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Reading Faded Images

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  • Ron
    Several people mentioned the trouble we all have reading faded documents, but no one has yet suggested how to tease information out of the image. Here is my
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 4, 2011
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      Several people mentioned the trouble we all have reading faded documents, but no one has yet suggested how to tease information out of the image. Here is my simple trick.

      Start by opening up the graphics / photo program you are most familiar with. I am most familiar with Irfanview , a free download, small and quick program. IA decade ago I got disgusted with operating systems changing quicker than I could master a graphics program, and I chose to stick with one (Irfanview) and learn its controls well. This program handles about 95% of all photo work I do. For more serious work I am trying to learn Coral Paint Shop Pro, but for this work Irfanview really does everything.

      Know where/ what the controls are for Selection, Save-as with a new name, Undo, Auto Adjust colors, and Manual Adjust colors. Don't worry that it is a Black and White image and we are talking colors!
      Second, call up your problem document and save it under a new name, such as "Grandma Vallo birth 1888 WORKING copy". That way if you make a wrong move you will not destroy your original!
      Make sure you are working with your WORKING copy!

      In your program "select" an area (in Irfanview I left click and drag my mouse to select the chosen faded area of the photograph.) Be sure to select areas about equally faded for best results. If one line has different qualities of writing or fading, then use multiple selections to get the best results.

      Once you have selected the faded area then click on "auto adjust colors" and it should just adjust the colors within that selected area. I have been amazed at some of the successes that I have had with this simple method. The results are almost always clearer and sharper than I can generate using the "Manual Adjust colors" controls.

      Experiment a lot, go back and do it again and differently, and soon you will have a powerful new tool at your command.
      When you are done then save the finished file under whatever naming scheme you have chosen.

      As an additional trick, I will sometimes do this on a perfectly "good" image, which usually clarifies the lines of interest and and the changed tone of the background sets the line of information off from the rest of the page, so next time you look for it, it is quick to find.

      I hope this is not too elementary for everyone. Again, we are all beginners at sometime, so hopefully this will help a few people.

      I will post an example of some results from a quick try.

      Ron
    • Ron
      The example is posted at
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 5, 2011
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        The example is posted at
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SLOVAK-ROOTS/photos/album/10245048/pic/594347199/view?picmode=&mode=tn&order=ordinal&start=1&count=20&dir=asc

        or http://tinyurl.com/4xtsej4

        There is the original, one spot adjusted and the third is adjusted 3 faded lines together.

        The images have been shrunken in the Photos folder, but they will still show the general result - in this case. Try the method, experiment, and you may well do better.

        Ron
      • Elaine
        Ron, thanks very much for sharing this info and especially for taking the time to outline ways to apply the program s capabilities for this purpose. I have
        Message 3 of 3 , Apr 5, 2011
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          Ron, thanks very much for sharing this info
          and especially for taking the time to outline
          ways to apply the program's capabilities for
          this purpose. I have been looking for tools like
          this that can be used to improve scans of
          records.

          Elaine


          Sent from my iPhone

          On Apr 5, 2011, at 1:28 AM, "Ron" <amiak27@...> wrote:

          > Several people mentioned the trouble we all have reading faded documents, but no one has yet suggested how to tease information out of the image. Here is my simple trick.
          >
          > Start by opening up the graphics / photo program you are most familiar with. I am most familiar with Irfanview , a free download, small and quick program. IA decade ago I got disgusted with operating systems changing quicker than I could master a graphics program, and I chose to stick with one (Irfanview) and learn its controls well. This program handles about 95% of all photo work I do. For more serious work I am trying to learn Coral Paint Shop Pro, but for this work Irfanview really does everything.
          >
          > Know where/ what the controls are for Selection, Save-as with a new name, Undo, Auto Adjust colors, and Manual Adjust colors. Don't worry that it is a Black and White image and we are talking colors!
          > Second, call up your problem document and save it under a new name, such as "Grandma Vallo birth 1888 WORKING copy". That way if you make a wrong move you will not destroy your original!
          > Make sure you are working with your WORKING copy!
          >
          > In your program "select" an area (in Irfanview I left click and drag my mouse to select the chosen faded area of the photograph.) Be sure to select areas about equally faded for best results. If one line has different qualities of writing or fading, then use multiple selections to get the best results.
          >
          > Once you have selected the faded area then click on "auto adjust colors" and it should just adjust the colors within that selected area. I have been amazed at some of the successes that I have had with this simple method. The results are almost always clearer and sharper than I can generate using the "Manual Adjust colors" controls.
          >
          > Experiment a lot, go back and do it again and differently, and soon you will have a powerful new tool at your command.
          > When you are done then save the finished file under whatever naming scheme you have chosen.
          >
          > As an additional trick, I will sometimes do this on a perfectly "good" image, which usually clarifies the lines of interest and and the changed tone of the background sets the line of information off from the rest of the page, so next time you look for it, it is quick to find.
          >
          > I hope this is not too elementary for everyone. Again, we are all beginners at sometime, so hopefully this will help a few people.
          >
          > I will post an example of some results from a quick try.
          >
          > Ron
          >
          >


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