Photography Information

Removing Cracks and Creases when Restoring Old Photos - 5 Minute Digital Fix


A common problem with old photos is that they often have un-desirable cracks and creases.

These can be removed quite easily using the Clone, Healing and Patch tools found in Adobe Photoshop.

The problem is that this can become a very time consuming activity if the photo in question is severely damaged.

This article describes a correction method using a free Action for Adobe Photoshop that can take less than five minutes to correct the majority of cracks and creases in an old photo

For several months now I have been using a Photoshop Action called de-crack, developed by Tim J. Edwards, with very effective results.

The original example image (Image 1) on our web-site page is typical of the sort of damaged photos we encounter on a daily basis.

As mentioned, correcting these flaws in Photoshop is actually not difficult but can take a lot of time.

Using Tim's excellent de-crack Photoshop Action will not necessarily result in a perfect "de-cracked" photo.

Having said that, it certainly eliminates the more obvious cracks and creases resulting in you then needing to "tidy up" the outstanding cracks and creases manually with the Clone, Healing and Patch tools.

Now before we get started, you will need to get a hold of a copy of Tim's de-crack Photoshop Action which you can download for free from the RetouchPRO web-site by searching for "de-crack" at the following link:-

"http://www.retouchpro.com/pages/search.html"

You will have to download a very small .ZIP file which will contain the single Photoshop .ATN action file.

After you uncompress the de-crack.zip file you will need to save decrack.atn in Photoshop's "Photoshop Actions" folder and then "load" the de-crack action into your current action list.

You're now ready to give it a try ...

Step - 1

Open up your damaged image in Photoshop

Step - 2

Run the De-crack Action with a high-pass value of 0.3.
Run the De-crack Action with a high-pass value of 0.3 again.
Run the De-crack Action with a high-pass value of 1.5.

Each steps takes only a few seconds and should result in three new layers which collectively mask out the majority of image damage.

Step - 3

The end result is the elimination of most of the cracking damage, which will then allow you time to spend on the remaining cracks and creases, which are usually quite easy to correct manually.

If you find that the de-crack action has in-advertently lost some of the detail of parts of the image, you can easily go to the offending "de-crack" layer in question and erase the de-crack effect selectively using the eraser tool, bringing back wanted detail.

And there you have it!!

Less than five minutes of digital image manipulation to remove cracks and creases from old photos.

If you find the steps taking are a little hard to understand in this text based article, you can click on the link at the end of this article to see the same method explained on our website with the aid of example graphical images.

© Gary Wilkinson 2005 - All Rights Reserved

You can see this removal method complete with example images at Removing cracks and creases in photos

Feel free to re-print this article provided that all hyperlinks and author biography are retained as-is.

Gary Wilkinson is a photographer, photographic restorer and the owner of a photographic retail business.

He is also the publisher of the http://www.restoring-photos-made-easy.com website, where other methods of correcting common photographic restoration problems are discussed.


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