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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Photo Restoration Hints Twenty-seven Content Aware Move Tool

The content aware move tool sits quietly in the tool section....waiting for the right moment to WOW you.  And wow me it did this week!

Ok, I have seen the examples of moving a bird or a kid on the beach.  Can't think of when cropping wouldn't fix most problems with centering a subject...or not centering a subject.  I always have to have a personal reason for needing a tool to put it into my routine...  I love so much about Photoshop....filters, color balance, cloning and healing tools.  I look for new ways to use old tools and I am never disappointed.

I needed the content aware tool this week.  I had a project that I had to add two more people into.  At first I tried the "sneak the guy behind someone with his head popping out trick."  I must admit there are times when this is all you have and you can make it work as long as you get the head the right size by fading the head layer before placing it and sizing it to another relative in the line up.

However, this put the picture off balance.  I stared and stared at the lack of any symmetry or even logic in the freakish scene I created and decided to follow one of my main rules in life which is..."just because you can doesn't mean you should".  So I got Harrington's book off its place of honor on the shelf above my computer, went to page 189 and refreshed my old brain and moved the man on the end of the group shot to make room for the brother.  Wow...I moved him a bit to the right (his left haha) and there was a bit of stretching in between where he was and and where he is.  But that was fixed easily with the cloning tool and then applying the missing brother layer.  Bang.  Followed by hours of adjusting color, blurring, adding filtered sun through the trees, adding a grain layer and everything else I could figure out to make it work.

Be ready for the big reveal.  My husband tells me when to quit because I will keep going forever....this is a good thing if you are a perfectionist.  Goodness knows there are probably a few
photo restorers afflicted with this necessary trait.  I always focus on the added person or persons waaaay too much.  However, the customer reaction is my reward.  They were really really happy with the result so I was too.  I see all the flaws...of course.  But you have to know that when the customer tells you there is no way it could have been done, you have succeeded.

Today I give the Content Aware Tool the spotlight and my continuing thanks to Richard Harrington for making a book that helps those of us with short attention spans to continue to learn new skills.  If you would like to see the before and after, please visit my website and look at the slideshow on the home  And, find a reason to use this awesome tool this week.

Thanks for reading my blog.

Renee Theuer

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Photo Restoration Hints Twenty Six...What to do about teeny tiny cellphone pictures that are priceless?

OK...We are all going to get this request, if you have not already....someone emails you a picture taken on a cell phone in bad light at a concert of them with a very famous singing group star.

Your lizard brain (amygdala) says, "RUN"  and don't look back*
But she or he is (enter friendship or family relationship here___)  and you cannot say no.  It's a teeny little 5k file and you know you can make it a little better but it probably won't be much improved when you are done. say yes!  Because you love a challenge and you love her.


Down and dirty tips.

Make a 5x7 new file at 2400 dpi.  Why?  because you are going to cheat using Photo Shops amazing abilities to "interpolate data" .  Or, in other words, Photo Shop is about to fill in the missing dots.  You have sooo many missing dots in your 5k picture.  If you take the picture itself and size it up to 5x7 inches, you will see what I mean.  Big squares.  Nothing to work with.

After you made you new 5x7 piece of blank "paper", PLACE the picture on it.  File/Place for all you Microsoft users.  Then, hold down the 'shift' key and pull it by a corner to fill up the frame until you have a picture forming.  You can always crop more later to size.  Then press enter.  You should see more information or 'pixels' on the screen. is not very pretty yet but it is a little bit better.  If not, stop here and go to and find a picture of the famous person for them and you are done.

But, if you want, here are some things you can do to make it better.  Use a soft airbrush and paint in some details lightly in light multiple layers.  Make another layer and use the invert tool to make a "negative of the picture and adjust it back about 50 percent to fill in some details.  Click on the layer to the right and determine if it helps to fade more or less into one picture.  (see my blog on blending or go and buy Understanding Adobe Photoshop CS6 by Richard Harrington).

The trick it to add layers of information to the picture and fade in an out using the percentage tabs for that layer on the work area.  You can always make the picture smaller...that always helps, but try these techniques and see if you don't get any better results.

It takes a couple of hours before you finally give up, if you do give up.  And like Stuart Smalley said on Saturday Night Live, That's ok, you are ok,  you are still a good person ... blah blah blah.
If you don't give up, you will learn some new stuff in Photoshop.  You will learn about layers and how incredible the whole concept of layering is.

If it bores the snot out of you, go on to something else.  Some of us are crazy enough to think that we can perform miracles.  Wanna try?  Try this picture of my friend with a One Direction star...sorry, I don't know his name.

Please send me your successful results if you are so inclined and I will post them on a future blog.

Again, thanks for continuing to follow my blog.  I appreciate it.

Best Regards

Renee L. Theuer

  1. a roughly almond-shaped mass of gray matter inside each cerebral hemisphere, involved with the experiencing of emotions.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Photo Restoration Hints Number 25 Using Mirror Images for Canvas Wrapping

Want a great way to add a mirror image to your canvas so that you have a beautiful wrap all around the edges of your convas?  Of course you do.  I have been using Content-Aware Scaling and Plain old cloning around the edges or a nice colored edge to match using the tools in the print command....

However, I found this cool site again the other day.  I had seen this a couple of years ago and it helped me a lot.  I am going to share it with you now.  Go to this link on YouTube....  Breathing Color's Mirror Imaging Method for Canvas Wraps  There are people who have commented on other ways to do this using content aware fill...but I like this way because it is great for novice users and the examples are terrific.  27,000 plus people agree with me if you see the comments.

There are lots of ways to do the same things in PhotoShop.  Start with one way, get the hang of it and then go to a book or video and find a new way to do it.  It all adds to your bag of tricks and helps you continue to try new things.  Then, go and invent your own technique to get the look YOU want.

Just because someone does something one way doesn't mean you have to do it the same way.  That's the beauty of artistic expression.  Adobe Photoshop is the ink and canvas with which we work our magic as photographers and artists.  Make a little magic of your own today!!!!

Thanks for reading my quick blog today.  Enjoy the video.

Renée L. Theuer

Returning a Phone to Asurion or other Phone Insurance Company--Cell Phone Memories.... Extra Post

(This is a little extra post ... This week's post is directly underneath this one.  Check it out, please....)

Let's call it....Cell Phone Memories...

I recently cracked the glass in my cell phone accidentally.  It flew out of my hands and crashed face first on the ground. I cursed the clumsiness that has plagued me all of my life.  But, I was thrilled that I had Asurion Insurance for my phone.  They were GREAT.  I had no trouble submitting my claim and I guess I am not the only idiot that drops her phone.  I highly recommend them.  I also ordered an Otterbox this time on

I gladly paid the $99.00 deductible fee (because I am a clumsy but grateful idiot and I need my Galaxy S5 to live a happy life) me shallow...I don't care.

The new phone arrived the next day!  WOW!  Installation was easy with Verizon, which I have happily been with since forever.  Say forever with a Valley Girl accent, please.  :-)

I put the old phone in the envelope provided, took off the little tab with the information to track from the back sticker and was about to send it back Monday.  Last night at 1:00 in the morning, I remembered that I had some really great pictures on my phone that I had not copied to my desktop computer.  I plugged the phone in and searched for the device in "my computer" and there they were.  I downloaded them into a cell phone picture file and thought I was done.  After all, everything is in the sim card, right?  You don't send the sim card back with the broken phone in my insurance plan.

I took out the sim card to see if the actual phone contains the memories of my happy life and sure enough it did.  In fact, the more I drilled down into the phone's files, the more information I was able to see.  There were saved emails, vzpics, downloads, documents...and lo and behold some adobe documents stored that were actually some information I had sent to my bank.  Eeeek.  I erased as many personal files as I could.

I am sure that the phone is completely erased and reprogrammed when the insurance company does their reconditioning thing.  However, I was wondering what would happen if the phone were stolen from my mail box before the postal carrier got to my house.  It could happen.

So, I'm just sayin' ... if you are as paranoid about data protection as I am, this might be a new thing to think about.  I was not able to figure out how to completely reformat the phone (which would have probably been my best option) but, I plan to take it directly to the post office tomorrow and I'll be tracking that broken baby until it gets to its destination for reassignment to someone else.

I thought I would pass this information on in case anyone out there was as ignorant as I was.  I like the days of removable sd cards...Oh Well....

Have a happy day.  I will have more hints on photo restoration next week.

Renee :-)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Photo restoration hints 24 Fun with Blending Modes Shortcut

Using blending modes

Blending modes are used for mixing multiple layers  together.  There are great examples in Richard Harrington's wonderful  book, Understanding Photoshop CS6 on pages 137 through 144.  He has wonderful examples in his fabulous book....(yes I bought it and yes I love it,)

I have another way I use this tool as a filter with my picture as I go.  It may seem hard at first but once you get the hang of it, you might love using this tool as much as I do.  It is fast and dependable and I use it constantly.

So let's say you have a picture that is so far off that you don't even know what to do with it first.  You can see an example on my website of a picture of a farmer that was so faded out that there was very little contrast when I started.

Of course, you can start out with automatic contrast.  This gives you a great place to start.  As I have said in previous blogs, I always take a look at one of the automatic fixes first to get a reference point--saving copies of my various "tangents" including my starting picture. I use one of the automatic tools from the 'Image' box at the top of Photoshop...such as 'automatic color' or 'automatic contrast' or 'automatic tone' on the picture. There is usually no real affect here but it gets you to the 'Fade" tool which appears in the Edit menu under 'Fade' followed by the name of the automatic tool you just used.   Click on Edit/Fade and the drop down menu appears. Don't stop the little drop down menu to the right and all kinds of blending options appear.

Then, I take the drop down menu and scroll through the options.  There are 27 of them.  Practice with a screen or color burn.  Once you drop down the options, you can choose the tool and then dial it  up and back from 100%.  This tool gives you a seemingly infinite amount of quick adjustments in one place  that are pretty nice...I use it for pictures that have absolutely no contrast with the difference tool.  You should take a moment and try each one to get an idea of how they work.  But I always use this shortcut to get to the fade tool by using one of the three automatic adjustments first. (automatic color, automatic contrast, automatic tone).  I especially like the screen tool.

There is probably another way to do this but I have been doing it this way for so long that I really like it.  Each blending option has it's own wonderful effect. And if you decide you don't like any of the adjustments, you don't have to back out of lots of just dial back, hit the 'Edit' 'Back' and you can try other
filtering tools.

Additionally, you can always add cross hatch or find edges to get different effects.  I can talk about these and the way cool oil painting effects too in an upcoming blog.  The purists can skip that part...but for me and my customers, there is nothing like making a picture look like an oil painting with a couple of applied filters and a brushed on finishing polymer coating that dries to look like brush strokes.

Thanks for reading my blog.  I hope you will continue to stay with me as I show you what I learn and  the things I discover when I go exploring for new ways to work with PhotoShop...the most incredible program ever in my humble opinion.


Renee L Theuer

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Photo Restoration Hints Number Twenty Three...The Wonderful World of Podcasts about Photo Restoration

I love Podcasts about Photo Shop.  I can open up my podcast program and see uses and methods for Photo Shop that I have never seen before.  My favorite so far sends a weekly podcast to you showing some kind of magic that you just have to learn how to do to really know Photo Shop.  Itunes has this podcast.

I got started on this WONDERFUL PODCAST on my iPad about probably an equally wonderful book called....Understanding Adobe Photoshop by Richard Harrington and RHED Pixel as podcaster.  Harrington "covers both the specific skills and techniques you'll need for professional success" according to the Podcast Description.  The description continues say that this book/podcast  "teaches you the essential digital imaging techniques in Adobe Photoshop that you'll need to succeed both in the classroom and the workforce."

In fact, these wonderful podcasts come faster than I can get to them much less absorb them into my work flow.  It's all good information though and I need to buy his book.  In fact, I am going to now to do just includes a cd and I know I will put this to good use having tried out so many of the quick tips on the podcast.  Also, nice to note that there are others out there that agree with me about the usefulness of this resource.

I was going to recommend more podcasts like the one about one minute tips...but this will do for now. Do have lots of fun but don't let the volume of them make you think you will never be an expert if you don't memorize all of these tricks and tips.  It's just another resource when you come up against something you need to learn on the fly to complete a project you promised someone you could do.  The important things that this podcast can do for you:

1.  It will give you ideas of techniques that you never thought of before or long ago forgot.  You may or may not have a practical reason for absorbing this information at this very moment.

2.  It's hit or miss whether or not you are going to remember this for the next time anyway so you have a reference you can save on your device to come back to when you need it.

3.  After a while, there are so many new things to learn that you can get lost.  I do, anyway...and I end up erasing the podcasts to make room for more old time radio detective stories.  So, I bought the book just now.

I have talked to more new users of Photo Shop who don't try because they are so thoroughly  intimidated by the program. This doesn't have to be the case.  Pick and Choose the items you want to focus on at the time. Learn the things you need to know to do the jobs in front of you right now...go back and relearn the things you learned or read about a while ago.  Get really friendly with the index of your Photo Shop "How To" library of books.

You can always get a book and start from beginning to end to learn lots of stuff or take a class at community college.  However, as an older learner, I really have to have a practical need to learn something at this point in order for it to stick in my brain so I can use it.

I'll read the book and make my recommendations later.

Thanks for reading my means a lot to me...

Renee Theuer :-)

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Photo Restoration Hints Number 22...YouTube is GREAT for showing the world your mad skills!

Hi Again,

There you are again, still reading my blog...and it looks like we have a few new folks that came in today. Thanks for being with me.  I feel like the clown looking through the looking glass on that children's show of yesteryear.  Wow, I am really showing my age.  Those of you who don't know what I am talking about, please forgive me.

I want to say a few things about how easy it is to use YouTube to not only get information about how to use Photo Shop better, but to actually show off your work.  If you go here.... (cut and past this into your browser by highlighting the whole weird website address... with control,c and then pasting into your browser at the top with a control,v.).  

Take some time to get to know YouTube.  It has really expanded over the years to a become a place that even offers you your own Channel.  I just have one video that I use for my websites and as the signature on my emails and it works great.  Upload 10 or so of your own before and after pictures and use their music to make a slide show that can be put on your website, facebook page or anywhere else your little heart desires. This is one more way to spread yourself around the internet (no SEO comments will follow, I promise, maybe).  

At this writing, my friend Jim Barta has over 190 views with 300 minutes of attention on his show.  People looked at it for a while.      Just let the individuals that created the music get credit when they ask you on YouTube.  Also, YouTube has a bunch of music you can choose as well.  You don't need to know how to make a slide show or how to convert the slideshow into their format, it is done for you.  How about that?  Most people would still rather watch Fail Videos on Russian Car Crashes or Drag Racing on city streets....At least yours is pointed to everytime you send an email if you make it part of your "signature".  Each html based email program has a setting to allow you to input a "signature" that goes out on each email.  My Peggie and Bob Restoration file has a life of its own.

The URL (website address) looks very strange in YouTube, but you have all seen these weird, long website addresses on your emails about the cute cat that rides the vacuum cleaner in the shark outfit or the skateboarding dog.  All good stuff, for sure.  If you have something you have worked really hard on, YouTube can help you let your friends know what you are up to in photo restoration.  If none of this makes sense to you, play the video and then cut and paste the address in your browser into wherever you want and it will pop up showing your photo restoration magic...very cool.

Now, go look at those Russian Car Crash videos...they all have video cameras inside of their cars and I don't see any defensive driving going on .... a lot of turning left from the far right lane and turning right from the far left lane, though. See you next week.