Picking Up a Fallen Photograph with Photoshop

When photographing exhibitions in the Wittliff Collections‘ Writer’s Room, our focus has been documenting the exhibit cases, as seen in this past blog post, but the recent Legends of Tejano Music exhibition had materials on display everywhere! While finalizing my documentation photographs, I decided to create a panorama from multiple images to better showcase the details along the back walls. Unfortunately, one of the photos had fallen from the wall between setup and capture of the best frame for part of my panorama. Surprisingly, the photograph landed in a lucky position and I was able to restore it to its proper location using Adobe Photoshop.

Detail of the original image

Detail of the original image

First, the photograph was selected with the Lasso tool and copied in a new layer before being rotated and moved into position on the wall. A small Distort Transform was also applied to set it in line with the wall and the photograph above it

The new layer in place on the wall

The new layer in place on the wall

To find a good match from the wall that would cover the fallen photograph I used the Lasso tool. Using the Lasso, I selected a section of the baseboard from another photograph I made of that wall which seemed a better match then used Distort Transform to align the angles. A slight Box Blur was also used to blend the new baseboard into the original.

Copied wall sections

Sections of the wall copied to cover the fallen photograph

Once my rough pieces were organized, I used Layer Masks to blend the edges of my new pieces into the original picture. A Wacom tablet made this task much faster.

Additional work around the flipped image added shadows and slightly darkened the new photo. The Patch Tool and some Clone Stamp detail work cleaned up the texture of the wall as well.

detail of finished results

Detail of the finished results

The final panorama

The final panorama

Erin Mazzei


The Writer’s Room Dance

The Writer’s Room on the 7th floor of Alkek Library hosts semi-annual exhibits from the Wittliff Collections that are documented by Digital and Web Services. With five glassed-in wall cases and multiple light sources, the room is challenging to photograph! We photograph each case multiple times with a tripod-mounted camera while a sheet of black foam core is moved throughout the frame to flag, or block, the many reflections in the glass. These shots are digitally combined into a single image without distracting reflections.

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Testing long exposures in different environments

We recently investigated how long exposures during digitization might be affected by different physical locations. We tested 4 locations and 2 shutter speeds to capture the blur induced by walking heavily around the copy stand during exposure.

The 4 areas tested were:

  1. Concrete Foundation at the ARC
  2. 7th floor of Alkek Library in the Corner of the Building
  3. 7th floor of Alkek Library in the Center of the Building
  4. 2nd floor of Alkek Library on a Raised Floor installed over carpet for data & power lines

We tested 2 shutter speeds that are representative of those we use to digitize film negatives using Artograph LightPad Pros:

  1. 1/10th of a second
  2. 1 second

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Photographing Cabeza de Vaca’s La Relacion

Erin and I have had a blast visiting the Wittliff Collections on the 7th floor of Alkek Library while we photographed Cabeza de Vaca’s La Relación this week.

Digital & Web Services is partnering with the Wittliff Collections for a forthcoming update to the current online exhibit.

Here are a few behind-the-scenes photos I made while we worked today.

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