Here is a very bad image of a
Malmyzh zemstvo that I found on an eBay auction.
What is the first thing
that we should do to correct this?
Let's first of all crop it
down some more to get rid of the unnecessary black frame. This is an
easy thing to do (!) and also then means that when we look at the
brightness levels we'll be getting data more from the stamp and less from
Now for the fun stuff.
Calling up a levels graph shows a dreadful narrow concentration of
brightness values. You can see from the sliders underneath the
levels box - or from the values in the text boxes above - how I have moved
all three sliders to try and 'punch up' the color and contrast. I
adjusted these levels based on my best guess as to what the blue and white
paper colors should be, and suspect that I've probably slightly
over-saturated the image as a result, but it does make it more clear.
Making these changes to the
image gives us this result :
That looks like someone has
removed a veil from the image, doesn't it! Next, let's see if we
can't sharpen it some by using the unsharp mask.
At this point, there isn't
much else we can do. The paper color looks reasonably accurate so
there is no need to try and change the color balance, and while the final
result is still poor, compare it to the original image and you'll
hopefully agree that just a couple of simple changes made a huge
difference. If only the eBay seller had done the scan correctly to