Brighten Up An Old Photo – Part 2/3

File0058Morcombe 1966This is the second part of my explanation on how to digitise, edit and use an old photo in a blog article.  This part assumes that you have read part one and now have Photoscape installed and ready to use (or similar photo-editing software). Click this link to read part1.
The following guide is a simple and basic look at cropping and brightening up a photo.  Despite that it is fairly long, as I have written it for the complete beginner.  The more knowledge and experience you have the more you may be able to skip over, although if you are new to photo editing I would suggest reading the part you want to try carefully as you go.

If after reading this you remain unsure about anything and need more help with how to use a particular function of Photoscape then please go to the official website and click on the Help tab. There you will find an extensive list of all the functions, with many YouTube videos for each, explaning in detail how to use the software.  Approximate times for each step are included as a rough guide.  It may take longer the first few times, much less once you are familiar with the software.

Load a photo to edit (1 min)

To begin, open Photoscape and from the main menu screen, with the functions in a circle, choose the editor, at the top and middle of the circle.  The screen that opens is the editor screen, and it will be blank, apart from the folders display on the left and the tools and functions in the lower half of the screen.  There are also tabs along the top edge, to the left, for the other main menu options.  Most functions and tools are greyed out until you load a photo to edit.

From the folders displayed on the left, navigate to the folder where you stored your scanned or saved photo.  The lower half of that box will then fill with the photos in that folder.  Find and click once on the photo you want to edit.  That photo should then appear in the main display area and you are ready to begin.  The tools and functions should now all be ready to use.  Before you do anything to the picture, notice the Save button in the lower right of the screen.  That is where you click to save the photo, which I will return to a little later.  Above Save are three greyed out buttons, Undo, Redo and Undo All.  Once you begin to change the photo those will become active and will be a helpful way to step forwards and backwards through any changes you make.  To discover what any other button does or its name, just point at it and the name of the function will display next to the button.

Align the photo (Rotate Arbitrary) (1-5 mins)

This is only necessary if you are unhappy with the alignment of your photo and can be skipped if it appears to be correct.  If your photo is displayed sideways and needs to be rotated clockwise or counterclockwise a 90 degree step, then use the Rotate Left (CCW) or Right (CW) buttons, the light blue looped arrows, above the Resize button.  This can be repeated if the photo begins upside down.  The effect is immediate on the photo in the main part of the editor screen.  If your photo is just very slightly turned to the left or right from a correct alignment, and especially if you want to crop it, it is helpful to line it up properly first.  The Rotate Arbitrary function is the furtherest left of the three light blue looped arrows, above the Resize button.

When you click on it, a pop-up box appears with your photo overlayed with a grid of lines.  The lines help you to check that the alignment is correct.  If there is a border on the photo that helps too.  In the small box where 00.00 is displayed, simply enter a number for the degree that you want to rotate.  It can be any number between 15 degrees to the left or the right.  For a left rotate you enter – (minus) before the number and for a right rotate just enter the number.  This is a very sensitive tool and can be fine tuned down to two decimal places.  Often only a small number is required to improve the alignment significantly.  Most times I am happy with changes of 0.5 or 1 degree, but you can be more precise.

After you enter a number in the box there is a momentary pause, depending on the speed and power of your computer, and the photo is displayed in the pop-up box, now realigned according to the number you entered.  If you need to correct that number, then simply enter the new number for the new result to appear.  It is only best to click the OK button when you are sure  about the appearance of the adjustment.  When the OK button is clicked the change is transferred to the edited image, meaning that you can then only readjust by using the Undo button and starting the Rotate Arbitrary function box again.  Once you have clicked the OK and assuming the Undo button has not been used, then any number you enter will be in addition to the one already confirmed by the OK click.  Fine tune till you are happy.  If you think you messed it up, just Undo All and start again, nothing is saved until you choose to save.

Crop a photo  (1-5 mins)

If you need to cut away a border, or damged edges from a photo, or you want to use only part of a photo, then you need to crop it.  Click on the small Crop tab in the lower left of the screen area. There are four tabs: Home – for the main functions; Object – for adding things to a photo; Crop, which I am about to explain; and Tools for many corrective and clever effects.  When you click the Crop tab, you get a changed menu below the photo.  There is very little information displayed below the photo, as the choices and options are hidden behind buttons not yet usable.  The only button displayed as ready to use in the lower left of the screen, is one marked Crop Freely.  That means that you can simply place the cursor anywhere on the photo and draw a box to cover the area of the photo to keep.

Try it by pointing to a starting position on the photo for drawing a box.  Click and hold the mouse button and now draw the mouse away from the start position and a rectangle or square appears.  It will keep adjusting until you release the mouse button.  If you need to fine tune the box just put the cursor over the boxed area and a cross will appear.  If you click and hold the mouse the box you drew becomes mobile, so that you can move it anywhere within the edges of the photo.  If you want to adjust one or two edges of the box you drew, just place the cursor over one of the little square bumps on the box edges.  The small square bumps on the edge lines are in the corners or mid-point of the sides.  The cursor pointed are them become a two-way arrow and clicking and holding the mouse allows adjustment of that edge or corner.

When you are done with the box positioning, then you just click the Save Cropped Area box in the functions area. (The Crop button will remove the area inside your box.)   A pop-up box to save the new image appears.  The folder where it will save is the same as the folder you opened the image from. The file name suggested will be the original image name with -crop added to the end.  It is best to go with that suggestion as it keeps the file close to the original  name, so easier to find.  The original image is automatically saved too, into a new sub-folder within the folder you save to.  Next click Save and a quality box appears.  The default setting in that pop-up is 100% and it is best left there, as the lower the number the lower the quality of the  final cropped image. Click the OK to save the image. The crop is done and saved!

Part 3 will follow very soon.


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