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Making Quick Fixes
chapter) is useful for touching up dust, if the background is a solid color, you can use your softwareís Paintbrush tool instead, along with color selection tools, to correct the problem by following these steps:
1. Use your programís Eye Dropper tool to sample the color near the scratch, spot, or stain. If youíre using Photoshop Elements, skip to Step 2.
Most applications have an Eye Dropper tool for selecting a color in the image and setting it as the paint color. Youíll use the color you choose to paint over your blemish.
2. Click the Paintbrush in the tool palette to activate it, and if possible, set the size of the brush so that you control how much color is applied. (If youíre using Elements, hold down the Alt/Option key while clicking near the dust spot to sample the color; you donít need to access the Eye Dropper tool directly.)
Be sure to use a very small brush so you donít paint over nonblemished areas ó to do so can leave obvious signs of the touch-up.
3. Zoom in on the area you want to touch up and then click and drag in the image to paint that color over the blemish, as shown in Figure 4-6.
Figure 4-6: The Paintbrush tool can touch up dust spots on a solid background.
Making Quick Fixes 49
If your image editing software has filters or other similar tools designed specifically for cleaning up an image, you can use them instead of repairing the spot or scratch manually. Photoshop Elements includes a Dust & Scratches filter, which allows you to select the portion of the photo to repair, and it provides settings so that you can control to what degree the photo is cleaned up. Figure 4-7 shows the Dust & Scratches filter dialog box, which you open by choosing FilterONoiseODust & Scratches.
To use the filter, follow these steps:
1. Select the area to be repaired, using any of Photoshop Elementsí selection tools.
2. Open the Dust & Scratches dialog box by choosing FilterONoiseO Dust & Scratches.
3. Inside the dialog box, adjust the sliders by dragging both the Radius and Threshold sliders to the far left.
4. Ease back the Radius slider, dragging it slowly to the right until you see the scratches and spots in the preview area disappear.
You may have to tinker with the sliders to achieve a pleasing result.
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Figure 4-7: The Preview window shows how the settings affect the final results.
5. When you like how the preview looks, click OK to apply the repairs to the selected area in your photo.
If the entire surface of your photo is damaged, you can select the whole thing or repeat the filter procedure on several different selected areas. The latter approach is probably best, unless the damage is absolutely uniform over the entire image. If it isnít, then youíll benefit from applying different levels of the Dust & Scratches filter to the different areas of the image.
Donít go too far when removing scratches and dust because you could end up with a blurry image or a portion thereof that looks obviously smoothed out. If the photo is old or is clearly an amateur photo, nobody expects absolute perfection, and going too far in removing every little tiny blemish can have an undesirable effect overall. However, Photoshop and Photoshop Elements share a handy feature under the Edit menu: You can choose to revert to a previous version of your image ó and you can do this in steps if you go too far in the correction process.
Editing or Restoring a Photo Electronically
Making Quick Fixes
Colors on printed photos can fade, and scanning a photo can magnify this problem. If you take a picture with a digital camera, you can lose color accuracy and depth, depending on the quality of the camera, the lighting at the time, and the file format and quality you choose when you save the captured image to your computer. No matter what the cause, though, your image-editing software should offer at least one or two options for fixing the color in a photo. These options are either automatic correction tools that do an all-over sweep for bad color or manually controlled tools that allow you to increase or decrease tones in your image.
In Photoshop Elements, the quickest fix is the Auto Levels command, which you can employ by using the following steps:
1. Issue the Auto Levels command by choosing Enhanced Auto Levels.
After itís issued, the Auto Levels command goes over your entire image (or a portion thereof if you made a selection first) and adjusts the color levels.
2. You can repeat the process for further adjustments or press Ctrl+Z (^+D on the Mac) to undo it if you donít like the results.
Figures 4-8 and 4-9 show before and after views of the same photo.
Figure 4-8: Auto Levels can correct this photo
Making Quick Fixes 51
Figure 4-9:. . . producing results that look like this.
Typically, even the lower-end image editing applications offer a similar tool for correcting color quickly. If your application doesnít offer this tool or doesnít do what you want, you can switch to a more effective application.