​In this tutorial, I'm going to teach you how to restore an old photograph in Photoshop and also bring it to life by colorizing. The following technique is great if you are producing a documentary and you have some old photographs that you want to bring to life. Personally what I like most about this project is that after you finish the work and colorize the image you can then do the before and after parallel comparison and see for yourself what you have achieved or even impress your friends.

Retouching Old Photos In Photoshop

Default keyboard shortcuts
retouching old photos in photoshop

Exceptionally Useful Photoshop Shortcuts

Result

Windows

macOS

New layer via copy

​Control + J

Control + J

​Command + J

Command + J

Clone Stamp tool

​S

​S

Brush tool

B​

B​

Temporarily zoom into an image

Hold down H and then click in the image and hold down the mouse button

​Hold down H and then click in the image and hold down the mouse button

Patch tool

J

J

Clone The Selected Region

Alt + Click ​

Alt + Click​

Crop tool

Crop tool

C

C

Confirm the action

​Enter ​

Press Enter (Windows) or Return (

​Return

First of all, before we start editing our photo we should create the new layer with the original image and call it "Original" and then copy that layer by hitting Command + J to copy it and label that "Restore" because we're going to restore the image and get rid of all of these scratches that are on the image. So we're going to use a combination of the Patch Tool as well as the Clone Tool to get rid of some of the blemishes here.

Open The Image In Photoshop

Open the image in Photoshop

​First of all, before we start editing our photo we should create the new layer of the original image and then copy that layer by Command + J to start working on the actual photo. To make our life much easier we can call the new layer "Restore" because we're going to get rid of all of these scratches that are on the image.

​File→OpenNavigate to the folderSelect your Image:

Open file in PhotoShop
Navigate to the folder
First of all, before we start editing our photo we should create the new layer of the original image and then copy that layer by Command + J to start working on the actual photo. To make our life much easier we can call the new layer "Restore" because we're going to get rid of all of these scratches that are on the image.

Crop The Image


​​So the first thing that has to be done is to crop the image in order to get rid of some of the border issues. And then to fill some of the leftover element using the Clone Tool. Usually, this stage is important to delete some of that torn on the borders which can't be restored. 

Select the Crop Tool→Select the area you want to Crop→Confirm the action:

Crop Tool
confirm the action
​So the first thing that has to be done is to crop the image in order to get rid of some of the border issues. And then to fill some of the leftover element using the Clone Tool. Usually, this stage is important to delete some of that torn on the borders which can't be restored.

Fix The Damaged Spots ​ 

Fix the damaged spots

​Once we cropped image there might be still some areas that we need to fix. So we can Zoom In and use the Patch Tool to draw a lasso around the damaged part and then replace it by simply dragging the selected part to somewhere else on the photo which would give us the best result.

​Use The Clone Tool:

​Once we cropped image there might be still some areas that we need to fix. So we can Zoom In and use the Patch Tool to draw a lasso around the damaged part and then replace it by simply dragging the selected part to somewhere else on the photo which would give us the best result.

​After we have fixed the major damages then we can use the Clone Tool to fix other parts of the photo. We can simply select the Clone Tool from the Toolbox area and adjust the brush size depending on the part of the image you want to fix. In general, it's a good idea to increase the brush size and also keep the opacity a little bit lower around 50%. Once you have customized your tool settings we are going to hit Alt + Click to copy the region we want to use and then click on the damaged area until it disappears.

Clone Stamp Tool:

Clone Stamp Tool


Tip:  ​Do the following Steps for all the small parts which are damaged on the photo and don't forget to vary the brush size depending on the areas you are working on.


​After we have fixed the major damages then we can use the Clone Tool to fix other parts of the photo. We can simply select the Clone Tool from the Toolbox area and adjust the brush size depending on the part of the image you want to fix. In general, it's a good idea to increase the brush size and also keep the opacity a little bit lower around 50%. Once you have customized your tool settings we are going to hit Alt + Click to copy the region we want to use and then click on the damaged area until it disappears.

Tip:  ​Do the following Steps for all the small parts which are damaged on the photo.

​Don't forget to vary the brush size depending on the areas you are working on.

Create A Smart Filter

create a smart filter

​The last bit of restoring that we have to do is to create a smart filter to remove any dust or scratches from the image. So to do that you first have to right-click on the "Restore" layer and select Convert To Smart Object. The next step is to go to Filter->Noise->Dust & Scratches and here you can indicate how big you want the Radius of the dust to be removed. Ideally you have to keep it around 1 and 2, otherwise, you'll get some distortion. For the Threshold, we can keep that at 30 and just hit OK to get rid of any dust or scratches in a radius of around 2.

Filter->Noise->Dust & Scratches:

Dust and Scratches

RadiusThreshold:

​Radius and Threshold
The last bit of restoring that we have to do is to create a smart filter to remove any dust or scratches from the image. So to do that you first have to right-click on the "Restore" layer and select Convert To Smart Object. The next step is to go to Filter->Noise->Dust & Scratches and here you can indicate how big you want the Radius of the dust to be removed. Ideally you have to keep it around 1 and 2, otherwise, you'll get some distortion. For the Threshold, we can keep that at 30 and just hit OK to get rid of any dust or scratches in a radius of around 2.

Neutralize The Color Tones

neutralize the color tones

​Now we need to neutralize the color tones which can be achieved by pressing the Adjustment Layer and selecting Black & White which will automatically neutralize the colors in black and white. The next step is to add some contrast between the white and the blacks in the image. So let's add a Levels Adjustment Layer (Press The Fill and Adjustment Layer Menu and Select The Levels) and then ​use ​the graph to pull the slider to make it a bit darker and adjust the whites as well to have some contrast. So once you can see the lines on the edges a lot better, the next step is to select a Color mode and to use CMYK Color (Image->Mode->CYMK Color) and click merger which will make one layer. The reason why we selected CMYK is that it’s better for printing and also it blends better when we start adding the color.

Image->Mode->CYMK Color:

CYMK Color
Now we need to neutralize the color tones which can be achieved by pressing the Adjustment Layer and selecting Black & White which will automatically neutralize the colors in black and white. The next step is to add some contrast between the white and the blacks in the image so let's add a Levels Adjustment Layer (Press The Fill and Adjustment Layer Menu and Select The Levels) and then using this graph you have to pull the slider to make it a bit darker and adjust the whites as well to have some contrast. So once you can see the lines on the edges a lot better, the next step is to select a Color mode and to use CMYK Color (Image->Mode->CYMK Color) and click merger which will make one layer. The reason why we selected CMYK is that it’s better for printing and also it blends better when we start adding the color.

Create And Confine Adjustment and Fill Layers ​

Create and confine adjustment and fill layers
Colorize

​So now we're set to begin adding colors to the image. The way we can achieve that is to create a solid color adjustment layer for each color that we're going to paint. For example, we might need separate colors for background, skin, eye, hair, cloth and etc.  To start choosing the right colors for our project click The Fill and Adjustment Layer Menu->Solid Color and ​find the right tone you are going to use.

​After this, we’re going to change the Blend Mode to Soft Light and select the White Mask and hit Command + I on a Mac to convert it to black. The following action will enable us to start painting in the color which will appear as a mask in this box. Repeat the same process and create all the different layers of each element that you going to paint. Also make sure that White Color is selected in the Toolbox because this enables you to paint and click on the Brush Tool and start painting in that color.

Change Blend Mode to Soft Light

Blend Mode to Soft Light

​Select the White Mask and hit Command + I:

Mask and Command

White Color is selected in the Toolbox:

​White Color in Toolbox


​Tip: ​Organize the labels to keep track of changes that you make on your layers. And ​remember, that you can always change the color in your layers if you are not happy with the result.

You can always change the color and adjust it until you feel like you get the right skin tone.
Solid Color Layers
Know all we have to do is just continue to carry on and create a new solid layer like we did before and paint rest of the parts of the image. To start everything again click The Fill and Adjustment Layer Menu and then select the Solid Color. Once you pick the color you can then change this to Soft Light like before and click on the white mask and hit command + I on a Mac. So repeat the same process and create all the different layers of each element that you going to paint.

Organize the labels to keep track of changes that you make on your layers.

Start Painting ​


​Once you create all the layers of different colors you just select the color that you want to use and start painting. Remember: You have to ​Select The Mask Part to begin painting and then you just have to hit B for brush and then begin painting.

Select The Mask Part:

Mask and Command

​​Tip: If you make any mistakes at all you can always switch ​to black color ​inside the Toolbox, to erase the part of the image which you don't like and then select the white color again to begin painting again.

​Switch Between This Colors:

Switch Between This Colors
​White Color in Toolbox
​Tip: If you make any mistakes at all you can always switch ​to black color ​inside the Toolbox, to erase the part of the image which you don't like and then select the white color again to begin painting again.
Note: If you make any mistakes at all you can always switch these colors. So now it's a black color and then you can erase what you've done and once you are happy you can switch back to white to begin painting again, so that's a really nifty tip.

Save And Compare

save and compare

Don't forget to vary the brush size depending on the areas you are working on.
London Newsboy Advertising  Loss

15 Apr 1912, London, England, UK Colored by Dana Keller

​​Once you have finished painting and you ​feel everything is looking pretty good you can put the images side-by-side and see before and after effect.

Hope you are happy with the result and your old image is now colored and restored.

Hope you are happy with the result and your old image is now colored and restored.
Once you have finished painting and you fill everything is looking pretty good you can put the image side-by-side and look at before and after the result.

Hope you are happy with the result and your old image is now colored and restored.





​​Thanks so much for reading this article and if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below. Also, don’t forget to check my website more frequently because I post new article and tutorials every week.

​Thanks so much for reading this article and if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below. Also, don’t forget to check my website more frequently because I post new article and tutorials every week.
Thanks so much for reading this article and if you have any other questions please don't be shy and leave a comment below. Also, don’t forget to check my website more frequently because I post new article and tutorials every week.
Once we cropped image there might be still some areas that we need to fix. So we can Zoom In and use the Patch Tool to draw a lasso around the damaged part and then replace it by simply dragging the selected part to somewhere else on the photo which would give us the best result.
So the first thing that has to be done is to crop the image in order to get rid of some of the border issues. And the fill some of the leftover element using the Clone Tool. Usually, this stage is important to delete some of that torn on the borders and areas which can't be restored.
First of all, before we start editing our photo we should create the new layer with the original image and call it "Original" and then copy that layer by hitting Command + J to copy it and label that "Restore" because we're going to restore the image and get rid of all of these scratches that are on the image. So we're going to use a combination of the Patch Tool as well as the Clone Tool to get rid of some of the blemishes here.
In this tutorial, I'm going to teach you how to restore an old photograph in Photoshop and also bring it to life by colorizing. The following technique is great if you are producing a documentary and you have some old photographs that you want to bring to life. Personally what I like most about this project is that after you finish the work and colorize the image you can then do the before and after parallel comparison and see for yourself what you have achieved or even impress your friends.

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