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Is there a simple way to repair water spots on a photo?

Jul 7, 2012, 18:28
Post: #1
Is there a simple way to repair water spots on a photo?
Hello Everyone,
I'm new here, and new to Gimp too - I've had it installed on my computer for a while now but haven't tried to use it because it's got so many features it was just - well, intimidating. But now I've started a big scanning project involving a lot of old family photos, and as you can imagine they're not all in good shape. So I have some repairs to do.

The first one I scanned turned out pretty nice, but the second one is challenging me. It dates from about the 1920s and looks kind of sepia-toned but I had to scan it in gray shades because of a kind of moire pattern at the bottom (it's mounted on a piece of thick cardboard which is bowed and I had trouble getting it to lay flat on the scanner bed, so maybe that's why). The black-and-white image that resulted actually looks better than the sepia, but there are a lot of water spots in the upper left corner. Some of them are really large and in many different shades of gray, which is making it almost impossible for me to fix them using the cloning tool. I thought about just copying and pasting from a better section, but all those different gray shades mean that didn't work very well either. I can crop some of them out, but not all, and besides, the cropping changes the composition of the photo, and not in a good way Sad . So I thought I'd ask here.

Obviously I don't have great skills with this software (although I'm thinking that might be different by the time I get this project finished Smile ), so I'm posting this in the beginners' section in the hope there is a simple way to do this. FYI, the version I have is 2.6.11, which is probably old; I could update if necessary. And it's running in Windows XP SP3.

If it would help to see the image - and if I have posting privileges, being so new - I'll be happy to post it. And thanks in advance for your help.

Meg
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Jul 8, 2012, 16:22
Post: #2
RE: Is there a simple way to repair water spots on a photo?
(Jul 7, 2012 20:23)ofnuts Wrote:  yes, please post the image... this allows us to try different techniques.

OK, but how do I do that? I can't find a way to set up an album in my profile and when I try to insert an image in a post it just asks for a URL, so I can't just upload something from my computer. I'm lost.

Meg
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Jul 8, 2012, 22:16
Post: #3
RE: Is there a simple way to repair water spots on a photo?
(Jul 8, 2012 19:25)ofnuts Wrote:  
(Jul 8, 2012 16:22)mca18974 Wrote:  OK, but how do I do that? I can't find a way to set up an album in my profile and when I try to insert an image in a post it just asks for a URL, so I can't just upload something from my computer. I'm lost.
If you hit the "Reply" button below (or "Preview" if you start with the "quick reply" mode, you should have an "attachments" section under the editor window.

I found the "attachments" section and have tried to insert it into this post but it's not showing on preview. I'm going to go ahead and post it in the hope it will show in the actual post.

   

Meg
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Jul 9, 2012, 04:51
Post: #4
RE: Is there a simple way to repair water spots on a photo?
All right, here it is:
   

I had to do a lot of searching and watch a bunch of videos to figure out how to use the tools, but in the end, and for a beginner's effort, I think it turned out pretty good. In the interest of truthfulness, though, and even though it might get me criticized here - I did use a different program for the sharpening and contrast adjustments because I just couldn't figure out how to do those on the entire image while previewing it, and I knew I could do it easily in the other program, and it's late and I'm tired, so... I'm sorry. But considering I have several hundred photos to scan, and many are going to need help, I figure I'll get a chance to learn those another time Smile .

Thank you, thank you for your help. I don't feel nearly as incompetent or overwhelmed now. And my uncle and aunt (whom I'm named after, as you may have guessed) are even cuter than they were before, I think.

Meg

P.S. I think you are right about the mold. This photo spent most of the last 50+ years in a basement that has flooded many, many times over those years. Now it will be even easier to convince my brother (the current homeowner) to get the basement - which is now finally empty - professionally cleaned.
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