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This is the restoration of an old black and white photo using, amongst other techniques, professional AI driven software to restore facial features. This one is of my wife's parents so I'd better get it right or I'll be for the chop!


This is a photo of a physical photo of my wife's mum and dad.

Although the photo has deckle edges the irregular pattern at the left and right sides are weathered masonry as this photo was taken in the doorway of a church.

original photo


The perspective needed to be corrected because it is an image of a physical photo that wasn't taken perfectly level. This is done by plotting a transformation grid lined up to the original photographs edges and corners as it was shot creating an irregular quadrilateral, then digitally liquifying the image and dragged the corners into a rectangle with 90° corners.

perspective corrected


The original image of the physical photo was approx. 1200px high so I upscaled the image and sharped the edges. I increased the resolution to 7500px high as our intention is to have the final restored photo printed at 8" x 6" with as high a dpi (dots per inch) as possible.

I also used professional software to recover the faces. This uses an AI algorithm to compare thousands of faces and create a "nearest neighbour" replacement. While amazing, this is not a flawless solution. From here I manually adjusted any issues with geometry, where the eyes which were slightly crossed and added slight light catch in the pupils.

upscale and face recovery

face correction side by side


The surface of a the original photo was slightly textured so the image had lots of little light catches to the right hand side. These were sympathetically removed with a combination of a healing brush (a tool which looks at the surroundings and blends any high contrast elements) and a clone tool (this is a brush that takes elements from other areas of the photo and paints them onto damaged elements).

Rather than try to repair the weathered masonry on the extreme right of the photo I rebuilt the top half completely from samples of the left and right masonry. I also made many minor sympathetic touch ups on the clothes, door and floor to remove damage and light catches which can look like lint or imperfections in the image.

sympathetic touch up

I hope you enjoyed that and thank you for reading.

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