Digital removal of support bars
Removing the horizontal support bars from a stained glass window image is definitely contentious. After all, the vidimus, (the approved design of a window; an example is shown to the left) will have included these metal bars – they are very much part of the design. However, they do mask window details and while a necessary evil, do detract from the composition of the artwork.
I have worked hard to remove the support bars from each of the windows I have edited. It is a laborious and time-consuming process, but so far I have been successful in this work and the results are pleasing. However, thus far this removal has for the most part been straightforward with the support bars covering comparatively plain segments of the window. Unfortunately this is not always the case, with some windows featuring support bars which cover intricate and complicated detail.
In the portion of window above, the removal of the support bar would be straightforward where it covers the orange/red and blue material; the stair-runner would be rather more demanding as would the basket. However, the construction of two dove’s heads in the absence of any reference material would be unbelievably difficult.
I stand by my belief that the edited images are dramatically improved following the removal of the support bars. Thus it remains my intention to remove them when and where possible. Perhaps my choice of stained glass window within a chapel, where choice is available, should be driven to some extent by this factor. Where this presents an almost impossible editing challenge, such as the bird basket above, then it would seem appropriate to leave the support bars in situ. Frustratingly, I am prompted to type this having spent in excess of 10 hours thwarted by one section of support bar within an image from which I had already removed 60% of the bars!