Digital Restoration From Start to Finish, by Ctein, ISBN: 0-240-80814-2

Reviewed by: Mario Georgiou, June 2007
Published by: Focal Press — Butterworth-Heinemann/Elsevier
Requires: N/A

MSRP: US$39.95, UK £24.99

Having recovered and restored many photos over the years, it was with great interest that I requested "Digital Restoration From Start to Finish" for review. Author Ctein is a photographer and imageer who has graced the online imaging and photo community for many years, offering both his valuable expertise and keen insights. His work in photography and computers has established him as an expert in photographic arts and technologies. He is recognised by Kodak as one of the foremost color print makers in the world.

Digital Restoration From Start to Finish is an insightful and well presented work which reflects both the skill and passion Ctein has brought to his field of expertise. He begins by covering many of the tools, technologies and issues which have to be considered before beginning to repair and restore any photos. The software covered is largely cross-platform in nature, however several of the tools featured are only available for Windows.


Ctein has arranged the book to work in a kind of project-centric structure so that readers can pick and chose the information they want to use. The book covers how to prepare and clean images for scanning and also provides some excellent tips on how to scan different materials for the best possible results in the first place. The book continues with coverage on how to restore color, improve skin tones, repair scratches, tears, stains and other issues. The information available is quite in depth and to be honest it might lose the less proficient imageer. As Photoshop is used throughout the book, I recommend that you at least develop a decent level of familiarity with the software before attempting some of the complex and effective techniques presented by Ctein.

The last sections of the book are devoted to printer profiling methods, black and white toning, display and storage of prints for longevity and digital archiving. Although they're quite good, these sections nevertheless remain a bit thin on the ground and could have done with some expansion, especially considering the high level of detail in the rest of the book.

Overall I enjoyed Digital Restoration From Start to Finish as I work with a lot of analog media. However I would like to see this book rewritten in part to include original digital media. That would in my opinion complete this otherwise excellent volume.

Cons: Little coverage of the process of recovering badly degraded digital images. No content CD with images and materials for the tutorials.

Pros: Professional and extensive coverage of the issues surrounding handling old and damaged materials and photos. Ctein has produced an excellent reference which will teach even the most experienced of us a trick or two. It is highly technical and comprehensive look at the issues which will affect the restoration of old and damaged images and also one which offers much in the way of effective solutions for the imageer to use in solving these problems. Digital Restoration From Start to Finish is a hefty and well presented reference book, in the tradition of several other excellent creative photography titles I've reviewed from Focal Press. Highly recommended.

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