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  1. Default Scratches on old photos

    I have a few old photos with scratches right across faces. I scanned them and am trying to "clean them up" using Photoshop Elements. When the scratch goes directly across the face, it's real light to real dark. Using the clone tool, it's hard to get a "blend" between the light and dark. I'm using a soft brush. I've also used the noise filter for dust and scratches, leaving the settings at radius 1 and threshold 0, but this doesn't help much. Any tips for what else I might try - a different brush? Different settings for the filter?
    Photoshop Elements 7
    Win 7
    Epson Artisan 1430
    Epson Stylus Photo R380

  2. #2


    You might try the Spot Healing Brush. Only brush across short areas of the scratches at a time.
    PSE 14, ACDSee Pro 7, Epson XP-820
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    Canon 60D, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007


    I start with the spot healing brush. Sometimes I click once, but sometimes it works if you drag it across the scratch. Not sure which would be best on any particular subject, so I experiment. That's what CTRL+Z is for!
    Instagram: lambcrops
    Camera: iPhone 6+
    PS CC 2017
    The Bridge to access photos
    Intuis Art Tablet
    Browser: Firefox

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Midwest USA


    Restoring a old photos can be a pain staking process. Depending on how bad the situation is, it can take forever. Whatever you do, always work on a blank new layer above your photo. You can always merge down when you've got it the way you want it. I use Photoshop and mainly use the clone, healing brush and spot healing. I have got a bunch of old photos I am working on and it is tedious work. There is no quick on size fits all fix, as Shar said, you have to experiment. I tend to keep my history panel up, because often, I go back and undo several steps. I might even delete my working layer and start over.

    Sometimes a larger brush works better for blending. Or maybe your using too large of a brush. Most of the time it should just cover the scratch. I tend to zoom in and out a lot. Try smaller areas, maybe sample more or closer with your clone. You might want to google YouTube to watch some if the videos out there on the subject to give you some more ideas.
    PSE 2018, Nikon D90, Nikon D300, Canon G5X, Canon Pixma-100
    Windows 10, Internet Explorer


  5. Default

    These are all good ideas. One problem with using the Healing Brush, however, is that if you get it too close to a dark edge, it will smear, usually when you've had a great result. I switch, as Doris said, between the Clone Tool and the Healing Brush, and zoom in and out a lot to maintain a natural look. I've also used the Lasso or Marquee tool to copy and paste from a good area to a bad one, then lower the opacity until it looks good. It is tedious, but the results can be amazing and they make people happy. Maybe you could put a few of your photos in the Critique Gallery and see if you get some good ideas there. (I realize this post is from a year ago, but hey, you might still be working on them. It could happen, right?)

    Chris (FarmWife)
    PSCS 5.1
    PSE 11
    LR 5
    Mac OS 10.8.2 (iMac, PowerBook Pro)
    Canon 7D
    My Gallery

  6. Default

    Another thing that sometimes works is to select along the edge of the scar and then slide the selection over just a bit. You will still have to do some Healing and cloning, but sometimes it gets rid of some damaged areas.
    Elements 11
    Windows 7 Home
    Elements Organizer
    Mozilla Firefox
    Internet Explorer

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