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Wednesday 11 May 2011

Album Cover

I have to decided to make an album cover for my dear friends who have given me their vintage photographs.  When I took the photos out of the albums to scan, the sticky plastic covers didn't stick back again and I was worried about the photos dropping out.

I thought also that it would be a good test to see what fabrics would work well with the vintage photographs.  I found a brown floral material which I bought to use for the first cover.  I added some wadding and backed it with calico once I had attached the photos.   This photo shows the material with right sides together before I turned it inside out.

Here is the cover with the the material the right sides out before I sewed down the sides and added the ribbon to keep the flap closed:

Monday 9 May 2011

Adding a Lace Frame

I'm putting together bits and pieces that I can use in some sort of vintage collage.  So today I scanned in five different pieces of lace and created paint brushes in PE with them (horizontal and vertical).  I then created a lace frame with one of the pieces of lace that I could use with my photographs.

Just as an example, I have used the photograph I cleaned up in the previous post and added a slight brown tint so that the combination of the lace and picture was evident.

Here is how you do it:
  • Open a new blank page in Photoshop Elements and open the document that contains the frame. 
  • Drag the frame into the new document and resize it as required.  Now simplify the layer by first making the layer active and then going to the menu and choosing Layer>Simplify Layer.
  • Fill the inside of the lace with a shape.  The picture will only show where the lace and shape is.
  • Now open up the picture you wish to combine with the lace.
  • Drag in the picture and make sure that it is the top layer.  Size it to the same size as the lace frame (lower the opacity of the top layer to see through and then put it back to 100%).
  • Group the layers by selecting Layer>Group with Previous.  You can move the picture around so that you can put it where you want in the frame.

Sunday 8 May 2011

More pictures..

I thought this picture of a little girl quite delightful.  Not sure how I can use her but am sure an opportunity will arise.  Here is the before and after.

An easy way of getting rid of brown stains in the background of an old picture, is to convert it into black and white first and then to do the necessary editing.  You can always add a brown tint later if required.

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Transforming a Picture

Sometimes if a picture is difficult to clean up, I will completely transform it and turn it into a 'painting' rather than a photo.  I had a bit of fun with this one - added a rose and will probably incorporate it into some sort of collage.

Tuesday 3 May 2011

Old Photos - Replacing the Background

Sometimes the background in a photograph is not worth patching up in a traditional way.  I decided in the photograph below to 'cut out' the little girl and put her on a separate layer so I could more freely clean up the bottom layer. When I made the selection, I refined the edges by setting the smooth to about 30 and feathered edge to about 20 so that the cut-out would blend back into the picture.

For the background I used the colour picker to get different colours and the Impressionist brush tool to smear the background covering any of the brown bits.

I added the colours on separate layers too so that I could change them if I wanted.

The little girl's face was a bit tricky as it was quite blemished. I reconstructed the nose by copying the left side and flipping it horizontally. Once I had done a lot of cleaning on the face, I used the smudge tool as well with a strength of 55%. The face is not perfect but then it is supposed to be an old photograph anyway.

Monday 2 May 2011

Cleaning up old pictures

I have been scanning in old photographs at quite a high resolution of 720 ppi.  It always amazes me how the scanner manages to pick up every scratch and tear and a picture that at a glance doesn't look bad, is often riddled with imperfections.

Here is a picture of an adorable little girl that I have cleaned up.  The colours that I applied to the picture were kept on separate layers so that I could change them if I wished.

I use 3 main tools in PE (Photoshop Elements) to clean up photographs, the spot healing and healing brush, the clone tool and a brush.  When cleaning the face, I often find that an ordinary brush works best.  It is  painstaking but if you use the colour picker to pick an adjacent colour and then brush the imperfections at lower opacities, it is easier to get a smoother transition.

It just takes a bit of practise (and patience) but here are some tips:
  • When getting rid of little spots, use the smallest possible size for the spot healer.
  • When cleaning up a background like the picture above a bigger spot healer is often better - it requires a bit of experimentation, really.
  • If you have a long scratch it is tempting to try and get rid of it with one sweep of the spot healer but often small clicks along the scratch will do a better job.
  • Get to know the short cuts especially when using a brush for correction.  For example, I press the i to get the eye dropper tool, select the colour I want and then press the b to get the brush again.  Often, you will need to go backwards and forwards between these tools to make enough corrections.

    Sunday 1 May 2011

    I've Succumbed!

    I have avoided starting a blog for many years knowing the time required to keep it alive.  However, perhaps the discipline of maintaining it will provide the discipline in my life that I feel I am lacking at the moment.

    It's great working for oneself but so much more difficult than working for somebody else where you HAVE to arrive for work and spend the whole day plugging away at your desk even when you feel exhausted.  At home, it's too easy to cave in and say "I'll do it tomorrow".

    I am sort of dabbling with vintage at the moment and looking to try and put together a folder of interesting vintage photographs.  Unfortunately, my mother lost all her old photographs in one of her many moves and I have very few which I obtained many years ago for my own albums.  I wonder if my sister has any stashed away someplace??  Anyhow, I have been badgering my friends and it is proving to be very exciting.  To repay their kindness I am giving them back a CD which includes their old photographs plus any that I have retouched.  More on this in the next post...