Inspiration: Turning a 60-year-old negative into a Full Color Photo

John Chapman of JayDax Designs shares the techniques involved in creating a full color printable photo version from a 1939-1944 era negative in his tutorial, Converting old photographs to colour.

By the way, although the above tutorial provides instructions using Paint Shop Pro, it’s also possible to do this with Photoshop, of course.

Photoshop Restoration and Retouching book coverWhat totally amazed me, though, was browsing through Katrin Eismann’s before and after samples at the companion site to her inspiring and helpful book, Photoshop Restoration and Retouching. The tremendously high quality of the restorations is enough inspiration to keep you going for quite awhile. Beautiful work there.

Another source of inspiration is Doug Nelson’s RetouchPRO site, which is devoted to retouching resources, tips and tutorials, a forum, book reviews, and so much more. Well worth a visit.

I happen to love restoring and retouching old photos. It’s almost magical to me to take a damaged, dingy, dark photo and turn the clock back to make the photo fresh and new again. The process can at times be a very detail-oriented and time-consuming endeavor if the photo’s in especially bad shape, but the payoff can be tremendous, too, whether for sentimental reasons or for clients.

The new Photoshop 7 Healing Brush and Patch Tool and other new or improved features will also help make retouching easier and faster. (See PCMagazine’s review and other reviews.)

The key is to learn and use the skills well enough that your retouching won’t look retouched but instead just looks like a high quality photo. I’ve listed a few resources below to help you on your way.

A Few Retouching Resources

  • Photoshop 6 Photo-Retouching Secrets, by Scott Kelby.Photoshop 6 Photo-Retouching Secrets by Scott Kelby. If you’re looking for a good book on retouching, this one will go a long way toward showing you lots of helpful techniques. See also his companion site.
  • Adobe Photoshop Tip of the Week site by Carl Volk. Although Carl died an untimely death September 2000, his site is maintained by his family, thankfully. You’ll find a wealth of helpful tips and inspiration here. Carl was one of the greatest Photoshop and photography experts I’d ever known.
  • Photoshop Restoration and Retouching book coverPhotoshop Restoration and Retouching, by Katrin Eismann. Top-ranked, popular book devoted to restoration and retouching. Highly recommended. Be sure to visit the companion site for the book, too. So much inspiration with before and after photos. Lots of fascinating info there, sample excerpts from the book, links to retouching info, and more.
  • RetouchPRO site, by Doug Nelson. An entire site devoted to retouching resources, tips and tutorials, a forum, book reviews, and so much more.
  • Photo Retouching, an entire section at The Photoshop Roadmap site. Lots of tutorials here to help you with many retouching techniques.
  • Restore blemished images instantly, at New tutorial for Photoshop 7 using the new healing brush. Truly startling results can be achieved so much easier with this new tutorial. Adobe shows you the ropes.
  • Photoshop Tutorials, links at
  • Paint Shop Pro Tutorials, links at

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Categories: Books, Graphics, Photography, Photoshop

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