Paint Shop Restore

A Paint Shop restore of your priceless family pictures can be one of the most rewarding things you ever do with PSP X2 but it can also be one of the most frustrating.

These are some the common problems you will have to deal with:
  • stains
  • scratches
  • dust specks
  • color casts
  • distracting backgrounds
  • poor composition
  • tears
  • folds
  • missing information
  • poor contrast

Photo restoration with PSP (or with any program for that matter) can be a difficult and time consuming exercise but those old family pictures deserve your effort with Paint Shop Pro.  

PSP X2 has a nice little suite of tools that make cleaning up and restoring those priceless family pictures easier than it has ever been (in addition to the other editing techniques like channels and levels and curves).

The Tools

There are three Paint Shop Restore tools that will work wonders with pretty much any defect. You will find them on the tool bar and the keyboard shortcut is C.

paintshop restore clone select paint shop restore scratch select paint shop restore object remover select
Clone Tool Scratch Remover Object Remover

The Clone Tool simply takes pixels from one place and puts them somewhere else to cover up a multitude of sins.  It is one of the most commonly used PSP tools for photo restoration and you can create outstanding results with the clone tool - or - really crummy results.  It is generally advisable to clone onto a new raster layer which preserves the original copy.

The Scratch Remover is amazing and can easily remove large scratches, small scratches and little specks.  It's quick and it's fun to use.  The Scratch Remover has to be used on the original picture or a duplicate of the original so make a duplicate and work there.

The Object Remover is really quite unique and with some messing around it will also produce great results.  You can use the Object Remover on a different layer and this is the preferred way of doing things.

Getting Started

If someone in your family presents you with one of these priceless pictures because you know photo editing - just where the heck do you start with your Paint Shop restore project?

The first thing is to scan in the picture.  Before you start scanning make sure you do some initial clean up of the picture - at least try to wipe away dust from the print and the scanner bed.

If you are working with a negative and have a scanner that will scan negatives or slides make sure they are as clean as possible.  A little speck of dust on a negative becomes a big white blob you will have to eliminate later.

Even if the original is black and white always scan as if it is an RGB (color) picture.  This give you access to the different channels and you may find that one of them (either the Red or Green or Blue) is not as messy as the original so you can work with that one only.

If your scanner has the ability to change the image settings on the fly then turn them all off so you can make the decisions about the picture rather than some mathematical formula pre-programmed in the scanner.

Here is a screen capture of my Canon CannoScan 8400F set up.

restore scanner
CannoScan 8400F Set Up

The following picture is the resulting scan using these settings.  The original is black and white and it now has a color cast because it was scanned as RGB.

It has some problems, including:
  • scratches (bottom and right side)
  • fold (1/3 down the right edge)
  • more scratches (left knee and arms)
  • distracting white thing in the background close to her head)
  • distracting shadows in foreground
  • poor contrast
  • little dust marks all over

restore dawne
Original Picture

All of the Paint Shop restore techniques with this picture will be done on the best of the RGB channels and the others will be discarded, including the original.

To do this go to Image > Split Channel > Split to RGB.  When you computer finishes processing the image go to Window >  Tile Vertically and this is what you get ...

restore all channels
All Channels View

The best one to work with is a judgment call on your part so take your time to find the best one. With this Paint Shop restore project I've chosen the Red Channel - this one ...

restore red channel
Red Channel

Now it's ready to start.

Removing Scratches

The first step in the Paint Shop restore is to remove any scratches.

Frankly I was amazed at how quickly the Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 Scratch Remover did its job. Previously I removed the scratches and all of that stuff in this photograph with Photoshop CS and it took many, many hours of painful and time consuming cloning.

With PSP X2 the whole procedure took less than 10 minutes with very impressive results!

The following screen shots show two areas where the scratches were removed - the scratches were very obvious before the Scratch Remover was used.

restore scratch detail restore scratch detail
Tree Detail Sand and Knee Detail

Some hints when using the Scratch Remover ...

Use a Wacom tablet (Bamboo or Intuos) - it just makes your psp photo restoration life much, much easier!
  1. Use short strokes to eliminate scratches - when I did the big scratch (from folding) in the trees I used about six short strokes to completely get rid of it and it blended perfectly.

  2. Experiment with different brush sizes (press the alt key and move your pen back and forth to get the size you want).

  3. Make a duplicate layer of the original picture so you can easily see before and after.

  4. Zoom in and out to make sure the removals are seamless.

  5. Try using the Scratch Remover on small blemishes as well - it works really well and will decrease the need for endless and tedious cloning (which is much easier with a Wacom).
Have fun!

Object Remover

The Object Remover will eliminate all kinds of unwanted things from your image in the Paint Shop restore project.

These are the toolbar options when you select the Object Remover ...

object remover toolbar
Object Remover Toolbar

This tool allows you to select and object in your image and replace it with another area of the image that you choose.

First make a new blank Raster Layer (give it a nice name) and make sure that Use All Layers is checked.  Select the area you want to change with the little lasso tool and then click on the little rectangular box right next to it.  

When the box is selected a big bounding box appears in the middle of your image which you can resize and drag around (you will probably have to zoom out to find the edges of the box - for some strange reason Paint Shop makes this box enormous when you are working on a tiny little scratch).

Choose an area that has the brightness and texture you want and then click the little green checkmark.  If you're not ecstatic with the results just undo (Ctrk-Z) and move the box and try again or change the Opacity and/or Feathering.

Keep going until the 'replacement' meets your high standards and that may well include some cloning to get the texture and brightness just right.

In the picture I want to get rid of that really annoying white thing to the left of the little girls head - I have no idea what it is but it needs to be gone.

Here is the set up for the Object Remover and the result after some experimentation.

Object Remover
Set Up
Object Remover
object remover set up object remover set up

There are still some problems with this area of the picture but the major problem has been removed.  The texture and brightness of the area can be fixed with some careful cloning - to get this ...

paint shop restore object gone
The Strange White Thing Is Gone

This Paint Shop restore project is coming along nicely.  This image looks better but there are still some things that need fixing like the shadows in the bottom left and right as well as the shadow running up the middle of the picture.


The shadow areas are best attacked with the Clone Tool on a new Raster Layer.  In this  example I am using a Wacom Intuos 3 and have the Brush Variance set to change Opacity with pressure.

An alternative is to crop out the offending areas and then Clone whatever is left.

I did clone out the shadows and then used the Smart Photo Fix (under the Enhance Photo menu) and messed about with the sliders.  The goal was to open up the shadows just a bit, especially on the face.

paint shop restore one step fix
Smart Photo Fix Settings

With this results ...

paint shop restore post fix
After Smart Photo Fix

Now I could go after this photo for weeks but it seemed like a good idea to finish this Paint Shop restore project sometime this year.  

The final adjustment was to Crop the picture to the size I wanted and then run the One Step Noise Removal (under the Enhance Photo menu) and call it a completed project.

The final, final step was to add a Soft Light Layer, set my brush to change Opacity with Pressure and paint in the areas that were too light with my Wacom tablet.  

Here is the final result - much better in my opinion.

paint shop restore final
The Final Image

The purists may complain that there is still a large expanse of white above the building in the top left.  For this picture the word on the building (Mackies) is important because the memories of the visit to the beach and eating at Mackies is what makes this picture so priceless in our family.

Before And After

paint shop red channel paint shop restore final
Original Red Channel Final Image

So now it's time for you to dig out those priceless old photos and do some serious restoration with PSP Photo X2 and your Wacom tablet.  

Here's the video ...


Paint Shop Restore Video

On Page Links

The Tools

Getting Started - Scanning

Removing Scratches

Object Remover


Before and After


Paint Shop Restore

Doing a Paint Shop Restore of a priceless old family photo is

  • partly technique
  • partly art
  • with a whole lot of care and attention to detail mixed in

This may be some of the most exacting Paint Shop Pro work you will ever do ...

And it may well be the most rewarding!

 paint shop restore old photo

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