Photo Enhancement & Creative Imagery


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No To Just Copy and Flip - The Jacket

Posted on June 14, 2015 at 12:45 AM

One of the most widely used tricks in repairing portraits is the copy and flip.  Missing an eye, part of the mouth, an arm or a leg?  Just copy the good side and flip it to use on the other side - easy peasy!  Um...No. 

Unfortunately, people are NOT purely symetrical.  Do you stand with your arms and legs a mirror image of the other?  Are your eyes exactly the same?  Are your ears identical?  No, of course not.  Many how-to videos and tutorials utilize this trick, sometimes for no reason, the outcome looking unrealistic and somewhat off.  I've even seen the subject ending up cross eyed!  I recently saw a video where this technique was used on a jacket (again, let me stress for NO reason as the slight damage could have easily been repaired) with perfectly symetrical lapels, shoulders, collar, none of which lined up with the original photo!  Using an extreme example, I'll show you why this needs to be used smartly, in portions, always modified and never as a final result.

Here's a restoration where the client wished to remove an unknown woman from the only picture, a small photo booth one, he had of his grandfather as a young man.  First I enlarged the image and then cropped it into a standard 5 x 7 size focusing on his head and shoulders.  Then I made my repairs.  The background is somewhat abstract, so borrowing from other sections and blending them together I was able to cover up the woman.  So far so good.  Now to the more difficult part, where her body was in front of the plaid jacket.  Obviously something needs to happen there.

So, what happens when you copy and flip?  Well, it looks kind of strange.  Even moving the shoulder down to line up with the original slope still isn't believable.  Who has creases occuring in the same places on their clothes?  Not to mention the plaid is going in the opposite direction.  There's a tool in Photoshop that will allow you to warp, but this one solid piece has too much going on.

In order to create the new portion of the jacket below, I copied several different sections and warped, manipulated, faded and blended them all together to create a background, even using portions of the jacket that I had already cropped out.  The lapel for the right side was a copy of the left, but altered to line up with the original photo, have a different slope, be thinner and angled away and then placed on top.  To finish it off, the original shadowing was built up and blended. 

The end result?  You don't even notice it.


Categories: Restoration, Object Removal