Friday, September 27, 2013

Fhoto Friday

Fhoto Friday

When I posted the photo of Wesley and Mary Ritchhart yesterday I noted that I needed to do a little touch up work on the photo.  Later that gave me an idea for blogging weekly about photo manipulation and enhancement, so I decided to do it on Fridays and call it "Fhoto Friday".  Thus, each Friday I will be selecting a family photo and demonstrating how one can improve the photo.  The program I have been using for years is Adobe's Photoshop Elements (PE).  There are more capable, more expensive programs out there; but PE works just fine for me.

Following is the photo that I included in yesterday's blog.  As you can see it had several blemishes.

Wesley & Mary Ritchhart
Following is the enhanced version of the photo following some work with the "clone" feature of PE.
Enhanced Version of Photo

There are two or three PE tools that can be used to make these type of photo enhancements; but I think the "clone" tool works best and easiest for me.  Essentially, what one is doing is a cut and paste to make the corrections.  

In the screen shot above I selected the photo by going to "File" and then selecting "Open" in the pull down.  Then select the location where the photo is stored on your computer.  The clone tool is shown inside the yellow ellipse on the left margin.  By clicking on that tool a circle is created which is controlled with the mouse.

The size of the circle can be adjusted by clicking on the small number shown inside the red ellipse in the upper left hand corner of the above screen shot.  You probably can't read it; but it reads "Size: 20 px"; standing for 20 pixels.  The black worm looking image to the left of the size info gives a relative depiction of the size.  If it were 5 px, it would be much more narrow.


Prior to commencing work on the photo, it needs to be zoomed in much more so that the area to be enhanced is much larger and easier to work with.  This is done by clicking on "View" in the upper toolbar (blue circle in screen shot above) and selecting "Zoom In" from the pull down menu. In this case we want to take out all the white marks on Mary's right shoulder.  We are going to do that by moving our cloning circle with the cursor to an area of her dress that is black (yellow circle) and has no white blemishes.  We then select "Alt" and click the mouse which memorizes the area under the clone circle.  Then move the circle over the area to be enhanced (red circle) and click again. 

 You are essentially cutting or cloning that part of the photo you desire and pasting it on the area to be enhanced.  To correct the right side of Wesley's face, once would select from the left portion of his face and paste over the blemishes on the right side of his face.  To correct his mustache on the right side, select, or clone, his mustache on the left side of his face.  Depending on the delicacy of the area to be enhanced, the size of the clone circle is adjusted accordingly.

I have little or no artistic ability and was able to do an acceptable job of enhancing this photo.  I assure you that with a little practice, you can do equally well, if not better.  

Now that we have enhanced the photo, I don't have any individual photos of Wesley or Mary, so I might want to crop each of them out of this photo and create individual photos of each.  I can do that by going to "File" on the upper toolbar and selecting "Open" and then going to the appropriate file on my computer where I stored the photo that I just enhanced.  Then I want to place a rectangular frame around Wesley which encompassed the portion of the photo I want to crop.  This can be done by first putting the cursor over the dashed rectangular box on the left toolbar (red circle) and clicking.  Then click in on any of the four corners where you want to start the rectangle and then just move it to the opposite corner, thus forming a rectangle.

Next, click on "Image" in the upper toolbar (yellow circle) and select "crop" from the pull down menu.  Then click on "View" in the upper toolbar and select "Fit on Screen" and the below image will appear.    

Go to "File", select "Save as", select the location in which you want to save the file on your computer and hit "save".  I now have an individual photo of Wesley and I repeat the process to create one of Mary.  

One might argue that this isn't genealogy; but I would disagree.  Photos are one of the keystones of the data we collect about our ancestors and family.  Knowing how to enhance and manipulate them is invaluable.  I would argue, in fact, it is essential.

Picasa is a free program that has basic photo enhancing ability that you might want to try.