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Solving the Case of the Missing Data

The photo in Figure 6 is extremely overexposed; so much so that much of the color in the old truck has been permanently lost. Even so, applying the Shadow/Highlight filter is a good place to start. It cannot put back the color that has been permanently destroyed, however. To build back the color, add a new layer and sample some of the color from the truck so you get a good color match. Set the new layer blend mode to Color Burn and start painting over the areas to color. There will be way too much color as you work, but ignore the amount and concentrate on painting it where it is needed. Then, when you're done, reduce the opacity of this layer until you get the desired result. The image in Figure 7 shows the fix applied to part of the right side of the truck.

Figure 6

Figure 6 This image is so overexposed there is little data to work with, and the Shadow/Highlight tool won't be strong enough to bring back the color.

Figure 7

Figure 7 The right side and bonnet of the truck have been painted and blended to restore the color to these parts of the image.

With practice, you'll find that even the poorest of photos can be improved using a systematic approach and a few key Photoshop tools and filters.

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