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What is the best way to improve an old newspaper photo?
Aug 17, 2022 22:08:49   #
pmsc70d Loc: Post Falls, Idaho
 
This one was of my grandfather, and published in 1963. I have tried various things in PS but don't seem to get anywhere.
Thanks


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Aug 17, 2022 23:36:44   #
MrPhotog
 
Have you contacted the newspaper to see if they have the old original, or a clip, in their ‘morgue’, or reference library?

Large newspapers keep these things filed away forever—or until they go out of business.

If they have the original photo that the printing plate was made from, then they probably can make a copy for you, for a fee.

If they have gone out of business, ask the largest newspaper around you, and any local historical society, if they might have acquired the morgue files.

If you can get the original continuous tone print you are miles ahead. If not, you’ll be stuck with trying to copy the halftoned image. If that is the case, remember that there are no grays in the image. The dots are only solid black or solid white, the histogram should be two straight lines (black and white) with nothing between them. You perceive the effect of grays because of the relative sizes of the black dots. Your exposure in copying can affect the apparent size and sharpness of the dots. Bracket and look for the best shot.

Making a copy which is larger than the original will mean larger dots with no increase in sharpness. It may even appear less sharp.

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Aug 17, 2022 23:39:28   #
jak86094
 
Newspaper photos were published using a technique called "halftone" where the picture is made up of a fine pattern of dots that, from a distance, look like a continuous tone. Some scanning software includes a filter to help "descreen" the halftones (i.e., remove or reduce the dot pattern). Check your scanning software for "halftone" or "descreen" settings. My Espon scanning software has a "Descreening" filter with three options for "General," Newspaper (85 lpi), Magazines (133 lpi), and Fine Prints (175 lpi). These filters will not eliminate the dots but will soften them significantly. In a book entitled, "Digital Restoration From Start to Finish," by Ctein (no first name), he suggests four methods of getting rid of the halftone dots. First is the Dust & Scratches filter in Photoshop, which will lose considerable sharpness and shadow detail but may be worth trying if you already have access to Photoshop. Second he recommends using the Gaussian Blur filter or the Box Blur filter in Photoshop. These preserve the detail and tonality much better. His fourth recommendation is an application called Focus Magic. I haven't tried it, but it might be worth trying it or Topaz Denoise AI and/or Topaz Sharpen AI. I'm guessing that Focus Magic does much the same as Sharpen AI, and Denoise AI might work really well with the halftone dots. Sounds like you would still want to start with the "Descreening" filter in your scanning software. Maybe someone else out there has actually used Focus Magic or the Topaz tools and can offer specific advice on using them. Good luck. I'm just starting a project to scan numerous family photos and know how much of a challenge that can be. jak

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Aug 18, 2022 00:33:10   #
pmsc70d Loc: Post Falls, Idaho
 
Thanks for the suggestions!

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Aug 18, 2022 02:22:00   #
rlv567 Loc: Philippines
 
pmsc70d wrote:
This one was of my grandfather, and published in 1963. I have tried various things in PS but don't seem to get anywhere.
Thanks


I have a trial copy of Focus Magic - from somebody's previous suggestion here. It does make an improvement, but only VERY slightly! I think the suggestion of trying to find an original will be about the only way to get a viable improvement, unfortunately. There are here, though, some experts in old photo restoration, and they might be able to do a bit more, though the difficulty is in having to work with a halftone image. Sorry I couldn't do any better.

Loren - in Beautiful Baguio City


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Aug 18, 2022 06:46:03   #
kymarto Loc: Portland OR and Milan Italy
 
Google AI photo restoration. There are various solutions, some of then free on line

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Aug 18, 2022 12:04:39   #
CPR Loc: Nature Coast of Florida
 
Looking at the photo it appears most all can be repaired somewhat in PS but my question would be about the right hand. That area of the photo is gone so the question is Does he have a right hand?

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Aug 18, 2022 13:18:14   #
CPR Loc: Nature Coast of Florida
 
With just sharpening it looks better. A bit more PS bit-level work and it would be even better. Time consuming though. Better if a better copy of photo was available.



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Aug 18, 2022 13:20:31   #
CPR Loc: Nature Coast of Florida
 
A couple minutes playing - I'm really out of practice and shaky from meds and old age.



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Aug 18, 2022 13:29:10   #
pmsc70d Loc: Post Falls, Idaho
 
Thank you to all who have responded!

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Aug 18, 2022 14:38:44   #
fantom Loc: Colorado
 
CPR wrote:
A couple minutes playing - I'm really out of practice and shaky from meds and old age.


Pretty good job though.

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Aug 19, 2022 00:13:14   #
Bridges Loc: Memphis, Charleston SC, now Nazareth PA
 
pmsc70d wrote:
This one was of my grandfather, and published in 1963. I have tried various things in PS but don't seem to get anywhere.
Thanks


The photo looks like it has been worked with -- there is so little detail in some areas I doubt anything will work on restoring it. My suggestion would be to contact a good portrait artist. They could paint in the missing areas. I have seen some artists that were so good their paintings could hardly be distinguished from photographs

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Aug 20, 2022 02:28:22   #
SalvageDiver Loc: Huntington Beach CA
 
pmsc70d wrote:
This one was of my grandfather, and published in 1963. I have tried various things in PS but don't seem to get anywhere.
Thanks


To recover a good image from a newpaper print, you must first resolve the halftone pattern used in the printing process before you can do anything else. Typical noise reduction techniques aren't effective without losing significant image detail and sharpness. Even Topaz Denoise, with all it's denoise capabilities, was unable to correct for halftone pattern noise. I would say that this falls into an advanced photo restoration problem (unless you're an engineer).

The technique required to solve this problem is to use FFT filtering (Fourier Transforms). I've used this technique to eliminate halftone prints without a degradation in image detail or sharpness (see example). I also use this technique to eliminate the surface patterns of scanned prints. Scanner descreening software is not effective in removing these kinds of pattern noise without significant loss of image detail.

In the following example, I found a halftone image of a cat (google images). The first image is the original halftone image just as you'd see in a newspaper image. The second image had the halftone pattern noise removed using a fft filter. Pay particular to the detail in the cat's whiskers and the patterns in the material under the cat that was extracted from the filter. There was no AI involved in recreating the image, only the halfone removed. The third image is an attempt, using Topaz Denoise AI set to its maximum denoising capabilities, to remove the halftone patterns. Nor was LR or PS capable of removing it effectively.

I used the fft filter in Affinity Photo to filter the image. I purchased Affinity solely for this one function. Other software I've used for fft filtering is ImageJ and Matlab and Python (if you want to roll your own).

If your interested in this, post (or PM) your original unprocessed image and we can try this approach. The image in your original post can't be used since it was already highly processed.

Mike

Original halftone image
Original halftone image...

FFT Filtered
FFT Filtered...



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Aug 20, 2022 09:39:25   #
rlv567 Loc: Philippines
 
SalvageDiver wrote:
To recover a good image from a newpaper print, you must first resolve the halftone pattern used in the printing process before you can do anything else. Typical noise reduction techniques aren't effective without losing significant image detail and sharpness. Even Topaz Denoise, with all it's denoise capabilities, was unable to correct for halftone pattern noise. I would say that this falls into an advanced photo restoration problem (unless you're an engineer).

The technique required to solve this problem is to use FFT filtering (Fourier Transforms). I've used this technique to eliminate halftone prints without a degradation in image detail or sharpness (see example). I also use this technique to eliminate the surface patterns of scanned prints. Scanner descreening software is not effective in removing these kinds of pattern noise without significant loss of image detail.

In the following example, I found a halftone image of a cat (google images). The first image is the original halftone image just as you'd see in a newspaper image. The second image had the halftone pattern noise removed using a fft filter. Pay particular to the detail in the cat's whiskers and the patterns in the material under the cat that was extracted from the filter. There was no AI involved in recreating the image, only the halfone removed. The third image is an attempt, using Topaz Denoise AI set to its maximum denoising capabilities, to remove the halftone patterns. Nor was LR or PS capable of removing it effectively.

I used the fft filter in Affinity Photo to filter the image. I purchased Affinity solely for this one function. Other software I've used for fft filtering is ImageJ and Matlab and Python (if you want to roll your own).

If your interested in this, post (or PM) your original unprocessed image and we can try this approach. The image in your original post can't be used since it was already highly processed.

Mike
To recover a good image from a newpaper print, you... (show quote)



There is an excellent, though quite lengthy, explanation of how the Fourier Transform works, by Kennedy McEwen, well down the page at: https://www.pcreview.co.uk/threads/descreening-previously-scanned-images.1937892/

Loren – in Beautiful Baguio City

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Aug 20, 2022 11:46:59   #
SalvageDiver Loc: Huntington Beach CA
 
Thanks Rlv, it's a good high level overview of the FT. My intention was to just show the OP that it's possible to extract a reasonable image from a newspaper image using a method that doesn't get into a lot of math. The halftone in not an insurmountable barrier, but it's beyond the capabilities of most image editing software including LR and PS. But, it's up to the OP whether he/she wants to follow-up or not.

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