18th Century Letter Restoration Help

Celeste Conway

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Hello Fellow Paper Propmakers!
Outside of my bigger projects such as the upcoming Indiana Jones Paper Prop Archive and my Grail Diary I also have an interest I've wanted to work on recently in restoring older letters documents into printable versions that given the right treatment can work as a facsimile of the original, I've found the process of making facsimiles of Pamphlets an easy project as I just have to use similar fonts and follow the text and format but for handwritten letters like the two shown below I am having difficulty in restoring to a printable quality. Has anyone had experience in cleaning objects like this digitally? if so any help and advice would be appreciated as I hope to eventually release folders of documents for Figures like George Washington or Alexander Hamilton for people to enjoy history in a more intimate way.
Thank you for Listening
Dylan
 

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DB537

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Photoshop will probably be the best way to restore images like these. I made an attempt to fix them for you a little. This is just a quick 15-minute cleanup, and there are definitely areas that could use some more work. I am sure that someone with more experience restoring scans could get a better result than this.

1.png
2.png
 

Krats

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Photoshop is your best bet. You can only make so much progress using filters and level adjustments, the majority of the work will be manual; painting out the foxing & stains and replacing losses.

As far as advice goes, if you're going to work in grayscale take a look at the channels before you desaturate. You might be able to find a channel that shows less damage and gives you a bit of a head start.

If you're going to work in colour a good first step is to pick up the paper colour and create a fill layer set to divide. This will lift out the colour bias across the page whilst retaining the colour of any ink.

I've not replaced any of the losses here and if anything we're a bit too bright but it shows a rough start.
Old-Document.jpg
 

Celeste Conway

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Thank you both for the Advice, I'll have to brush up on my Photoshop skills, I expected a fair bit of manual work for sure as a lot of the documents have blemishes or cracks that damage text or make noise so I'll let you know how my efforts go.
Thanks again for your help
Dylan
 

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