There are always more good images to restore than time to restore them. A friend is collaborating on the Haitian restoration and the Indonesian restoration is nearly finished. Today's post looks at a different part of the Indonesian portrait where the challenge looks difficult and is actually even harder than it seems. Here's what we're dealing with:
Healing brushes work by sampling one area of an image and performing a complex mathematical operation to blend data from that region with a different area. If you think of this intuitively, the way to heal a scratch that goes from a light section of fabric to a dark section of fabric is to choose a source region that has similar light and dark areas. One by one those scratches start to disappear.
The progress feels rewarding for a while until you reach a point where the scratches are nearly gone. But darnit, you still see 'em.
This is one situation where reviewing an area at 200% resolution is not sufficient: subtle patterns emerge when you pull back to 50% resolution. Our brains recognize lines--especially lots of parallel lines. We distinguish lines even when they're faint and discontinuous. This gets very frustrating when you're trying to erase them.
Fortunately you don't have to sit at the computer for hours until you start climbing the wall.
The secret to finishing work on this area is to recognize that your brain is just reacting to a pattern. All you really need to do at this point is break up that pattern and randomize it. So instead of editing in an endless series of vertical strokes, increase the pixel selection and follow the curves of the garment. Clone stamp the delicate areas such as the necklace.