Categories

Jan 22, 2015

How to Repair an Old Torn Photo in Photoshop

The results of this episode will absolutely astound you! Learn how to completely repair an old torn photo in Photoshop!

Reassembling the Photo

If you want to put together an old torn photo, you’ll need to start by scanning it in to a computer. Don’t worry if it’s in multiple pieces- we can fix that! Just be sure to Begin by selecting the pieces of the photo. Duplicate the background layer while they are selected so that you don’t work on the background layer. Then, cut and paste the pieces to be on their own individual layers. You can now use the move tool to bring them back to their original positions. Be sure to align all of the elements of the photo.

Dust and Scratches Begone!

Here are the tools to use for editing out tears, scratches, and any other blemish that can be found on your old photo:

Spot healing brush tool

  • Samples from a source automatically
  • Best used for small, isolated blemishes
  • Be sure to select “content aware” at the top of Photoshop

Clone stamp tool

  • You choose the source sample, which allows for much more control
  • Be cautious of duplicating obvious spots

Brush tool

  • Only use if there are next to no options for sampling
  • Takes a good eye and and a steady hand- this is essentially hand painting
  • Might require added noise to look realistic
  • Much easier with a tablet than with a mouse

Fixing Discoloration

If you are working with an old aged photo, often times there will be a lot of discoloration in the image. To balance the colors we use a selective color adjustment layer, because it make it very easy to target specific colors (as well as whites, blacks, and neutrals) and then alter them.

Before

28 Comments


user image You
(will not be published)

  • user image
    Mike

    I love the color work it was very helpful on a project that I’m currently working on. Thanks for doing what you do 🙂

  • user image
    Aankhen

    Great tutorial! It’s amazing to see just how much can be restored. I do have some concerns about how the process involves a lot of guesswork, but since it’s all digital it’s easy enough to have the original there for comparison.

    By the way, hitting Tab in any of the fields in this comment form seems to send me to the newsletter signup form…

  • Ammerz

    Great tutorial!!!! I see a lot of patients is required to restore old photo’s but the end result looks amazing!

  • user image
    Mee Bee

    Nice.

    Also in the family photo vein, how about a tutorial on making and using depth maps with lens blur? We wanted to use an iPhone photo for our family Christmas card, but the background (a receding wall with large paintings) was distractingly sharp. A uniform blur worked, but a depth map would have probably felt more natural.

  • user image
    Rob@Amsterdam

    Attaboy,

    you really took a walk on the wild site with this one (compared with the 2 banana trick with the red eyes earlier this week).
    I love to do this stuff , retouching old colored and B&W photo’s (done so many)
    People are always so pleased with the result .

    Great job !

    Keep up the good work !

  • user image
    Troy

    This is a great tutorial. I scanned in an old 8×10 photo of my parents when they were dating. It was in need of major restoration. Since the photo I had was not torn, I didn’t need to use all of the techniques you covered. I used the spot healing brush tool, the clone stamp tool and the paint brush tool.

    The hardware I used for this project is:
    HP Officejet 6500 all-in-one device to scan, iMac, and Huion drawing tablet. I could not have completed this project without the drawing tablet.

    I created restoration layers and went to work. On the general areas that did not have person to repair, I used the spot healing brush and clone stamp to fix the damaged areas. Along the border of the photo, I matched the color and used the paint brush to do the repairs.

    Repairing the image where a person was involved was one of the time consuming part. As in the tutorial, I had to use the paint tool and the clone stamp tool to repair my parents images and the images of the people in the background.

    Surprisingly, the hardest part to repair and retain the integrity of the image was that drawing that is on the wall below the words “STONE CLUB”! I basically painted that back in on a separate layer and apply “noise” to get it to match the original.

    I the video you mentioned that if the image used was for a client, you would take your time. I SO GET THAT! This is the only image I had of my parents before they were married. So, I treated this project as if I were doing it for a paid client. This project took me a total of nine (9) hours, over a two day period, to complete. I could have gone the time saving route and just basically cloned out the background, but that would not been a true restoration.

    Thank you Aaron and all the folks at Phlearn for another great tutorial Keep up the great work.

  • user image
    rmbrand.tx

    Oh how I wish I had this knowledge when I tried to restore some old family photos of my great grandfather and great grandmother. They were taken in the height of Cuban society back in the turn of the last century. The attached photo was the best I could do to restore it. It had a huge crease running through it.

  • user image
    rmbrand.tx

    EDIT: Oh how I wish I had this knowledge when I tried to restore some old family photos of my great grandfather and great grandmother. They were taken in the height of Cuban society back in the turn of the last century. The attached photo was the best I could do to restore it. It had a huge crease running through it.

  • user image
    Wendy

    I just wanted to send out a big THANK YOU! We lost my mother in October, after a very brief illness. This was one of their wedding pictures that was ripped somehow. Anyway, thanks to this tutorial, I was able to get it somewhat fixed. I still need to do some tweaking, but it’ll eventually be almost as good as when it was taken. I’ve only been using Photoshop for about 2 months now, but I’ve watched (and attempted) just about every tutorial you’ve done. Thanks again!!!

  • user image
    Rakesh Guchhait

    Can you help me to repair this old photo I have attached. Thank you

  • user image
    Japie

    Hi

    Thank you for making this great territorials available to us on the internet. I really enjoy this and learn a lot from it.

    I do not understand when working with layers which one to use as the end product. Does one need to combine all the layers at some time at the end of working the image.

    Greetings
    Japie