Home > Articles > Graphics & Web Design > Photoshop & Adobe

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Cleaning Up a Picture, Step by Step

As you can see in Figure 21.13, this picture has been folded, ripped, faded, and generally beaten up. We'll go through this one step by step so that you can see exactly what happens at each stage. You can download this one from the Web site mentioned in the Introduction and follow along. It's called Friends.jpg.

Figure 21.13 This will take some work.(Photo courtesy of Susanna Pyatkovskaya.)

To Do: Restore a Badly Damaged Photo

To make this picture, or any other, look like new:

  1. Crop the image to remove the border and any unnecessary parts of the image. (Anything you remove doesn't have to be retouched.) Select the Crop Tool from the toolbox. Drag it across the picture, holding down the mouse button. Use the handles on the cropping outline to fine-tune the selection, and then double-click inside the window to crop the image.

  2. Set the mode to Grayscale (Image→Mode→Grayscale) to remove the colored stains.

  3. Open the Histogram window (Image→Histogram). Look at the histogram to see what needs to be done to equalize the contrast (see Figure 21.14). In this case, both the white and dark points need to be reset. To make these changes, we'll need to adjust the levels.

  4. Figure 21.14 The histogram shows a lot of middle points and not many very light or dark ones.

  5. Open the Levels window (Image→Adjust→Levels) and adjust the levels by dragging the dark point to the right until it's under the beginning of the dark peak of the histogram. Drag the white point to the left until it's under the beginning of the white peak. Figure 21.15 shows our adjustments.

  6. Figure 21.15 Adjusting the levels improves the contrast.

  7. Now we'll try the Dust & Scratches filter (Filters→Noise→Dust & Scratches). In this case, it seems that the harm it does outweighs the improvement. In removing the dust, it removes too much detail, even at a low setting. (See Figure 21.16 to see the filter applied.) Click OK to apply the filter or Cancel if you don't want to use it.

  8. Figure 21.16 Removing dust can also remove detail.

  9. Because the Dust & Scratches filter didn't work, we'll have to remove the dust and scratches by hand. Let's use the Healing Brush to cover them, starting with the background because it's a good place to practice with this tool. Select the Healing Brush and open the Brushes palette. Choose a soft-edged brush. Choose Source: Sampled and non-aligned, pick the dark tone adjacent to the scratch, and start stamping it out. Remember to set a spot to use as a source, by pressing Option (Mac) or Alt (Windows) while you click the mouse on the spot you want to copy. Figure 21.17 shows the partially treated photo. Remember to change your source selection as the areas the damage runs through change value.

  10. Figure 21.17 Obviously, I am working left to right.

  11. The best way to remove the scratches across the faces is to use the Brush Tool and repaint each face, rather than trying to stamp them. To make the task easier, enlarge the picture to at least 200%. Click the Zoom Tool at the bottom of the toolbox to enlarge the picture.

  12. Select the Eyedropper Tool and click the closest gray adjacent to the scratch. Choose a small brush and paint over the scratches, changing shades of gray with the Eyedropper as needed. Figure 21.18 shows before and after views of this step.

  13. At the same time, you can use the Smudge Tool to remove any light spots, or to blend small gaps in the image.

  14. Figure 21.18 Be careful not to apply paint too evenly.

  15. Next apply the Dodge and Burn Tools as needed to bring out details. Dodging lightens the image, and burning darkens it. Sponging increases or decreases the saturation of colors. Select the Dodge Tool and set its exposure to 25% so that the effect will be gradual. Dodge the dark shadows out of the girls' eyes. Figure 21.19 shows our progress to this point.

  16. Figure 21.19 It's looking better.

  17. As you can see, I've saved the worst for last. The girl on the left has had her eye pretty much destroyed. Repainting would be difficult because there's nothing to go by. Fortunately, one of her sisters has an eye that should match fairly well. I can copy it, paste it in, and rotate it or scale it as needed. See a close-up in Figure 21.20, and the final results in Figure 21.21.

  18. Figure 21.20 I've borrowed an eye from the girl on the far right, rotated it to be in line with the other eye, and scaled it down to fit.

    Figure 21.21 Maybe not as good as new, but darned close.


When you're applying filters such as Dust & Scratches, you can quickly toggle the filter on and off by clicking in the preview area. When the mouse button's down, the filter is off. This lets you judge the effect.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020