Episode 103: Portrait of a Young Man

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Download the Companion File! (if there is one…. otherwise 404….)103Again Norman has an interesting task for me – restoring old images. John Edwin Frewer was photographed in London around 1866/7 – of course not digital. I’ll tell you a bit more about him in the next episode.

His image was on a glass plate negative and was then copied as a contact print to photographic paper. The guys who took the image were a bit sloppy and left some lint and marks on the image. And then came 140 years of storage and handling.

Norman has offered to restore the images and I’ll try to help him with this and the next episode. In this one I revisit the clone tool and explore the heal tool. It’s the right tool for tackling all the spots in the image.

The show starts with greeting to Russia, A lot of visits to the site are from there and comments in Cyrillic are getting more. Google translate helps not a lot and so we are looking for some help from Russia. You speak Russian? Become an Editor for this blog and decide what’s real and what’s SPAM. And to all the Russian visitors here – please try to write in English, even if you think it’s not good enough. We will understand you better than Google translate – or ask. 😉

shiny-screenshotsThen I show a plugin that turns dull screenshots into nice reflecting 3-D product shot.

This plugin was written by Fabian A. Scherschel, the German part of the Linux Outlaws podcast. Fabian is drinking beer and talking with Dan Lynch (several cups of tea) about Linux, Open Source news, politics and more.

I think you’ll hear about a really good video podcast about GIMP there soon, so check them out. 😉


00:30 Greetings to Russia
02:48 Linuxoutlaws and screenshot plugin
08:25 Norman has a new problem
09:00 What’s wrong with this image from 1870?
14:10 How much to correct
15:10 Make a backup layer
15:30 Clone tool
17:30 Heal tool
22:10 Undo a whole area
23:20 Working on the face
25:30 Verschlimmbessern
26:50 Comparison of clone and heal tool
29:10 Keep the pattern of the suit
31:00 Tedious work ahead, but….
31:20 perhaps a G’MIC can help?
32:50 Wrap up

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Meet the GIMP Video Podcast by Rolf Steinort and Philippe Demartin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany License.
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14 thoughts on “Episode 103: Portrait of a Young Man

  1. Thank you for this show on fixing old pictures, playing with old photos is a hobby of mine. I had always used the the “heal” tool as a one click fix, I had never thought of doing a click & drag.

  2. A big help for retouching old photographs is perhaps Paul Harrisons “Resynthesizer” Plugin:


    Simply add an empty new layer above the image, take a brush and paint with your favourite color (mine is blue) over scratches and dust specles – or even bigger parts like coffee stains. Get a selection from the alpha channel (blue paintings), select the original image layer and start Script-Fu “Smart remove selection” (a part of Resynthesizer).

    You can drink a coffee (or two) during processing – but the result is quite nice – especially in textured areas like the striped suit in the portrait.

    Moreover, there are many ways to get a selection for Resynthesizer. Dust spots for example can easily isolated for selection with “Wavelet decompose”.


    P.S. Wonderful tutorial Rolf – as always!

  3. The click and drag approach is also very useful with the clone tool especially when it is necessary to repeat and align patterns for example.The more one plays with the clone and heal tools the more one discovers their respective uses and versatility.

  4. I think the curved, black markings on the source picture are more likely to have been caused by having the picture in an oval frame, rather than damage to the negative. Of course that doesn’t make any difference to the process of restoration.

  5. Что ж… и такое мнение допустимо. Хотя, думаю, возможны и другие варианты, так что не огорчайтесь.

  6. I like the crop that Rolf has made to produce a nice, classical portrait. Doing this also makes the restoration much easier. However, I do not have that luxury, because the person for whom I am trying to do the restorations is not only interested in the person but also in the clothes being worn and, where relevant, the surroundings. I have eventually produced a result of the portrait that has been accepted although I am sure that some one more experienced than I am could do better. Perhaps I will send Rolf a copy for comment.

  7. Norman, I would love to see and publish your result!

    The crop I made for this blog entry is quite modern in cutting away things. I was constrained by getting it square, otherwise I would have chosen a different crop.

    If you look at current portraits you see often even parts of the face cropped away. It would be interesting to follow the development of portraits through the centuries. Too bad that our art museum is closed for two years for rebuilding, otherwise I would be there now. 😉

    Another thing to think about.

  8. This was a wonderful episode, and it came just in time for me because I recently started a project of digitizing old negatives.

    I have a box of well-preserved 4″ x 5″ glass plate negatives, family photos taken in the 1880’s and 1890’s. I placed the negatives on a light table and photographed them with a dSLR. I did all the preprocessing in ufraw (e.g., changing to grayscale and inverting the luminosity/saturation curve to change black to white, adding some contrast, etc.). I was reluctant to do anything in Gimp — like healing — because I wasn’t sure of what tools to use. This episode (and also 104) were just what I needed to move to the next step.

    Incidentally, I saved the files from ufraw as jpg’s with 85% compression. If I view them in Fspot with the magnifier, I can see many artifacts. I can’t tell if these artifacts were from the negative (due to lens, emulsion, etc.) or problems that I introduced somewhere in my workflow.

    For anyone who cares to have a look, here is a link to some of the photos on flickr: http://tinyurl.com/m59vnn

    Again, many thanks for Meet the Gimp.

  9. Pingback: MTG: Эпизоды 2 квартала 2009 « Блог фотолюбителя :)

  10. Уважаемые форумчане, открывая тему очень надеюсь, что люди тут взрослые, которые могут вести диалог БЕЗ скандалов

    И давайте быть добрее, уступать места пожилым людям, беременным …

    Родителям хочу сказать, если кто то делает замечание ребенку – это не значит, что человек не любит всех детей, или хочет сделать вам гадость, дети бывают невоспитанные, так же как и родители, к сожалению
    не нужно воспринимать такие ситуации как личное оскорбление
    И предлагаю больше не поднимать тему
    Куда бабульки едут с утра, да еще с сумками/тележками

    приятного общения

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