Digital Restoration from Start to Finish, Second Edition: by Ctein

By Ctein

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The condition of old B&W Polaroid prints depends on how well the photographer coated the print (Figure 1-13). You’ll see prints with streaks where the well-lacquered portions still have good neutral B&W tones and the poorly coated streaks have faded to brown or yellow. Selective masking is one way to isolate those areas, but sometimes clever channel mixing will do the trick (see Chapter 7). I don’t know whether it’s because of their small size or stiffer paper, but Polaroid prints are usually less cracked or torn than conventional photographs of the same vintage.

James Reilly’s book, Care and Identification of 19th-Century Photographic Prints (recommended in the introduction), is a fine reference up through the early part of the 20th century. I don’t know of any comparable book for modern color images, so be prepared to do some research on what the color photograph is supposed to look like if you’re asked to do an accurate restoration. Most of the time your goal will be artistic—to make the best restoration you can that looks good. This brings me to my next question for you.

For photo restoration work there are four main consumers of memory: the operating system, the image processing software, plug-ins for that software, and the printer driver and print spooler. Those last two categories of memory consumers are what most people don’t plan for. A program such as Photoshop lets you set how much of the available RAM it will use. On my old Win2K machine with 2 GB of RAM, for example, giving Photoshop 80% would leave 400 MB for the operating system. I can check the Task Manager to see what the OS is routinely consuming; it’s almost always below 250 MB.

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