Note: yeah, the background grain is awful, I know. That didn't look so obvious at the smaller scale I've been looking at this.
So I made these chains. At the end of a scanography session, to burn off a few extra minutes, I had Zi drape them on and did a few quick regular shots.
Unfortunately I wasn't paying attention and missed that my camera was still set to take jpegs only from a timelapse shoot I had done a couple of days prior. So although I liked this one, I did not have a raw file to work with.
I sat on it for a bit more than a year while I got better at retouching. I think this is the best I can make this at this point, though working on it has given me some ideas for directions to explore in rescuing or reconstructing detail in low res or slightly blurred images.
Here's a side by side of the straight from the camera image and the end result:
You can see there is quite a lot of detail and color subtlety hidden in even a washed out jpeg if you are thoughtful about how you cajole it back out.
Very few things are fun for me anymore. But coaxing failed photos back from the brink is fun.
Edited to add: Wow I kind of hate how it looks blown up huge here! So the grain is way, WAY heavier than I thought it was. That was put in the obscure some frustrating imperfections in an expanded content aware crop to give me a wider background field, but looking at it on my regular monitor it did not look so extreme.
So, I may need to go back to work on this one. Right now it looks fine in small sizes for venues like instagram or tumblr, but here it is kind of appalling!