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Touching up scans of old photos

Mar 25, 2012, 07:19
Post: #1
Touching up scans of old photos
Hi,
I'm working on a project to present some old photos scanned from a book that's more than 50 years old. The photos are in Black & White and the scan left them with noticable grid/dot patterns. Is there any way I can clean those up with GIMP?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I have attached a sample to give you an idea.

   

Thank you for your consideration.

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Mar 25, 2012, 09:45
Post: #2
RE: Touching up scans of old photos
You can try a light (2px) Gaussian blur ("Filters/Blur/Gaussian blur"), followed by a re-sharpening "Filters/Enhance/Unsharp mask". But this pattern comes from a bad scanning method. Scanner drivers should be told they are scanning print material (with dithering) so they can process it accordingly.

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Mar 25, 2012, 11:35 (This post was last modified: Mar 25, 2012 13:49 by rich2005.)
Post: #3
RE: Touching up scans of old photos
You could try a fast fourier transform, sounds very techy but if you are methodical not too difficult.

[Image: rra82.jpg]

There is a Gimp plugin for this, have it somewhere in my archive, but the G'mic plugin works equally well, if in a bit of a strange way.

Here is a video on use http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30XaCfM2QGg

you would need to select just the image (a bit of editing to get the text back) apply a default unsharp mask, maybe a bit of contrast tweaking.

Edit: I had 5 minutes spare so here is the above image being processed
http://youtu.be/Ig3Zpfvk69k 2.5 mins so don't blink

I did get a better result with a not-so-good fft transform and then a wavelet denoise.
I am using linux here but I know that there is a windows wavelet denenoise in the gimp plugins registry,

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Jun 25, 2012, 07:12
Post: #4
RE: Touching up scans of old photos
Hi Ofnuts and Rich2005, Thanks so much for responding. I went away from this for a while and returned to read your responses and try your suggestions. I downloaded the GMIC plugin and followed your video - Thanks Rich for going through all that trouble just to show how you would touch up my exact photo. I followed it along and as I got close to completion, my laptop crashed. I found that Gmic was bit quirky on a Windows XP machine. If you are running Linux, there's probably little issue with it. The Gaussian Blur technique seems to be the most doable option.

The scanner I'musing doesn't have advanced scan settings. It's a Canon MX 2120 and the scanner utility does give me some touch up options. They are essentially the same - using a blur technique followed by unsharpen mask. Gimp does a better job, though.

I didn't want you guys to think I'd forgotten you. Thanks for helping me arrive at a solution I can work with. I've since touched up some more photos and they look a lot better.
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