Transform Old Photos with Curves and Channel Mixer

Transform Old Photos with Curves and Channel Mixer

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Using Curves and Channel Mixer
  3. Converting to Black and White
  4. Adjusting the Channel Mixer
  5. Enhancing the Image with Curves
  6. Removing Stains and Blemishes
  7. Adding Local Control with Soft Light Layer
  8. Fine-tuning the Image
  9. Conclusion


Welcome to this video Tutorial on restoring images using curves and channel mixer. In this tutorial, we will learn how to improve the look of a picture by removing scratches, marks, tears, and other imperfections. We will also explore techniques to adjust the colors and contrast to achieve better visual results.

Using Curves and Channel Mixer

To start the restoration process, we will convert the image to black and white and make use of the channel mixer. The channel mixer allows us to control the amount of red, green, and blue channels to achieve the desired tonal range. By experimenting with different values, we can enhance the image's overall appearance.

Converting to Black and White

Before applying the channel mixer, we need to convert the image to black and white. Despite the original photo being a sepia black-and-white print, we scanned it as RGB to access the individual channels. This enables us to make adjustments specific to each channel, resulting in a better outcome.

Adjusting the Channel Mixer

In the channel mixer, we will fine-tune the red, green, and blue channels. By distributing the percentages of each channel correctly, we can achieve a well-balanced and visually pleasing result. It may take some trial and error to find the ideal settings, but the blue channel tends to produce the best outcome for this image.

Enhancing the Image with Curves

After adjusting the channel mixer, we will move on to the curves dialog box. Using curves, we can add or remove lightness and darkness from specific tonal areas of the image. By placing points on the curve and adjusting their positions, we can control the overall contrast and tonal range. This step allows us to further improve the image's visual quality.

Removing Stains and Blemishes

To remove any staining or blemishes from the image, we need to dedicate some time and attention to detail. Using tools like the white brush and making careful brush strokes, we can effectively eliminate these imperfections. Though not shown in this tutorial, it is an important step in the overall restoration process.

Adding Local Control with Soft Light Layer

To enhance specific areas of the image, such as dark or light regions, we can utilize the soft light layer. By creating a new soft light layer and filling it with 50% gray, we can use a brush with varying opacity to selectively darken or lighten areas. This technique, especially when combined with a tablet, allows for precise local control.

Fine-tuning the Image

With the soft light layer, we can make further adjustments to the darkness and lightness of specific areas. By accurately painting over the areas we wish to modify, we can achieve a more balanced and visually appealing result. This step requires some patience and artistic judgment to achieve the desired outcome.


In just a few minutes, we have made significant improvements to the image using curves, the channel mixer, and local control techniques. While this tutorial provides a basic understanding of the restoration process, there is always room for further refinement and fine-tuning. With time and practice, you can restore valuable prints to their former glory. Thank you for watching, and remember to visit my website for more tutorials and resources.


  • Learn how to restore images using curves and channel mixer
  • Understand the importance of converting to black and white
  • Adjust the channel mixer to enhance the tonal range
  • Use curves to fine-tune the contrast and overall appearance
  • Remove stains and blemishes for a cleaner image
  • Add local control with the soft light layer
  • Fine-tune the image's darkness and lightness
  • Achieve professional-level image restoration


Q: What is the purpose of converting the image to black and white?
A: Converting the image to black and white allows us to access the individual RGB channels and make precise adjustments using tools like the channel mixer and curves dialog box.

Q: Can I use these techniques with any image editing software?
A: Yes, the techniques covered in this tutorial can be applied using various image editing software, although the specific steps may vary slightly.

Q: How long does the entire restoration process typically take?
A: The duration of the restoration process depends on the complexity of the image and the level of detail you wish to achieve. It can range from a few minutes to several hours or more for complex restorations.

Q: Do I need a tablet to use the local control technique?
A: While a tablet can greatly enhance precision and control, it is not a requirement. The technique can still be applied using a mouse or trackpad, although it may be more challenging to achieve the same level of accuracy.

Q: Can these techniques be applied to color images as well?
A: Yes, the techniques covered in this tutorial can be adapted for color images. However, adjusting the individual color channels would require different approaches compared to black and white images.

Q: Are there any additional resources or tutorials available for further learning?
A: Yes, you can visit my website WWE graphics tablet for more tutorials, resources, and tips on image restoration and editing.

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