A couple weeks ago we ran a post that talked about photo restoration. The article talked in great depth on how we could take some older photos and turn them into vintage photos with a scanner and Photoshop. This post will show the results from the client perspective.
Peggy Coakley from Coakly brothers came into BPI Inc. to ask President Steve Mueller for his help with photo restorations. The photos in question were from over 120 years ago when the Coakley brothers first started working together. There was even one picture taken from what was first known as Coakley Brothers Moving.
When Peggy learned of BPI’s ability to print in very high resolution on photo quality media, she decided to use the restored photos that BPI Inc. produced on archival photo satin for display in their recently renovated offices. The results are below.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before; a client with a couple of 5×7 photos walks into a print shop…
It’s a rather common situation. And one we’ve had to handle for a more than a few clients. So, how do we get a 60″ wide x 48″h print from a lowly 8×10? Well, we cheat.
Recently, we had a head’s up concerning a client with numerous vintage photos in the 8×10 neighborhood. This client wanted to produce several photographic quality prints in the 48 to 60″ inch wide range. Now that’s a challenge for the scanning equipment. Luckily, we had a warehouse of old discontinued equipment to rummage through.
Now, why did we resort to a scavenger hunt when we have several large format scanners on our floor? There’s a dirty little secret involved. A lot of scanners have been dumbed down in the name of efficiency. And because 99% of the work in this market can be done with 8-bit scanning, manufacturers have confined the on-board software to 8-bit values. But, when scanning for enlargement you need to squeeze maximum data from your scan and that takes more than 8 bits. In this particular case, we located an old photo scanner that scanned in 32 bit color depth.
Of course there’s a couple of catches to working this way. A high definition, 8-bit scan at 1200 dpi would only take about 3 1/2 minutes. A 32-bit scan of the same image can take up to 25 minutes. In addition, 32-bit files are much larger than there 8-bit little sisters. An 8 1/2 x 11 photo at 32-bit, 1200 dpi can be around 600 megs. That same file at 8-bit, 1200 dpi will be around 170 megs. Luckily for us, this client understood the investments required for image quality. So it was, damn the file size and full-speed ahead!!
Now don’t get me wrong concerning our usual collection of scanners. They can perform a 300 dpi scan of 90 percent of our client documents in less than a minute. And that’s fine when you’re printing same size or just twice size. But if you’re going for a 400%-plus enlargement, you need to squeeze every pixel until it screams.
Two days later, the rest was Photoshop and history.
Here’s a few before-&-afters involving vintage photos.