Removing lettering from photo
February 20, 2018 4:40 PM   Subscribe

The press and I agreed I would do the cover of the upcoming book (because I want to and I know what I'm trying to convey).

I have a great photo that I was playing around with it, making a mock cover, and I guess I didn't save the original. I can't find it anywhere, and of course of all the photos I have, I love it the best. Is there a way to remove the lettering? Googling this question leads me to all sort of questionable downloads, none of which I know about.

I did it in Paint.
posted by intrepid_simpleton to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
That's almost certainly do-able in Photoshop, but how easily and quickly will very much depend on the specific nature of the photograph and where and how you placed the text. Can you upload it and link to it?
posted by Chairboy at 4:47 PM on February 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Probably not, but it depends a bit on how you did the lettering. If you just overwrote the letter pixels with solid color, then in the absence of backups, no, you can't get the data back. However, if the lettering is relatively small compared to the details in the photo, or the background is relatively uniform, you might be able to heal the image using information from similar areas.

If the letters are written in transparency, or by darkening, lightening, or otherwise altering the background, rather than just overwriting with opaque color, you might be able to repair the image.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 4:48 PM on February 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yes and no. The image data is part of the photo now, so there's nothing 'underneath' to recover. However, depending on the position of the lettering, you may be able to manually recreate the missing part of the image. This is often done by duplicating patches of the visible photo to cover up the unwanted letters, and then blending/tweaking the result. Someone with the right skills in Photoshop or another advanced image-editing program may be able to do a reasonable job of making the photo look whole again. This is something that requires a degree of skill. You won't get your photo back in the sense of it exactly matching the original, but the result might 'pass'. You'd need an opinion from someone confident at doing this sort of work.
posted by pipeski at 4:50 PM on February 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Have you checked to see if your photo is in a backup program you may have running, like Google Photos or similar? If you're not the original photographer, maybe you can get another copy from whomever you got the original one from?
posted by quince at 5:31 PM on February 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Totally depends on the image. I do a lot of photo retouching and have rescued many a basket case. But, again, it entirely depends on the nature of the image and the text.

I did it in Paint.

Ah. Hopefully, you did at a high resolution suitable for printing. If, on the other hand, if you did it at screen resolution, that adds another complication.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:49 PM on February 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

A couple thoughts on how to find the original:
1) Did you email to anyone as an attachment? Look in your sent mail folder.
2) Do a complete file system search by name and/or type on your computer (WindowKey-F on Windows, Mac Finder upper left of window).
posted by ShooBoo at 7:19 PM on February 20, 2018

Did you send it to someone and ask them how they liked it, or what they thought of it? Did you post it somewhere before you worked on it. I fix a lot of stuff for people, I have just painted back in the background. I can do that fairly easily.
posted by Oyéah at 7:46 PM on February 20, 2018

You could try sending it to
posted by KateViolet at 2:15 PM on February 21, 2018

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