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How to remove the paper texture from a scan?

Marco Buonocore , Apr 17, 2005; 08:22 p.m.

I'm in the middle of touching up an old family photo. It's hung on the wall for ages, and is on its last legs. It's a nice 11x14 print on some sort of matte or slightly textured paper.

I scanned it on an Epson 1250 flatbed at 400 dpi for output, and have just finished getting rid of dust and scratches. One thing that's bugging me is the pattern of the matte paper that the scanner has picked up. I'm used to scanning negs, not originals, so I'm not familiar with this problem.

Does anyone know of a technique in photoshop to sample a pattern and remove it from the image? Does this sort of thing exist? I'd love to hear anyones thoughts. I'll attach the full image and a cropped 100% chunk with the pattern if it helps anyone.


100% crop


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Marco Buonocore , Apr 17, 2005; 08:23 p.m.

Response to Restoration of an old photo - technique question

And here's the full image:

Full image

Emre Safak , Apr 17, 2005; 08:54 p.m.

Why not just run it through a noise reduction filter with a sample taken from the pattern?

Andrew Robertson , Apr 17, 2005; 09:01 p.m.

Try the 'despeckle' filter in photoshop. Be warned, it can destroy sharpness, too. I usually despeckle and then fade.

John Amiet , Apr 17, 2005; 10:34 p.m.

Above advice is fine, but I am wondering why you think it will 'show' in you final output. Does it show in the original, and if so, does that bother you?

Copying small prints on stippled paper surfaces and enlarging them is a a problem because the texture enlarges with the image. In your case (I am guessing!) you will probably reduce the image, and therefore the surface texture. Try outputting a hardcopy sample to test what you see. You may be happy without despeckling which does soften the image.

Doug Fisher , Apr 17, 2005; 10:44 p.m.

Save it in jpeg format, 8 bit (which for this image should be more than enough) and try out the free version of Neat Image. It might do a passable job of cleaning things up while minimizing the loss of sharpness.

Joseph Wisniewski , Apr 18, 2005; 10:55 a.m.

There's really no way to get rid of such an effect. It's modulation of the light, which is multiplication, not like dust, scratches, and noise, which are all addition and subtraction. And it's not a "pattern", it's just random, at a lower spatial frequency than most noise. A noise removal program will tear that image apart, without really fixing the noise.

Is an optical effect that's only annoying at a 100% crop of a 400dpi image really that much of a problem? Have you tried a sample print yet?

This is a perfect example of the GIGO principle - the Epson has a single lamp, and bumps and dips really cast shadows, creating the modulation. I scan stuff with a strong texture on a two lamp Microtek.

Emre Safak , Apr 18, 2005; 11:48 a.m.

A noise removal program will tear that image apart, without really fixing the noise.
Good noise removal programs also consider low frequencies. This is what I got with Noiseware (and the difference amplified, for comparison). It is hard to tell whether the softening would be objectionable on the whole based on this sample, because it has very little detail to begin with.

Left: After Noiseware. Right: The difference

P C Headland , Apr 18, 2005; 11:58 a.m.


Some scanner programs have a "de-screen" option that can do quite a good job with some textured surfaces.

Greg Campbell , Apr 18, 2005; 04:18 p.m.

Can you post a link to the full sized scan? I (and others, I'm sure) can run it through NI (or another noise filtration) program and post the results. With reasonable filtration settings, I suspect NI will do a fine job on the image.


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