Foreword by John Mclntosh
With Technical Reviewers
Doug Nelson and Wayne Palmer
Contents at a Glance
Photoshop Essentials
Improving Tone and Contrast
Exposure Correction
Working with Color
Dust, Mold, and Texture Removal
Damage Control and Repair
Rebuilding, Rearranging, and
Re-creating Portraits
Refining and Polishing the Image
Portrait Retouching
Glamour and Fashion Retouching
Table of Contents
Working Efficiently with Keyboard Shortcuts
Palettes and Custom Workspaces
Context-Sensitive Menus
Quick Image Navigation
Learning the Importance of Layers
File Organization and Workflow Issues
Before You Begin: A Word to the Wise
Closing Thoughts
Evaluating Image Tone and Previsualizing the Final Image
The Importance of Adjustment Layers
Mastering Tonality with Levels
Improving Image Tone with Levels
Curves and Contrast
Working with Blending Modes
Bringing Out Detail with Screen and Channel Mixer
Tricks for Maximizing Adjustment Layers
Combining Tonal Corrections
Basing Tonal Corrections on Selections
The Benefits of High-Bit Data
Closing Thoughts
Improving Dark Images
Digital Flash Techniques
Salvaging Overexposed Images
Painting with Light
Closing Thoughts
Color Essentials
Identifying a Color Cast
Understanding Color Correction with Image Variations
Mimicking the Color Darkroom with Color Balance
Global Color Correction
The Numbers Don’t Lie
Selective Color Correction
Alleviating Extreme Color Problems
Correcting Color Temperature Problems
Interchannel Color Correction
Closing Thoughts
Dustbusting 101
Eradicating Mold, Mildew, and Fungus
Reducing Print Texture and Moiré Artifacts
Maintaining Image Structure
Closing Thoughts
Eliminating Scratches
Removing Unwanted Elements
Repairing Tears, Rips, and Cracks
Removing Stains and Discoloration
Closing Thoughts
Re-creating Backgrounds
Finding Suitable Replacement Materials
Building a Digital Background Collection
Rebuilding a Portrait
Bringing People Closer Together
Reconstructing Color
Alleviating Extreme Color Damage
Closing Thoughts
Converting Color to Black and White
Combining Color and Black and White
Toning Images with Color
Hand-Coloring a Black-and-White Image
Working with Soft and Selective Focus
Creative and Vignette Edges
Sharpening Filters
Closing Thoughts
Levels of Retouching
Developing a Portrait Retouch Strategy
Removing Distractions
Flattering the Contours
Improving Skin Texture
Accentuating Facial Features
Improving Facial Features
Working with Soft and Selective Focus
Closing Thoughts
Devising a Working Strategy
The Subtle Digital Beautician
Removing the Distractions
Complexion, Hair, and Eye Refinement
The Digital Diet
Glamour Lighting
Closing Thoughts
For the readers of the first edition: Your many emails, questions, ideas, and suggestions inspired me to write the second edition. Thank you all very much!
Johnnie, I couldn’t and wouldn’t have achieved any of this without you. Fore!
To the Salttowners: Thank you for the images, memories, and understanding
phone calls. Alles Liebe!
Katrin Eismann is an internationally respected lecturer and teacher on the subject of imaging, restoration, retouching, and the impact of emerging technologies
upon professional photographers, artists, and educators. Her clients include
Eastman Kodak, Apple, Adobe, American Film Institute, Professional
Photography Association, and the University of California Los Angeles. She
received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photographic Illustration with a
concentration in electronic still imaging from the Rochester Institute of
Technology. In 2002, she completed her Masters of Fine Arts degree in design at
the School of VISUAL ARTS in New York City.
In the future, Katrin would like to take photographs that do not require any color
correction, retouching, cropping, dodging and burning, or enhancement of any
kind. To learn more about Katrin and to see her creative work, please visit www. To learn more about the book, Photoshop Restoration &
Retouching, please visit the book’s supplemental web site,
These reviewers contributed their considerable hands-on expertise to the entire
development process for Photoshop Restoration & Retouching. As the book was
being written, these dedicated professionals reviewed all the material for technical content, organization, and flow. Their feedback was critical to ensuring that
Photoshop Restoration & Retouching fits our readers’ need for the highest-quality
technical information.
Doug Nelson is a freelance writer living in the St. Louis area. He has been
involved with photography since 1968, with computers since 1974, and with digital image editing since 1988. His web site,, is the world’s
largest online community for retouchers and photo restorers.
Wayne Palmer has had a passion for photography all his life. He has a degree in
education from Bloomsburg State College, but his interest in photography kept
him in the darkroom as much as the classroom. After graduation he worked for
Guardian Photo, Inc. for 13 years in the marketing of photofinishing services on
a national level.
Wayne started his own business, Palmer Multimedia Imaging, in 1994, offering
custom photographic, videographic, and digital photo restoration services. He has
worked with Photoshop since version 3, and previously used Aldus PhotoStyler.
A self-described AV nerd, Wayne enjoys sharing his knowledge of photography,
digital imaging, and computers. He teaches Photoshop and Digital Photography
in the continuing education department of the Pennsylvania College of
Technology and volunteers his time to instruct seniors in computer literacy
through the James V. Brown Library.
I know Katrin Eismann better than many people. The first time I heard her
speak was more than 10 years ago. She was defining unsharp masking to a
class at the Center for Creative Imaging. At that moment, I turned to the
guy next to me and told him, “I am going to marry her!” We were married
two years later.
Katrin is a classic over-achiever, and she takes everything seriously.
Everything. Fortunately, she has developed the ability to distill complex
software techniques into digestible, step-by-step screen captures. She does
this extremely well and it makes working through her books and her classes
a pleasure.
Katrin is extremely generous. She learned early on that no one individual
can master all the elements of the complex digital imaging systems.
Subsequently, Katrin has always included, referenced, and promoted other
imaging artists, teachers, and technicians. This is not common.
Katrin’s work with at CCI and with ThunderLizard conferences brought the
highest caliber presentations to thousands of avid Photoshop users and
photographers. Katrin’s insistence on the highest quality and the most upto-date content was always driven by her concern that her students or the
audience get what they paid for: valuable information presented patiently
and effectively.
To this day and with this book, the second edition of Photoshop Restoration
& Retouching, Katrin Eismann has again placed quality and value as the
highest priority. Every chapter has been reviewed, rewritten, and updated.
This is essentially a new book, with new images and many new techniques.
In this edition, Katrin is working with Doug Nelson, the creator of Doug’s passion for image restoration is well documented. His involvement and his professionalism has ensured once again
that Photoshop Restoration & Retouching will inspire and educate. You should
expect nothing less. You will not be disappointed.
John McIntosh
Chair, Computer Art
School of VISUAL ARTS New York City
ut three people in a room, give them each a computer and 30 minutes, and I bet that they'll each
come up with at least three different ways to solve the
same Photoshop problem. The variety of approaches
that Photoshop allows can at times be frustrating or
invigorating, depending on how much you like to
explore and experiment. So what separates a casual
Photoshop user from a power user? In most cases, it's
experience and the ability to visualize the final outcome of the project. To power users, Photoshop is
transparent—the interface practically disappears as
they work to create the retouched or restored image.
For novices, Photoshop can be so overwhelming that
they get lost finding tools, commands, and controls.
Even though they might get the image done, it will
have taken them a lot longer than necessary.
Learning to move quickly through Photoshop helps
you be a better retoucher because you can concentrate
on the image and not the software. In this chapter, you
learn to be more efficient with Photoshop and, in the
same vein, be a better Photoshop retoucher by
• Working efficiently with shortcuts
• Using file navigation
• Discovering the importance of layers
• Developing file organization and workflow methods
Photoshop Restoration & Retouching
Restoration and retouching is more than being a
fast mouse clicker. Good retouchers understand
that the images they are working with are very
important to the client, a family member, or the
person in the picture. Before you start a retouching
project, take a moment to consider that the pixels
represent real people and real events—they're more
than a collection of dark and light specks of digital
information. It's your job to bring back memories
from faded, cracked, and damaged originals. This is
a weighty responsibility, and keeping that in mind
throughout the retouching process helps you see
the image with empathy and care.
Photoshop was developed from the ground up to be
used with two hands: one on the keyboard and one
on the mouse. The time you save by using keyboard
equivalents to access a tool or command, and to
navigate through a file, will make you a more efficient retoucher. Additionally, using the keyboard
rather than the mouse reduces the total number of
repetitive mouse clicks that can add up to the pain,
aggravation, and lost productivity of repetitivemotion injury.
Knowing the keyboard shortcuts to access tools,
change settings, and control palettes enables you to
concentrate on the image and be a better retoucher.
For example, imagine that you're retouching a file
and need to access the Clone Stamp tool, increase
the brush size, and change the brush opacity to
40%. The manual method involves selecting the
Clone Stamp tool, dragging to the brush size
required, highlighting the Opacity value, and typing 40. The shortcut-key method entails tapping
the letter S, tapping the right bracket to increase
the brush size, and typing in the desired opacity
with either the numerals on the top of your keyboard or on the extended keypad to the right of
your keyboard. It's a much faster way to get the
same results!
Photoshop offers numerous methods to navigate
through a file and a plethora of documented and
undocumented shortcut keys. Do you need to know
them all? Of course not. Should you learn how to
activate the tools that you'll be using everyday?
Absolutely. If you use a Photoshop tool or command three or more times a day, learning its keyboard shortcut saves time and makes sense.
Additionally, if you access a filter or sequence of
commands more than three times a day, learning
how to create an action also is a good idea.
Look inside the Photoshop software box. The
folded reference card lists the most important
shortcuts and key commands you'll need.
For all accounts and purposes, Photoshop is identical on both the Macintosh and Windows platforms.
Throughout this book I have used both commands,
beginning by the Macintosh command in parentheses followed with the PC command in brackets.
For example, undoing the last step would read
(Cmd + Z) [Ctrl + Z]. In general, the Macintosh
Command (Cmd) key is used where the PC
Control (Ctrl) key would be, and you'll find that
the Mac Option key maps to the PC Alt key.
Control is used on the Mac where the right mouse
button is used on Windows.
The following section covers the primary navigational shortcuts and shortcut keys used throughout
this book that will help you be a more efficient
retoucher. More than 600 useful Photoshop key
commands and shortcuts are clearly cataloged in
Photoshop 7 Power Shortcuts by Michael Ninness
(New Riders, 2003).
Learning the most useful Photoshop shortcut keys
and navigation techniques takes 15 minutes. To get
the most out of the time, go to your computer,
launch Photoshop, and open a file that is at least
10MB. The reason I suggest practicing with a 10MB
file is that you will really appreciate the ease of navigation when you are working with an image that is
larger than your monitor can display (see the section,
"Quick Image Navigation," later in this chapter).
Chapter 1 Photoshop Essentials
The Toolbar
Tapping the appropriate letter on the keyboard activates a specific tool in the Photoshop toolbar. In
most cases, the first letter of the tool's name is the
letter to tap, such as B for Brush and M for the
Marquee tool. Of course, there are exceptions to
the first-letter rule, such as J for Healing Brush and
V for the Move tool. Figure 1.1 spells out the letter commands you use to access each tool.
Marquee (M)
Lasso (L)
Crop (C)
Healing/Patch (J)
Clone Stamp (S)
Blur/Sharpen/Smudge (R)
Path Selection (A)
Pen (P)
Notes/Audio (N)
Move (V)
Magic Wand (W)
Slice (K)
through the tools by holding the Shift key as you press
the shortcut key until you reach the desired tool.
Table 1.1 lists all the nested shortcuts you'll need.
figure 1.3
The Dodge, Burn, and Sponge tool are nested within
one another.
If you would rather just press the key (without holding Shift) to cycle through a nested tool, select Edit
> Preferences > General and uncheck Use Shift Key
for Tool Switch.
Brush/Pencil (B)
History Brush (Y)
table I.1
Gradient/Paint Bucket (G)
Dodge/Burn/Sponge (O)
Nested Retouching Tools
Type (T)
Rectangle/Other Vector Shapes (U)
Eyedropper/Color Sampler/Measure (I)
Shift + M cycles between the Rectangular
and Elliptical Marquee tools.
Shift + L cycles through the Lasso,
Polygon, and Magnetic Lasso tools.
Zoom (Z)
Exchange Colors (X)
Healing Brush
Shift + J cycles through Healing Brush
and Patch tools.
Quick Mask (Q)
Brush and
Shift + B cycles through the Brush
and the Pencil tools.
Clone Stamp
Shift + S cycles through the Clone Stamp
and Pattern Stamp tools.
History Brush
Shift + Y cycles through the History and
Art History Brush tools.
Eraser tool
Shift + E cycles through the Eraser,
Background Eraser, and Magic Eraser.
Gradient and
Paint Bucket
Shift + G cycles through the Gradient
and Paint Bucket tools.
Sharpening tools
Shift + R cycles through the Sharpen,
Blur, and Smudge tools.
Tonal tools
Shift + O cycles through the Dodge,
Burn, and Sponge tools.
Path Selection
Shift + A cycles through the Path
Selection and the Direct Selection tools.
figure 1.2
Pen tool
Use the Tool tips to learn the most important keyboard
quick keys.
Shift + P cycles through the Pen and
Freeform Pen tools.
Annotation tool
Shift + N switches between note or
voice annotation.
As you can see in figure 1.3, some tools are nested.
For example, the Dodge, Burn, and Sponge tools all
share one spot on the toolbar. You can cycle
Color Sampler,
and Measure
Shift + I cycles through the Eyedropper,
Color Sampler, and Measure tools.
Hand (H)
Default Colors (D)
Cycle Screen Modes (F)
figure I.1
The Photoshop toolbar with keyboard commands.
To see and learn the tool tips, choose Edit >
Preferences > General and turn on Show Tool
Tips. As you hold the mouse over a tool,
Photoshop shows the name and command key
as shown in figure 1.2.
Photoshop Restoration & Retouching
Saving Tool Presets
How often have you set the Crop tool to 5 by 7
inches or defined a soft-edged, white brush with 5%
opacity set to the Painting Mode overlay? Okay—
maybe the Crop tool example rings true but trust
me, as you delve into fine portrait retouching, the
second example of the finely tuned brush will also
come in very handy.
Taking a few minutes to create useful tool presets is
a fantastic way to speed up your retouching work.
To view and access the tool presets, either click the
Tool Preset button on the left side of the options bar
or use the Tool Presets palette, as shown in figure 1.7.
Wouldn't it be great if you could just save a library
of all the tools you use often and, with a single
click, have access to them without having to enter
values or percentages ever again? With Photoshop
7, you can do just that. With Tool Presets you can
load, edit, and create libraries of tool presets using
the Tool Preset picker in the options bar, the Tool
Presets palette, and the Preset Manager.
In the following example, I create a useful library of
the most commonly used Crop tool settings. Work
along and you'll never have to set your Crop tool
To create a Crop tool preset:
1. Choose the Crop tool and set the options you
want in the options bar, as seen in figure 1.4.
In this example, I entered 5 in and 7 in. To
use pixels, type px after the numbers; for centimeters, type cm; and for millimeters, type
mm after the number. If desired, enter a resolution in the Resolution box. I prefer to leave
that blank so I don't inadvertently scale an
image as I crop it.
figure 1.5
Accessing the Tool Preset menu.
figure 1.6
Naming the preset.
figure 1.4
Determining the settings for the Crop tool.
2. Click the Tool button on the left side of the
options bar and click the Create New Tool
Preset button (it looks like a little piece of
paper) or click on the fly-out menu arrow of
the Tool Presets palette (figure 1.5), and
select New Tool Preset.
3. Name the tool preset, as shown in figure 1.6,
and click OK.
figure 1.7
The Tool Presets palette with all saved tool settings.
Chapter 1 Photoshop Essentials
Notice that in figure 1.8 the Current Tool Only
checkbox is checked in the lower-left corner. This
shows only the presets for the active tool, which
keeps your list of visible presets a little more
After creating a series of Tool Presets, make sure to
save your presets via the fly-out menu in the Tool
Presets palette. You wouldn't want to lose your settings if Photoshop crashes.
To change brush size or hardness, use these shortcuts:
• Left bracket ([) decreases brush size while
maintaining hardness and spacing settings.
• Right bracket (])increases brush size while
maintaining hardness and spacing settings.
• Shift + left bracket ([) decreases brush hardness while maintaining size and spacing.
• Shift + right bracket (]) increases brush hardness while maintaining size and spacing.
The Tool Presets palette with only the active tool settings
Hiding, showing, and rearranging palette position
while working is irritating, inefficient, and worst of
all adds unnecessary wear and tear to your mousing
muscles. Learning the essential F keys to hide and
reveal palettes to creating custom workspaces is helpful to keep the Photoshop interface out of the way,
allowing you to concentrate on the image at hand.
The Options Bar
The Palettes and Function Keys
Photoshop 5.0 and 5.5 had the Tool Options
palette, which showed the various settings and controls for the tool you had currently selected. Since
Photoshop 6.0, these options (and many other features) are housed in the options bar. Position the
options bar at the top or bottom of your monitor
and, to keep down monitor clutter, dock the
palettes you use most often into the palette well, as
shown in figure 1.9.
Adobe has assigned function keys to the most
important palettes (listed in table 1.2). The function keys are the topmost row of buttons on your
keyboard and they begin with the letter F; hence,
the nickname F keys. You can use them to hide and
reveal palettes. I keep my palettes either on a second monitor or, when working on a laptop or single
monitor system, I'll position the palettes to be as far
out of the way as possible. If the palettes are blocking the image, press Tab to hide all the palettes and
the toolbar. Press Tab again to reveal all the palettes
and toolbar, or press F keys to reveal individual
palettes. Press Shift + Tab to hide the palettes while
keeping the toolbar visible.
figure 1.8
When using any painting tool, change the opacity
by simply typing the required value; you don't need
to highlight the Opacity box. Just type a number
from 1 to 9, and the brush opacity or pressure will
change to the corresponding value between 10%
and 90%. Typing 0 will set it to 100%, and you can
set even finer values by quickly typing the precise
percentage you want.
figure 1.9
Palette Well
The options bar reflects the controls of the active tool and includes the palette well, where you can place often used palettes.
Photoshop Restoration & Retouching
table 1.2
F Keys to Show and Hide Palettes
Brush palette
Color palette
Layer palette
Info palette
Actions palette
Not every palette has a function key. Docking
palettes that don't have a function key with palettes
that do will give you access to every palette quickly.
For example, dock the History and Actions palettes
together and then use F9 to open the Actions
palette, and click the History palette tab to bring it
to the forefront.
Taking a few moments to arrange the palettes and
learn the function keys is similar to setting up your
workspace in a traditional studio: brushes go over
here and camera equipment goes over there.
Position the palettes in relation to how often you
use them, with the more important ones—Layers,
Channels, and Info—close at hand.
Palette Tips
• When working with a single monitor workstation,
have as few palettes open as possible.
• Decide on an ideal palette placement for your
workflow. This saves time when hiding and
showing palettes, because they will reappear
exactly where you positioned them. Save this
workspace with a logical name so you can recall
it easily later.
• Press the Tab key to hide and show all palettes
and the toolbar at once.
• Shift + Tab hides all palettes while keeping the
toolbar on screen.
• Pull unnecessary nested palettes out of their
groups and close them. For example, the
Navigation palette is redundant if you use the
navigational tips discussed later in this chapter. If
you separate and close it, it won't pop up with
the other docked palettes.
• In case you close a palette and you forget to use
the F key to make it appear again, use the Window
menu to select the palette you want to see.
• Create actions to assign custom F-key commands
to your most often used workspaces to recall
them even more quickly than using the Window
Workspace menu.
• When creating a workspace for the File Browser,
the workspace will note the exact folder you
accessed with the File Browser at the time. This
can be very useful when you are working with
the download folder for digital camera files.
Workspace Settings
Photoshop has long had the option to save your current palette locations upon quitting (go to Edit >
Preferences > General and check Save Palette
Locations). Every time you launch Photoshop,
move palettes, and quit Photoshop, the new palette
positions are saved, which may or may not be the
best settings for retouching work. New in
Photoshop 7 is the ability to save and recall any
number of custom workspaces that you can customize for specific tasks—all of which will save
time and reduce frustration.
Setting up and saving custom workspaces that
reflect the task at hand is well worth the effort. For
example, I have one workspace set up for tone and
color correction (where all I need to have visible
are the Layers, Channels, and Info palettes, a workspace for using the File Browser (see figure 1.10),
and one for creative image editing on my dual monitor system, which places all palettes on the secondary monitor to free up the primary monitor for
images, as seen in figure 1.11). And, if you share
your computer, different users can have their
favorite workspaces without disrupting anyone
else's workspace and workflow.
figure 1.10
A workspace dedicated to using the File Browser.
Chapter 1 Photoshop Essentials
you can't locate a palette or simply want to return
to the default Photoshop palette position.
The Workspace View
Your monitor is your worktable: keeping it organized
and neat will pay off with time saved and frustration
reduced. Learning to use every bit of your monitor's
real estate can make a small monitor seem a lot larger
than it really is and make a large monitor seem even
more expansive.
Using two displays enables you to reserve one for the work in
progress and one for the palettes and tools.
The File Browser is a new Photoshop 7 feature. It
provides a quick way to navigate your image
folders. Use it to preview, rotate, rename, and
open files within Photoshop. You can specify
which thumbnail size the File Browser uses, and it
displays a wealth of information about your files
in the metadata on the lower-left side of the window, without having to open each image. By
default, the File Browser is a tab in the palette
well, but you can also use File > Browse or (Shift
+ Cmd + O) [Shift + Ctrl + O] to access it. I find
the File Browser especially useful after downloading digital camera files I want to edit, organize,
and rename.
• Take advantage of your monitor's real estate by
working in either Full Screen Mode with Menu
Bar or Full Screen Mode. Tap F to cycle through
the viewing modes.
• Consider working with a two-monitor system.
This requires either a special "dual-head" video
card or the installation of a second video card.
(If you install a second card, you'll need to specify a primary monitor in your system settings.)
Because you won't be doing any critical color
correction or retouching on the second monitor, it
can be less expensive—or even used.
• When cleaning up files, work at 100% or 200%
view to see every pixel.
• Create a second view. Select Window >
Documents > New Window, and position this
second view so that you can reference it as you
retouch. This is incredibly useful when retouching
an image of a person's face, because you can
zoom in on an image detail on the primary
document and simultaneously keep an eye on
how retouching the details is impacting the
overall image (see figure 1.12).
To create a custom workspace:
1. Arrange and size your palettes as desired.
2. Select Window > Workspace > Save
3. Name your workspace and Photoshop will
save the workspace setting file into the Adobe
Photoshop 7 Settings > Workspace folder.
4. After creating additional workspaces, you can
access different workspaces by selecting one
from the Window > Workspace > menu.
Adobe also included Delete Workspace and Reset
Palette Locations in the Window > Workspace
menu. Reset Palette Locations can be very handy if
Photoshop Restoration & Retouching
Every Photoshop tool includes context-sensitive
menus that you access by (Control + clicking)
[right-clicking] directly on the image. These menus
give you tremendous control over each tool. Rather
than going through the menu of every tool here, I
suggest you open an image and go through the context-sensitive menus of each tool. In exchange for
that, I'll review the most important context menus
you should be aware of. For some tools, the contextsensitive menu will change depending on the state
of the tool or file at the time. For example, notice
the difference of the context-sensitive menu for any
selection tool with and without an active selection
(as shown in figures 1.13 and 1.14, respectively)
and after using a filter (as seen in figure 1.15).
figure 1.15
Context-sensitive menu for any selection tool with an active
selection after applying a filter.
Brush Context and Controls
While you are using the painting, toning, and sharpening tools, (Control + clicking) [right-clicking]
brings up the window to edit brush size quickly, as
shown in figure 1.16. (Shift + Control + clicking)
[Shift + right-clicking] brings up the Painting
Modes (see figure 1.17).
figure 1.13
Context-sensitive menu for any selection tool without an
active selection.
figure 1.16
The context-sensitive menu for brushes allows you to select
size and brush type quickly.
figure 1.14
Context-sensitive menu for any selection tool with an
active selection.
figure 1.17
Accessing the Painting Modes.
Chapter 1 Photoshop Essentials
With the Healing Brush, (Control + click) [rightclick] to access the Healing Brush's specific brush
settings menu (figure 1.18). Pressing (Shift +
Control + click) [Shift + right-click] lets you
choose your source as well as Blend Modes, as you
see in figure 1.19.
Magnifying Tools Context Menus
Use the context-sensitive menu of the Zoom tool to
quickly see the image at useful views (see figure 1.21).
figure 1.21
Using the context-sensitive menu of the Zoom tool is one
way to quickly zoom in and out of a file.
figure 1.18
The context-sensitive menu of the Healing Brush.
figure 1.19
As the context-sensitive menu reveals, Healing Brush uses
fewer Blending Modes.
Moving through a file and zooming in and out
quickly are essential skills for an efficient retoucher.
Critical retouching is done at a 100% or 200% view
(as shown in figure 1.22), which means that you are
seeing only a small part of the entire file. Zooming in
and out of a file allows you to see how the retouched
area is blending in with the entire image.
Use any one of the following techniques to navigate
through a file.
To go to 100% view to see the full resolution of
the file:
Toning Tools
Context-Sensitive Menus
• Double-click the Zoom tool (magnifying glass)
in the toolbar.
While you are using the Dodge and Burn tools,
(Shift + Control + clicking) [Shift + right-clicking]
enables you to change the tonal range affected (see
figure 1.20). The same keyboard shortcut quickly
accesses the Sponge tool's saturate/desaturate mode.
• (Cmd + Option + 0) [Ctrl + Alt + 0].
Note: That's a zero, not the letter O.
• (Space + Control + click) [Space +
right-click] and drag down to Actual Pixels.
• Type 100 in the zoom percentage window
in the lower-left corner of the file and press
the Enter key.
To see the entire image:
• Double-click the Hand tool.
• (Cmd + 0) [Ctrl + 0]. Note: Again, this is
a zero, not the letter O.
figure 1.20
The context-sensitive menu of the Dodge and Burn tools.
• (Space + Control + click) [Space +
right-click] and drag down to Fit on Screen.
Photoshop Restoration & Retouching
Professional retouchers work at 100% or 200% view.
To zoom in on a specific area:
• (Cmd + Space) [Ctrl + space] and drag over
the area you want to zoom into.
• Tap (Cmd + Page Down) [Ctrl + Page Down]
to move one screen width to the right.
• Tap (Cmd + Page Up) [Ctrl + Page Up] to
move one screen width to the left.
To pan through an image:
• On both Macintosh and PC, holding down
the space bar converts any tool (except the
Type tool, if you are actively entering text)
into the Hand tool, which enables you to pan
through an image. This works only if the
image is larger than your monitor can display.
You can review an image that will not fit entirely on
your monitor using only the keyboard. Starting in
the upper-left corner, these shortcuts will adjust the
viewing area one screen width or height at a time:
• Tap the Home key to jump to the upperleft corner.
• Tap the End key to jump to the lowerright corner.
• Tap Page Down to move down one full screen.
• Tap Page Up to move up one full screen.
If all these navigational tips are starting to get jumbled, remember that you don't need to sit down and
memorize them all at once. Just learn the ones you
use all the time—including the most often-used
tools. Learn also how to hide and show palettes and
you'll be working like a power user in no time.
With the introduction of layers in Photoshop 3.0,
Adobe truly entered the world of professional image
enhancement. For a retoucher, layers are the most
important feature in Photoshop, and throughout
this book you will be working with eight different
types of layers:
• Background layer: This is your original data
and should be treated as carefully as your
original prints or film. Never, ever retouch
directly on the Background layer. It should
Chapter 1 Photoshop Essentials
remain as pristine as the day you scanned it.
Do I sound adamant about this? You bet.
The Background layer is your reference, your
guide, your before and after. Do not touch it.
To maintain the Background layer's integrity,
either duplicate it or do a Save As to back up
the original file before undertaking any color
correction, retouching, or restoration.
• Duplicate layers: Duplicating any layer by
dragging the layer to the New Layer icon
creates an exact copy, in perfect registration,
on which you can work and retouch without
affecting the original data. Use the shortcut keys (Cmd + ]) [Ctrl + J] to duplicate
a layer quickly.
• Copied layers: Many times you don't want or
need to duplicate the entire Background layer
because you need only a portion of a layer to
work on. In those cases, select the part of the
image you want to use and select Layer >
New > Layer via Copy or press (Cmd + J)
[Ctrl + J]. Photoshop copies and pastes the
selection onto its own layer and keeps the
newly created layer information in perfect
registration with the original data.
• Adjustment Layers: Introduced with
Photoshop 4.0, Adjustment Layers enable
you to apply global and selective tonal and
color corrections. You use them extensively
in Chapters 2, 3, and 4 to do tonal, exposure,
and color corrections.
• Empty layers: Photoshop represents empty
layers with a grid pattern. Think of these
empty layers as a clear sheet of acetate on
which you paint and clone without affecting
the pixel data of the layers underneath.
• Neutral layers: Photoshop doesn't show the
Blending Mode neutral colors of white, gray,
or black when used in combination with specific layer Blending Modes. We'll be using
neutral layers to apply subtle and dramatic
tonal improvements throughout the
retouching process.
• Fill layers: Fill layers enable you to add solid,
gradient, or patterned fills as a separate layer.
The solid color fill layer is useful when you are
coloring and toning an image.
• Merged layers: As the number of layers
increases, it is often easier to work on a Work
in Progress (WIP) layer, which is a flattened
layer created with all visible layers you have
been retouching. To create a merged layer
with image information, follow these steps:
1. Select the topmost layer in the layer stack.
2. Add a new layer by clicking the New
Layer button on the Layers palette.
3. Hold down (Option) [Alt] and select
Layer > Merge Visible from the Layers
palette or from the Layers palette fly-out
menu. Please note: You have to hold
(Option) [Alt] the entire time until
Photoshop merges all of the visible layers.
Or use the super secret Command key
combination (Cmd + Option + Shift
+ N) [Ctrl + Alt + Shift + N] to add a
new layer and then (Cmd + Option +
Shift + E) [Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E] to
merge all visible layers to the active layer.
The best aspect of layers is that they all (with the
exception of the Background layer) support layer
masks, Blending Modes, opacity and fill changes,
and Advanced Blending Options—features you'll
be working with throughout the book to retouch
and restore images.
Layer Naming and Navigation
Layers enable you to build up a retouch. In many
cases, a retouching project can take 5, 10, 20, or
more layers to finish. Relying on the generic
Photoshop name such as Layer I or Layer 1 copy to
identify layers is a sure way to be confused and frustrated as you try to find the layer you need to work
on. It only takes a split second, but naming your layers as you build up a retouch enables you to identify
and activate the correct layer quickly and easily.
Photoshop Restoration & Retouching
Look at the difference between the two layer stacks
in figure 1.23. The layers on the left have generic
names, and the layers on the right have useful
names. Which would you rather work with?
Additionally, the context-sensitive menu of the
Move tool gives you instant access to all the layers
at the pointer position that have pixel information.
As shown in figure 1.24, (Control + clicking)
[right-clicking] shows all layer names that have
pixel information at the exact point where the
mouse is. Best of all, you can then drag down to a
specific layer name and activate it—even if the
Layers palette is not open at the time.
figure 1.24
The context-sensitive menu of the move tool shows you the
layers at the cursor position that have pixel information at
the cursor location.
Working with Layer Sets
In Photoshop 7, you can create up to a total of
8,000 layers and layer effects, something that
requires a way to organize and manage layers more
efficiently. Layer sets, shown in figure 1.25, are
folders in which you can place related layers. The
folders can be expanded or collapsed, the layers can
be moved around within the set, and layer sets
can be moved around within the layer stack.
figure 1.25
figure 1.23
The generic layer names in the palette on the left won't help
you find your way through a complex retouch, but the ones
on the right prove that naming your layers is a good habit
to adopt.
To name a layer, simply double-click the existing
name in the Layers palette and type a meaningful
name. It only takes a split second to name a layer,
and it will save you countless minutes of frustration.
The many layers you create when retouching become much
more manageable when they are grouped as layer sets.
There are two ways to create a layer set:
• Select New Layer Set from the Layers palette
menu, name the layer set, and then drag the
desired layers into the set.
• Link all the layers you would like in a layer
set, and then select New Set from Linked in
the Layers palette menu. All the linked layers
will be placed into the newly created layer set.
Chapter 1 Photoshop Essentials
There are three ways to delete a layer set:
• Drag the layer set to the trash can on the
Layers palette to delete the entire layer set
without showing a warning dialog box.
• Select Delete Layer Set from the Layers
palette menu. The dialog box in figure 1.26
then gives you choices to cancel the operation, delete the set, or delete the set and the
set's contents.
• (Cmd + drag) [Ctrl + drag] the layer set to the
trash can to delete the layer set folder without
deleting the contents of the layer set. The layers in the set remain in the document in the
order they appeared in the set.
figure 1.26
You can delete the set (the folder) or the set and the contents.
You can color-code layers to identify layer relationships quickly and lock layers to prevent accidental
edits to image data, transparency settings, and layer
position. All in all, organizing, naming, or colorcoding layers and layer sets takes only a moment,
but it can save you a lot of time in hunting and
searching for the layer you want to work on.
Creating and using consistent layers and layer set
naming conventions is imperative if you want to
create an efficient workflow. If you work with a
partner, on a team, or as part of a production workflow, you'll especially need to use layer names.
Imagine that you're working on a complicated
retouching project and for some reason, you can't
come to work to finish the retouch. If the layers are
well named, someone else on your team will be able
to open the file, find the layers that need additional
work, and finish the project. However, if the layers
are all over the place, not named, or not in layer
sets, it will take a while for someone else to simply
figure out where to begin. In the worst-case scenario, a very important layer might be ruined or
deleted. Enough said—name your layers!
Flattening and Discarding Layers
I'm a conservative Photoshop retoucher with a large
hard drive. I don't throw away layers unless I know
that they are absolutely wrong or unnecessary. Keep
all production layers with a file because you'll never
know whether a mask or tidbit of information from
a layer will be useful later in the project. By clicking
the eyeball in the view column on the left side of the
Layers palette, you can turn off a layer whenever you
like. I flatten an image after doing a Save As and
only as the very last step before sending a file to the
printer or taking a file into a page layout program.
Taking a few moments to organize your folders and
files helps you work more efficiently by saving you
time searching for files and projects, and it also
reduces the likelihood of deleting important files.
For each project I work on, I create a Master Folder,
and in that folder I make three folders—Scans, WIP
(Work-in-Progress), and Finals (see figure 1.27).
As you can imagine, the scans go into the Scans
folder and those originals are not changed. The
Work-in-Progress folder contains all the layered
files and versions of the retouch in progress. The
third folder is where only flattened, sized, and
sharpened files go. The Finals folder contains only
one version of the final file and not files that are
obviously not completed, such as "retouch_3_
figure 1.27
Keep your working files organized as shown here.
Photoshop Restoration & Retouching
Although I work in a Macintosh environment,
I exchange files with printers and clients who use
PCs, which means that I have to take those systems into account. I make it a habit of keeping
filenames as short as possible, without spaces,
odd characters such as /\*, or punctuation, and
I always have Photoshop add the three-letter file
extension to the file when saving. Because you
can tell Photoshop to add the extension automatically, there isn't any reason for Macintosh users
not to use it. The PC system adds the file extension without this Preferences setting, so PC users
don't need to worry about this detail.
The Retouching Workflow
Each retouching project is unique, requiring a sensitive eye and sympathetic mouse. Of course, each
retoucher is just as unique, and over time you will
devise your own retouching workflow.
The primary steps in my retouching workflow are
shown here:
1. Assess the original: Study the original and
identify the problems or areas that need
enhancement, repair, or replacement. Never
lift the mouse without first taking a few minutes to identify the character of either the
image or the person in the photograph.
2. Input: Scan or photograph the original. Use
a professional service bureau if you don't
have the capability to input the original. For
additional information on image scanning,
go to and download Scanning & Resolution.pdf in the
"Additional Information" section.
3. Develop a strategy: Make a plan to outline
the steps to do the retouch. Start with the big
problems—exposure, color, and contrast—and
then move on to repairing problems, such as
dust, mold, and scratches, or removing lines,
wrinkles, or blemishes. Make notes on paper
or on the file, as described in Chapter 10,
"Glamour and Fashion Retouching." The
structure of this book reflects my retouching
strategy; it starts with the big problems and
then moves into ever-finer nuances of restoration and retouching.
4. Retouch: Do the planned retouch. As mentioned, work on a duplicate of the original
scan and use layers to build up your work.
5. Output and deliver: Make a print and deliver
the file to the client.
6. Archive: Make a backup of all files involved
in a project. Burning a CD is an inexpensive
and reliable method to make backups. I
recommend burning two identical disks
and storing them separately. Use an asset
management program, such as Canto
Cumulus or Extensis Portfolio, to organize
your files and backups.
The invisible step 7 is to collect payment from the
client in exchange for the completed work.
Professional retoucher Wayne Palmer says, "I
keep all originals until the client has paid for the
job. That way I have something of value, which
often motivates the client to pay more quickly."
The Retoucher's Workplace
Your retouching studio or work area is a place
you'll be spending a lot of time, so it makes sense
to invest the time and money to make it as
comfortable and productive as possible. You do not
need to remodel your home or build an addition;
I'm just suggesting you consider a few improvements that can make your workplace a nicer and
more efficient place to be.
Chapter 1 Photoshop Essentials
Environment and Lighting
The retouching environment should be a quiet area
away from distractions and foot traffic. Paint the
walls a neutral gray and set up the lighting so that
there aren't any reflections showing in the monitor.
In figure 1.28, you see a retouching work area that
is built into a corner. The L-shaped configuration
enables the retoucher to get a lot of work done
without having to get up and down to make a scan
or print. As you can see in figure 1.29, the daylight
balanced GTI Graphic Technology lightbox
( and 5,000° Kelvin task lamp
( provide an area to study originals. To make the retouching area more focused,
keep your bookkeeping, paperwork, and business
phone on a separate desk.
figure 1.28
My retouching area, with both Macintosh and Windows equipment.
figure 1.29
Controlled lighting is essential when evaluating prints and slides.
Photoshop Restoration & Retouching
It always amazes me that people will spend thousands of dollars on computer equipment and then
put it all on a cheap folding table that wobbles and
bows in the center under all the weight. Even worse
than those are some of the rickety chairs people sit
in to work on the computer. After a few hours they
wonder why their necks or lower backs are so sore.
I prefer a chair with armrest support—and as
Wayne Palmer points out, "If you use a chair with
arms, the arms must be able to slide under the desk.
If the chair's arms keep you away from the desk, you
have to reach for the keyboard and mouse. After a
few hours of this, you will develop muscle aches."
figure 1.30
Before image restoration.
A good table without harsh edges, preferably one
that angles down to where your arms rest on the
table, and a chair with lower-back and arm support
are essential retouching equipment. Just think of it;
over the course of a few years, you'll probably
replace your computer a few times. How often do
you need to replace a good working table and professional chair? Not very often, so making the
investment in good furniture will pay off in health
and well being for years to come.
Speaking of health, you should know that uninterrupted, intensive computer use can be bad for your
eyes, back, wrists, and more. But it doesn't have to
be if you watch your posture, vary your computing
activities, and take frequent breaks. An important
tip for retouchers is to use these frequent breaks to
focus your eyes on something in the distance. For
more information about steps you can take to make
your work area and work habits as healthy as possible, visit www. healthycomputing. com.
As Patrick O'Connell wrote to me, "Over the
course of a week, I spent about 25 hours restoring
this image (figures 1.30 and 1.31), and if there's a
secret to it at all, I'd say the key was to realize when
I was starting to get tired and sloppy, and quitting
for the day." You need to take breaks and return to
your work with a fresh eye.
figure 1.31
After image restoration, which included taking breaks.
Computer Equipment
Adobe has done a fantastic job in developing and
releasing Photoshop for both Macintosh and
Windows. So does it matter which computer platform you use? Yes, it does. It should be the operating system that you're most comfortable with. My
first computer experience was on a Mac, and since
then I've come to appreciate its interface, operating
system, and how easy it is to maintain. On the other
hand, for every one person who prefers a Mac, I'm
sure there are many, many people who swear by
Windows. Photoshop is Photoshop is Photoshop.
The few differences in Photoshop on a Mac or
Windows are not going to alter the skills and techniques you need to know to do retouching magic.
Chapter 1 Photoshop Essentials
Spending money on computer equipment requires
research and planning. If you are about to build a
workstation for Photoshop work, consider these
• CPU speed: The higher the speed, the faster
the computer. Be careful to watch the internal
bus speed as well; the fastest CPU will not
produce the performance increases you expect
if the internal bus speed is slow.
• RAM: Photoshop is a RAM-hungry program,
and the more you have allocated to
Photoshop, the better it will run. How much
RAM do you need? As much as you can
afford! Photoshop prefers three to five times
the amount of RAM as the size of the image
file you're working on. Take into account that
often you'll have more than one image open
and that as you add layers and use History,
your RAM requirements will increase. So how
much is enough? Take your average image size
and multiply it by five, and then use that figure as your starting point. Adding more RAM
to a machine is the easiest way to increase
Photoshop performance.
You can see how efficiently your computer system
is running by selecting Efficiency from the status
bar found at the bottom of the document window.
A reading of less than 100% tells you that the
functions you are performing are being written to
the scratch disk, which is always slower than
working in RAM.
• Hard drive space: This is a classic "bigger
is better" proposition as long as you are
choosing from the highest-performance drives.
Photoshop wants fast hard drives to write data
to when it runs out of RAM, so given the
choice, go with speed over excessive gigabytes.
• Scratch disk: The scratch disk is free hard
drive space that Photoshop uses as temporary
memory after it fills the RAM with image processing. The scratch disk needs to be at least
twice the size of the RAM allocated to
Photoshop and, more importantly, the space
needs to be contiguous; that is, a scratch disk
needs to be unfragmented and free of clutter.
You can set up partitions on your drive to
keep certain areas from being fragmented, or
you can use additional software to optimize
your drive over time. If you have more than
one hard drive, use one for Photoshop and
your image files, and the other for your
scratch disk.
• Monitor: This is the visual component of your
system, and no matter how fast or sexy your
CPU is, if you are not happy with the image
your monitor produces, you will not be happy
with your workstation. A good monitor will
outlast one to two upgrades of your CPU.
The only limitation on the effective life
of a monitor is the accuracy of the color it
produces—something which is usually in the
three-to-five year range.
If you choose a traditional CRT display, 17
inches is minimum and 21 inches is desired.
Be careful to match the size of monitor to the
amount of video RAM installed in your computer. You must work with millions of colors.
Flat-panel LCD displays are much easier on
your eyes but harder on your pocketbook.
To have two monitors running on the same
computer, your computer needs to be able to
support a second video card or replace your
existing card with one that supports dual display. Install the new card and use the control
settings to determine which monitor will be your
primary monitor. You can just drag images and
palettes back and forth between them.
To use one monitor on two computers: IOGEAR
makes a switcher to run up to four computers
with one monitor, keyboard, and mouse.
Macintosh users will need to purchase an
additional adapter from IOGEAR that makes
the pin conversion possible.
Photoshop Restoration & Retouching
CD or DVD-ROM: This is a usability and
compatibility issue. In either case, make sure
that you have a writeable, not a read-only,
CD or DVD drive. In most instances, a writeable CD will be the most practical and usable
media to make backups and create disks for
your clients.
Pressure sensitive tablet: An absolute must.
A pressure sensitive tablet lets you work with
a stylus, and it feels just like working with a
pencil or brush. The harder you push, the
thicker the stroke. Wacom is the leader in
this technology, and their progressive
improvements with these devices continue to
be impressive. Wacom tablets range in size
from miniature (4x5 inch) to huge (12x12
and larger). Most photographers work best
with the smaller (6x8 inch tablets). On my
desktop system, I work with the Wacom
Cintiq, which is a pressure-sensitive monitor
(shown in figure 1.32) and when I travel, I
never leave home without my portable 4x5
inch Wacom tablet and Apple Powerbook.
To decrease reflections and distractions, build a
monitor hood with black quarter-inch foamcore
board, as shown in figure 1.33, or visit to purchase monitor hoods.
figure 1.33
A homemade monitor hood cuts down on reflections.
• Back-up or archive system: This is another
critical issue as you take on more and more
work. You should always back up your work as
well as your system settings. This is a personal
discipline that will make you feel very smart
when you need the backup or very stupid if
you did not back up your files. Temporary
backup of your work is best accomplished to
an external (or additional) hard drive. Firewire drives can be an extremely fast media for
backups. Archiving is best done with removable media, such as CD-Rs or DVD disks.
• Scanners: Look at the originals you will be
scanning; if most of them are prints, purchasing a good flatbed scanner makes sense. If the
majority of your work stems from film originals, a film scanner would be a better choice.
figure 1.32
Katrin retouching a portrait on her Wacom Cintiq pressure
sensitive display.
It is difficult to make a general recommendation on scanners because they vary from very
poor to very good and from cheap to expensive. Most retouchers have a mid-level flatbed
scanner that is capable of scanning 11x17
inch prints. Look for a scanner that captures
at least 10 bits of data, and keep an eye on the
optical resolution of the scanner—it should be
600 pixels per inch or higher.
Chapter 1 Photoshop Essentials
Alternative Input Options
Having a service bureau or professional photo lab do
scanning and printing for you can be a good alternative, especially when you're just starting out and need
to stagger your equipment expenses. Working with a
service bureau also gives you access to high-end
equipment and services that you may need only once
in a while.
• Copy work: In many cases, antique originals
are too large, too fragile, or too threedimensional to scan with a standard film or
flatbed scanner. In figure 1.34, you see
medium-format and 35 mm black-and-white
copy negatives that will be scanned in for the
retoucher to clean up. The additional example
in figure 1.35 shows how Wayne Palmer
needed to restore a series of antique photographic images that were mounted inside convex, glass bowl frames. Because the originals
were three-dimensional, he couldn't just lay
them on a flatbed scanner, so he made copy
slides and scanned those.
• Professional digital cameras: As digital cameras get both better and cheaper, they are
becoming a great input option. Numerous professional museums and historical collections
are working with high-resolution scanning
cameras, such as the Better Light 6000 or
8000, to digitize their sensitive artwork and
archives. Figures 1.36 and 1.37 show an
example from the Dallas Museum of Fine
Art, which is using the Better Light 6000 to
catalog fine art.
figure 1.36
Professional digital cameras offer incredible resolution and
color fidelity when inputting artwork.
figure 1.34
Working with copy negatives can be a high-quality and costeffective way to input sensitive originals.
figure 1.31
figure 1.35
It's the unique challenges that make the job interesting. The
originals were mounted inside convex glass bowls.
Close-up view of painting.
Photoshop Restoration & Retouching
• Prosumer digital cameras are now a viable
copying solution. $800 to $2,500 can buy a 3
to 6 megapixel digital camera capable of very
respectable resolutions. Look for one tbat can
capture uncompressed RAW files and compare
their highest non-interpolated resolution (the
most important feature for copy purposes).
Figure 1.38 shows Wayne Palmer's copystand
with a Nikon 990. (Notice how he tilted the
tintype to reduce the reflections bouncing off
of the silvery surface.) Depending on the
image size required, Wayne will shoot copy
files with either the Nikon 990, Canon D10,
or 35 mm or medium format film.
• Printers: The quality of inkjet printers is
skyrocketing while the costs are nose-diving.
Issues to consider before buying a printer
include the size of the prints you need and
how long the prints will last once you've
printed them. Henry Wilhelm does extensive
research on inkjet print permanence, and
you can read the latest up-to-date information
at Also
visit www. and www. to see the technology and
inks that Jon Cone is developing to make
absolutely stunning black-and-white prints
that rival the traditional black-and-white,
silver-gelatin darkroom print.
• Additional software: As you do more and
more retouching, you may want to consider
investing in software that can help you file,
track, organize, and most importantly find
your files (such as Canto Cumulus or Extensis
Portfolio). Other purchases to consider
include color management packages, such as
the GretagMacbeth EyeOne Pro and production and special effects filters. For color management information, visit Andrew Rodney's
web site at and
figure 1.38
A professional copystand and a consumer-level digital camera.
Chapter 1 Photoshop Essentials
Photoshop is a powerful tool that can either work
wondrous magic or wreak havoc on image data. To
ensure the best results in your restoration, always
start with the best image data possible:
• Professional photographers always shoot more
than one exposure of an image. Although the
exposure difference may seem minimal,
believe me, starting with a properly exposed
piece of film or digital file will minimize many
a headache.
• Start with the best digital data possible.
Investing in a quality scanner is something
you will seldom regret. If your scanner captures high-bit data, take advantage of it as
discussed in the in Chapter 2, "Improving
Tone and Contrast," in the section "The
Benefits of High-Bit Data."
• Always work on a copy of your original scan.
• Use Adjustment Layers as described throughout the book. (You'll find a concentration of
examples in Chapters 2, 3, and 4.) Because
you can double-click an Adjustment Layer to
open it for further finessing, you have much
more control and freedom with your tonal,
contrast, and color changes.
The one thing that no computer, book, or class can
give you is the passion to practice, learn, and experiment with the skills and techniques it takes to be a
good retoucher. Retouching is more than removing
dust or covering up a wrinkle here or there.
Retouching enables you to give someone cherished
memories that have faded with the print. Retouching and restoration is a fantastic hobby and a challenging profession, so let's dive in and get to work.