Brown areas on B/W photos

Discussion in 'Photoshop' started by The Old Bloke, Aug 9, 2004.

  1. Hi People, I an new to Photoshop, having just bought it.

    I am scanning very old B/W photos which often have marked brown (sepia)
    areas within them. The photos were home developed and the problem may be due
    to faulty "fixing" after developing.

    Will someone give me detailed help on how to remove these?

    The Old Bloke, Aug 9, 2004
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  2. The Old Bloke

    Combaticus Guest

    Scan using only shades of gray and not color.
    Combaticus, Aug 9, 2004
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  3. Hi,

    Yes I had tried that but I lose the "old" sepia look entirely. I'm trying
    to retain that old look but without strong sepia look in small areas. I also
    notice a lack of what I call "colour depth" ie lack of contrast.

    The Old Bloke, Aug 9, 2004
  4. The Old Bloke

    Combaticus Guest

    After you scan in gray scale you can then add your sepia tone back in.

    You can touch up the dark spots in the pic before you add the color back in.
    Combaticus, Aug 9, 2004
  5. Thanks Mate,

    I will try that


    The Old Bloke, Aug 9, 2004
  6. The Old Bloke

    Tom Guest

    Before you go to all that trouble, look at the information in the color
    channels. Usually using the red will eliminate a lot of the brown stain
    when you do the conversion.

    Tom, Aug 9, 2004
  7. The Old Bloke

    Mike Russell Guest

    My guess is you may have success creating a mask based on the a channel in
    Lab mode, and using it as the layer mask for a curves adjustment layer.
    Make this into an action, and run it on all the images with similar
    problems, perhaps making manual adjustments as necessary.

    Put a sample up on the net, and some of us will give it a shot.
    Mike Russell, Aug 10, 2004
  8. Hi Mike,

    I am not computer literate enough to have a website, and I am exceptionally
    new to Photoshop, and haven't even mastered layers yet.

    Can I email a 400K copy to your pcbell address?

    The Old Bloke, Aug 10, 2004
  9. The Old Bloke

    Mike Russell Guest

    The problem with that is it would essentially be a private communication
    between the two of us, rather than a group effort.

    I'd suggest you join one of the free online photo groups, such as,, or Then we can all tak
    a look at your image and take a crack at editing it.

    Mike Russell
    Mike Russell, Aug 10, 2004
  10. Thanks for the web site!!!

    Picture is at

    The photo was about 450K but I see that the website has cut these down to
    22k and 44K

    The Old Bloke, Aug 10, 2004
  11. No, it's no longer there. I will try again

    The Old Bloke, Aug 10, 2004
  12. The Old Bloke, Aug 10, 2004
  13. Well, for what it's worth, I love it! The only thing I would do is to
    remove the crease in the upper right. You can do that easily with the
    clone tool. (It looks like a rubber stamp) You position the pointer
    and then I think it's an alternate key press while left clicking.
    Then you can run the tool over the area and correct the image by
    either dragging or clicking. If you're really fussy, you might blur
    the correction afterwards. (blur tool looks like a drop of water)
    L. M. Rappaport, Aug 10, 2004
  14. The Old Bloke

    Mike Russell Guest

    Glad that worked. Great picture, BTW.

    Here is my version:

    The procedure was as follows.

    1) set shadow and highlight, and adjust overall brightness with curves or
    levels. Be especially careful to keep the velvet texture in the dark
    2) use the sponge tool to desaturate the darker sepia areas
    3) sharpen with USM
    4) add color back with Hue/Sat (settings Hue 34, Sat 31) in colorize mode.

    There's a small amount of work in the upper right corner for the clone tool
    or healing brush.

    Mike Russell
    Mike Russell, Aug 10, 2004
  15. Hi Larry,

    The photo (of my ancestors) was a recent find. It is now a treasured
    possession. As I am slowly locating more old photos, I decided to buy
    Photoshop CS, But I am struggling to master the software. Thanks for the
    Regards from Australia
    The Old Bloke, Aug 11, 2004
  16. Good Morning Mike,

    Thanks for effort and help! I do appreciate it.

    I will work thru your steps to try to duplicate what you have done, and I'm
    sure I will learn a lot. I know the clone tool and will look up the healing

    The Old Bloke, Aug 11, 2004
  17. Actually, you'd be better off scanning in color and then converting to
    monochrome. But for detailed instruction, you should invest in a book:
    Katrin Eismann's Photoshop Restoration & Retouching - well worth the

    Lucrezia Herman, Aug 13, 2004
  18. You seem to have asked a very good question with lots of different

    FWIW this is what I did:

    1 - copy background and turn off the eye on Background - click in copy to
    work in it

    2 - i applied a cooling photo filter - the blue will help to make reddish
    areas easier to spot

    3 - i opened a levels layer (least ways I think it was that) then reduced
    the right hand bit of the histogram gauging results in preview until the
    blemished/stained area harmonised with the rest of the pic

    4 - image -> mode -> grayscale and that seemed to confirm the stains had
    gone (there may be a better way to do this bit)

    As other learned colleagues and contributors have stated the clone tool set
    to, say, 10 pixels will help with the creases and spot blemishes

    Overall strategy
    a - work on copy layer of image only

    b - apply a filter that is complimentary to the stain (it acts as an

    c - use histogram (red) to reduce intensity of stain

    d - convert to grayscale

    you may possibly automate the above to batch process images

    the Arty one

    ps - i ain't even going to say that this is the best way but it seemed to
    wurk for mee

    Arty Phacting, Aug 13, 2004
  19. ps - after doing that try

    filter -> noise -> despeckle

    filter -> noise -> dust & sctratches (set at 1 pixel)

    and maybe as the final touch

    filter -> sharpen (use a setting and option which gives pleasure to the

    Arty Phacting, Aug 13, 2004
  20. An appeal to the great and experienced:

    If I save into .psd can I also save the history too

    Arty Phacting, Aug 14, 2004
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