Saturday, December 22, 2012

Restore and Recolor My World!

Rewind to 1993, I was working for the Singapore newspaper group; it was the year I discovered the Macintosh computer and Photoshop! I managed to convince my boss to buy an Macintosh Quadra 950 for me to set up the first Electronic Picture Desk, the 33Mhz Apple cost a whopping S$30,000-00!  The 256 MB RAM upgrade alone cost S$10,000-00!

Like an addict I was hooked to the Mac and Photoshop! To enable me to use Mac after work, I even Took out a company loan and bought my own Quadra 840AV; at a sizzling S$8,000-00 a pop, my wife think I am freaking mad ;)

The Quadra 840AV was the first 68040 Mac to break the 33 MHz barrier. Based on the 40 MHz 68040 processor, and housed in a Quadra 800-style case, the 840AV included AV features similar to its younger sibling, the 660AV. However, it's AT&T 3210 DSP ran at a faster 66 MHz. It also included one Geoport, and sold for US$3,550, which was inexpensive for what was, at the time, the fastest Mac ever.

I started with Photoshop 2.5 then quickly upgraded to version 3.0 when it came out in 1994.

It was around this time that I discovered I was able to restore color of badly faded prints and transparencies!

My first attempt was a faded trans of my young self taken at the Melbourne Essendon Airport 1965, I was on my way to higher education in Victoria, Australia.

As you can see the Kodak Ektachrome transparency of 1965 has deteriorated to just cyan and magenta hues!

After scanning the faded slide with a Kodak RFS 2035 electronic film scanner I proceed to restor the colour.

I remember it took me quite a few hours in Photoshop 3.0, take a look!

After learning the process, I got into photo restoration whenever I have the chance; below are few more examples that I did from 1994 to 1998.

Kodak Ektachrome slide 1967, with sworn brother K.S. and his three sisters; shot at Phillip Island, Victoria; Australia, the badly kept trans has plenty of mold growing on the film surface!

After many hours of mid-night oil, I managed to bring back most of the lost colour!  Good memory of a great student days indeed!

Before and after restoration in Photoshop, colour slide film shot in front of Flinders Street station, Melbourne; 1967. With brother A.Leow, Chan and the Lei sisters on my left.

Yours truly and L.B. during our courting days, photo was printed on Agfa colour paper which faded to a orange colour mess.

Our wedding photo which was printed on the same type of Agfa colour paper which faded without fail within two years of reproduction!  With the help of Photoshop 5.5 I managed to recover most of the colour.

I was about the same time I discovered I am able to combine pictures and add colour into black and white prints!  My first try out was for my in-laws.

The only black and white print my mother-in-law possessed, I thought it would be nice if I can "hand colour" it in Photo shop and gave the colour print to her :) It was harder than I thought....

The "colouring" took me many many hours but I like it. Using the same method, I did a job for my dear father.

This faded print of my dad (eighth from front left) and the committee of the Hakka Association of Thailand in Hat Yai. The picture was about 50 years old when I scanned it in 1995.

After my restoration and colouring effort.

Famous Last Words...

Fast forward to the present, 2012; I am now using an iMac and Photoshop CS5, I can't help but wonder how much faster and easier to do those jobs if I had the same computing and software "power" I have now.

Lets see...

My 1965 Essendon Airport picture is open in my CS5 Adobe Camera Raw

It only took me 15 seconds to clank the "Temperature" and Tint" sliders to their opposite direction to remove most of the purple cast! See my adjustment below...

This is the rough file I get with that quick adjustment in Camera Raw.

And this is after a click of "Auto Color" in Photoshop CS5, all told less than 30 seconds!

Of course there are no short cut to get rid of the mold on the image, you just have to take time to touch them up :)


1 comment:

Simon Gotlieb said...

CY you are STILL the man! Nice work. I had a Quadra 840Av back in the day. I still remember my excitement at how it could play video, something until then was only possible on my Sgi computer. Memory lane can look so much better today.