• The physical presence of our lives inevitably disintegrates with time. In a few short generations, our living legacy will be retold exclusively on a computer screen. Any photo albums that survive will be relegated to a museum. in fact, our imprint on society is already being stored digitally and in the cloud. Whether it’s through social networking, blogs, or cloud storage services.
• Technology is progressing at a pace where each decade increases expectations of quality by another order of magnitude. What does this mean for our children’s children? It’s about realizing that what we think is excessive today, will be average for the next generation, and for their children may our efforts will be substandard. In other words, “technology overkill” in preserving historical content should be the mantra. Hopefully, our offspring will appreciate the effort we have made in preserving history.
• Restoration of photographs archives precious family photos in the best quality possible. In digital form photos no longer degrade and aren’t subjected to nature’s elements that destroy photographs – light, moisture, and heat – or even a natural disaster. Once a photo is restored and saved digitally it can be printed over again at its maximum quality. Restoration includes several stages of repair, depending on the age, wear, or type of image. It’s up to the client to draw the line between strict preservation of history versus improving the image even further with artistic expression. Each stage is demonstrated below, accompanied by an animated GIF showing a few sample images.:
- Correcting colors
- Fixing damaged images
- Removing unwanted objects or people
- Correcting composition
- Restoration of historical photos.
- Correcting colors is necessary due to the degradation of ink over time. Color photos often lose their blues resulting in photos that shift towards yellow. In other cases, the original photo service may have incorrectly balanced the image’s color. Or they may be over-saturated or under-saturated by the development studio. The positive and negative films also require special care in restoring colors. Digital correction can completely restore images back to the intended look of the photographer or the captured scene.
- Damage may include rips, liquid stains, scratches, dust spots, or development errors that have ruined the image. The paper on which the photo was printed may include a texture that can otherwise ruin the image. Depending on the extent, much of this damage can be reversed to reveal the image underneath.
- In some cases, a perfectly good photograph is ruined by someone entering the frame, or an object that is distracting the photo from its focal point. Depending on the position and size of the object, many of these distractions can be removed to regain the desired focus of the image.
- An excellent photo may be ruined by poor composition. Maybe the image was improperly balanced because the horizon isn’t level. Other photos may cut out an important detail from the image, such as the top of someone’s head, or the space around the main subject has resulted in a cramped feel. Maybe the subject is centered when a preferred composition is the thirds rule. Digital restoration can correct many composition errors. In some cases missing details can be manually “painted in” to properly compose an image.
- Precious family photos inevitably degrade over time. In the same way that a photo represents a moment in time, a digital scan stops that image from degrading further and protects it forever in a virtual form.
- Studios in the 19th century and early 20th century accented their portraits by manually brushing eyes, lips, or hair. This technique is called hand coloring or Pictorialism. To some, these manual touch-ups can be annoying and detract from an otherwise perfect historical image. Some historians may feel that these touch-ups should remain in the image as part of preserving its historical record. The choice is subjective, and both versions could often be generated from the original image. Sepia effects were also used to artistically accent photographs. These effects can also be restored in the restoration process. Why not keep a sepia and black & white version to accommodate both aesthetic alternatives?
• Ask for a Quotation
Digital restoration services are priced on a project basis. Contact us if you have any questions, or would like an estimate on restoring all or part of your family archive. For generations that follow, start today by preserving your family heritage.
- Please contact us for a quote: email@example.com
- The recommended resolution for scanning photos is 1200dpi and 48bit color (16 bits per RGB color) saved in the Tagged Image File Format (TIF). TIF supports up to 2GB file sizes, allowing for quite large resolution images. Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) is not to be used for two main reasons: 1. the bit depth for standard JPEG is only 8bits per color (although JPEG2000 supports 16bits per color it is not as widely adopted). 2. JPEG photos have lossy compression. File sizes between TIF and JPEG are significant – A typical compression ratio is anywhere between 200:1 and 500:1 (TIF: JPEG). This gives some indication of how progressively JPEG compresses the image. In the interest of preserving history, the lossless TIF format is ideal.
- All scanner enhancements such as “unsharpen mask”, auto exposure, and Digital ICE should be turned off. Editing should be left to the restoration service, for maximum control over the original image.
- The positive or negative film should be scanned between 6000dpi and 9600dpi at 48bit color depth when possible to capture the maximum detail of the image.
If the approach above seems excessive then consider that as little as ten years ago 5 Megapixel (MP) cameras were the largest sensor in SLR cameras. Now there are 16MP cameras on smartphones that exceed great quality. Ten years ago camcorders recorded video in 0.45 million pixels per frame (784×576 PAL). Now smartphones support 4K video (3840×2160, UHD) that supports over 8 million pixels/frame. A similar progression has occurred in the digital audio industry. Technology is progressing at an unprecedented pace. Restoration services, therefore, need to look into future generations’ expectations of quality – not in what is considered normal today. Besides, an 8TB hard drive sells for 280 US$ (as of July 2015) – the storage cost is only 3¢ per TIF image.
Sending & Receiving Photos
- If you already have only a few scanned images then they could be sent by email (Gmail for instance supports up to 25MB). But email is not ideal because some applications will automatically compress the images before sending, resulting in significant image degradation. The sender thinks they have sent a high-resolution image, but the receiver gets a very low-resolution version. A better approach is to send images via a cloud-based service such as Dropbox, which supports 2GB of cloud storage for free. Other cloud services have even higher capacities, up to 10GB for free.
- If the client does not have scanning capabilities then the original photographs can also be sent for restoration processing. It’s recommended to send photos by registered post or a courier that will track the shipment to its destination. Photos will be carefully scanned at the resolutions specified above and returned to the owner once the restoration service has been completed.
- Restored images can be sent back to the client in several formats using a cloud service. As mentioned above, the recommended format is uncompressed TIF for archiving purposes. But several additional images can be provided in various resolutions and file formats as requested by the client.
- Printing is provided on the Epson Stylus R3000. Supported services include:
- Up to A3+ (329mm x 483mm, 12.95″ x 19.02″) paper size.
- 9 color inks are supported using the Epson UltraChrome K3 Ink technology. According to Epson, “UltraChrome K3 ink has improved print permanence characteristics that provide lightfastness ratings of up to 108 years for color and over 200 years for black and white.”
- The Paper grade is 250 grams or above.
- Clients can choose premium glossy photos or matte stock paper.
- Borderless printing is supported (i.e. no white border – ink bleeds to the edge).
- Black & white or color printing is supported
- Video capture of the restoration process can also be offered with each of the images, upon request.
- For more information click here for more information on the capabilities of this printer: Epson – R3000 (brochure)
- Payment can be made by PayPal or bank transfer.
© Gabriel Dusil, gabrieldusil.com
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