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Adobe Photoshop Mastery: Retouch and Restore

Lesson 12 of 20

Fundamentals of Retouching Vintage Images


Adobe Photoshop Mastery: Retouch and Restore

Lesson 12 of 20

Fundamentals of Retouching Vintage Images


Lesson Info

Fundamentals of Retouching Vintage Images

Let's look at more straightforward retouching and how we can deal with it so I'm gonna open an image and let's just do some rather straightforward we're touching and well when we get into more difficult areas will have to deviate from normal practices tio be able to fix areas so first, the spot healing brush I'm going to use for any small specks that are in areas that have just organic material like texture that don't have overly specific detail mean it's not a fold in fabric where if the wrong content was put in there to replace it with it would be obvious instead it's in an area where like the background here, I could pick all sorts of different content to put in here and as long as it has somewhat similar texture to this it would be fine. But if I came over here to where we have the folds and fabric and it just put basic texture in there unless it's the perfect fold of that fabric, it would be obvious to you. And so in this background I'm going to use my spot healing brush and I can...

paint over some of these areas and it will figure out where to copy from in the only thing I need be concerned with is trying to cover up the entirety of each little problem and not end halfway through it because it ends up using the brightness of the surroundings if I leave a little chunk of the original problems still sitting there, he will see that brightness sitting there like a bright area from a scratch and it'll try to incorporate it into what I'm trying to fix and ah, as long as we're in areas that don't need overly specific detail, I can use spot healy brush but then when I come down here to the skirt now their areas if I try to use the spot healing brush, this is where it has to be completely precise with what it chooses to put in, especially if I go across fingers if it puts in the wrong shape of fingers it's not going to look right now in some spots it looks okay, it actually figured out that it should have the weave of fabric, the folds but where the hands and fingers are, it looks like now she had some surgery that combined a bunch of fingers together and so that's not going to quite work so here's how I end up tackling a lot of those areas. First I break up areas into smaller pieces, so instead of trying to deal with this entire stretches one piece I'll break it up into little chunks the way I do that as I used the clone stamp tool this a stool the clone stamp tool, unlike the others doesn't help you in any way all it does is it copies from one area wherever you tell it to and puts it somewhere else without trying to do any extra work without trying to get her to blend in with its surroundings without trying to make sure your brushes soft enough to make it look appropriate and so I'm going to use that tool to just break apart this problem in the mobile pieces so if you think about what should be in this particular area right here if this problem wasn't there it would be similar to what's just over to the right so option click there to copy and I was put in a little bit of that right there I just isolated this part of that scratcher gouge from this part here so now I can treat them as two separate pieces and I'm going to do that but interrupting it like that anywhere where it's about to hit important detail and so that I'll come over here I'll copy from a little bit over here and apply that here just to break that apart. So now this little piece is separate from the part where the hands are I'll continue going down and I'll break it apart again think about what would be here if that wasn't might be in one of these folds becoming out right about there and I've just isolated that I'm gonna break it again right about here so that now we have one, two, three, four, and then up here we need to break it apart some more wherever it bumps into important detail. So here I'm gonna have to get into a tighter area because it's right about there that it pumps into something important it should look about like this, like this dark stuff, and so use that to break it, and I might need to use a little bit of the surrounding, but I just want to isolate one area from the other after I've done that dealing with the individual parts well, becoming easier also here, where it hits this edge, I'm going to replace that content to, and I'm not being overly precise here, just trying to isolate one area from another here I see it completely separate scratch that kind of comes across an intersex, I'm going to break it apart, and here I'll break this, too, so that now they're all separate pieces. Now that they're separate pieces, some of them will be able to get rid of with a spot healing brush. The spot healing brush is the one that where it chooses, where to copy from his long it's, an area where it doesn't need absolutely precise content. It doesn't need an exactly precise fold in the fabric or a grout line in a tile floor where if it was off it would look bad then I could just use this paint over it and be done with it you know I can do that for some of these areas not that many though, because we have mainly stuff that needs very specific detail but often times just by breaking it up like that I'd be able to tackle maybe about half of one of these scratches not in this case and that's why I picked this particular image I can try it on a few other areas even areas he might not think it would work with here there might need to be some specific folds and other things but I might just try sometimes you'll be amazed of what you end up getting where it just might kind of work look in other areas where you need very specific detail where if it's off the littlest bit this is probably not going to work I might try it though because sometimes it does and I'm absolutely amazed but I need to cover up the whole problem for I look out and you see how that doesn't work so let's see how we can get that to be a little easier to deal with first off let's excuse me let's say I need to just put in what's in this area all right so I need to reconstruct this stuff sometimes it's straightforward, you can copy for an area really close by using something like the clone stamp tool copy from here by option clicking coming up here to apply it, but other times you'll find the area you're trying to copy from is just too small to really effectively use their like, what am I going to use to connect these two areas? If you look at it, it shouldn't be a straight vertical line. It needs to be angled a bit in order. Have those two areas connect? I need to try to find an area with the exact same angling unless I know of some special features and photo shop. Check this out I'm going to copy from right down here where it have almost a straight vertical line option. Click I'll come up here and I'm gonna click approximately where I think it should go, which about here? And I'm just going to click and let go and then choose undo it sounds kind of weird click and let go, then choose undue, but what that just did is it locked in where we're about to apply it? So if I move my brush around instead of getting a preview of the line that I option clicked on. It remembers exactly where it is. Do you see when I get over here? It remembers that that's where I click, you can see that line in there. Let me see what I'm talking about if I option clicked right here and I was just moving around, I would constantly see a preview of the area that I'd option clicked on. You see the vertical line within my cursor, I'm going to establish where I wanted to copy from by option clicking, I'm going to come up here to establish where I was going to apply it by clicking and then I'm going to choose undo to not actually apply it yet. Sounds weird here's why? Because now if I come over here, get a larger brush, stare at what's inside my cursor on check this out if you look at it, can you tell that it's rotating? Can you see that the line is no longer vertical it's now almost a forty five degree angle? If I press a different keyboard shark at watch, can you see it coming back? I'm going to now rotated intel that bottom and top of that dark line lineup I'll share with you the keyboard shortcuts I use in a moment and now you want to know, but let's say doesn't perfectly lineup I can hold down other keys to just nudge it around before I am actually applied it, I haven't clicked to apply that yet. I can continue to rotate it a little bit. I can even scale it then I can click once it lines up to actually apply it. So what the heck was I doing this then? Well, let's find out what's copy from her. I've also might be more obvious what's happening when I rotate and things I go to the area where I was going to apply it let's say it was going to apply here that won't think you'll look very good, but I'll just does an example. Click and I choose undue why did I choose undo? Because I don't want to be permanent yet. I wanted to just establish where I was thinking about putting it by clicking and then choosing undue then I hold on to special keys on my keyboard. This two special keys are shift an option. I'm gonna hold those two keys down, which I'm doing right now and then I can use the greater than and less than keys you know, the ones that look like kind of sideways letter weise and if I press one of them that you can tell or not but her eyes rotating clockwise, I pressed the opposite one, the eyes rotating the other direction I wish it wouldn't keep that dumb little cursor on top that's getting in my way but now instead of using them greater than and less than keys I'm going to use the bracket keys you know they're half squares watch what happens when you use it can you tell if you stare at it but the eyes getting bigger or if I use the other one the eye is getting smaller you can make it anybody I whenever I want anywhere in between but what I'm doing is holding down the same two keys I was talking about earlier which is shift an option on windows that shift in salt and if I used the greater than and less than keys that gets me to rotate and if I used the square bracket keys that gets me to scale and if I use the arrow keys that gets me to nudge meaning move this around yes way do are you doing control see yes ok or you go to the edit menu and choose undo either way yeah. Um yes can you can your source be a different image? Yes altogether it can just like before when I had that document was full of texture this could be another picture of the same person maybe you have three pictures that were taken at the same event or maybe it's ah group shot and they took more than one picture and one they have their eyes closed the other one they are our eyes open you can copy from the one with their eyes open just have both documents open switched to the document where their eyes are open option, click on the I then go to the document where their eyes were closed and click to apply it choose undue just so it's not permanently applied. Yet. Then you can mess with these settings to scale, rotate, nudge, that's everything well, you don't have to. The main thing is, if you click and then you let go, then if I move my mosque out of the way here, that piece of the I would be permanently applied there, and I wouldn't be able to decide to use a smaller brush and not apply the whole thing in or reposition it or something. It would have already been deposited on the picture, and I only want o make it deposited on the picture once I know it's the right size and position and everything else and so that's. Why I choose undo it, it just locks in the relationship of will, the distance from where you copied toe, where you're about to apply it. That relationship gets locked in if you asked you to apply it, say, inadvertently, you could use to transform tool change that no, ah well, if you applied it in inadvertently, just choose undo you have multiple undoes go to the history panel, go back multiple steps. The problem is if you try to transform it after you've applied it, what if he wanted it to be smaller? Well, then you've already covered up a certain portion of your image and making a smaller you're going to see you know what you've already applied there, so just click and she's undo all you're doing is locking in where you're about to apply it by doing that now the problem here if I wanted to actually use that eye is hurt eyebrow is going the wrong direction, so let me just describe what those keyboard shortcuts are actually doing because they're shortcuts for something else you could have done manually if you go to the window menu there's a choice in here called clone source and clone source are the settings that we were just changing if you look at what's here, the w n h stands for width and height and when I was holding down those two key shift an option and I used the bracket keys, I was just changing that setting when I used to greater than unless than keys you could see an angle setting in there that's being changed, and when I was using the arrow keys it was changing a setting called offset offset means how far horizontally did you move or vertically? Did you move between where you're copying and where it's actually being applied, but there are some other settings and here that are very useful that I can't access with my keyboard. One of those are these little icons, this one being what I want to use that means, flip horizontal, make a mirror image of this horizontally, and by doing that now, when I try to put her eye in there, her eyebrow is now going the right direction. It's raising as it goes towards the left, and so I could possibly do that, then I could find ten where I'm about to put it in, and I could find tune my scaling if I needed to make it maybe one eyes little smaller than the other. Whatever that happens to be before I put it in, what I like is I can use a large brush to cover up the entire area of about to apply it in, and I get all those perimeter's set up where we're doing the right rotation and scaling and everything else before I actually click to apply it. Then I could just grab a small brush, use your brush changes, whatever you want, use a tiny brush of I want to see is that to retouch her eye? Ah, you in the middle of rye or some other area that you might not, um you might not need the whole area you might be having a large brush just so you can see the entirety of how it lines up with his surroundings but in the end you might be using a small blood brush to actually apply it but this is the clone source panel I find it's mainly useful though using your keyboard and that's why I sure holding downshifted option greater than less than keys end up changing angle the brackett keys end up changing the width and height and the arrow keys end up changing the offset then you can flip horizontally or vertically you just need to do it with your mouse in here and when you're done and you want to reset this to its default settings that's what this is like honest for click there it'll reset everything to default yes there were but the eye over the new I was terribly lighter then yes ok now is there some way darken noon while you're doing this to get to that later I have to do that later okay if I were to do this on its own layer which is usually how I work when I do re touching down I would could put the eye on its own layer right afterwards I could go into curves and I could brighten her dark until it matched I don't if you remember there was an icon and curves that had little down pointing arrow which would mean on ly affect the layer that's directly below and therefore I could easily do that in this case I was just trying to demonstrate how to think about the tool is a hole now we can actually use it to repair some of this so if you look in here and you look at this portion right here where within this document can I find anything that would it be at the right angle to copy from what am I looking for? I'm looking for a darker line that somewhat curved but this angle this is vertical here that wouldn't quite work this is somewhat curve but night not be it quite the right angle for here so there might not be an exact right area to copy from but I can pick any of these areas that has a curve to it let's say I want to choose from right about here option click I come down here I'm going to get a bigger brush than usual just so I can see what we got I mean click to establish where I'd like to apply it and then choose undue so it's not actually applied and now I can use those keyboard truck it's so I might come in here and just rotate this enough to get it so it it's at the right angle don't quite have it far enough yet and actually let me see where is my clones are yonica some rotation going on, and if I can figure out the right amount of rotation to get that to match up, then I can copy from so many more areas in this image because I'm not stuck using them and the original orientation after I'm done get into the right angle, I could get a much smaller brush because they only needed for a tiny spot and I can put that in there even though it was at a completely different angle elsewhere in the picture, I reset that and then I can copy from other things but all sorts of areas in here like fingers and hands, sometimes that copy from one finger and to put it over on this one, I need to scale it down and they need to rotate it a little bit to get it to match up. Other times, it's just a matter of grabbing small areas of the right tone ality. So from the hand I could ah ignore all these settings here, not get too fancy and just copy from what's her in the surroundings in each area to try to rebuild them copy from here. Other things that are useful is when I'm applying these adjustments. Sometimes there is a blending mode that can be useful, for instance let's try to get rid of some of these little scratches inspects that are near the edges of the image and we show you a few tricks we can use I'm gonna copy from some areas let's say down in here actually actually let's do the bottom edge first and then we'll end up feeling part of innings I think we'll need it down here when I sometimes do is not straightforward retouching where I reused retouching tools instead we're going to do in this case is I'm gonna copy from the top of the document I'll use my his selection tool to select the general top of my image I mean a copy that to its own layer so in order to do that I could choose copy and paste or there is a choice under the layer menu called new layer via copy I mainly use new layer via copy because there's a nice keyboard shortcut command jay I can remember because I think of it is jumping something to a new layer jump it to a new layer so I'll take command j watch my layers panel and you'll see that it takes the area we have copied we have selected and it pops it up unto its own layer then I'm going to come in and choose edit, transform and I'm gonna flip it vertically just like make a mirror image of it vertically I can use my move tool then moved to allows me to move a layer and I'm just going to move it down here but I don't want it to look too much like a perfect reflection of what's up here might not be a bad thing because in these drapes or whatever it is in the background could look like to continue, but I'm gonna flip it also horizontally, so we gotta flip both directions, then I'm going to try to reposition it in here in order to figure out the right positioning. I can't currently see what's underneath, so I have a couple different choices. One of those choices would be to lower the opacity of this layer the top of the layers panel we haven't opacity choice and if I lower, I could see through this layer and compare it to what's down there if I then him in the move tool, I can use the arrow keys in my keyboard to slowly nudge this one direction or the other to position it where it looks like it is where it belongs and when I'm done I could bring my capacity backup, so now we have this little piece of the bottom I can turn off and on, but I only want to use it in the areas where I needed I want to use as much of the original photograph as possible so I can turn off the eyeball there and I might just make a selection now I can use a selection tool that can speed things up it appears the quick selection tool looks like a brush with a little selection behind it, and I could just paint down here on the areas that are white and I might need to work on the layer that's underneath so it can see all that information if it grabs too much, I can at the top of my screen top left tell it to take away from my selection that's what the minus key means and paint over the areas that I didn't want until I get just that area that needed to be filled in. You can also continue to add there said in the upper left there's a tool of the plus sign on it. If it takes away too much, you know, just get this general area, then I'm going to go up to the layer that we had copy and we had flipped it, and I want to tell to only use it in this particular area. You you remember when we had adjustments, how we had a mask and with a mask, any area that was black caused the adjustment to not apply well, we can use the mask here in any area. The mask that becomes black will simply hide this layer and can show her hide a layer. And just like when we used an adjustment layer if we start off with a selection like this one when we get into using a mask it will automatically convert that selection into the mask to create a mask you get down here and click on this icon looks like a circle inside of a rectangle and when I do that it's only going to insert what I have in that particular area looks like my selection wasn't quite big enough for my little of area here we could modify the mask as much as we want though well clicking the layer that's underneath they'll use that same tool to select in this area click on my mask and say I want to fill that mask with sure my foreground color code that's white you can grab the paintbrush tool as well and we can paint with white wherever we need it so this is just going to control where that image is used and I'm gonna go a little bit beyond into this area to the same thing over here I am I not getting you see why I'm not going I might not have copied enough of the top yeah we're just missing a few parts that's all right I can easily um fill that in with my retouching tools let's just get this in okay now you noticed after putting in that chunk that the brightness of this area in the lower left corner is a bit too bright of men so we could to adjust it come in here and use curves just like we did in other things, if I do curves, we are genetically have that hand active, and I'm going to click on this, and I'll end up dragging straight down when I drag straight down, though, do you notice that the entire picture is changing? Well, that's, where that little icon at the bottom of curves comes in this little icon with the one on the far left, that means on ly affect the layer directly below later, directly below is what has that content? So if I click there now, it's only in effect one layer and I can drag this down, you see it's not affecting the rest of the image anymore, so I can get it close to the right brightness like that. Now that didn't help in the lower right corner. If I turn off the curves adjustment layer here's before here's after didn't help, so you just grab your paintbrush tool and isn't it black in a mask that hide something or causes an adjustment not to apply? I'm just paint over that with black, then in order to fix these transitions, all create a brand new empty layer and to fix those I'm just going to come in here with my spot healing brush and let's see if the spot healing brushes smart enough to be able to fix transitions if it doesn't work when you first try, you need to look at the top of your screen, there's some icons up there that control how it thinks, and if you ever look in your layers panel and you have more than one layer and the information it needs to copy from is not on the layer you're working on, then you'll need to come up here and click on this icon if you're not sure what that icahn does just hover over it. If you hover over it eventually should get a tool tip that tries to tell you what it means. What that means is be able to copy from other layers when it's turned off it can on ly copy from the layer you're working on larry, I'm working on is empty if you click on that, it can copy from all of the layers, and therefore, when I come over here and attempt to apply this, it should be a low copy from the rest of the document. This still looks to be a little bit too light. If I compare the two sides so I could go back to my curve, grab the one that the senate move it down a little bit more until the brightness seems to match, then I'll have to redo my little retouch because you're seeing the research not planning in look over here to the same thing and this is what I would end up doing. You remember previously when we had an image that had an oval matting around it? The oval matting used to be a lot brighter than the rest of the picture, but we adjust the oval the oval matting so that it ended up matching the center. See if I can find our picture. I'm not sure if I say yeah, here it is. This image. Do you remember how this one? If you saw the original, we had the two different brightness levels were all done. We got them somewhat to match, but there was this transition right here that you could still see. Well, what you do is you create a brand new empty layer, you go to your spot healing brush and you just need to make sure that icon is turned on. That lets it work on the other layers and you heal across and it ends up trying to blend the two sides more smoothly. Let me look for an area where there's, you know, like right here, he's got to be careful not to bump the edge of the picture, but by going over this area with that most of time, it will to a relatively good job of blending the two sides so that you can't see that transition line you have to be careful, there's, any specific detail. If there's specific detailed, then you'll go to the normal healing brush and you'll copy from what it would really need to copy from here. There's, some very specific detail, so I copy from an appropriate area, but still I'm healing across that area all your tools that will need to be set to work on an empty layer. So we were using the spot healing brush, and we turned on a setting. All the other tools also have settings and need to be changed in order to be able to work on an empty layer like I'm working right now and on this particular tool, which is the normal healing brush at the top of my screen. It's right up here, battle mental, allow it to work on a empty layer, I said. Then I can heal across and get it to blend in. And with the normally clone stamp tool, you have a similar setting. You have to change its right here current and blows what I would use.

Class Description

Photographs are among our most treasured possessions, but not every photo was shot under optimal conditions or preserved in an ideal way – making photo restoration a big business opportunity for skilled photographers and retouchers.

If you want to answer every, “can you fix it?” with a resounding “yes,” Adobe® Photoshop® Mastery: Retouch and Restore with Ben Willmore is the class for you. 

You’ll learn:

  • Advanced color correction and enhancement techniques
  • Retouching and scratch removal strategies
  • Detail enhancements
  • Folds, scratch, mildew, ink and water stain repairs
  • Reconstruction of missing pieces such as torn corners and rips
  • How to make fix faded images and make skin tones more lifelike
You’ll learn what actions to take, the optimal order to perform them, and which tools are right for the job. Ben will share time-saving tips and offer insights on the corrections that create the biggest impact.

In Adobe Photoshop Mastery: Retouch and Restore with Ben Willmore, you’ll develop a whole arsenal of retouching and restoration techniques that will breathe life back into damaged and aging photographs. 

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 


a Creativelive Student

Wow! That is pretty much what I thought about the course. It was my first live studio experience and it was fantastic! Ben is a great instructor because he presents the information in a straight forward manner that is understandable, detailed, and concise all at the same time. I have a couple of his other classes and the handbooks his wife creates are exemplary and make going back and reviewing the rebroadcast so much easier. Also, I want to give a shout off to the Creative Live team...Kudos! They are an excellent host...they are professional and fun at the same time! The content they produce has helped me tremendously to expand my knowledge and skills and mostly importantly they are affordable!

Wilson Blackwell

Super class! Ben is the best at explaining Photoshop and how to make full use of it. This class included techniques I've never seen or heard explained in other photo restoration classes I've taken. And the accompanying book, while I've only glimpsed through it so far, is expansive, well laid out, attractive, and looks to cover everything Ben went over in the class - it's a valuable resource as well (thank you, Karen Willmore, for all the effort you put in to produce a worthy complement to what Ben teaches.)


Ben is one of my favorite instructors on CreativeLive. (That's saying a LOT because they are all so good!). Besides being very thorough and understandable, Ben sets himself apart with two things. 1. He thoroughly demonstrates a process, then does a recap of all the steps he just took. That makes it much easier to remember. 2. His wife takes notes during the broadcast and creates a handbook which is available to download when you purchase the course. Some people find it easier to learn by reading than by re-watching the video. I like it because I can find information by using a word search. I feel so fortunate that I was able to sit in the audience for this class. It was great to be able to talk directly to the instructor and interact with the other students.