistry).

Is there a Photoshop trick I can use to eliminate this? Levels just exacerbates the problem.  My scanner doesn't have a lot of fine tuning options on it.  (Canon MP560).  Not in a position to buy something fancy.

Thanks for any input!

Could you post an example? But, it seems that the scanner or scanning technique must be at fault. You are removing the photos from the frame/glass, I assume.
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Peter
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lausanne
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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2010, 11:48:54 AM »
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Quote from: PeterAit
Could you post an example? But, it seems that the scanner or scanning technique must be at fault. You are removing the photos from the frame/glass, I assume.


yes, all out of frames, etc.  i'll reduce the file a bit and post here.

ok, this is the straight scan - reduced in size/resolution for posting.  no levels, sharpening, etc.  if i do levels it just makes it worse.  looking at the original photo straight on it is nice and dark in the darks.  but shifting in the light you get the reflections in the black.  the scanner light is hitting just right to pick up the reflections.
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mahleu
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« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2010, 12:56:24 PM »
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Quote from: PeterAit
Could you post an example? But, it seems that the scanner or scanning technique must be at fault. You are removing the photos from the frame/glass, I assume.

This is quite a common phenomenon. It's silver nitrate left over from the developing and I haven't found a way around it with a scanner. What you may want to try is setting up the picture and taking a new picture of it. This way you can avoid reflections.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2010, 01:02:17 PM »
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Quote from: lausanne
So sorry if this is an oft repeated question.  I searched for it but couldn't narrow the search down enough to hope to find the answer.

I'm trying to scan mom's old photos - many from the 1920s.  The scanning process is resulting in an image that pics up all the glare in the darks from the old surface material (sorry, I've forgotten the chemistry).

It depends on the surface structure. If the surface is glossy and has a structure, then you can try and scan the image twice, rotating 180 degrees between the two scans. Then in Photoshop rotate + align and use a "darken" blending mode for the top layer.

Otherwise you may need to do a wet scan, moistening (a little wetting agent will help) the front of the image just enough to create a thin layer of water when you 'roll' (to eliminate air pockets) the image on the glass platen. Don't use too little water because the image may stick to the glass. Careful with using too much water though, it doesn't play well wwith the scanner electronics, so keep it a safe distance from the edges. Water under the edges can damage the calibration strip (usually mounted at the top, at the hinge edge next to the glass platen).

Cheers,
Bart
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lausanne
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« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2010, 02:07:46 PM »
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Drat.  Changing direction was worse.  

I've heard about the wet scanning - yikes - scares me.  I think I'd want to watch someone else do it first.

I'll see if I can do it by reshooting.

If all fails - do I submit to a drum scanner?
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k bennett
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« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2010, 08:02:04 PM »
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I think the easiest setup is to use a copy stand with a digital camera. I've been working on a huge set of my wife's family photos, and this was the easiest and fastest way to get digital files of reasonable quality.

In my case, since I don't own a copy stand, I set up a small tripod on my large desk, with the center column reversed and the camera aimed straight down about 2-3 feet from the desktop. Using a 17-55/2.8 zoom, I can easily fill the frame with a 5x7, and get enough of the smaller prints.

Lighting is critical here. I use two speedlights, aimed at roughly 45 degree angles, so any reflections from the surface of the print won't end up in the final image. This requires a fair amount of tweaking, but it works. For larger prints I might have to use 4 lights, but so far I have avoided that. (You could use two gooseneck lamps with standard light bulbs, too, if you like. Gets hot, though.)

For simplicity and speed, I am very careful with my lighting, white balance, and exposure -- and I shoot JPEG files in camera, tethered to my iMac. (These are the only JPEGs I've shot in many years. Please don't take away my photographer card.)

Getting the photos to lay flat is a challenge. Be careful about using a piece of glass -- you can get a reflection of your camera lens if you aren't careful. (I had to redo a bunch of photos in the first batch.) Another challenge is photos with a strong texture, but I just let the texture be part of the final image.

The upside to setting up all this stuff is the speed at which one can "scan" hundreds or thousands of photos.

Good luck.
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kpmedia
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« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2010, 04:32:12 PM »
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Use clear Acrylite for the glass.  Wink

 
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lavadome
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« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2010, 02:04:47 AM »
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Try to put the thick black paper as a background for scanning. It will reduce the glare and tones in shadows will be much darker but still details in it.

Hope it helps.
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BruceGordon
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« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2010, 09:58:46 PM »
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I've been doing a lot of scanning of old photos.

Katrin Eismann's "Photoshop Restoration & Retouching" is a very good reference.

With respect to "silvering" if rotating the image when scanning and pin registering the two images doesn't work then another method is to use two light sources at 45 degrees to the picture with polarizing filters on them (theatrical or lighting supply companies have these as gel sheets for a reasonable cost) and a polarizing filter on the camera.  By rotating the camera's polarizing filter the glare will disappear.

Another method is shooting the image tilted so it is not parallel to the camera's plane of focus then using the transform tool to straighten the image (my personal favorite)
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4N6site
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« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2012, 11:23:21 AM »
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You can remove this kind of silvering using color deconvolution. If you have a less compressed version I will demonstrate it for you. The color deconvolution is available via 4N6site.com. It takes just a few clicks and you apply it to the whole image.


yes, all out of frames, etc.  i'll reduce the file a bit and post here.

ok, this is the straight scan - reduced in size/resolution for posting.  no levels, sharpening, etc.  if i do levels it just makes it worse.  looking at the original photo straight on it is nice and dark in the darks.  but shifting in the light you get the reflections in the black.  the scanner light is hitting just right to pick up the reflections.
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4N6site
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« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2013, 01:46:35 PM »
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ok, this is the straight scan - reduced in size/resolution for posting.  no levels, sharpening, etc.  if i do levels it just makes it worse.  looking at the original photo straight on it is nice and dark in the darks.  but shifting in the light you get the reflections in the black.  the scanner light is hitting just right to pick up the reflections.
OK, I processed the image even if the quality due to strong JPG compression is very low. At least it allows you to see how color deconvolution fixed the contrast inversion due to silvering. The mentioned 4N6site.com website offers forensic plug-ins that are at least as useful in photo restoration and retouching. Removal of stains, ink, discolorations and silvering can be done with the color deconvolution plug-in that I used here. For perspective manipulation and ligning up warped images there is the warping plug-in, and for the repeating patterns there is the Fourier transform plug-in.
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PeterAit
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« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2013, 03:38:21 PM »
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I think it's a scanner problem. I scanned a mess of old photos recently and never had a hint of that problem. I use an Epson 750. I know this is not much help - you don't want to buy a new scanner just for this - but it's all I have to offer.
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Peter
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epatsellis
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« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2013, 10:19:40 AM »
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Find a copy of Eastman Kodak's "Conservation of Photographs", the copy I have is dated 1988. By properly treating them, you'll not only be able to scan them, but future generations willmbe able to see the actual physical artifacts.
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