I finally had time to finish up the restoration of the E & S FREY Baltimore druggist’s label. This circa 1860 label is on a large aqua cylinder that I picked up last month at the Baltimore antique bottle club meeting. After getting the bottle home I felt the label had such nice graphics, that it warranted some Photoshop time to restore it to a complete state. It wasn’t an easy process. I likely spent about 25 hours working on this over the past month.
I thought I would try my best to explain the whole process. First was how to get a flat image of a curved label attached to the bottle. Removing the label was not an option due to its fragile nature and lacking a 3-dimensional scanner, I opted for a more time consuming process called a “slit scan”. Basically this involves mounting a camera on a tripod then taking many images of the bottle while slightly rotating it about 15 degrees in each image. After this I ended up with about 40 images of the label. Then I would proceed to crop out a small central vertical slice of each image about 50 pixels wide.
Next I pasted each of these vertical slices into a new image and proceeded to line them up, creating a flat 2-dimensional version of the label without any distortion from being wrapped around the curved surface of the bottle. After that it was just a matter of using the color and brightness/contrast filters to make all the sections color match.
Next was the hard part using various pixel-cloning tools to painstakingly rebuild all the missing sections of the label. I started with the border and worked my way inwards. The eagle’s wing, the missing section of the banner and the various missing letters were actually much easier then I thought. The harder part was creating a convincing background where large parts of it were missing without having too much pixel duplication that was noticeable. Lastly I extended the staining through the new border tying everything together.
Over all I am very happy with the way this came out. I’m going to print one of these in a large format and have it framed to hang on my wall.