About five years ago, I bought a gizmo that allowed me to digitized all the photographs and slides I'd accumulated during more than a half century of taking photos. Some of the slides were faded and the conversion software that came with the gizmo couldn't fix them. While looking around for software to use to create images for my web site and this blog, I came across paint.net, which is available for free. To my great surprise, it has an option that will put color back into faded slides.
For example, here's a faded slide from my collection (you can click on it to view the full size version):
Note that the picture is not only faded, it also has a black line along the right edge where the scanner captured part of the cardboard holder for the slide. Plus, there are tiny hairs and spots on the picture as a result of leaving the slide laying around in a closet for decades.
Using paint.net, I found that I only had to click on "adjustments" and then on "Auto-Level" to automatically bring back the color:
But, it also made the tiny hairs and spots more visible, particularly a faint dark streak of some kind that runs from the upper right corner of the photo to the bridge.
And, paint.net also has a cloning tool that I can use to get rid of all those spots, hairs and blemishes. They call it a "Clone Stamp." You select the size of the cloning tool by choosing a brush size, then you press CTL while you left-click your mouse to select the area you want to clone - a piece of unblemished sky next to a dirt spot, for example. Then you move the cursor to the area with the spot and when you left click the mouse again, the clear piece of sky is cloned and placed over the spot. After that, the area to be cloned will move when you move the mouse, and you just need to click on the spots you want to correct (being certain that the clone area doesn't also contain a spot), or you can hold down the mouse clicker while you clone over the entire bad area.
I used the "Clone Stamp" to get rid of all the hairs and spots and the streak, plus the dark line down the side. Here's the result:
And, just because I found it to be interesting, here's a photo I found on the Internet which shows the same scene as it looks today:
I'm not sure exactly how the "Auto-Level" adjustment feature works, but here's another faded photo of New York City from the 1950s:
Here's the color corrected and cleaned up version:
And here's a photo from the Internet showing what the location looks like today:
Now I just need to clean up about a thousand other slides in my collection.
For information about color adjusting photographs from negatives, click HERE.