Image Restoration/Getting started

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This high resolution reproduction of an 1825 hand-tinted etching would make a good starter project.

Getting started

With image restoration, the first decisions are often the most important ones. It's important to select an image that has good potential and fits your skills.

Clarify goals[edit | edit source]

Some historic images have the potential to become featured pictures with a good restoration. Other times, because of limitations in the digital file or the scan the original image, a restoration can only go so far.

Here's an image of judge Learned Hand as a student:

Click on the thumbnails for the student portrait shows that the original version above was 922 × 682 pixel, file size: 136 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg. Compare that to the size below for a restoration that became a featured picture.

It may be a humbler subject--just a stonemason at work instead of law students at Harvard--but the photographic composition is pleasing and it serves as a good illustration of stonemasonry using traditional tools. The file size is also more than 20 times greater. Large files take more time to repair, but they also carry more information at high resolution.

One type of restoration isn't necessarily better than the other: both serve useful purposes. Be realistic about what your aims are, and about how much time and effort you intend to devote to a restoration. A skilled restorationist could do the student portrait in an hour, but the stonemason image would take a couple of days.

Be realistic about your skills[edit | edit source]

  • Types of media
  • File sizes
  • Copyright
  • Triage for image editing (easy-impossible-tough)
  • Best practices
  • Research
  • Choosing a vision and following it
  • Types of problems