I admit it: I'm a total geek. I love electronics, programming, 3D art, vintage Apple hardware, and whisky. I'm always juggling half a dozen projects. I also enjoy documenting it all: my successes, my failures, my experiences... and everything geeky along the way.

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Photo Restoration Project, Part II | Kevin Rye.net - Main

Kevin Rye

Geek Extraordinaire. Yeh, I said it.

Photo Restoration Project, Part II

Seven months ago, I started a photo restoration project commissioned by my mother-in-law. Part 1 of the project consisted of scanning in and digitally restoring 166 vintage photos. The photos varied in size from 2x3s to 8x10s. Part 2 of the project was to then create a book in iPhoto to showcase them all. My mother-in-law was so impressed with the collection of books that I’ve made over the years for my wife, that she wanted one to.

It took a few days to scan them all in, but it took months to restore them all. Some only required a color correction and a few clicks of the Heal tool, while others were full-on projects of their own; requiring hours of work and some artistic license.

I do admit I did take more breaks that I should have. I’ve designed a handful of clocks and other electronics projects along the way. (Not to mention all the 3D renders I’ve worked on too!)

Rather than work on it full time, I’d usually only fell back to editing the photos when I was in between projects, or while waiting for parts to arrive. I probably should have finished this months ago, but it kept sneaking off to the back burner.

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I had enough photos to fill 68 pages. That should make for a respectable sized book. I even went with the hard cover, extra-large 13” x 10” size. I really tried to not put more than 4 images on a page. Most pages only had 2 or 3, while some of the “choice” images demanded a full page of their own.

As far as the cover, I really struggled with that. I really liked some of the black and white wedding photos, but I didn’t want the book to look like a wedding album. The iPhoto template only allowed up to 4 images on the cover. No matter what images I chose, there always seemed to be a family member that was missing. Family feuds have been fought over less, so I decided to go with a collage instead. I could pick the single photo page without text, and drop in my collage as a single image.

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I have a great app called Shape Collage that will generate a collage from whatever stack of images to give it. You can even draw in a shape to use as a mask and it’ll arrange the images over the mask. I drew a rectangle, fed in the 166 images and let ‘er rip.

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That’s pretty cool, and I think it’ll look great on the cover. There’s a little of everything in there: kids, grandkids, weddings, vacations, etc.


I then dropped it into iPhoto and added it to the page. That looks cool.

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Lastly, I gave the book one final look over to make sure everything was OK and then submitted my order. I even paid for express shipping so I’d have it in time for the weekend. (My mother-in-law is coming over so I’d like to have it just in time for her.) All in all, it came out to $143.60 with shipping. Not bad for a huge 13” x 10” hard-covered, one-of-a-kind, work-of-art!

I submitted my order on Monday, and had it in hand on Fri. Not bad at all.


I really like the way the cover came out.


The book looks absolutely amazing. She’s so going to cry!


It’s amazing that these little wallet sized prints came out looking so good after being restored and blown up. (iPhone for scale.)


The 8x10s look amazing on a full page. I got rid of all the dust and scratches, blips, and spots. There’s not so much as a single imperfection. They look amazing. I’m sure these tiny 620-wide images don’t do them justice.


Even the colored ones from the early 80s look great. The one on the right was a 3x5 and it looks great blown up to 13x10.


I gave my mother-in-law the book this weekend. She was just blown away.


Favorite son-in-law: Achievement Unlocked.

(And yes, she cried!)

See this project from start to finish:
Photo Restoration Project, Part I
Photo Restoration Project, Part II