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Dash of Inspiration: Oldies But Goodies

April 1, 2013

A Dash of Inspiration, A Cup of Creativity by Doreen

Oldies But Goodies

Many of us like to work with old vintage images and they’re a great source for greeting card designs, but leaving a vintage photo or image as is and using it with all it’s faults does not usually make for a good greeting card. Cleaning up and improving spots, poor contrast, scratches and in general poor image quality does not mean you are losing the ‘vintage’ feel of the image and really is a must if you want to get your card approved at GCU.

Vintage Photographs:  Many of you use these great old vintage photos for their humor value and there is no doubt the market supports this, however image quality at GCU applies to old vintage photos as much as it does any other photos and weeding efforts apply to these cards too. So when using vintage photographs:

  • Look for vintage photos that are reasonably sharp in focus with good composition.
  • Use your digital darkroom tools to clean up noticeable dust and scratches. Always work with vintage photographs at 100% in your digital darkroom and spend the tedious time it takes to clone out and repair dust from scanning and damage from time.
  • Improve the contrast and tonal values so they pop as you would on any photo you are readying for the marketplace.


Vintage Artwork:  There is a wonderful resource of vintage art out there worthy of using in your designs. Old illustrations and paintings and inspiring for new creations. Once again however; these works usually have not been restored when posted as digital imagery in the public domain. When using vintage artwork:

  • Take the time to restore the image by cleaning up dust, scratches and dots per inch (illustrations).
  • Consider how you can make the vintage imagery into something new by pumping up the color and tonal values, using only part of the image in a new work or coloring old advertising illustrations.


  • When it comes to vintage paintings, always give credit to the original artist and provide a link in the Note to Reviewer of where you obtained the original work.

Restoring these old images can be done in a variety of ways and using a variety of tools. The key is to explore and find what works best for you. Then create something new and wonderful for others to enjoy!



25 Photoshop Tutorials For Repairing Your Old And Damaged Photos

I have the Topaz Software Suite and used it to help restore the floral vase vintage work above.

Restoring Old Photos with your Topaz Software

Photo Restoration Tutorial – How To Fix Old Cracked Faded Damaged Photos In Photoshop

The methods used to restore old photographs apply to restoring vintage paintings for our card purposes. So here’s hoping you’ve been inspired to create new and fantastic work out of old vintage pieces, and to go improve any vintage photos you have on old cards!  Till next week!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 1, 2013 11:49 am

    I love seeing before and after pics. Thank you, Doreen. It looks like you’ve been interested in quality improvement for most of your life (ironing out the wrinkles from a young age). I love the Topaz software and can’t wait to watch the video you posted.

    • April 1, 2013 3:15 pm

      Good one Tracie, LOL!! I do like to iron out the wrinkles in life, though I must admit I can count on two hands how many times I’ve ironed clothes since that pictures LOL! Thanks for stopping by!


  2. paintedcottages permalink
    April 25, 2013 3:25 pm

    love your job on the florals, I assume your floral print was bigger than postcard size to get a good scan??

    • April 25, 2013 4:06 pm

      This was not scanned, it was downloaded from a public domain vintage site. Most imagery from these places are really too small at 72dpi for 300dpi greeting card images – BUT, with the right tools to remove low resolution artifacts and lots of work they can become lovely images to use 🙂

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