Examples of Restoration of Original Postcard Scans
Even an original postcard in good condition will reveal dirt and damage when scanned at 600 dpi for enlargement. Sometimes, even I'm surprised at the condition, when the card itself looks OK to the naked eye.
My goal is to create a digital image worthy of print media or enlargement for wall art. I start by opening the image in full size, which is approximately 5 times the original size. I digitally clean the dirt and restore scratched and missing areas. I remove handwriting, but do my best to retain and restore the caption and publisher's name and/or trademark. I rarely second guess the artist's choice of colors, but may color correct a yellowed card. I may also increase the contrast slightly. During this process, I am zooming in and out, checking the color and contrast, and how the entire image is looking. When I think I'm finished, I zoom in twice the full size, and look for any remaining dirt and flaws. The entire process may take several hours, but for a magnificent view, it's worth it!
ABOVE: This is a card in very poor condition, originally published in gray tone in 1916. Like most old cards, it is filthy, scuffed, and cracked.
ABOVE: The same image cleaned and digitally colored. This is an "Extreme Makeover" for an old image, but Naperville is a popular subject, and I have never seen this view in color. It was a lot of work, but a good learning experience!
The original postcard is in extremely poor condition.
been stored in a damp garage, and has yellowed and deteriorated
The gel finish has begun to separate from the postcard backing. I would never purchase a card in this condition, but the image has historic and aesthetic value.
image has been color corrected, white flecks and scuffs removed, and
missing portions restored.
Th is an example of a common "offense" - writing a message across the
the card. I've seen many cards in which the sender indicates
room in the building with a big "X".
removing the writing, this image only needed a little touching up of
dirt, rounded corners, white flecks and minor scuff marks. I also
cleaned and brightened the white margin, trying not to affect the
|ABOVE: This is
one of my favorite images, but the condition of the original card is
very poor. The card is so dirty and scratched, I finally gave up and
replaced the blue sky with a sky cloned from another card. I was
pleased to be able to salvage the dramatic clouds.
||This one needed a LOT
of restoration, but I think it turned out great! I removed scratches,
scuffs and dirt, and restored missing sections. After trying to "save"
the original sky, I replaced it. Then, the entire image was brightened
and increased slightly in contrast.
postcard is an example of a high quality hand colored image but a
postcard in very poor condition. The card is not one that most
collectors would purchase, but I did because I love the view.
||With this one, the
most difficult task was dealing with the dirt, and often the margin and
caption present the greatest challenge.
purchased this original postcard for a bride who is getting married in
this church in Charleston, South Carolina. As you can see, the original
card is so faded, that there is almost no blue left in the sky.
||This was not a
dramatic restoration, but improvement was needed. I increased the
brightness and contrast, and then worked on the contrast and definition
in the building itself. The sky was imported. I always want to
avoid using bright colors, keeping it as close as possible to the card
in new condition.